By Jennifer Forgaciu |
On Wednesday, February 10th, the Senate convened to discuss the recent developments in North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. The focus was on the proposal of a new bill concentrated on preventing further nuclear developments. Among the senators present for the voting were presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. As expected, one hundred percent of the senators present voted to pass the bill. After all, North Korea’s nuclear interests began after World War II, which led them to actively pursue the development of enriched uranium and plutonium capable of producing fissile material. In addition, North Korea has experimented with explosive nuclear devices in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2016. Clearly, this issue merits immediate international attention.
While the bill focuses on the implementation of sanctions against any people collaborating in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development program, it addresses other matters as well. The bill also calls for special attention to be paid to previous cyber attacks carried out by the North Korean government against the United States. Additionally, it is focused on targeting individuals and/or groups guilty of human rights violations committed by the North Korean government.
The timing of the bill is no coincidence, as it has been just over a month since North Korea claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb. The passing of new sanctions also came a few days after their launching of a long-range rocket, which evoked no small reaction from the international community. As stated by Senator Dianne Feinstein: “This legislation alone, though, will not cease North Korea’s illegal activities. However, it is a beginning of a more comprehensive response to North Korea’s increasingly dangerous behavior.”
The way in which the Senate responds now will matter a great deal in the coming months. As there already is, there must continue to be a strong sense of urgency regarding North Korea’s repeated disregard for sanctions placed on its development of nuclear weapons. If the United States and the other members of the international community do not work together to stop this issue, it will send a message of appeasement to the North Korean government. It is very dangerous to allow a problem of such economic, political, and social weight to go unnoticed.
However, the proposed solution to this problem may not be the most effective. How can we be sure that North Korea will not simply ignore the new sanctions as they’ve done in the past? Legislators must realize, as Senator Feinstein has, that this is merely the beginning of attempting to halt North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. We are in dire need of a more direct approach. If there is continued nuclear activity despite the new sanctions, we may need to think about military action as a possible solution. The bottom line is this: we, on a national and an international level, must show North Korea that we will actively work to put an end to their illegal developments.