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(((James Acton))) @james_acton32
, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
<THREAD>I'm not a hardliner. Honestly.


Why I won't stop worrying and learn to love Trump's diplomacy with Kim. (1/n)
I gather that I'm now viewed as something of a hardliner in South Korea for my recent criticism of U.S.-DPRK diplomacy. And, not just in South Korea. I'm still slightly mortified by this misunderstanding of my views by @etammykim in @NewYorker. (2/n)
I want to try and set the record straight. (3/n)
1. North Korea almost certainly has the capability to target South Korea and Japan with nuclear weapons; it may well have the same capability against the United States. It also has the ability to inflict unimaginable pain on South Korea with conventional means... (4/n)
...A war with North Korea could well end up turning into the worst single day in human history. My thinking starts from this premise.

For more information, see…

2. As a result, I strongly support bilateral ROK-DPRK efforts to build peace on the peninsula. I'm not expert enough on bilateral issues to know whether all of Moon Jae-in's moves have been the right ones, BUT... (6/n) a result of Moon's efforts, the risk of war--right now-- is much lower than it was in 2017. For that, I am genuinely grateful. (7/n)
3. Kim Jong-un isn't going to give up its nuclear weapons. Sorry. He has not promised to do so unilaterally. And why would he? A few nice words from Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo aren't going to ease deep, deep fears of U.S.-led regime change. (8/n)
4. Trump appears to honestly believe that Kim will disarm unilaterally. Moon has fed this belief. My concerns is that a "moment of truth" will arrive when the fiction of North Korean unilateral disarmament will become impossible to maintain... (9/n)
..,when it does, there is a high risk of Trump ramping up the belligerency--restarting U.S.-ROK exercises, insulting Kim personally, threatening again to
"totally destroy" North Korea... (10/n)…
...North Korea might react by living up to its earlier threats to fire missile in the vicinity of of Guam or to conduct an atmospheric test over the Pacific. It's not difficult to see how this escalating spiral of tensions ends up in a war. (11/n)…
Don't forget, John Bolton, before he became national security adviser, supported a Trump-Kim summit because it would “foreshorten the amount of time that we’re gonna waste in negotiations.” (12/n)…
And he has argued for the legality of a preemptive strike on North Korea. (13/n)…
5. Instead of focusing on the all or nothing bet of complete denuclearization, the United States should instead focus on capping the threat from North Korea... (14/n)
...I call this approach "less for less." The United States should offer modest sanctions relief in return for modest but meaningful steps from North Korea to cap the threat. (15/n)…
The recent agreement to allow inspections of North Korea's test site will almost certainly fail to meet the "meaningful" part of this formulation. (16/16)

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