So North Korea has the H-bomb it doesn't dare use because the retaliation would destroy the regime and the country as well. After the initial bombastic rhetoric the Trump administration will fall back on the usual response: building more missiles to shoot down the Korean missiles. All our allies will want their own defense systems and should ensure larger defense budgets for the immediate future. While extremely wasteful and of doubtful effectiveness this is preferable to the "military options" often mentioned as "no good ones."
Nuclear disarmament is impossible because the North views the bomb as insurance against an invasion from the south with U.S. backing. Since nukes only have value as a deterrent when not used we are left with a stalemate.
Provoking North Korea with yearly war games serves no purpose; rather, it might be better to offer trade talks with North Korea. South Korea has a lot of merchandise to sell and North Korea offers millions of consumers. Rather then spend billions on defense systems of questionable value, allow North Korea credit on consumer goods. Even considering this debt would not be repaid, it is still a better investment then endless military spending which does nobody any good. South Korean industry would benefit and we could bring home our troops as a good-will gesture.
If South Korea cannot defend itself with its huge economy against North Korea, which occasionally has trouble feeding itself, a few thousand U.S. troops will not make any difference.
Corvallis (Sept. 4)