(…into some semblance of peaceful co-existence)

Regardless of his twitter-feed style of personal invective and incivility, President Trump must be given credit for his performance at the recent historic summit meeting in Singapore with North Korea’s leader Kim Jung Un.

Despite what a chorus of nay-sayers on the sidelines might think about it, after many long decades of our two nations snarling at each other like a pair of junk-yard dogs going at it along a chain link fence between them, it seems that meeting came about because both apparently came to a reality-check moment that, to continue any further with the same scenario could only lead to a mutually self-destructive conflict. A conflict which much like a volcanic pyroclastic flow would have far ranging collateral damage as well.

The outcome which both leaders were able to show their respective home tribes, and the world at large, was that both weren’t just a couple of loonies ready to plunge us all into a nuclear winter world, but two sober principals quite adept at executing the most intricate and delicate steps required for any diplomatic minuet. A two-steps-forward-one-step-backward choreography with rather tricky rules of etiquette…which could eventually actually lead to an outcome of significant substance. But the real power player with influence on both for having such a meeting, and the main beneficiary of its outcome from this first round of tiptoeing forward into some semblance of peaceful co-existence, has to be China’s President Xi. We suspect his was the major hand in arranging it more than anyone or anything else.

Simply put, a growing and potentially explosive confrontation between North Korea and the United States was not only too dangerous, but also, too disruptive to China’s geopolitical agenda and interests for East Asia, and its relations with the United States. As the main prop upholding the Kim regime in North Korea, President Xi couldn’t risk allowing its missile-rattling leader to continue playing nuclear poker with an unpredictable and disruptive-minded American President. So, it would appear that Xi essentially told both Kim and Trump: …cool it guys…and go make nice with each other! Which both went and did…in Singapore. What happens next, or to what extent anything of substance results from all that is hard to say. Much will depend on how strategically-minded the American leadership will be in its approach for a resolution to the problem.

Simply put, the quickest and most secure way to achieve de-nuclearization of North Korea will be to focus first entirely on formulating and hammering out a formal peace treaty between North and South Korea, and having both China and America endorse it, as former co-belligerents in that conflict, thus finally ending the Korean War. At which point that treaty could be further ratified by the United Nations as proof of their collective commitment to peace on that peninsula. With that accomplished, the security desires of both North and South Korea will have been met, so the rationale for North Korea to maintain both its nuclear arsenal and missile resources will no longer be relevant or needed, and a more rapid elimination of these could be the result.

For the moment, however, we can only wait and see…and hope it will all come to pass.