The Garden Isle: The people must be informed about North Korea

December 4, 2017
In The News

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is calling for diplomatic solutions with North Korea just as Hawaii returned to sounding a monthly nuclear attack warning siren because of the growing threat from that country.

Of course, we agree diplomatic solutions should be sought. No one wants to see nuclear war. Gabbard is correct in pointing out that this ill will between the U.S. and North Korea isn’t something that just started in the past year or since Donald Trump became our president.

Gabbard herself has been raising the issue of the increasing threat from North Korea ever since she came to Congress in 2013. She is well aware that North Korea’s continued growing capabilities puts the Aloha State squarely within range of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“It is a travesty and a total failure of leadership, by both Republican and Democrat administrations, that their short-sighted policies over the last 40 years have left the people of Hawaii and this country, our homes and communities, and generations to come, under the dark cloud of a nuclear threat from this point forward,” she said in a press release.

“The only possible option to remove this dark cloud will come through the pursuit of serious diplomacy, and that will only be successful if two things happen,” Gabbard continued. “First, we must negotiate directly with North Korea and Kim Jong Un. Second, we have to understand why he is holding on so tightly to their nuclear weapons — it is because he sees them as his only deterrent from the U.S. coming in and trying to topple his regime.”

Or it could be because he wants the power of having nuclear weapons and may actually intend on using them.

Gabbard believes that Kim looks at the U.S. track record, and how it overthrew Saddam Hussein in Iraq because of false intelligence that he had weapons of mass destruction. He sees how even after Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was promised by the U.S. that if he gave up nuclear weapons the U.S. wouldn’t go after him, the U.S. went after him anyway and took him out.

She believes Kim looks at what our country has been and is still doing in Syria, trying to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad. And she said he sees how the Trump administration and some in Congress are increasing their rhetoric to go after Iran and overthrow their government.

So Tulsi Gabbard is calling for the U.S. to end its regime-change war policies.

“This is necessary for North Korea to see that we are serious when we say we are not interested in toppling their regime, and that we are serious about achieving peace, stability and prosperity in a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” she said.

The U.S. certainly does get involved in the politics of other countries. Does it need to? Those in power think so. That’s something that’s been happening for decades and isn’t going to change.

We agree that diplomatic solutions with North Korea should be pursued. A nuclear war would be horrific. That said, the U.S. must be prepared to protect Hawaii and the Mainland, and it must be prepared to use its military. It can’t assume things will work out for the best. North Korea’s latest missile tests show it has increasing capabilities to reach our lands. And Kim has not indicated he is looking for diplomatic solutions. He delights in the successful tests and his country’s growing nuclear arsenal. The problem for the U.S. now is, if it reaches a point where it believes North Korea is a threat to America’s security, it won’t wait to see what Kim does, but strike first. We hope that doesn’t happen. Yes, keep diplomacy open, but don’t be surprised if it fails.

Meantime, there is a chance to learn more about North Korea and how we got to this point that Hawaii again has monthly nuclear warning siren tests and faces the threat of having 15 minutes to prepare for a missile launched from North Korea, about 4,500 miles away.

A program, “Korea in Context, Past and Present,” is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Kauai Community College. Speakers will be history professor Dr. Mark Ombrello, who specializes in East Asian and Pacific history, and Kauai journalist Jon Letman, who has traveled to and published articles about Korea and other countries in the region.

Ombrello will provide a brief overview of the modern history from the overthrow of the monarchy on through the decades of colonialism under the Japanese (1910-45). Letman will place this history in context with current heightened tension and threat of war on the Korean Peninsula. The speakers will examine Kauai’s role in the militarization of Korea and Northeast Asia.

If you can, please attend this important public meeting.

There is also a chance to share your views with Gabbard this week.

The U.S. representative will host a live, tax-focused “telephone town hall” on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The conference-call-style event will allow Hawaii residents to ask questions and hear updates from the congresswoman, along with nonpartisan national and local experts on federal tax reform, resources for Hawaii residents ahead of tax season, ways Hawaii families can protect themselves against scams, and more.

To participate, call (888) 476-4187 at 4 p.m. to join the live conference call.

The U.S. is at a key point in its relationship with North Korea. The more we citizens know and understand, the more we can share informed views with our elected leaders. 

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