Planet Princeton

Diplomacy, not war: Prevent a slow-motion Cuban missile crisis with North Korea

By the Rev. Robert Moore

High level U.S. officials have repeatedly been raising the specter of preemptive military strikes against North Korea, leading reputable observers to describe it as a “Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.” The mere threat of such an attack has already ratcheted up tensions and increases the probability of miscalculation and a catastrophic war, possibly even involving nuclear weapons.

President Trump repeatedly and falsely said he opposed a preemptive war against Iraq before it started in 2003, seemingly to portray himself as an anti-war, anti-interventionist candidate. He also said he would meet with North Korea’s leader to talk through a solution. Now, with horrifying recklessness and hypocrisy, he is threatening a preemptive war over nuclear weapons issues with North Korea.

Given that North Korea also has a reckless and unpredictable leader, this is a recipe for disaster. Any attack on North Korea would certainly lead to catastrophic war, including artillery fire at South Korea, bombarding US military installations, and sending troops from its fourth largest military in the world across the border. Given that some of North Korea’s estimated 15 nuclear warheads are likely to survive such a strike, the worst case scenario is utterly terrifying.

It is time for a diplomatic surge led by cool heads. Previous disputes over North Korea’s nuclear program have been addressed, with at least some success, by diplomacy. In 2015, Iran’s path toward a nuclear weapon was stopped by intense, committed diplomacy. This makes are more sense, and avoids the catastrophic dangers noted above, as a response to North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

Readers who want to learn more or get involved in advocating for such alternatives are encouraged to visit peacecoalition.org and click the Diplomacy Not War icon on the right, or call the Coalition for Peace Action at (609) 924-5022.Diplomacy Not War icon on the right, or call the Coalition for Peace Action at (609) 924-5022.

The Rev. Robert Moore has been Executive Director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action since 1981.

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