Not Buying Kim’s Claims About Nuclear Program

Not Buying Kim’s Claims About Nuclear Program April 23, 2018

When North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un announced the other day that he was suspending that country’s missile testing program, I was immediately skeptical. And while Trump has publicly praised it and tried to take credit for it, his national security advisers aren’t buying it either.

President Trump called Pyongyang’s move “progress” and “good news” in a pair of tweets after the news broke Friday evening. Behind the scenes, however, his aides cautioned Saturday that Kim’s statement that the North would halt testing and shutter one nuclear facility was more notable for what he left out: a direct pledge to work toward nuclear disarmament.

Although some foreign policy analysts were heartened that Kim appeared eager to set a positive tone for his summit with Trump, which could come in late May or early June, Trump aides were less enthused. In their view, Kim’s moves aimed to offer relatively modest pledges — which could be quickly reversed — to create the “illusion” that he is “reasonable” and willing to compromise.

That, the Trump aides said, would make it more politically difficult for the United States to reject the North’s demands.

I don’t buy for one moment that Kim has any intention of shutting down his nuclear weapons program or his long-range ballistic missile program — which are not, contrary to public ignorance, the same thing. And frankly, I don’t think we have any way to prevent him from moving forward with it without doing the unthinkable, which is invading and taking over North Korea. We’re going to have to learn to deal with a world where he has nuclear weapons because the only realistic alternative would be disastrous.

We need to learn, as Americans, that we don’t get to have our way all the time. We also need to learn that our actions have consequences. Having spent the last 70 years or so invading country after country on the flimsiest of pretenses, can we really be shocked that this motivates other countries to seek out a way to deter us from invading them next? It’s what we would do, isn’t it? This is where that idiotic idea of American excepetionalism comes in, in its true nature — we really do believe that we can act with impunity and do anything we want and no one has the right to react the way we would react if the tables were turned.

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