President Trump’s Bombastic Rhetoric Will Do Nothing to De-Nuclearize North Korea

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September 19, 2017
Joshua Pollack

The following is an excerpt from New York Daily News.

Before denouncing Kim Jong Un’s “depraved regime” and calling it a “band of criminals,” and before threatening to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. “is forced to defend itself or its allies,” President Trump said something interesting and provocative to his audience at the United Nations.

“All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens,” he declared, “and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.” The nation-state — and not international organizations like, say, the UN.

The President’s conclusion was not universally shared at the dawn of the nuclear age. Then, it was even possible to speak of the existence of a “world government movement,” whose main aims were to control the spread of nuclear technology and prevent wars.

Although the Truman administration was not in favor of any such messianic scheme, it did advance the so-called Baruch Plan, which called for establishing an international body to govern the use of nuclear energy and ensure it was not diverted to weapons. Even that idea was too ambitious.

Still, nation-states certainly do cooperate to limit the spread of nuclear weapons through measures such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Countries including the United States rely on the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, which safeguards nuclear materials in peaceful use around the world — especially in Iran, where the IAEA quite rightly subjects the use of nuclear technology to an extraordinary degree of scrutiny.

Trump’s message took no note of this. Instead, he denounced the agreement responsible for heightened IAEA access in Iran as “one-sided” and “an embarrassment to the United States.” As for North Korea, he put the onus on the UN as a whole to solve the problem, saying, “Let’s see how they do.” The alterative, he implied, was the total destruction of the country through American military action.

Read the full article at New York Daily News.

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