LINDA PENTZ GUNTER – The International Nuclear Energy Act of 2022 is another fatal diversion from the most important task at hand: to eschew wars and nuclear weapons and dumb conspiracy theories and focus on drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late.
KEVIN MARTIN – This year marks the sixth annual edition of coordinated advocacy days calling for peace in Korea. When it first started in 2015, just 12 people participated; the effort has now grown to include more than 200 people. Korean-Americans, the fifth largest Asian-American population in the U.S., are leading the effort and have become more politically engaged than just a few years ago, but everyone in this country, in Asia and around the world, would benefit from a more peaceful, less militarized Korean peninsula.
MEL GURTOV – The trade war with China that Trump so confidently predicted would result in a great new deal now threatens to become a permanent feature of US-China relations. Why that is likely may have less to do with the specific trade issues in dispute than with the vastly different negotiating styles and operating principles of the two countriesâ€™ leaderships.
MEL GURTOV – This US policy of regime change in Iran is absolutely inexcusable: It is aggressive and baseless, oblivious to diplomacy, and guaranteed to cause untold hardship and chaos for the people of the region.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The obsession of the Trump administration with building nuclear weapons and threatening nuclear war underscores its unwillingness to join other governments in developing a sane nuclear policy. Indeed, it seems determined to continue lurching toward unparalleled catastrophe
JOHN LEWALLEN – Did North Koreaâ€™s very credible threat of testing a HEMP nuclear weapon capable of destroying the United States play any role in causing Trump to begin peace talks and acknowledge North Korea as a legitimate nation?
UN NEWS – Despite taking goodwill measures over the past year, including dismantling a nuclear test site, there was â€œno wayâ€ the Democratic Peopleâ€™s Republic of Korea would unilaterally disarm itself without rebuilding trust with the United States, DPRKâ€™s Foreign Minister told the United Nations in September.
SARAH FREEMAN-WOOLPERT – Among the most important developments for the peace movement in the last year is the formation of broad coalitions. According to international scholar-activist Simone Chun, 2018 marked â€œthe first time we saw a formidable, sustaining coalition with major American peace activists and the Korean activist communities.â€ These coalitions have allowed actors to coordinate strategically in pushing for clear goals, like a formal declaration ending the Korean War and sustained diplomacy on a path to peace. These coalitions have also been key in elevating a range of voices, particularly those of Koreans, women and people of color, who have often been marginalized from the mainstream policy debates in Washington D.C.
POPULAR RESISTANCE – All of humanity is being put at risk by the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans opposition to dialogue with Russia. The combination of Russophobia and the Democratic Partyâ€™s compulsion to criticize Trumpâ€™s every action, even when he accidentally does something sensible, is preventing the two largest nuclear powers, with the two most advanced militaries in the world, from working together to create a safer and more secure world.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Although many people have criticized the bizarre nature of Donald Trumpâ€™s diplomacy with North Korea, his recent love fest with Kim Jong Un does have the potential to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Even so, buried far below the mass media coverage of the summit spectacle, the reality is that Trumpâ€•assisted by his military and civilian advisorsâ€•is busy getting the United States ready for nuclear war.
MEL GURTOV – Whatever substantive agreements were reached took place between Trump and Kim alone, without any top advisers. And hereâ€™s where the trouble begins: the contrary claims that are bound to emerge about who promised what.
BRANKO MARCETIC – As much of the world celebrates a modest step towards peace in Korea, Western pundits seem to be panicking.
MEL GURTOV – In the aftermath of the â€œKorean springâ€ at the Winter Games, some observers waxed euphoric over the potential for direct US-North Korea talks. The apparent breakthrough at the Games in North-South dialogue occasioned by Kim Jong-unâ€™s sister, Kim Yu-jong, and South Koreaâ€™s President Moon Jae-in had put Vice President Mike Pence in an embarrassing positionâ€”odd man out as Moon and Ms. Kim discussed a summit meeting while Pence sat on his hands. Pence tried to recover by indicating as he left South Korea that talks with the North might actually be possibleâ€”a concession that gave the appearance of a US decision to fall in line with the South Korean view. But has the US position on how to deal with North Korea actually changed?
KEVIN MARTIN – Effective negotiators build on any points of agreement the parties to a dispute have at the outset. So why not ditch the â€œnon-equivalencyâ€ argument and state the U.S.-South Korea war drills are on indefinite hiatus as long as North Korea continues to observe a moratorium on nuclear and missile testing? That would be solid footing on which to begin real diplomacy. South Korea isnâ€™t afraid to talk to the North, why is the U.S.? If Rex Tillerson canâ€™t do his job, the least he can do is support the North-South talks, and let Koreans make peace.
GABE MURPHY and KEVIN MARTIN – As the U.S., the Korean Peninsula, and the world stare down the barrel of what would be a devastating war between the U.S. and North Korea, President Trumpâ€™s reluctant, kinda sorta endorsement via Twitter of proposed talks between North and South Korea triggered a collective sigh of cautious relief.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Most countries are moving down the road toward a nuclear weapons-free world. This past July, the official representatives of most of the worldâ€™s nations, meeting in a UN-sponsored conclave, voted 122 to 1 (with 1 abstention) for an international treaty prohibiting countries from developing, testing, manufacturing, possessing, transferring, or threatening to use nuclear weapons. However, the nine nuclear-armed nations boycotted the conference and are not among the countries backing this Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weaponsâ€•at least not yet. Given the staggering economic and human costs of nuclear weapons, isnâ€™t it time that the nuclear nations got on board?
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Leaving aside the wisdom of U.S. policy, why is the U.S. government playing a leading role in the North Korean nuclear situation at all?
PATRICK T. HILLER – â€œIt was the wrong speech, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience,â€ Swedish foreign Minister Margot WallstrÃ¶m expressed about what global and U.S. audiences helplessly had to endure during President Donald Trumpâ€™s September 19, 2017 address to the United Nations General Assembly. President Trump acted like a bully, but unaware that he showed up at the wrong playground.
RAJAN MENON – President Donald Trump wouldnâ€™t be the first leader, confronted with trouble at home, to trigger a crisis abroad and then appeal for unity and paint critics as unpatriotic. Keep in mind, after all, that this is the man who has already warned of â€œa major, major warâ€ with North Korea.
BRUCE CUMINGS – Itâ€™s easy to dismiss Kim Jong-un as a madman. But thereâ€™s a long history of US aggression against the North, which we forget at our peril.
PATRICK T. HILLER – It is time for the public and its servants â€“ our elected officials â€“ to get away from the pretense that there are no alternatives to projecting and using military force, when indeed there are many constructive responses. This matters greatly, because a study has shown that there is a proven decline in public support for war when the alternatives come to light.
MEL GURTOV – As Donald Trump prepared to meet Xi Jinping, his administration was going down the old road of believing it can pressure China to solve the North Korea nuclear weapons problemâ€”or face a US-initiated trade war.
MEL GURTOV – North Korea is on a military tear. How and when any of the weapons the North claims to have might actually be operational is open to speculation. What does seem clear is that Kim Jong-un is pressing his weapons specialists to produce a reliable deterrent that will force the issue of direct talks with the U.S.
MEL GURTOV – The longstanding US approach to North Koreaâ€™s nuclear weapons is way off the mark. The Obama administrationâ€™s strategy of â€œstrategic patienceâ€ shows little attention to North Korean motivations. The US insistence that no change in policy is conceivable unless and until North Korea agrees to denuclearize ensures continuing tension, the danger of a disastrous miscalculation, and more and better North Korean nuclear weapons. The immediate focus of US policy should be on trust building.
CHOE SANG-HUN – Jan. 10, Seoul, South Korea â€” North Korea said Saturday that it had told the United States that it would impose a temporary moratorium on nuclear tests if Washington canceled its joint annual military exercises with South Korea to help promote dialogue on the divided Korean Peninsula.