FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Prospects for De-Nuclearization

Photo by White House Communications Agency | Public Domain

After the Singapore Summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, Trump was very upbeat about the denuclearization of North Korea.  On June 12, 2018, Trump said in a CNN interview, “He’s denuking the whole place and he’s going to start very quickly.  I think he’s going to start now.”  Seriously?

For this to happen, Kim would have to be either a fool or a saint.  And, of course, he is neither.  Rather, he is a third generation dictator who fears the overthrow of his regime, likely by the US.  Kim knows that his best guarantee against that happening is his possession of nuclear weapons.

Kim certainly knows the history of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadhafi.  Both gave up their respective country’s nuclear programs.  After doing so, each was overthrown and killed. Hussein was put on trial by the US puppet regime in Iraq and was sentenced to death by hanging.  The sentence was carried out on December 30, 2006. When Libyan rebels, with help from the US, France and the UK, attacked the Gadhafi regime, Gadhafi attempted to hide and escape, but he was captured, tortured and killed.

Given this history, why would Kim make himself vulnerable to overthrow when he doesn’t need to do so? The answer is that he won’t, which also means that he won’t completely denuclearize.  Since this is the logic of Kim’s position, we might ask: why has Trump been so effusive about Kim’s prospects of denuclearizing?  Obvious explanations are that Trump is a novice at conducting international negotiations and that he thinks exceptionally highly of himself as an effective negotiator.

For Trump to believe that Kim would bend to Trump’s will and denuclearize, Trump would have to be either a fool or an extreme narcissist.  Unfortunately, he appears to be both and seems intent on proving this over and over again.  Another example is his pulling out of and violating the Iran agreement negotiated with Iran by the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.  Fortunately, none of the other parties to the agreement has joined the US in pulling out.

Denuclearization is a good thing, and I am all for it.  The US, as the strongest military power in the world and the only nation to have actually used nuclear weapons in war, should be leading the way.  Nuclear weapons do not protect the Trump regime, as they do the Kim regime.  Nor, for that matter, do they protect the US.  Which would be safer for the US: a world with nine nuclear-armed states, as we currently have, or a world with zero nuclear-armed states?

The logic here is that if Trump is serious about a denuclearized North Korea, he had best play a leadership role in convening negotiations among the nine nuclear-armed states to achieve a denuclearized planet.  In such negotiations, it will be necessary to deal with the concerns and fears of the leaders of each of the nuclear-armed countries, including those of Kim Jong-un.  The world we live in is far from perfect, but we would all be better off if the overriding nuclear threat to humanity was lifted from our collective shoulders.

It will require a process of good faith negotiations to get to zero nuclear weapons.  That, in turn, will require political will, which has been largely lacking, even though it was agreed to by all the parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Article VI of this treaty obligates its parties to pursue negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race at an early date and for complete nuclear disarmament.  Fifty years after the NPT was opened for signatures in 1968, this obligation remains not only unfulfilled but untried.  For the nuclear-armed parties to the NPT to take this obligation seriously would be a major turn-around in their behavior.

Another treaty, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, was adopted by 122 countries in July 2017 and is now opened for signatures and the deposit of ratifications. The treaty prohibits, among other things, the possession, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.  Again, the nuclear-armed countries have been largely hostile to this treaty.  None of them have signed it or indicated support for it, and the US, UK and France have said they would never sign, ratify or become parties to it.

Our common future on the planet rests on generating the support and political will to fulfill the promise of these two treaties.  Putting the global nuclear dilemma into perspective, it should be clear that denuclearization of North Korea is only one piece of the puzzle, one that is unlikely to be achieved in isolation.  A far greater piece lays in the failure of the US to show any substantial leadership toward attaining a nuclear zero world.  Failure to achieve the goal of global denuclearization could mean the end of civilization and most life on our planet.  And where is the logic in that?

More articles by:

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
James McEnteer
Breathless
Ramzy Baroud
The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s new Jews?
Dean Baker
Pelosi Would Sabotage the Progressive Agenda With a Pay-Go Rule
Elliot Sperber
Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory 
Rivera Sun
The End of the NRA? Business Magazines Tell Activists: The Strategy is Working
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Historic Opportunity to Transform Trade
George Ochenski
Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections in Another cCollaboration Failure
December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail