Talk is Cheap. War is Not.
What would it cost the US to sit down with Kim Jong-un and see what he wants? I know, you’ll say he wants to unite the two Korea’s under his rule. But how do you know that? When did you talk with him last?
One thing he might want is an end to the Korean War. It has never formally ended and it’s high time it did. And relief from sanctions. And food for his starving people perhaps?
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has made surprising progress in talking sense to the North Korean despot. Apparently, the warm feelings from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last month made these talks possible.
Now, Kim is reportedly offering to halt his nuclear arms program in exchange for talks with the US. What’s not to like about that?
Of course Trump might not really want peace with North Korea. He might want to use hostilities with Kim to create a diversion as the Mueller investigation and the media dig up potentially disastrous dirt on him and his Russian pals.
But the whole world can see that the door to peace has opened a crack. And even Trump must realize how self destructive it would be to ignore this opportunity.
Also, as a self-professed deal maker, he must know that a good deal is based on the carrot as well as the stick.
The American president should find out what incentives Kim would find attractive. He has already used the stick of threatened nuclear annihilation.
I know, I know, what the Koreans – north and south – want is One Korea. But that doesn’t seem realistic at this stage. If lifting sanctions isn’t enough of an incentive, would some kind of trade alliance be possible? One that would let North Koreans enjoy some of the prosperity their neighbors have achieved?
It’s worth talking about. As Winston Churchill observed, “to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”