Between a rock and a hardplace

Analysts have concluded the worldwide “WannaCry” ransomware attack last May originated in North Korea. The news is a reminder that the threat from Pyongyang is more widespread than many people may have thought.

“WannaCry” infected hundreds of thousands of computers throughout the world. It crippled part of Britain’s National Health Service for a time.

U.S. Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert told reporters this week that North Korea was behind the assault. He noted analysts from several other governments and the private sector have come to that conclusion.

Though he provided no details, Bossert vowed that North Korea will be held accountable for the cyberattack.

How, one wonders? The long tradition of bellicose misbehavior by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, his father and grandfather has prompted this country and others to issue countless threats of reprisals. They seem to have had no effect.

For months, Kim’s drive to improve his missiles and fit them with nuclear warheads has been in the news. But the threat is even more serious than that. Now, we know he has a dangerous capability in cyberwarfare, too. And there have been reports the regime is engaged in biological and chemical warfare development.

We and many other nations are caught between a dangerously unstable rock and a hard place. Removing Kim’s regime from power could cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The unpleasant question in this season of goodwill for all is what Kim will do if he remains in power.

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