Tag Archives: nukes

Kim Outclasses Park

7 Jun

Kim Jong un PleasedIt’s easy to be cynical – or surprised – about the prospects when negotiating with the North Koreans. It’s healthily reflexive to doubt their intentions, but it’s wrong to do so without accepting, that its better to have Pyongyang at the table than not. As Stephan Haggard argues, let’s acknowledge what the North Koreans did right, yet be wary.

Given the lack of high-level North-South channels and the fact that nothing new is likely to come out of Washington, more information is better than less. Is there really anything to lose?

What is on offer? The Northern statement, issued in the name of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea tasked with managing North-South relations, offers talks on three issues: Kaesong, the Mt. Kumgang resort and family unification visits (“if necessary”). The quid pro quo is clearly normalization of Kaesong and Kumgang—and resumption of the $120 million plus of annual transfers from them—in exchange for family visits. The North would also like some joint celebration of the anniversary of a 1972 joint communiqué and the 2000 Kim Dae JungKim Jong Il summit. Needless to say, there is no mention of the broader security context, including the nuclear issue; such discussions would have to emerge organically from these initial trust-building steps.

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Able Archer 83 And Armageddon

3 Jun

men of 1983: Reagan and AndropovEven scarier than the documents that still might be classified is the information revealed in documents the National Security Archive does allow the world to read.

According to a declassified National Security Agency history, American Cryptology During the Cold War, the “period 1982-1984 marked the most dangerous Soviet-American confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis.” The secret history recounts that “Cold War hysteria reached its peak” in the autumn of 1983 with a NATO nuclear-release exercise named Able Archer 83, which — according to a CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate – caused “Soviet air units in Germany and Poland [to assume] high alert status with readying of nuclear strike forces.”

Despite the ramifications of this possible nuclear miscalculation, the history of the Able Archer 83 war scare has remained largely unavailable to the public. This dearth of primary sources has even led critics — with some justification — to describe the study of the war scare as “an echo chamber of inadequate research and misguided analysis” and “circle reference dependency,” with an overreliance upon “the same scanty evidence.”

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Clothing Makes The Diplomat

28 May

When Xi Met ChoeThe two Koreas remind us that what really matters is fashion and name-calling.

It is becoming increasingly likely that nothing concrete will materialize following the reference to the six-party talks made during the May 24 meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Choe Ryong-hae, vice marshal of the North Korean military. North Korea is desperate to cling to its nuclear weapons, and there are no signs that this stance is changing.

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