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Kim Won’t Be Duped like Qaddafi

May 31, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The much-heralded summit between the United States and North
Korea has entered a state of uncertainty; you don’t know
whether it’s off or on again until you check at any given
moment. Invitations have been accepted, canceled, and re-accepted;
letters have been sent; tweets have been shouted into the
atmosphere.

Right now, it appears to be back on again. But many observers
fear a return to last fall’s mano a
mano
confrontation between U.S. President Donald Trump and
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with war a real possibility. If
that happens, the blame will mostly fall on the Trump
administration. The dangerous language coming out of the White
House — especially discussion of a “Libya model”
for the talks — has left the North Koreans angry and upset.
To Pyongyang, that language is an implicit threat — and a
sign that the United States can’t be trusted.

Enough has occurred to justify a meeting. North Korea has
destroyed its underground nuclear test site, released three
American prisoners, held two positive summits with South Korean
President Moon Jae-in, and invited then-CIA Director, now-Secretary
of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang.

Washington’s Libya model
for nuclear negotiations is an illustration of why nuclear weapons
are necessary.

Moreover, the North Koreans don’t want the summit to flop.
For Pyongyang, it would be relatively simple to affirm the general
objective of denuclearization, specify a few deliverables, and
detail a follow-up diplomatic process to discuss elimination of the
North’s nuclear arsenal. How far and fast the two governments
then would go is anyone’s guess. Still, such a result would
be worth the effort, simultaneously dampening tensions,
constraining the North’s threatening behavior, and, most
important, creating an opportunity for further phased reforms.

But the biggest obstacle has been the talk of Libya.

Administration officials complained about the North’s
angry words and failure to show for a preparatory meeting in
Singapore. But these came after the administration’s
reference to the Libya model, backed by threats of military action
if the North did not accept U.S. demands. Even Pompeo apparently
blamed National Security Advisor John Bolton for the debacle.

Bolton, uncompromisingly hawkish and an experienced bureaucratic
backstabber, publicly mused that the model for
denuclearization should be Libya in 2003, essentially boxing up the
North’s weapons and facilities and sending them to
America.

Although the U.S. president apparently sought to downplay
Bolton’s comments, he ended up threatening regime change and
war. Amid a rather muddled discussion of Libya, Trump said, “If you look at that model with
Qaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him.
… that model would take place if we don’t make …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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