Every time North Korea pops into the headlines, whether for testing nukes, starving its people, or killing South Korean sailors, the media is filled with articles demanding something be done, this time … and then, further along in the story, lamenting the lack of decent policy options. After dismissing the old standbys  – diplomatic remonstrations, tighter economic sanctions, and, for those trying to be particularly tough (while hiding safely inside a beltway think tank), military strikes, most articles settle for the now common refrain, If only China would

If only China would what? Step up and handle a problem South Korea, Japan and the U.S. have been complaining about for decades? People have been expounding that nonsense since the Clinton administration. How’s it worked so far? Still holding your breath, thinking this time it’s going to be different?

No, instead of begging China for help, it’s time for some fresh ideas. Having written a fair amount on the North, here are my two cents.

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