Published on News24: 02 November 2017
If Trump the dealmaker could solve the seemingly insurmountable nuclear threat of both North Korea and Russia by means of a peaceful ‘mutually agreed denuclearisation strategy’, it would deem him worthy of a sculpture on Mount Rushmore.
Robert J. Traydon
Below are three ‘relatively unreported’, yet noteworthy statements made in the latter half of 2017 … and you’re not going to believe who made them:
The first statement was made by US President Donald Trump on August 10, 2017; the second statement by North Korea's deputy UN ambassador, Kim In Ryong on October 16; and the third statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 19.
With these three statements in mind, one wonders how the following can be possible: “US ready to put ‘nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert’ for the first time since the end of the Cold War amid growing tensions with Russia and North Korea” – published by the Daily Mail on October 23, 2017.
It’s a precarious case of, ‘even though none of us wants nuclear weapons … we’re all forced to possess them and will use them if necessary’. But, in light of the three statements above, surely there’s a feasible solution hiding in plain sight…
Diplomatic solution for an undiplomatic problem
To identify this potential solution, one has to recognize the origin of the problem. And to do this, we need to examine the context in which each of these three ‘denuclearisation’ statements was made:
From the context above, it’s obvious that neither Trump, nor Kim, nor Putin is courageous enough to make the first decisive move towards denuclearising the world, hence the dangerous deadlock.
Enter, ‘The Donald’ … the man who apparently perfected ‘the art of the deal’. (Trump’s book ‘The art of the deal’ published in 1987, should have included a subtitle – ‘My way or highway’)
President Trump has been referred to recently as a maniac, a dotard and a moron, and let’s face it, with good reason. He has proven himself to be a maverick, letting his personal views and vendettas get in the way of him being a legendary ‘deal-making’ president.
But, if Trump the dealmaker could solve the seemingly insurmountable nuclear threat of both North Korea and Russia by peaceful means, it would deem him worthy of a space on Mount Rushmore.
Concessions are part of the deal
Although the word ‘concession’ doesn’t exist in Trump’s vocabulary, it is one that he’s going to have to learn fast – especially when it comes to ballistic missiles and hydrogen bombs.
Not once in Trump’s dealings with North Korea and Russia, has he or any of his senior military advisors/officials alluded to a strategy of ‘mutually agreed denuclearisation’. The fact that Trump, Kim, and Putin have all expressed and/or made official their support of denuclearisation, would suggest that it constitutes one of the most viable options deserving of immediate consideration.
Of course, this would require Trump to take the bold step of ‘backing down’ and committing the United States to a phased denuclearisation program in tandem with Russia and North Korea (and potentially Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel) – with the ultimate goal being that these nuclear nations all ratify the UN’s Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at some mutually agreed point in the future.
And since Trump places such enormous emphasis on ‘living up to the spirit of a deal’, he must feel especially compelled to live up to the spirit of Article VI in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which states that, ‘Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament.’
This couldn’t be spelled out any clearer for the United States and other nuclear nations bound by the NPT. As it stands, these nuclear nations are all currently in contravention of Article VI, and have shown no interest in complying with it even though they place such enormous emphasis on the NPT.
The scourge of nuclear weapons
Trump referred to nuclear weapons as a ‘scourge’. To many it’s an environmental scourge, to others it’s a humanitarian scourge … but to some, including Trump, it’s a fiscal scourge.
The cost of modernising the current US nuclear arsenal, including operating costs, life extension programs for nuclear weapons and procurement of new delivery systems to replace aging elements of the strategic triad, is estimated at US$1 trillion over the next 30 years – equivalent to 78 Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers or 45 Three Gorges Dam projects.
Trump must balk at this number, as must Putin at his own respective costs … not to mention Kim, whose finances are being squeezed by a raft of sanctions.
Every leader of a nuclear state must know that the money allocated to their nuclear arsenal could be far better spent improving their national fiscus and, in turn, the livelihoods of their citizens.
Closing the deal on denuclearisation
No doubt, this would be an unprecedented move by President Trump. But, the truth is, the world needs a maverick like Trump to lead the way and pull off this ‘mutually agreed denuclearisation of nuclear states’. The world would forever revere him for being the maestro who ‘closed the deal on denuclearisation’ and saved the world from apocalyptic nuclear war.
This is Trump’s opportunity to immortalise his presidential legacy amongst the greatest US Presidents that ever lived … George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Come on, Donald, the world is counting on you to make the deal of the century!
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