Is Increased Communication the Secret to Deescalating North Korea?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Pyongyang, North Korea (Stephan/flickr)

Here's a recipe for global domination: Insult nearly all of your neighbors, cancel a cease fire, promise to teach lessons to old enemies, and then turn New York City into a sea of fire.

The latest threats from North Korea seem to single out American military assets on Guam, which include B-2 and B-52 bombers and F-22 stealth fighters.

"The moment of explosion is approaching fast…" says the General Staff of the North Korean People's Army in a statement from North Korean state media.

Nicholas Burns served as under secretary of state at the State Department for President Bush. He's currently professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

According to Burns, North Korea’s recent threats are simply a means to more resources: “They are trying to get the attention of the United States, of south Korea and Japan to return to these 6 party talks. They are trying, actually, a form of International diplomatic blackmail in order to get what they want, which is food and fuel and credit to run their state controlled economy. So they make these charges hoping other countries will react.”

Perhaps the answer here is to stop tiptoeing around and snickering about the strange threats and practices of North Korea and just invite them to the White House, or send the Secretary of State to Pyongyang. It'd be diplomacy where you actually talk with your enemies, unlike the United States which does not speak directly to North Korea or its other implacable enemy Iran.

Kishore Mahbubani is the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and author of "The Great Convergence."

Mahbubani agrees with Burns that North Korea is acting in a very strange fashion, but he also thinks that the United States is to blame. “If you really believe that you want to avoid a war...for 2,000 years people have discovered the best way to avoid a war is to talk to your enemy. And I’m very puzzled that no American is advocating that today.”


Nicholas Burns and Kishore Mahbubani

Comments [5]

har0xz from Phill

Lets get it going. Emergency session in congress. Lets a get a bill out incase need it. Jong Eun is a mad man!

Apr. 05 2013 10:38 PM
carl from queens

on more than one occasion,in comments to the white house, i reminded our pres.of what the great honest abe said to a woman, who did not approve of his kind words to the south... she said, ''instead of praising your enemies, you should destroy them''... he responded, ''madam, the best way to destroy your enemies is to make them your friends''...i had the middle east in mind, along with n. korea, etc. he finally used abe's wisdom recently when he took his republican enemies out to dinner on him... i gotta assume that the wine flowed freely because it worked like a charm... how could you hate a guy who wines and dines you, without you having to slap leather?...

Apr. 05 2013 10:45 AM

Isn't it possible that this is Kim Jong Un's exit strategy? He can't demilitarize. The Generals would immediately lock him up. Isn't the only way out for him is provoking a short war or pushing so close to the brink of war that China deposes the regime and takes over?

Apr. 04 2013 04:10 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Is this a situation of the boy who cried wolf, or little boy blue?
Is North Korea serious about starting a war or just looking for attention. I'd be curious to hear what it would look like to have a war with North Korea? Some Military experts ideas of what a war would look like would be interesting

Apr. 04 2013 02:00 PM
Guy Gold from Austin, TX

I've listened to a variety of commentators this week tell us that we need not worry that North Korea because they'd lose the war. I wish I could take assurance in that.

Military leaders in Japan knew that they could not defeat America in a war-nonetheless, they attacked Pearl Harbor.

Military leaders in Germany knew that Hitler was insane to start a two front war with Russia and Britain but he did it anyway.

Military leaders in America lied to Americans that the war in Vietnam was winnable long after it was known it was not.

Military leaders told George Bush Jr. we would not be treated as liberators but by occupiers in Iraq and that the war would be a disaster-he fired those military leaders and lead us into a disaster anyway.

The truth of the matter is that even though most wars are illogical-even those that know they are likely to lose, for some reason seem determined to go to war anyway.

Peace and tolerance is the most logical thing-but peace and tolerance is not the history of humanity.

Apr. 04 2013 12:21 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.