The Trump-Kim meeting

What was unthinkable even a couple of months ago has happened. The joint statement signed by President Donald Trump of the US and President Kim Jong-un, the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea, at the end of their historic summit meeting at Singapore, said that President Trump had “committed to provide security guarantees” to North Korea while Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”  The world has heaved a sigh of relief as both nuclear-power countries were talking of destroying each other. After Trump agreed to provide security guarantee to North Korea, Kim reciprocated the gesture by assuring complete denuclearization.
Several decades ago, the former president of the now dissolved Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorvachev, had said that the alternative to co-existence of countries with difference social systems was co-destruction. There are now about ten countries, some known some suspected, which possess nuclear weapons. They have also developed powerful delivery systems called Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that can hit their targets thousands of miles away with great precision. This has rendered useless the utility of atomic weapons as means of offence and aggression. Today, atomic weapons are meant only to deter other countries from embarking on a nuclear misadventure. Atomic weapons have now become tactical rather than strategic weapons. What is more, the country targeting another with atomic weapons may itself become the victim if winds flow back the radioactive fallout to that country.
Nuclear technology may have been acquired by many other countries as well though they have not yet embarked on the path of nuclear weaponization. The nuclear monopoly once enjoyed by the Big Five ended long ago. For any country or any statesman now to think of launching a nuclear attack would be a mad idea because it will invite MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction. The world now will have to move toward total denuclearization and in this the Big Five – United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – will have to take the lead because between themselves they hold the largest number of nuclear warheads. The biggest stumbling blocks to implementing a time-bound denuclearization programme will be the US and China – one a declining Power which wants to act as a self-appointed world policeman and the other a rising Power which wants to replace the US and emerge as the sole hegemon.

Tuesday, 12 June, 2018