The Trump Administration’s Foolish Maximalism on North Korea
Earlier today at the U.N., Rex Tillerson said that North Korea must dismantle its “nuclear missile program” as a precondition for negotiations:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 28, 2017
This is the same unrealistic, maximalist demand that Pence issued last week, and it is still not going to have the desired effect. No government is going to make concessions of this magnitude in exchange for the mere possibility of future negotiations, and North Korea’s certainly won’t. Tillerson and Pence don’t seem to grasp that the North Korean government perceives its weapons and missile programs as a way to ensure the regime’s survival, and so demanding that they give them up in advance before talks even begin is an obvious non-starter. Given Washington’s unfortunate habit of attacking and deposing governments that have already disarmed, North Korea is bound to be even more suspicious of our intentions when our officials make demands like this.
The Trump administration is demanding something from North Korea that it will never get, and by making this the precondition for negotiations it demonstrates that the administration has no real interest in pursuing a diplomatic solution to tensions with North Korea.