How Biden Should Handle North Korea
After 30 years of U.S. diplomacy with Pyongyang we have almost nothing to show for it. North Korea under Kim Jong Un is expanding its nuclear arsenal every year. The day is coming soon when they will be able to strike U.S. cities with nuclear-armed ICBMs. The American policy for the past 30 years prioritized ending North Korea’s nuclear program. The U.S. and our allies state that they want a UN-led commission to have access to verify that the nuclear program has been shut down. However, Kim Jong Un has shown absolutely no indication he would allow nuclear inspectors into the country, let alone dismantle his nuclear weapons program.
Biden first needs to assess all the threats from rogue-nations besides North Korea that oppose the U.S. I believe that Russia and China are the biggest threats to America by a large margin. While North Korea regularly threatens the U.S. and Pacific allies like Japan, they cannot compare to our other adversaries. Russia is considered one of the most developed nations in the world and no other country comes close to Russia’s huge nuclear program or its military technology. China similarly has a gigantic army that could wipe North Korea off the map in less than a minute. We have focused on North Korea in foreign policy circles for so many years that it almost feels like our political leaders believe North Korea is a bigger threat than China and Russia, which is not true.
North Korea is arguably the poorest nation on Earth. With a population just above 25 million, North Korea is tiny and has relatively little natural resources or technological capabilities. It almost exclusively relies on China for its survival. Kim Jong Un’s regime is built on unconditional sovereignty which then allows Kim to maintain total control. Their self-reliance also enables the Kim regime to exist indefinitely. Kim’s paranoia causes him to go to crazy lengths to make sure there are no challenges to his regime – which is impossible to ensure. With horrendous poverty, the nuclear arsenal is the only thing that guarantees Kim’s regime persistence and totalitarian control.
Although rogue and controlled by an insane leader, North Korea is not Biden’s biggest problem. China is a much larger violator of human rights and a danger to American allies such as Japan. Although this will be tough to accept for some, it is time the Biden Administration abandons its policy to have North Korea disarm. Now is the time to take the deal that Trump passed up. Kim Jong Un promised to de-nuclearize after the U.S. drops the trade embargo on it. The reason Trump did not take the deal is because that he feared Kim would not hold up his end of the bargain and take advantage of the new trade opportunities. Any trade deal or act of diplomacy has a risk and nothing is guaranteed no matter who you are dealing with. Biden should learn from the progress made between Trump and Kim in the 3 summits. It is time we end this mind-numbing obsession with a country that the U.S. military could demolish in 2 seconds. Let’s bring Kim Jong Un back to the negotiating table and see what happens next!