The world watched with bated breath as North Korea’s delegation attended the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, hoping that the seemingly innocuous olive branch extended by the divided Koreas might somehow lead to averting the war that’s been looming over their peninsula for months. Kim Jong Un’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and increasingly advanced ballistic missile platforms intended to deliver them, have recently propelled Kim’s aggressive rhetoric outside the boundaries of bluster, and into the the realm of unignorable, legitimate threats against America’s very existence.
Now, it would seem that the two leaders may actually meet, at a place and time that has yet to be determined, in order to discuss the future of the Korean peninsula.
With Trump in one corner and Kim in the other, it had appeared that neither leader was willing to back down, prompting concerns that Trump’s ‘fight fire with fire” approach might result in the world itself burning. Instead, however, it would appear that the recent slew of sanctions set in place by the Trump administration and United Nations may finally have been enough to force Kim to the negotiating table – and to the casual observer, this outcome may seem logical.
Sanctions are the primary weapon afforded to diplomats, and in a battle of financial attrition, it seemed clear that the United States would emerge on top. What hasn’t been clear, however, has been Kim’s willingness to accept such a public defeat.