Monday: TAC Co-Hosts Frank Talk on Failed Peace in Korea
The one-year anniversary of the failed U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi in February went by with barely a mention, somewhat surprisingly, since the initial detente between the countries’ two leaders had dominated the headlines during the winter of 2019. But a year later, COVID ensured that there was little mention of the meeting that brought together President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which attempted to build upon an historic handshake over the DMZ a month earlier.
There was little to celebrate anyway—Trump had cut the two-day summit short, citing that the North Koreans had demanded Washington lift all economic sanctions before they would bargain with denuclearization (Pyongang denied this version of events)—and went home empty handed. The frozen relations resumed as Trump was forced to focus on his domestic travails, mainly, Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling.
Even with Harry Kazianis speculating on these pages this month that the Trump White House is working hard to bring about some sort of surprise deal before the election, those hoping for peace—on the peninsula between North and South, and with the U.S.—have had little to fortify their hopes over the last month. According to reports, both sides have been delivering “mixed messages” over whether the two leaders are willing to talk again, and there appears to be no progress on talks between the two governments over sanctions and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. In other words, not much has changed in 30 years.
That is why the timing of Monday’s online roundtable discussion sponsored by The American Conservative, The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Women Cross DMZ is so perfect. What has been missing in these negotiations for decades? Why do they fail? What kind of fresh perspectives are needed (and biases shed) before we can finally declare an end to the war and finally start bringing our 28,000 troops home from the region?
I am proud to be a part of the planning for this event, which has assembled some of the best voices from left and right of the spectrum, including regular TAC contributor Doug Bandow (also from Cato), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Christine Ahn (Women Cross DMZ), Jessica Lee (Quincy), (Ret. ) Lt. Col. Daniel Davis (Defense Priorities), Alex Mount (American Federation of Scientists), Hazel Smith (University of London), Henri Féron (Center for International Policy), and Suzanne DiMaggio (Quincy). Katharine Moon, Chair of Asian Studies at Wellesley College, will be moderating. There will also be Q & A available afterwards.
We are looking forward to a spirited discussion on how the status quo path has helped to squander every move forward, how the insistence of denuclearization and sanctions has hobbled not helped, how South Korea plays the key role here, and what the continued U.S. military presence means for peace on the peninsula—and for the region. Please register now and we hope to see you online Monday from 1-2:30 p.m. ET.