Welcome to 2018, where the rules are made up and nothing matters! Case in point: the sheer number of contradictory statements to come out of the US about North Korea recently. Coming up soon are the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea – sure to be a good time for all. But preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics has been tinged by the specter of nuclear war – but also peace talks? Let’s dive in.
On February 9th, the Games will kick off in South Korea. Now, the US normally sweeps up at the Olympics, but on December 6th, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley seemed to imply that the US might not send athletes to Pyeongchang because of “security concerns”, apparently ignoring the fact that there are literally hundreds of thousands of American citizens living in South Korea already. Sarah Sanders, White House Press Sec, reinforced the question by saying it was still up in the air before confirming that the US would participate. So don’t worry – Team America World Police still has the chance to show the world just how gnarly we are on the slopes.
Let’s talk about those security concerns though. Despite Nikki Hayley’s insistence that “the US will never accept a nuclear North Korea”, it’s a little late for that. NK is, for all intents and purposes, a nuclear state, as Kim is so fond of reminding us. Just this week, he made a statement saying that the “nuclear button” is always on his desk. In classic posturing terms, that’s not a threat – it’s a promise. It’s a promise that if the US threatens the Kim regime, he has a backup plan, so don’t cross me.
Then Trump, in classic… male dominance behavior-terms, sent a tweet saying his button was bigger. Okay, Donald.
So things aren’t looking so good? Au contraire, my apocalyptic friend – things are better than ever. The Olympics have always represented unity and peace. In Ancient Greece, the city states would stop all wars and fighting in order to participate. It seems the US and South Korea have elected to take a leaf from my ancestors’ book and have announced a hiatus on joint military drills for the duration of the games. Furthermore, South Korea invited North Korea to participate in the Games, and in a New Year’s Day speech, Kim Jong-un announced that he would be open to peace talks and to sending athletes to the Games! Peace talks between the two Koreas are scheduled for Tuesday, January 9th, and will likely include the prospect of North Korea sending a delegation to Pyeongchang. Although the North Koreans do usually participate, the only other time the Olympics were in South Korea in Seoul in 1988, NK boycotted, so this is big news.
So, what changed? If you believe our fearless leader, Donald claims it’s to do with his tough stance. But let’s be real for a second: the only reason Kim Jong-un has agreed to peace talks is because he’s negotiating from a position of strength that he did not previously enjoy. He has the ability to hurt the US and so the scales are balanced. If someone had a gun pointed at you, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable sitting down to talk if you had a gun of your own, even if it was smaller? Kim has nukes now. Don’t expect him to give them up any time soon, but it might just make him feel a little more at ease. #fpf