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If Anyone Gets the Nobel, It’s Moon and Kim

June 13, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Donald Trump, Nobel laureate? It is a jarring vision, but one
that inched a little closer to reality after the seemingly amiable
meeting between the U.S. president and North Korean dictator Kim
Jong Un on Tuesday morning in Singapore. South Korean President
Moon Jae-in had already proposed Trump for the prize following the
Panmunjom talks between North and South Korea that preceded the
summit.

Some of Trump’s fans gave him credit for achieving peace
in our time even before the summit, chanting “Nobel, Nobel,
Nobel” at a rally in late April. But the truth is that if
there is a trip to Norway in the offing, Moon himself will be a far
more deserving winner than Trump, even if his modesty — or
cunning — means giving Trump the credit. And much as we might
dislike it, Kim probably belongs on the stage too.

Talk of the peace prize is obviously premature. Trump’s
meeting with Kim had great visuals, but there was no real deal
struck and certainly no pledge of denuclearization from the North.
And this isn’t the first summit to cause hopes to soar for
inter-Korean reconciliation.

The blusterer-in-chief
might blunder into a good deal with North Korea. But that won’t
happen without the actions of several worthier
candidates.

Still, definitive pessimism is overdone. In important ways, Kim
appears different from his father and grandfather — more
interested in economic development, more comfortable on the
international stage, and perhaps even serious about a deal, though
one that won’t come cheap.

But let’s optimistically assume that the deal does make
substantial progress — if not toward the “full and
speedy denuclearization” the Trump administration insists
upon, then at least toward a formal peace on the peninsula and a
serious thaw in relations between North and South.

Denuclearization is desirable but not essential for American
security, because a nuclear North Korea could be deterred. Thus,
understandings short of full nuclear disarmament still could leave
the peninsula more stable. A freeze on missile and nuclear
development, especially if backed by inspections, could promote
peninsular and regional peace and stability. Conventional forces
and deployments also could be adjusted to make war less likely.
Regular communication could be established. Any of these would
represent significant progress in a region where hostilities have
flared for decades.

If so, should Trump be standing on the stage in Oslo?

The theory is that by trading insult for insult and threatening
to blow up Northeast Asia, the president frightened North Korea
into coming to the table. That might seem plausible, but Kim seems
like a man confident in his power, not scared. North Koreans I
spoke with last year seemed …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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