A Diplomatic Triumph

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Jun 2018 10:18:05

“The Kim-Trump meet will remain a historic exercise and the attempt of the two leaders to make a truce and come down to a solution from their high seats of arrogance and recalcitrance is praiseworthy.”


Nuclear disarmament is the buzzword today, as it has been for the last several decades and even if the stockpile has not been reduced drastically by most counties, escalation in further production has certainly seen some stabilisation.


THE Kim Jong Un-Trump summit in Singapore was the point of global attention through the week. The much-hyped and anticipated historic meeting towards de-nuking the Korean peninsula can go a long way in stabilising the volatile and fragile strategic and diplomatic scenario of the South Asian region.


US interference in the policy of North Korea and bringing the maverick leader to the table is in itself an achievement that will to some extent dampen the overbearing Chinese influence on Kim. This breakthrough can be called a diplomatic triumph of the Trump administration.


The internal fault lines in his country notwithstanding, this is also a prudent move by Kim to break bread with the US and be a part of the mainstream global dialogue. The isolation of North Korea has made its people suffer and Kim could very well guess what the future portended if he stuck to his obstinacy.


Therefore, it was becoming pertinent for him to find ways to resolve the crisis that was only escalating with time. The two leaders were in the war of words for long and the nuclear brinkmanship both the leaders showed forebode a catastrophic consequence not just for the countries and their people but for the world at large.


Luckily, both countries exercised cautioned and avoided rashness which gradually thawed the tension. The US very dexterously used the carrot and stick policy to tame Pyongyang and treaded the narrow diplomatic line with the right effect to make the best of it. It exerted the right pressures at the right places stirring Kim’s survival instincts.


Kim was made to see the benefits of aligning with the US, pestered by the sanctions as it is, and the US extending the guarantee of security to it further boosted the chances of a de-nuking sequence. For India, the good news is that the Korean intentions are related to the China-Pakistan axis and if Kim embraces peace and debunks much Chinese clout in its affairs, Pakistan’s anti-India strategies are bound to weaken.


The proliferation conduits connecting Pakistan to North Korea and China largely set off the former’s missile programme. Kim’s change of stance will also weaken the unilateral Chinese expansionist policy and set back its target of holding undisputed sway in the region. The US, on the other hand, will gain a stronger footing in the same space which it has been eyeing for long and thus undercut Chinese aspirations of any greater dominance.


A more prominent US hand in the affairs of the region will boost India’s role too, which today is largely hijacked by China. India latched on to the earliest window of opportunity thrown up by the positive developments and weeks before Singapore meet, she sent her junior Foreign Minister V K Singh to Kim to pick up the lost threads of the traditional camaraderie the countries shared.


India used to be North Korea’s third largest trade partner before the clampdown regime. Thus, theoretically at least, the Trump administration has shot two birds with one stone – first is to force North Korea to take up de-nuking efforts and second, to increase its own influence in the region. As a spin-off, India became a beneficiary in some ways because of her pro-US stance.


But now comes the practicality of all this and the question of how much this peace talk shapes the possibilities of extended peace. It is true that despite promises,
Kim will not play the fool in dismantling all his nuke establishments voluntarily or hastily, especially after seeing how Gaddafi gave in to the US lures and how the Syrian leader was brought down by the US in violation of various clauses of the treaty that assured safety and immunity to him.


Kim won’t step into the same pitfall. He will buy time and do cosmetic manoeuvrings which will ‘prove’ his seriousness and commitment but the safety catch will still be under his control, which he can release at will. China’s influence, though marginally displaced, would still play a big role in guiding Kim.


He took a Chinese jet to fly to Singapore! Chinese help in its economy and polity cannot be understated. When the world stood against it, China remained its trusted ally and big brother. Kim won’t ditch China as yet for the US, whose slyness and treachery is not unknown. The cultural semblances between China and Korea further strengthen the traditional bonding which will never be easy to break.
China too on its part would be reluctant to give space to the US in the region and thus only intensify its stranglehold on North Korea. Chinese motives are intricately related to the political and economic situation in the countries of the region and thus it will exercise its best diplomatic leverage or military coercion to keep the flock aligned to its interests.


Any intrusion by the US in the space will disturb the power balance that China is aggressively tilting towards itself. The greater picture that emerges is the possibility of an increased uneasiness in the China-US relations as the latter seeks its greater presence and control in this geopolitical domain.


Nevertheless, the Kim-Trump meet will remain a historic exercise and the attempt of the two leaders to make a truce and come down to a solution from their high seats of arrogance and recalcitrance is praiseworthy. Nuclear disarmament is the buzzword today, as it has been for the last several decades and even if the stockpile has not been reduced drastically by most counties, escalation in further production has certainly seen some stabilisation.


There is always a fear of nuke missiles falling into the wrong hands and Kim certainly poses such a danger. It was thus important for the US to tone down the abrasive rhetoric and talk sense so that the ‘rogue’ nation could be strategically brought under some sort of democratic formula and thereby the changes of a flare-up could be scuttled without violence or further breakdown of communication.


That both countries responded to the occasion and created a conducive space for a constructive dialogue where there was none, is a step in the right direction. It sets up a new platform where a sustained engagement between the two sparring nations through better communication of each other’s concerns is possible.


By the way, the momentum thus set, if duly utilised and further boosted through sagacious exploration of more positive partnerships in diverse spheres, can go a long way in easing tensions and brokering global peace. A nuclear annihilation for the wrong decisions and egoistic intentions of a few leaders is the last thing the world will want, given the precarious position it is in.