Previous posts in this discussion:
PostSouth Korea's Take on Kim-Trump Summit (John Heelan, UK, 06/14/18 5:00 pm)
JE asked on 14 June: "Does [South Korea] feel betrayed by Trump's commitment to discontinue joint military exercises? Or just possibly, relieved?"
Given the weak trustworthiness of both Kim and Trump, I suggest that South Korea, the profits of the US military/industrial complex, the economy and US unemployment figures--each of which Trump relies on for his populist support--might be more worried about the removal of South Korea's "nuclear umbrella" and tactical nuclear weapons that could be delivered from land and/or sea platforms.
"In August 2004, South Korea revealed the extent of its highly secretive and sensitive nuclear research programs to the IAEA, including some experiments which were conducted without the obligatory reporting to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called for by South Korea's safeguards agreement. The failure to report was reported by the IAEA Secretariat to the IAEA Board of Governors; however, the IAEA Board of Governors decided to not make a formal finding of noncompliance. If the South created nuclear weapons it could change the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula."
In response to a journalist when asked what is most likely to blow governments off course, PM Macmillan allegedly replied: "Events, my dear boy, events," but it may never have been uttered at all. In today's increasingly uncertain world of South-East Asia and China, "events" might well happen and destroy all good intentions of the statesmen--not that Trump could be termed "a statesman" even by his supporters!
JE comments: How much to we know about South Korea's nuclear program? In a fully nuclearized Korean peninsula, the events could get very scary.
South Korea and Nuclear Weaspons
(Istvan Simon, USA
06/18/18 4:58 AM)
Thanks to John Heelan (June 14) for calling our attention to South Korea's nuclear program. Frankly, with Kim Jong-un's nukes this had to be expected, but I was not aware of it. Contrary to North Korea, South Korea is a technological and economic giant, so clearly it is only a matter of political will for South Korea to decide to develop its own nuclear weapons.
In my opinion, I will argue that it will make no difference, except for an increased risk of a nuclear accident which of course is a terrible possibility.
Neither Kim Jong-un nor South Korea, nor any nuclear power in the world, will ever use nuclear weapons intentionally. Nuclear weapons are simply useless in a world that has multiple nuclear powers. No power will ever use them intentionally, because it cannot predict the reaction of other nuclear powers to its use, and therefore the use of nuclear weapons is too high a risk for any power that has a sane person at the helm. Though I hesitate to call Trump or Putin or Kim Jong-un for example sane, nonetheless none of them is so insane that they would risk using nuclear weapons.
It follows from my analysis that we would indeed be much better off if the whole world would get rid of nuclear weapons as David Krieger advocates. Unfortunately, in my opinion, as I have also argued before on WAIS, the probability that this can be achieved is near zero. It is simply too hard to convince all current nuclear powers that they would be better off without these terrible weapons.
I am afraid we are condemned to live in a nuclear world where mutual deterrence is currently preferred to nuclear disarmament.
JE comments: Meanwhile, a Daily Beast poll concludes that self-identified Republicans in the US have a slightly more favorable view of Kim Jong-un than of Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Not sure what to make of this: