Gregory Elich interviewed by Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon
The recent talks between North and South Korea, what if any progress was made in thawing relations between the two countries, what to expect politically from the Winter Olympics being held in South Korea, and why South Korean President Moon continues to desire close relations with the Trump Administration.
Q: President Donald Trump put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that allows the United States to impose more sanctions and risks inflaming tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. How could Trump‘s policy affect China‘s and Russia‘s ties to Pyongyang? What effect will this have on North Korea?
Diplomacy never had a chance. It was not long after President Trump took office that he signed a directive establishing a North Korea policy based on overtly hostile measures. The Treasury Department was told to implement a series of sanctions against North Korea and those who traded with it. U.S. diplomats were instructed to exhort foreign officials in nearly every meeting to break off contacts with North Korea. That program has been accelerating in recent weeks, with far reaching consequences.
Amid renewed talk by the Trump administration of a military option against North Korea, one salient fact goes unnoticed. The United States is already at war with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the formal name for North Korea). It is doing so through non-military means, with the aim of inducing economic collapse. In a sense, the policy is a continuation of the Obama administration’s ‘strategic patience’ on steroids, in that it couples a refusal to engage in diplomacy with the piling on of sanctions that constitute collective punishment of the entire North Korean population.
Donald Trump is promising “fire and fury” in response to reports that North Korea has developed the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead so that it can be placed on a missile. North Korea is vowing to stay the course and fiercely defend its sovereignty.
The months ahead may reveal the direction that U.S.-North Korean relations will take under the Trump administration. After eight years of ‘strategic patience’ and the Rebalance to Asia, those relations now stand at their lowest point in decades. Many foreign policy elites are expressing frustration over Washington’s failure to impose its will on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). There are increasing calls for a change in policy, but what kind of change do they have in mind? We may be at the point of a major transition.
Interview with Gregory Elich, Hyun Lee, and Juyeon Rhee
Few countries are as fiercely demonized as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – more commonly known as North Korea. The media presents the country as a dangerous and mysterious pariah that lashes out uncontrollably at its neighbors. But as we should come to expect from the corporate media, this is a total distortion. What’s the real history of U.S.-North Korean relations? As Donald Trump prepares to become the next president of the United States, what does this mean for the prospects of normalization between the U.S. and the DPRK? What’s the situation inside of North Korea? And how does this relate to the geopolitics of the region?