What’s happening on the Korean peninsula?
Those of us observing the situation from the other side of the world can’t be exactly sure. However, impending elections in South Korea appear to be changing the calculus on a diplomatic crisis that had many Americans quite worried.
In recent weeks, the American media cycle had allocated many thousands of hours of coverage to talking heads dissecting diplomatic gridlock from all angles: how six party talks might not be possible or yield further resolution, how our only hope is to hang on China, how Trump’s word could escalate a situation already hanging like the sword of Damocles above our collective vision of mutually assured destruction.
Now, South Korean candidate Moon Jae-In appears to be a vehicle of international hope, that perhaps the North and the South can contribute to solving the conflict which has spun so far beyond their borders.
A May 5 Reuters piece herald’s Jae-in’s arrival to prominence, citing efforts to re-open the Kae-Song Industrial Zone and pursue “Sunshine Policy” with the North.
At least one shade-tree political analyst in the United States believes the U.S. owes Jae-In a word of gratitude, and a prayer of enabling, for doing something that he feels America should have done weeks ago.
Itinerant carpenter and political scholar Ken West has been alerting the Charlottesville, VA community about the threat of nuclear war for the past two months, suggesting that food aid and a white flag of peace could prevent cataclysm in Korea. Now, he interprets current NPR reports as assertions that Jae-Ins government is poised to solve a diplomatic problem with “rice balls and $20 bills,” the very same fodder that he has repeatedly advised peacemakers to deliver to the impoverished North Koreans.
While admitting such a move could be seen as a provocation by the North if done by American planes, West has nevertheless been vocally persistent in his efforts to persuade Americans that such a message of love and peace is crucial to their survival. Now, he sees the South Korean candidate as having the potential to deliver that message and save the world.