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The North Korean Nuclear Crisis: How Does This End?

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On Thursday evening, January 11th, we went to the Drury Inn on East 9th Street to attend a program put on by the "Cleveland Council on World Affairs" (CCWA) titled "The North Korean Nuclear Crisis: How Does This End?" featuring Mr. Evans J.R. Revere, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, who, as the program notes indicated, "has decades of experience as an expert on Asia-related matters" including service as Acting Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.

At the start of the program, Dr. Wael Khoury said that there is "no more timely an issue" than our relations with North Korea whose leader, Kim Jong-un has insisted that he will continue in the further development of nuclear weapons. Some say this man is mentally unbalanced and perhaps suicidal in his defiance of international law but Mr. Revere believes him not to be; instead he is intent on the survival of his regime.

Mr. Revere went on to review the options of we have of dealing with Kim Jong-un and took special care to explain each one thoroughly. The first two which are either to engage in war with North Korea in order to protect ourselves and our allies or to let North Korea continue its course in the nuclear weapons game. Obviously both of these have serious drawbacks although Mr. Revere refused to take them out of the realm of future consideration.

He preferred the third option, however, which is to put together an unequaled coalition of our allies and other world leaders (including those of China and the Soviet Union) who will impose "maximum pressure" on North Korea in terms of sanctions, military actions, along with perhaps cyber and covert operations. The purpose of this would be to show Kim Jong-un that unless he relents and agrees to serious negotiations which will limit or terminate his nuclear arsenal, his regime is then doomed to collapse.

Mr. Revere acknowledged that the third option had its problems and it might not be successful but compared to the dangers of the other choices, it was probably the best one available. One of the biggest challenges of his plan would be to build a large coalition of countries willing to work together and it concerned him that the Trump administration has not had a good reputation so far in terms of international diplomacy. Nevertheless, Mr. Revere was fair and did have praise for the some of the people involved in the current administration.

Many people of all political stripes turned out to hear Mr. Revere including Ms. Betsy Rader, candidate for U.S. Congress in Ohio's 14th District. On a lighter note, we visited with Mr. Ed Weber who had just gotten back from driving on the icy hills of Montana and gave us some tips in terms of driving on ice.

It was good to chat with friends but this did not detract from the seriousness of the matter that we were there to explore and dissect. It was one of the most sobering evenings that we have had in a long time.

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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