Marcus Ranum has an excellent post where he suggests a 10-point plan for de-escalating the conflict between the US and North Korea. In fact, he says that a possible solution stares the US in the face but the US will not accept success.
Unfortunately, the situation isn’t really funny. But the surrealism continues, as reported in the New York Times: [nyt]
Mr. Tillerson’s offer also nods toward other diplomatic proposals. China has suggested a “freeze-for-freeze” deal, in which the United States agrees to halt all military exercises with South Korea — something Mr. Hill noted would ““hollow out the alliance” — in return for North Korea’s stopping its tests.
You can expect the sons of Sun Tzu to offer solid strategic advice. And you can expect the US to blither straight past it. “Hollow out the alliance“? Since the alliance is ostensibly to maintain peace in the Korean peninsula, ‘hollowing it out’ is success, not a problem. If several people team up to stop a bully from threatening them, and the bully agrees to go away, then the team-up can stand down and there’s no need to maintain anti-bully patrols, or to keep threatening to beat the bully up; after a bit, “who’s really the bully here?” becomes the question.
Trump and Tillerson also seem to be playing what we would normally have called a ‘good cop, sane cop’ strategy, except it has become a ‘stupid cop, sane cop’ routine with Trump (playing of course the stupid cop) threatens nuclear war while secretary of state Rex Tillerson (the sane cop) says that there is nothing to worry about, that Trump is merely talking down to Kim Jong Un using language that the latter can understand because he does not understand the language of diplomacy.
Let’s be frank. To ascribe such strategic thinking to Trump is laughable. Despite being much younger than Trump, Kim Jong Un is very probably far more sophisticated in his thinking and language than Trump ever has been or ever will be. I think that it is gradually dawning on people that the real risk of initiating war, even a nuclear one, does not come from North Korea but from the US.
Seth Meyers weighs in, marveling at the fact that Trump’s rhetoric is so reckless and yet no one in the international diplomatic community takes him seriously.
I cannot believe that we are even seriously discussing the possibility of a nuclear war. Things have really sunk that low.