Point for Discussion:
About a week ago, President Trump reached an understanding (not calling it an agreement until we have proof) that supports denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. In theory, this is good for everyone. Geo-political risk is reduced and, if all goes well, North Korean residents could find themselves living in a more modern world. Could this all be as good as it sounds?
Our Points of View:
As a proponent for world peace, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula sounds like a move in the right direction. But I’m not so sure anymore. World leaders are an eccentric bunch, but are they credible? Recent history, even here in the US, has taught us that the truth is subjective. So can we believe what we hear?
If you listen to our President, North Korea’s nukes are the greatest threat to the world. Last month, it was Iran and their nuclear capability and the bad deal the world entered into there. How will an agreement with North Korea be any different? I’m sure that any agreement reached will include periodic inspections, at a minimum, but will the inspections be trusted? By all reports, Iran has been complying with their obligations under the agreement reached with the world, but apparently, the US doesn’t trust the inspections, and has pulled out of the global agreement. Are we negotiating with North Korea in good faith? I’m skeptical.
North Korea is not the only nation with these types of weapons. How much safer will the world be if the rest of the nuclear weapons in the world are still operable? They have been more of a deterrent than a threat in the past few decades. But that’s when we respected other nations and their leaders. The general lack of respect between world leaders puts us all at risk.
I want the world to be safer. I do not believe war, weapons, death and destruction are the answers to making the world a safer place. I believe prosperity is a more stable path. Disgruntled people are clearly more volatile. And tyrants as well. There is a lot of history that proves oppression of people is not a long term strategy for success. Perhaps Kim Jong Un recognizes this now. In order to keep the North Korean population happy (and reduce the risk of a coup in his country), Kim Jong Un may be moving in a self-preserving direction. Global sanctions may have driven him to the point where he is willing to have these discussions. Or, it could be that his testing facilities collapsed, and the cost to construct new is prohibitive under sanctions. Only he knows for sure.
Either way, unless all nukes all over the world are destroyed, we will be no safer than we have been. The possession and maintenance of these weapons, even without use, does not convince me that the world is safer. Do we really believe we can trust any warrior nation to NEVER use these weapons?
We learned at the end of WWII that these weapons are too destructive, and nations have developed and possessed them as more of a deterrent. I don’t think anyone really wants to see them used again. But as new global leaders assume power through elections or other means, there are new threats made to test the fortitude of these new leaders. I’ve asked myself several times in the past 18 months why some of our global leaders behave more like 12 year old playground bullies than the leaders they think they are. Our President is just one such example. He believes that threatening unbearable situations is the best way to get what he thinks is right for America. He needs to be more careful. Sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for, and more careful in how you go about getting it.
Is denuclearization possible?
It depends on two points that I believe people are thinking about:
- How “denuclearization” is defined
- What each country believes they need to have on hand
How “denuclearization” is defined –
- Denuclearization could mean not developing the component parts, or it could mean agreeing not to assemble the component parts into a nuclear missile.
- It could also mean not running tests that put a country’s own residents at risk, such as North Korea’s test that killed at least 200 of its own people. (We don’t really know if any of our own have been killed during testing over time, but it is possible).
- I think it surely must mean not developing weapons that can reach other continents.
- I don’t think any country should have developed nuclear weapons to the point of being “ready-to-shoot.”
What each country needs to have on hand –
- There is a reason that countries have chosen to develop nuclear capability, whether as a show of strength, power on the world stage, or to protect itself.
- Treaties or international agreements are in place to ensure the commitment by some countries not to use the nuclear capabilities they do have – to retain world order. However, Iran and North Korea, among others, have not yet agreed to this.
Does denuclearization mean the absence of nuclear capability, or does it mean agreeing not to use what it has – that it is a deterrent to nuclear war rather than a ready-to-go weapon?
When the US is insisting on “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization from North Korea, how is this defined? How is it enforced? And is this what we would agree to for ourselves/the US? I think not – and if not, why would we expect this of others? I’m just saying…
On a much smaller scale, we are starting to see societal signs of concern – whether it be the potential for a seastead, or floating city, like the one backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, or materializing hypothesis about a post-apocalyptic world as depicted in more and more movies and TV shows (e.g., The 100 on the CW, Extinct on BYU tv, etc.), or the world after humans destroy themselves (e.g., Rain on Netflix).
Is denuclearization (to some agreed upon extent) possible? I sure hope so. I think that nuclear weapons are just too powerful, with potential to decimate the planet, and at its worst, forcing the human race to fight for survival of the species. Is it time to invest in an underground bunker?
Our Question for You:
Do you think denuclearization, or any degree of it, is possible? And should this apply to some or all countries?