By Jan Oberg
February 28, 2019
Peace can never be achieved this way
a) The issue is about peace, not only nuclear weapons. The US has not been willing to sign a peace agreement after all these years. After some kind of peace process and treaty has been achieved, you can turn to the specific issue of nuclear weapons.
b) Making peace takes time, thorough preparations, lots of different expertise, long consultations and only face-to-face meetings when all are sure that, when the parties finally meet at level, some kind of deal will be signed.
c) This would have been an issue for the UN if it were respected and used fairly by member states around the world. Naive and egotist people believe they can do miracles without the institutions of the international system. Probably Trump and Kim are in the same category believing that they are all capable and great guys of history (worthy of, perhaps even, the Nobel Peace Prize).
d) Peace is not a goal that can be achieved by measuring chemistry of some ‘great guys’. A medical doctor may be a great guy but if s/he knows nothing about the science of medicine, the result will be quackery. Peace-making is about identifying interests, addressing systematically the problems standing between parties, dealing with deep serious, inter-connected and very difficult issues in a broad time and space perspective.
Neither this Summit’s great guys nor the media have the slightest expertise on what it takes to make peace – while, as we all know, they know everything about war and the military. And, so, they seem quite surprised at the failure of this Summit.
It’s a hugely a-symmetrical conflict
a) The military expenditures of the US are 100-150 times larger than North Korea’s.
b) South Korea’s military expenditures are 5 times larger – and you can add Japan (6 times larger) and China (20 times larger)
c) The US has 6550 nuclear weapons, North Korea perhaps 15 (and hardly the technology to carry them anywhere far).
The nonsense repeated again and again for years that North Korea is a huge threat to world peace is just that – nonsense. But it serves a purpose.
Symmetrical and a-symmetrical conflicts must be handled in different ways and this one is a-symmetrical on all scales – an issue you have not seen any commentator mention.
And throughout modern history, the US has inflicted much more harm North Korea than the other way around.
Sanctions hell and to terrorism
Sanctions are so easy to install, you don’t even have to think. Lifting them proves – invariably – to be much more difficult. In the meantime, they play into the hands of hardliners and destroy any middle class that could bring about political changes – and create a mafia class instead.
Over time, they destroy civil society and kill more and more innocent civilians in larger or smaller numbers for which reason the are – according to any definition of terrorism – a terrorist weapon. A weapon of mass destruction.
See, that’s why the US can not lift the sanctions on North Korea now. Trump admits it was a central issue!
should North Korea trust the US?
The US has withdrawn from the most important deal about nuclear weapons, the JCPOA with Iran – while Iran has kept its promises point by point.
The US spares no opportunity to demonise, threaten and install primary and secondary sanctions on the very side that has kept its promises while the US itself violates international law and keeps harassing Iran’s leaders as well as its people.
Libya’s Ghadafi ended up being killed in the gutter after having sworn he would never acquire nuclear weapons.
Saddam was accused of having them and then murdered while not having them. Anybody apologised?
Do Western media and politicians seriously believe that they don’t see such things in Pyongyang?
Remember, nuclear weapons have terrible consequences even when not used physically.
That’s a good enough reason that they should be abolished.
Possession of nukes – not proliferation – is the issue
The general approach also in the Western media is biased and incompetent: How much can this President get the North Koreans to accept? De-nuclearization for no American de-nuclearisation, that seems to be Trump deal-making. Only because the conflict is so .
And that comes after of the US itself refusing to have anything to do with the treaty for nuclear abolition and after its US Nuclear Posture Review that makes the use of nuclear weapons more likely and possible by “conventionalising” them and – right after the US (with a false pretext) has left the INF Treaty – the real reason being that it wants to be able to produce intermediate-range missiles in the region where the Koreas and China happen to be.
This reality show peace-making should stop. It could stop if US decision-makers and media learned to spell at least these three words: knowledge, humility and fairness.
On March 29, 2019, Reuters published what looks to me to be a plausible explanation for the fiasco: With a piece of paper, Trump called on Kim to hand over nuclear weapons – “it included a blunt call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States, according to the document seen by Reuters.”
This speaks volumes of the US/Trump perception of itself and of North Korea and of the amateurish approach that characterizes the foreign policy of the administration in Washington. No wonder it did not want to comment on it.