How the US Could Respond to North Korea

Confrontation may be what Pyongyang wants
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2014 4:28 AM CST
Updated Dec 18, 2014 7:40 AM CST
How the US Could Respond to North Korea
Randall Park, center, is seen as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in "The Interview."   (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Ed Araquel)

With the US now apparently sure that North Korea was behind the massive cyberattack on Sony Pictures that forced the studio to cancel the release of The Interview, pretty much everybody involved is in uncharted territory and it's far from clear what the next step from the US will be. The options for putting direct pressure on Pyongyang are fairly limited, according to Business Insider, although what little US-North Korea trade there is could be frozen, and governments in the region could be persuaded to crack down on pro-North Korea organizations that funnel cash to the regime. In the longer term, some analysts say the US should consider declaring cyberattacks terrorist attacks—and consequently acts of war—which will open a wider range of responses. More:

  • An official announcement on the source of the Sony attack is expected today, although the government has yet to name North Korea, reports Variety. The US "is investigating attribution and will provide an update at the appropriate time," a National Security Council spokeswoman said yesterday.
  • Security experts say there is a long forensic trail linking pro-North Korea forces to the Sony attack, and Sony is believed to be investigating whether they had inside help.
  • Obama administration officials are split on any potential US response, with some wanting to confront North Korea directly and others fearing that would play into Pyongyang's hands, insiders tell the New York Times. The Times separately points out that yesterday's Cuba news could leave North Korea as the sole country on America's Cold War blacklist.
  • Mitt Romney has a suggestion for how Sony should handle things, tweeting: " don’t cave, fight: release free online globally. Ask viewers for voluntary $5 contribution to fight ."
  • The Christmas box office will likely take a hit: The Interview was expected to have a roughly $25 million debut as the only R-rated comedy slated to open over the holiday; an analyst tells the Hollywood Reporter he doesn't expect that audience to shift to another film.
  • President Obama, for his part, tells ABC News: "For now my recommendation would be that people go to the movies."
  • What moviegoers can watch on the big screen, for free, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's Dallas/Fort Worth location: Team America: World Police. In "trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation," the theater will show the 2004 comedy, which centers around Kim Jong Il, reports the Hollywood Reporter.
(More North Korea stories.)

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