The US-North Korea Conundrum. Where Does The Truth Lie?

On July 7, The New York Times reported that North Korea accused the US of a “gangster-like demand for denuclearization”, even as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called talks productive.

One should not be at all surprised at this statement. The hand writing, and now the hand wringing, were clearly on the wall. When two leaders meet with wildly opposing agendas, the outcome can only be, as Rudyard Kipling famously said, “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”

Several corrective measures could have averted this situation. Better advance and detailed preparation at the ground level-which the Japanese refer to as”nemawashi'”-before top decision-makers meet. Mr Trump instead attempted to perform the miraculous by himself in a world of high stakes diplomacy for which he has absolutely no experience nor aptitude, not even finesse. His only cherished goal was to win the coveted Nobel Peace Prize and to put all his predecessors to shame. That his coterie of advisers could not refrain him from his whimsicality speaks just as bad for them as for himself.

In my published article just before the Summit took place the relevant portions read “The North Koreans may also ask why the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other such agreements have not been forced into compliance by nuclear states, both declared and undeclared”. This has not yet happened.

“The North Koreans may be willing to sign a Peace Treaty with the South Koreans provided the South stops conducting naval exercises with the US and commits to no longer allowing US military bases on its soil.” Difficult but not impossible for the US to agree to.

And last but not least, “In the ultimate analysis, North Korea’s goal is to be rid of the sanctions regime imposed on it, seek a place on the international stage as a recognized world power and not a pariah state, while paying lip service to complete denuclearization”.(emphasis added.)

Miracles are known to have happened. Who knows what the future holds. One thing is certain. We are standing perilously close to the brink of war.

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