Friday, May 25, 2018

Perhaps It Depends on How "Before" is Defined

If the problem with any nuclear deal between America (and Japan and South Korea) and North Korea is that North Korea wants economic benefits before they give up nukes, isn't a potential solution to have Chinese troops and nuclear scientists and technicians take control of North Korean nuclear facilities and weapons bases?

If North Korea agrees to give up nukes and then China takes control of the nukes, couldn't America extend economic benefits to North Korea while Chinese personnel lock down the nuclear weapons; and then put in international technicians to dismantle the North Korean nuclear infrastructure?

Technically, the North Koreans would get aid before giving up nukes. Heck, let the North Koreans claim the Chinese are there to protect the nuclear facilities from being struck by America.

And maybe South Korea hires all of the North Korean nuclear scientists and technicians as a form of economic aid to North Korea by directing all South Korean taxes on that income to go to the North Korean government.

This would also get the people who might restart the North Korean nuclear program safely out of North Korea. Which would also allow American intelligence people to debrief the scientists and technicians to verify the status of North Korea's past nuclear status.

Of course, if North Korea wants to test our patience by throwing up road blocks to get a better deal for them, they can. And we are able to respond:

President Donald Trump is canceling the planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, citing the “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a recent statement from North Korea.

We don't just want a deal. We want a deal before North Korea can threaten our cities. Which means the deadline before we resort to Plan B is coming up fast:

Honestly, since last autumn I've thought the American military has been ordered to gear up to be able to strike North Korea before it gets nuclear weapons capable of hitting American soil (which would be some time this year, if estimates are to be believed); and so North Korea getting too enthusiastic with these objections risks failing to get a real deal before we feel we must strike.

So let the games begin. Is this how North Korea and China want to play this?

I'm willing to consider that Trump blew this by appearing too eager for a deal early on. Although he and his cabinet have walked that back to say we only want a good deal.

But given the timeline we are on before we must strike North Korea or accept that they have a nuclear arsenal that can reach our cities, did we have a choice other than to talk big early to convince North Korea that we are serious about a deal?

Nor is America's action to cancel the summit the last word, apparently:

North Korea said on Friday it was still open to talks with the United States after President Donald Trump called off a summit with leader Kim Jong Un, saying it hoped the "Trump formula" could resolve the standoff over its nuclear weapons programme.

Will China get North Korea to cut a real deal before we strike North Korea?