By Dan Calabrese
Of course, I guess this still rises and falls on how you define “complete denuclearization.” If it means the Norks cleaim they dismantled their facilities and we just take them at the word, then no, it’s no better than lifting the sanctions pre-emptively.
But if it means the U.S. (not an international body) gets free reign to do anytime/anywhere inspections, and we have the freedom to haul away all the nuclear material ourselves, well then maybe we’re getting somewhere.
What we do know (I think) is that the sanctions aren’t coming off based on anything that’s already been agreed to:
Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearization, the U.S. secretary of state said on Thursday, apparently contradicting the North’s view that the process agreed at this week’s summit would be phased and reciprocal.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Unissued a joint statement after their Singapore meeting that reaffirmed the North’s commitment to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”, an end to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and gave U.S. guarantees of security to North Korea.
“President Trump has been incredibly clear about the sequencing of denuclearization and relief from the sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters after meeting South Korea’s president and Japan’s foreign minister in Seoul.
“We are going to get complete denuclearization; only then will there be relief from the sanctions,” he said.
Here’s what the sticking point is going to be: North Korea is essentially a gigantic prison/torture camp. It’s as closed a society as you can possibly imagine. The people there can’t access outside media of any kind unless they’re willing to risk death or decades in hard labor camps. When foreigners are allowed into the country, they’re escorted by handlers and are not allowed to share anything with the North Korean people about life in the outside world.
So just how free is the access of American inspectors going to be? If the Norks tell us they have nuclear sites only at locations A, B and C, but our guys suspect there’s a D and an E, can our guys go to sites D and E on their own? Can they talk to anyone there that they want? Can they look at anything they want and do anything to it that they want?
Because if they can’t, then we don’t really have full inspection rights. But if they can, then North Korea risks the secrets of the outside world seeping into its population.
And yet you can’t have complete denuclearization any other way.
You see why I’m not yet joining the rest of you in jumping up and down over this? If you think it through even a little, it’s hard to see how it actually works in practice. Which is probably why it’s never worked before.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!