First start with economic sanctions with the ultimatum and goal of removing the leadership. This has to be supported by the major powers: United States, Russia, China, France, England, Japan, Europe, etc. etc.
If it resorts to military to remove him, it has to be an international coalition, this is not just the United States' responsibility. This includes military contributions from all nations willing to do so.
I don't see it this way. How can you put economic sanctions on a country that almost literally has no economy? What little trade North Korea engages in is really foreign aid to keep its people from complete starvation.
When most of the North Korean public begins to starve, whatever support the current regime has will probably crumble. This is not a good thing, as it means Kim Jong Il will have nothing to lose by launching a war, perhaps a nuclear war, against his neighbors. Faced between going out in a domestic coup and going out in a blaze of glory, I bet he'd pick the latter. The North Koreans are not rational in the sense that the Soviets were rational. The USSR
may have been the "evil empire," but at least it recognized that a nuclear exchange was not a viable option, no matter how bad things got for the government. I do not think North Korea is that stable. It has proven that it places virtually no value on the lives of its citizens.
In the same vein, it doesn't matter how many nations we put together. A megaton bomb is an equal-opportunity WMD: it kills Americans, Brits, South Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, etc. without the slightest misgiving. When Seoul and its 10 million inhabitants, Pyongyang and millions of North Koreans, and hundreds of thousands of allied troops have been converted into elementary particles, will it matter that North Korea is no longer a communist dictatorship?
As I said in my first post, it is too late to stop North Korea militarily. The supposed cure-all for international crises -- multilateral, internationalist diplomacy -- has been an utter failure in the past, and I see no reason to be optimistic in the future. Economic sanctions are almost always counterproductive, in that they impinge on civilians and not the government, and are a moot point anyway, as North Korea has no economy to speak of and cessation of aid could cause enough instability to start a war.
We've landed ourselves in a lovely pickle, all right. If the US and its allies, and above all the UN and the IAEA, had been a bit more assertive in the 1990s, we might have forestalled this situation. Now we have to deal with it, and I see no obvious way out, other than trying to maintain the status quo and hoping North Korean Stalinism dies with Kim Jong Il.
[Edited 2004-08-26 06:46:02]
Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.