Atomic patience

The blatant failure in getting North Korea’s nuclear power under control brought us to a situation where the world has a gun to its head. This is the cognitive failure of the reality we live in. It’s mostly due to America’s and Europe’s decision to look the other way as North Korea developed nuclear weapons.

That denial of reality reached its peak under the Obama Administration. But we can find it back to Clinton and Bush, by their continual mild opposition to the sanctions in the efforts to reduce them.

Take, for example, Condoleeza Rice in 2003, as David Wurmser – an esteemed expert in foreign policy, who was an adviser to Vice president David Cheney – remembers. It is a push linked to the continued strategic growth of the ideology culminating in Obama’s “diplomatic patience.”

The fundamental idea is that there is no conflict that cannot be solved, that time is not a factor: the negotiation is due to succeed with an agreement between the parties. This is a lethal conviction that arises from the idea that enemy’s reasons are rational and comprehensible because they arise from the history of oppression that the United States has imposed on the world because of its colonial attitude.
Obama has been a champion of this idea: he had managed it while the North Korean regime, deceiving for years the IAEA the Control Agency of the countries that play the game of non-proliferation (another Obama’s battle horse). That was just when it was proceeding toward North Korea’s lethal ballistic development and weaponization, which has become a global threat.

Anything could happen in the credulity of the West, this is the lesson of the communist-fascist choice of building the bomb. Korea, in the eyes of Obama, should have been the testing ground to demonstrate the possibility of the deal with Iran, and therefore a functioning universal principle for the future, included the terrorist organization like Hezbollah, or Hamas.

Obama wanted to be the ultimate “anti-Bush President”. Obama chose not to hunt for deadly weapons in Korea or Iran as his predecessor had done with Iraq. He wanted to demonstrate that he did not want another Iraq. He signaled this by using diplomacy instead of military action at all costs.

Even today, the USA seems to remain in the prison of this choice: it has conquered the Western world. For the time being, Trump isn’t doing anything besides talk. He doesn’t even dare to say to China: come on, you know how to stop that crazy Kim Jong-un, either you take care of it or we will do.’

It is so difficult, said Wurmser, to bring back a simple truth: there are two are possible solutions in a world conflict, in each international conflict: diplomacy or war. If we keep considering that with Korea and Iran we can choose diplomacy, we will face the consequences of their war against us, the West.

Like in the 1930s, the longer we wait, the worse that war will be. Like then, appeasing dictators – then Hitler, today Kim Jong Un and Iran’s Khamene’i – cannot work.

Translation by Sara Hernández Díez

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (September 4, 2017)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.