Tags: North Korea | michael morell | no way | convince | kim jong un | give up | nukes

Michael Morell: 'No Way to Convince Kim to Give Up Nukes'

Michael Morell: 'No Way to Convince Kim to Give Up Nukes'
Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 24 August 2017 01:52 PM

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell wrote Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jung Un cannot be persuaded to abandon his pursuit of nuclear weapons due to two beliefs.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote recently that "North Korea now faces a choice. Take a new path toward peace, prosperity, and international acceptance, or continue further down the dead alley of belligerence, poverty, and isolation." 

Morell notes in an op-ed for The Cipher Brief that such a choice "seems straightforward, even easy. Why would anyone choose poverty and isolation over prosperity and international acceptance?"

According to the former acting director, "the answer is that Kim does not see the world the way we do. In Kim's world, his current approach — Mattis and Tillerson's "dead alley" — is by far the more attractive option. Indeed, Kim does not see the "new path" as the opportunity we do. Rather, he sees it as a trap."

He continues, "Kim holds two beliefs that lead him to these conclusions. First, Kim believes that the U.S. is intent on removing him and his regime from power and reuniting the Korean Peninsula on South Korea's terms," which Morell says is incorrect, but attributes the genesis of North Korea's nuclear weapons program to this belief.

"Kim sees this capability as the ultimate deterrent against a U.S. attempt to overthrow him," he writes. "In his mind, the North's strategic weapons capability says to the U.S., 'If you move against me, I can bring unimaginable devastation upon you. So, don't mess with me.' To Kim, the 'dead alley,' is essential, and no amount of economic sanctions is likely to change that."

If U.S. diplomats can "convince him that he does not need to go down the 'dead alley' in order to protect himself. This is where Kim's second key belief comes into play.

"Kim also believes that his own politics require that North Korea have an enemy, and that it remain closed to the outside world. He needs an enemy because it is the way he justifies to his people the sacrifices that he asks them to make. And he needs to keep his country closed because he fears that an opening would result in his people seeing the enormous gaps that exist between North Korea and virtually everywhere else in the world."

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Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell wrote Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jung Un cannot be persuaded to abandon his pursuit of nuclear weapons due to two beliefs.
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2017-52-24
Thursday, 24 August 2017 01:52 PM
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