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Trump’s North Korean adventure

It seems hard to believe that last year the two world leaders were caught up in a bitter war of tweets; with one side threatening to destroy the Little Rocket Man to the other promising to tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire. Well, then. Yet today, Trump n’ Kim have all but reset the bilateral relationship. It is expected that the two sides will sit down face-to-face sometime in May. Indeed, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has said that he is willing to give up his country’s nuclear capability if the Americans put the right sort of deal on the table. Pyongyang has also pledged to refrain from any nuclear tests, missile flights as well as publicly rebuking US-South Korean military exercises for the duration.
This a welcome development all round. After all, a once belligerent President Trump has said that he is willing to take Kim at his word. Thus the path to peace is off to a positive start. As shame, then, that certain elements in Washington political circles have already started talking about pre-conditions to the dialogue itself. These include the US, South Korea and Japan (which shares borders with both Pyongyang and Washington) setting down what they envisage a denuclearised North to look like and to put this to a timetable. Others have demanded that Kim surrender his nukes ahead of the bilateral meeting, which is of course pretty unfeasible given the May deadline for the sit-down. Elsewhere there has been talk of releasing all American captives.
The view from here in Pakistan is this: what are the pundits waiting for? The fact that both sides have even agreed to meet is momentous to say the least; as was last week’s South Korean delegation across the border. This is the time when all of Washington should rally behind the President. Getting down to the nitty gritty should be reserved for the second coming. After all, surely the Americans have learned the lesson that the British belatedly understood in Northern Ireland before them: that pre-conditions to talking about peace rarely, if ever work. And that the chances of this happening are even less when it is the stronger party that chooses to lay down the law.
Naturally, it is understood that the unquiet American president likes to mix it up by going off-cuff or being a bit of a rogue on Twitter — yet it cannot be denied that Trump is all set to make measurable headway on several foreign policy fronts where the so-called dovish Obama failed. One is the Afghan-Taliban peace deal. Another is North Korea. Indeed, if both sides manage to pull off the latter there is, strictly speaking, no reason why the same approach cannot be adopted towards that other axis-of-evil alumni: Iran.
Yet untold hubris still runs through the mainstream US media. And it is one that almost does not recognise the other side’s right to legitimate concerns and, possibly, pre-conditions of its own. As if it simply exists to do Washington’s own bidding. Thankfully, Trump Town does not appear to be listening; confirming that it is not adding any more conditions ahead of the May powwow.
Could the apprentice-president be a man of peace after all? We certainly hope so.



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Alternative energy policy prepared, Minister

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