Of bombast, bravado and blunderThe South Koreans are to be commended time and time again for not marching off to war. But the game has changed now with Pyongyang’s 10-16 nuclear weapons as of 2014 (from the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security’s estimate.)
What to do? Bravado, bluster and brinkmanship are not a game to play with North Korea. If the trigger of war is ever pulled the list above should prove beyond any reason that the North Koreans play a very serious game. The world is blackmailed by the North’s threat to incinerate South Korea (25 million South Koreans live in the greater Seoul area.)
The North Korean government wants what all countries want: security, legitimacy and governmental continuity. Any negotiation with them must embrace those needs. Their historic perspective is of being invaded by Japan, China and the U.S. It is a real fear for them. And they see that weak nations like Iraq, Libya and Syria are invaded at whim by foreign nations. Israel and Iran are shining examples of what nuclear empowerment does. Israel is left alone and Iran gets to negotiate with world powers.
It is unlikely North Korea will ever give up its arsenal. China truly can only do so much. China currently bears much wretchedness from its proximity to Pyongyang. Their refugee problem along Yalu and Tumen River borders are nothing short of tragic. A fallen North Korea would impact China more than any other nation. The winds from a radioactive Korean peninsula would impact China more than any other nation. China has no desire to have South Korea or Japan acquire nuclear weapons to offset Pyongyang’s weaponry. Further complicating things, both North and South Korea are major trade partners with China.
Then there is our Tweeter-In-Chief who blatters simple platitudes. “After listening [to the Chinese president] for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy.” It is shocking our president confirms he knows nothing, and second, that he is so clueless to inform the world he is clueless. That President Trump can stir the fires of potential war due to his lack of understanding unsettles the acids in many stomachs.
*Retired teacher in Monterey, California.