North Korea’s Nukes Aren’t Going Anywhere, and the US Needs to Get Over It

"The proper goal is avoidance of horrific, world-changing, history-altering nuclear war"

Observers should not mistake the absence of direct engagement between Washington and Pyongyang for disinterest in the fate of US-North Korea relations, State Department representative Ned Price said in a recent press briefing.

Price stressed that the administration’s “strategic goals” with the Kim Jong Un regime will be “focus[ed] on reducing the threat to the United States and to our allies as well as to improving the lives of the North and South Korean people. And, again, the central premise is that we remain committed to denuclearization of North Korea.”

The Biden team’s workmanlike approach is an expedient change from their predecessors’ photo-op diplomacy. But this continued insistence on denuclearization as the primary goal in US-North Korea engagement is incredibly counterproductive.

If Biden and his team are serious about making headway on their first two strategic goals — threat reduction and humanitarian gains on the Korean Peninsula they must drop the third. For progress with North Korea, forget denuclearization.

We can do that safely for three reasons. First, as Price himself noted, “the United States, of course, remains the most powerful and strongest country in the world.” Even with nuclear weapons, North Korea’s military might is miniscule by comparison. In nuclear and conventional weaponry alike, the US advantage is overwhelming, as the Kim regime well knows.

This is not to say Pyongyang couldn’t do real damage. It could — the South Korean capital of Seoul, a city of 10 million, is only 30 miles from the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas, well within North Korea’s strike range.

But Kim is unquestionably aware of the consequences unprovoked aggression against a US ally (let alone the United States proper or our military, which has an extensive South Korean presence) would bring. He would not finish the resultant conflict in power; he might not finish it alive.

That glaringly obvious truth creates a powerful deterrence for the United States, and it is a deterrence which maintaining the nuclear status quo indefinitely will not obviate.

Second, Price repeats the longstanding claim that denuclearization is itself a goal. This is not — or, at least, should not be — quite correct. The proper goal is avoidance of horrific, world-changing, history-altering nuclear war.

Denuclearization is one means of accomplishing that avoidance. But it is not the only way, and the mere existence of North Korea’s nuclear weapons does not mean they will be used.

The United States is already securely coexisting with a nuclear North Korea. We are stably coexisting with other nuclear powers, too, including several (chiefly China and Russia, but also Pakistan, if conventional wisdom is correct) that are hardly reliably friendly to America.

Russia’s nuclear arsenal is of a similar strength to our own, and China boasts a far more powerful military and economy than North Korea ever could. Yet complete denuclearization of these countries is not standard US policy, not only because it is an unachievable aim for Washington but because it is not necessary to avoid nuclear war.

We can likewise avoid nuclear conflict involving North Korea without attaining denuclearization — indeed, we have done it for decades.

Finally, forgetting denuclearization for now may ultimately get us to denuclearization, and it will certainly help us toward the administration’s other two goals of de-escalation and improved quality of life for the Korean people.

If we set aside denuclearization — a concession Pyongyang will not make so long as it perceives any risk of forcible, US-orchestrated regime change like that in Iraq and Libya — a multitude of more practical and feasible goals become accessible to us.

Working-level diplomacy by the Biden administration could accomplish a nuclear freeze, regular inspections of Kim’s arsenal, or even some reduction of his nuclear stockpile or missile systems. It could produce, seven decades late, a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War. It could bargain for concessions from Pyongyang by offering cessation of US sanctions that harm ordinary North Koreans. It could permit expanded, Korean-directed engagement between North and South Korea, including trade and reconnection of divided families.

It could take steps toward making North Korea a far more normal country, opening the “hermit kingdom” to the global culture and economy and giving its people a shot at deprograming themselves from their government’s sadistic brainwashing. And it could ultimately lay the groundwork for a new era in North Korean foreign relations, one which might mature someday, probably long after this administration is over, into a denuclearized and even democratic Pyongyang.

None of that is possible, however, if the Biden administration insists on denuclearization now. A shortsighted demand for Kim to concede what he views as his sole guarantee against American invasion will ensure Biden leaves office just like former President Donald Trump, having moved the needle on US-North Korean relations not an inch.

Source: Business Insider

  1. Kev says

    Of course not to mention your own countries brainwashing before pointing the finger elsewhere.

  2. ken says

    “The Biden team’s workmanlike approach is an expedient change from their predecessors’ photo-op diplomacy”

    The election thief doesn’t have a team. For that matter neither did the previous Caesar. They are a gaggle of do nothings and hate everything,,, suck off the taxpayer tit for their entire lives. Would die if they actually had to work for a living.

    Kim is not nearly as stupid as the new US regime. He watched what the US and NATO did to Qaddafi after he gave up his nukes. Libya still isn’t a functioning nation.

  3. Mr Reynard says

    Si vis pacem ? Para bellum !
    Kim Jong Un

  4. Yaridanjo says

    The current

    1. Yaridanjo says

      The current president of the USA is Joe Biden. He is a war monger for the benefit of the Rothschild banking Cartel.

      1. Yaridanjo says

        By contrast, President Trump was a peace maker making peace with N. Korea, Syria and between various Arab states and Israel!

        1. yuri says

          trump wasn’t fascist and racist enough for amerikans

  5. yuri says

    sadistic brainwashing? the tabula raza amerikans that believe the fake news perpetrated by their presstitutes! DPRK has eradicated malnutrition , literacy nearly 100%, universal health care despite US sanctions
    USA 3 million families in extreme poverty; 1/3 cannot read above 5th grade level per US dept of ed
    US life expectancy declining precipitously—75.1 yrs males, 80.5 females
    per US dept of ed 69% Us university grads not English proficient–asians the most at 54%, improving, blacks 33% also improving, while caucasian and latino univ grads less proficient and declining in amerikan language proficiency
    who is the most easily brainwashed when they cannot speak their own language?

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