John Delury warns that the U.S. is about to overlook a serious alternative with North Korea:
The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics this Friday guarantees to be historic. Athletes from North and South Korea will march collectively beneath a blue and white flag symbolising peace and unity on the peninsula. Instead of studying about missile exams and joint US-South Korean army workout routines, we are going to quickly be watching a joint hockey crew. Leader Kim Jong Un, is sending his sister, a senior get together official, alongside with North Korea’s head of state and éminence grise, Kim Yong-nam, opening up the likelihood for direct talks with the interior circle in Pyongyang.
Yet, slightly than making the most of this detente, our fears and fatalism in direction of North Korea have gotten the higher of us. This is a uncommon alternative to stimulate actual diplomatic progress in direction of de-escalation, widespread safety, and peace. But if we miss this window, the downside will get a lot tougher to unravel, North Korea’s capabilities enhance as America’s threats intensify, and the geopolitical and financial dangers as soon as once more rise to an unsupportable degree.
It is straightforward to dismiss diplomacy with North Korea, but it surely has solely been by way of engagement that any progress has been made in altering its authorities’s habits. Piling on increasingly punitive sanctions hasn’t made North Korea extra cooperative, and including much more punishment gained’t have a special consequence. While there may be at all times a necessity for wholesome skepticism about the intentions of a authorities like North Korea’s, that shouldn’t be allowed to blind us to the chance of discovering a mutually passable compromise that lowers tensions, reduces North Korean provocations, and avoids pointless escalation. U.S. officers routinely declare to be open to talks, however in observe this administration does all the things it may well to make sure that talks can’t succeed even when they occur. We reside with the penalties of the Bush administration’s determination to explode the Agreed Framework over a decade in the past, and we are going to equally rue the Trump administration’s present unwillingness to pursue engagement with North Korea.
Delury’s conclusion at the finish of his op-ed is totally proper:
The time has come to comply with Seoul’s lead down the path of principled, constructive engagement with Pyongyang. Progress shall be gradual and hard. But the alternate options are unacceptable.