ACTION ALERT: Why Is Tellerson Backtracking on Korea Diplomacy?
December 19, 2017
Tulsi Gabbard / US House of Representatives & AntiWar.com & Ron Paul / The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity
Commentary: It seems pretty reasonable to open talks with North Korea after a period of "good faith" gestures between Washington and Pyongyang. Why not agree on no US/South Korean joint military exercises for six months in exchange for no North Korean missile launches for the same period and then agree to a meeting on neutral ground? How could it possibly hurt, particularly considering the alternative?
Diplomacy Can Prevent War with North Korea
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard / US House of Representatives
The present conflict with North Korea can be attributed to failures of leadership on the part of both Democrat and Republican administrations over the past forty years. We must pursue serious diplomacy in order to remove the threat of nuclear war.
For that effort to be successful two things need to happen:
1) We negotiate directly with North Korea and Kim Jong Un; and
2) We understand how our regime change policies motivate North Korean nuclear proliferation as a deterrent to our aggression.
Sign our petition calling for diplomatic engagement with the regime to resolve the present conflict peacefully and help kick-start a national conversation about our foreign policy.
Recently Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the United States should engage in direct talks with North Korea, without preconditions. But then the White House undercut and contradicted his statement, and now Tillerson is backtracking.
In order to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic war, and ultimately denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, we must negotiate directly with North Korea without preconditions. Please add your name to my petition showing support for peace, not warmongering and violent rhetoric. We cannot make progress on a plan to de-escalate and ultimately denuclearize the Korean Peninsula without first bringing them to the table.
President Trump is showing the same poor judgment and short-sightedness that we have seen over decades and that got us into this position, where the people of Hawai'i and our country are faced with a very real threat of a nuclear attack.
Earlier this month, nuclear warning sirens wailed across Hawai'i, beginning monthly tests for the first time since the height of the Cold War. The people of my home state are being told that in the event of an attack, they have 10 minutes to "get inside" and seek cover.
President Trump's "tough talk" reinforces Kim Jong-un's belief that nuclear weapons are the only deterrent against being the next target of our counterproductive regime change policies that have thrust Iraq, Libya, Syria, and many other countries into chaos, death, and destruction.
The nuclear crisis continues to worsen due to the poor decision-making of both Democratic and Republican administrations of the past, and now the rhetoric and refusal to negotiate coming from President Trump. It is time we implement a new vision for a foreign policy that moves away from regime change wars and moves us forward on a path towards peace.
Direct negotiation without preconditions is the best way forward to resolve the nuclear crisis with North Korea. Join me by adding your name to our petition calling on the Administration to bring North Korea to the table.
Mahalo for joining me in this effort.
Tillerson Retracts Offer for North Korea Talks Without Precondition
Now Demands 'Sustained Cessation' of Tests First
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
WASHINGTON (December 15, 2017) -- Having once again been rebuked about the whole diplomacy thing by President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has rolled back his announcement that he is ready for talks with North Korea without precondition. He is now both not ready for talks and restoring the preconditions.
On Wednesday, the White House issued a statement correcting Tillerson's Tuesday's comments, saying that President Trump views talks as "pointless," and suggesting direct talks are not being contemplated.
Tillerson now says that any talks with North Korea are not only on a precondition that North Korea halt all weapons testing, but that they leave the testing paused for a long time. Though he didn't give a timeline, this suggests no talks are even theoretically possible, even if North Korea capitulates for some time.
The problem with this is, as with the other preconditions for talks, this halt in testing is a major part of what the US wants out of the deal, and if they are given it as a precondition, they likely will see little reason to offer anything during the real talks.
Who to Believe on
Washington's Korea Policy, Tillerson or Trump?
Ron Paul / The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity
(December 19, 2017) -- President Trump has often said that his foreign policy objective was to keep his enemies guessing. If that's the goal, you could say that he's doing a good job. The problem is who does he think his enemies are, because the American people are often left guessing as well.
US policy toward North Korea last week is a good example of how the Trump Administration is wittingly or unwittingly sowing confusion among friend and foe alike. In what looked like a breakthrough, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced last Tuesday that the US would be willing to sit down and talk with North Korea "without preconditions." Previously the US had demanded that North Korea agree to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs before Washington was willing to sit down to formal talks.
The State Department shift toward actual diplomacy with North Korea was quickly quashed, however, when the White House announced that its position on North Korea had not changed. It seemed that the State Department and White House were each pursuing different foreign policies on the Korea issue.
The White House even appeared to belittle Tillerson's attempt at diplomacy, releasing a statement on Wednesday that talks with North Korea would be "pointless." No wonder speculation persists that Tillerson is on his way out as Secretary of State.
Then on Friday Secretary Tillerson seemed to do a U-turn on his own policy, announcing at a UN Security Council meeting that a "sustained cessation of North Korea's threatening behavior" must precede any negotiations with the US. "North Korea must earn its way back to the table," he said. So, after just three days the offer of unconditional talks with North Korea had been put on and then removed from the table.
There is more than a little hypocrisy in US demands that North Korea cease its "threatening behavior." Just this month the US and South Korea launched yet another joint military exercise targeting North Korea. Some 12,000 military personnel and 230 aircraft -- including stealth fighters -- participated in the massive war games. Does anyone think this is not meant to be threatening to North Korea?
It is a shame that the hawks in the Administration continue to dominate. It seems pretty reasonable to open talks with North Korea after a period of "good faith" gestures between Washington and Pyongyang.
Why not agree on no US/South Korean joint military exercises for six months in exchange for no North Korean missile launches for the same period and then agree to a meeting on neutral ground? How could it possibly hurt, particularly considering the alternative?
The hawks continue to talk up a US strike against North Korea. Senator Lindsey Graham seemed pleased when he announced that there was a 70 percent chance that the US would attack North Korea if it detonated another nuclear weapon. Does he realize how many people will die? Does he care?
Defense Secretary James Mattis seems skeptical about neocon hysteria, declaring that the North Korean missile program does not pose a "capable threat" to the United States. With that in mind, we can only hope that President Trump will encourage Tillerson to do another about-face and return to the idea of talks without precondition. Strategic ambiguity is one thing, sending constantly mixed signals when nuclear war looms is something else.
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