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(CNN) -- North Korea has claimed a successful nuclear test despite pressure from the international community for the country to abandon its nuclear program.
CNN asked readers how they thought the world should respond. Here is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited:
If we do not do something like "shock and awe" to North Korea, the world will think that we attack only weaklings, e.g., Iraq, Afghanistan, countries that had air forces in name only, and the Muslims will think that we attack only them. I hope we come out of this with our heads up.
Let's see what the Security Council decides on. They should enforce a strict air, sea and land blockade, but this will only happen if China is willing to go along with it. After all, China is North Korea's lifeblood. Whatever steps are taken, it should be steps that a majority of the world powers have decided on and accepted, not just the U.S. doing it alone. Right now, we are spread too thin militarily to do any good.
The solution is obvious, and I have every confidence that the United Nations will step up to the challenge. We must sternly warn North Korea that if they do any more nuclear testing, we will sternly warn them not to any more nuclear testing ... again.
Strategic airstrikes. Next question.
Who ever really thought the North wouldn't call the bluff is not a very good poker player and needs to leave the table. The only problem is this isn't poker -- this is for the world's future. Not a small thing, but the way things have been handled so far, one cannot tell the difference. We are left with doing nothing or forming an alliance with China and Russia and bombing the North into submission. Poor choices at best, but if not made an example, then give the bomb to Iran, Japan, South Korea, Israel and any other country that wants to call our bluff or be caught in the wake. According to Washington, it doesn't seem to matter.
After reading a lot of the comments on this subject I have become a little concerned about my fellow Americans. Like it or not, we are the world's watchdog. Everyone else looks to the U.S. for leadership in these troubling times. North Korea cannot be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction. Why? Because it will use them and sell them. Think about it. If North Korea pops a nuke over Tokyo, what will that do to the world economy? That is just one example, or how about this -- it sells one to Iran? There goes Israel right off the map. India and Pakistan at least have sensible governments. They cannot be lumped in the same category as these radical dictators. Wake up people.
I think the president is right on this one. We need to have action now. Yes, we have problems in Afghanistan or Iraq, but this is an issue that should have been taken care of a long time ago. It's sad to say that the innocent people who live in this nation under rule of a "wacko" are now going to have to suffer.
Let's start seeing the U.N. really doing its job, that would be something nice, and we (the world, including Canada) wouldn't always have to come crying to the United States that we have a problem.
We should continue to hasten the development of the anti-missile defense system and make the threat of an attack by North Korean missiles a moot point. Apparently, there is little that can be done to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponry. I expect that Iran will be joining the club in the not too distant future. I do not think that we should be negotiating with North Korea, one on one, now or anytime in the near future; we would be just opening a huge can of worms to pay this guy to sit back and behave.
Let us not forget that Napoleon and Hitler were defeated after choosing to engage in "two-front" wars. (That is not a personal comparison of "W" to Napoleon or Adolf, but a strategic comparison.) I fear that the mire in Iraq/Afghanistan will prevent us from adequately dealing with Kim Jong Il, a man who is determined to test American resolve at every turn.
Have Bush and his goons (yes, the Condi goon too) put a sock in it before he swallows all of their feet and gets into something we cannot get out of as easily as Iraq (which by the way won't be easy). This is going to have to be the part where China stops making noise and asserts itself in that part of the world. We all know the Japanese would if they could, but we do not know that about China, and it is time it matured into a real country with a real backbone.
The people in North Korea are slaves to the current regime, and as long as that condition exists, the entire world bears some responsibility. However, China has the only real bargaining chip -- proximity and imminent threat -- so we let [the Chinese] take the lead and support them.
Quit blaming Bush for the troubles in Korea and the world. Ever since we bombed Japan twice, it was inevitable that other countries were going to get a nuke, too. The [Russians] had theirs after World War II, and others have followed.
The U.S. did not create the Middle East problems. They have had problems for thousands of years, and they are not going to go away overnight no matter who is in the White House or what the U.N. declares. I do agree that there are some things that the U.S. should have stayed out of in the past, but what if we didn't do something? What would have happened? Then people and countries would be complaining.
North Korea is dying. They are desperate. [China] is waiting and working on plans for after its collapse. South [Koreans] are hoping they do not have to pay for absorbing their poor cousins' starving and sick after reunification. The U.S. needs to coordinate with [China] on the aftermath of the collapse. The U.S. has provided South Korea the opportunity to create a thriving, free nation. It is time for South Korea step up to the plate and do its part.
In reading all previous comments, one can see swings from the extreme left to extreme right. It has always been apparent to me that the North Korean president has a problem with power and his own ego. Do you think for a moment he has his own people's welfare at heart? Do you not know that if his regime is toppled, he has enough stashed away in foreign countries to live happily ever after? He wants to have a name and be considered one of the players. ... If you give a bully or a madman the proper opportunity, you will live to regret your lack of action. Sanctions, are you joking? That will only hurt the citizens of Korea who really have no control over their leader's actions. If he is adamant on dialogue, why does he not come on over, and let's see what's on his mind?
The entire international community should impose economic sanctions. No food, no medicine, no fuel, nada. Yes, refugees will stream across the border into China. The international community can then mount a foreign aid effort. Then the regime will collapse. The United Nations then moves in and installs a caretaker government, followed by free elections to install a democracy.
North Korea needs hard currency. The nuclear test is in part a marketing ploy -- a statement to jihadists and other potential customers that North Korea really does have product (nuclear devices) and will welcome their orders. Solution: Frustrate the North Korean ability to deliver its product. The method would be progressive isolation. The first stage is a declaration of right on the part of the international community to search all vessels moving in and out of North Korea to inspect for nuclear weapon components. Stage one stops considerably short of a full naval and air quarantine. By announcing a series of planned stages (interdiction of travel outside North Korea by regime officials, interdiction of international travel for all persons in North Korea, shipping quarantine, "no-fly zone," etc.) the international community would place increasing pressure on the North Korean regime. A side benefit: The regime in Iran might learn something from the process.
Don't respond till, for a start, it is established 100 percent for sure that it was a nuclear explosion in the first place. ... Clever cunning is an art, and [North Korea] has a cunning government. ...
This will probably get me on an even higher "watch list," but after being a very successful parent, I know that one must back up one's threats with action. These two-bit dictators have been taunting us, and we've done nothing -- worse than sending a kid into "timeout." We need to do the equivalent of spanking their little behinds ... drop a well-placed, low-level nuke real close to two palaces -- one for the fruitcake in Iran and the other for the cross-dresser in North Korea.
Do unto others before they can do unto you. Do you really think during World War II that the Japanese would have hesitated to use a nuclear weapon on the U.S. if they had it in their arsenal?
If the U.S. can have 5,000-plus nuclear weapons, then everyone should have a right to develop nuclear arms to protect itself from the U.S. and its allies.
Use diplomacy only. We're already spread too thin with military in Iraq -- in lives lost, injury to both sides and the outrageous cost. We need to call all of our military back to this country and stop being the planet's enforcer/bully. Did someone "win" the last Korean War?
Well, you don't threaten a madman with military action. Because he's just liable to blow up South Korea or Chinese soil. ... He wants one-on-one talks with the U.S. Give it to him. He's a desperate man, and we have sanctioned his country to death. Diplomacy is the only way to deal with a madman. Threats and sanctions have not worked.
North Korea needs to be heavily sanctioned and then open its borders to U.N. inspection, not only for nuclear arms, but for all banned weaponry. Hopefully China will drop them as an ally, and they will be forced to comply or starve. North Koreans deserve a leader with their best intentions in mind, not one who simply beats on his chest waving his manhood around. His power is fear, and fear is no way to govern a nation.
Follow China's lead. This might seem counterintuitive, but North Korea exists in a world where the traditional power structures that define Western life simply don't work. The nation itself is quite blatantly enthralled by a cult of personality, whether through honest belief or paralyzing fear. The concept of political or social opposition doesn't exist in terms that Western cultures can understand. It's dealt with as a sickness or a form of blasphemy, dealt with through quarantine to ensure the rest remain cooperative and enthralled. The only lever to move this nation rests under the feet of Kim Jong Il; the only nation with a hand on the business end of it is China. This action was taken to invoke precisely the response it's getting. People are focused once again on Pyongyang. That's fine, if a little ridiculously predictable, but the real way through this will be in the response from Beijing. Watch them closely, and let them lead for a change.
The world has no right to involve itself in this matter. Only powers such as South Korea, Japan and China should worry themselves over this issue. Did the nuclear tests of India and Pakistan lead to the White House calling them a provocative action? No. The president should take no action on this matter, and deal with the messes he has already gotten us into. Not jump on to another one.
If India can test its nuke, why not North Korea? The point is the spread of nukes will only cause more trouble for the world, friend or foe.
The world should first try to soften this administration by using whatever clever initiatives they can. The immediate neighbors (China, Russia, Japan and South Korea) should be the ones to decide on other more direct actions.
We should destroy their nuclear facilities by whatever means necessary. If we wait until they can put one of these weapons on a missile, they will blackmail us and the world over and over again until we are forced to fight ... and risk absorbing a nuclear missile attack. We must strike now when they cannot strike back at the U.S. directly.
I want to condemn North Korea's actions, but one must look at the bigger picture. U.S. spy planes and intelligence were the first steps of invasion and occupations of the countries Iraq and Afghanistan. The leadership of North Korea sees this happening all over again and is doing what it must to do protect its people. Will North Korea be the next occupied country by America? The U.S. is the true threat to global peace with its warmongering and bullying tactics. Diplomacy is not on America's agenda, and Iraq and Afghanistan are the proof of that.
The free world is at a crossroads. I believe the U.S. has to persuade China (North Korea's closest ally) to reign [the North Koreans] in on a number of issues, nuclear weapons being the most urgent at this point. If China can't or won't consider this, then decisive military action is the only option. This methodology can be used also with Iran (using a moderate Middle Eastern power to persuade it to give up its nuclear-enrichment process). If the free world chooses to use toothless economic sanctions, then I fear the balance of power will be tipped in favor of these fanatical regimes, and our life, your life, will be forever changed.
I think it's way past time our government sits down and talks to the North Korean regime face to face. All this brinkmanship and threats didn't stop Kim Jong Il's regime from testing a nuclear device. Now that his scientists have conducted the test, North Korea has joined the small nuclear power club. They sought the big stick to hang with the big guys and now they have it. Leaders will have to swallow their pride and face the facts that North Korea will have to be dealt with not later but now.
Each country should disarm its nuclear weapons.
We should pull on the economic strings of China. China has the most influence over North Korea of any country, and China depends heavily on the U.S. for its economic survival. If we were to threaten sanctions on China, if they didn't support sanctions on North Korea or some other reaction, then surely China would take action.
The world community needs to do something drastic right now. Both Iran and North Korea are being run by unstable rulers who will probably use nuclear weapons at their first chance. We have to realize that we're dealing with a pair of Hitlers who can be stopped a lot easier now than years down the road when they have more nukes.
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