Is there no way that people can talk? Not even when the possibility of war and the future of the planet could be at stake? What is it that stops us from talking out loud, in front of everybody, with the whole world watching? Why not utter transparency?

The situation that has developed between the Democratic People’s Republic of  Korea — more commonly referred to as North Korea — and the United States has deteriorated to the point where the DPRK has publicly threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the U.S., and has put its missile launching mechanisms on full-alert status, awaiting an order to fire from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has flown two B-2 stealth bombers from the U.S. mainland to South Korea, dropped a unarmed payload on a remote targeted area, and returned to their base in the U.S., as part of what America says is nothing more than standard yearly military exercises (but, some observers say, obviously to demonstrate to North Korea the ability of the U.S. to send aircraft not from a Pacific Ocean base — which North Korea could presumably target and destroy with its current missile capability — but directly from the U.S. mainland, to the Korean Peninsula and back again, in very short order).

All of this saber rattling apparently seems to both sides to be preferable to just sitting down and talking about how to resolve what is making everybody so upset.

U.S. sources say privately that it cannot talk directly with the DPRK now, of all times, just when North Korea has conducted both long-range missile firings and underground nuclear tests, both in violation of international arms agreements.

The United Nations Security Council punished North Korea for those violations by imposing even stricter economic sanctions on the reclusive Asian nation, and if the U.S. now opened bi-lateral talks with the DPRK, it would seem to be rewarding that nation for its bad behavior.

The DPRK, for its part, has said no to so-called six-party talks involving itself, South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan in addition to the U.S.  It says it will not engage in such talk unless and until what it calls the “aggression” of the U.S. ends. North Korea blames the U.S. for spearheading the move by the U.N. to continue to impose, and to actually toughen, economic sanctions against the DPRK. It also says that joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises in South Korea are further examples of U.S. “aggression.”

And — apart and aside from the timing just now, following the DPRK’s missile and nuclear weapons tests — why has the U.S., even before now, refused to enter into the one-on-one talks with North Korea that the DPRK has long demanded? The U.S. has repeatedly explained its position, saying it will only speak directly with North Korea if the DPRK unilaterally dismantles its nuclear development program — a program undertaken, the U.S. points out, in direct violation of international non-nuclear-proliferation agreements.

The U.S. position is that it will not reward North Korea’s flaunting of those agreements, because that will just lead to more bad behavior, with the DPRK continually throwing temper and weapons tantrums to get what it wants. The North Korean government, meanwhile, says it has just as much a right to develop nuclear weapons as any of the nations that already have them, and refuses to be bullied by nations that didn’t think twice about developing their own nuclear weaponry, but now want other nations not to do it.

And so, we have a standstill. And a world on the edge of its seat, its people collectively worried about how high tensions can be ratcheted before something horrible happens. North Korea has already invalidated its armistice agreement with the south, and within the past few days has cut off its hotline between the north and the south, put in place to avoid mishaps and misunderstandings.

Part of the problem, U.S. sources say privately, is that even if talks did take place, North Korea has demonstrated that it will not keep its word regarding any agreements that might be reached. It has been alleged that the DPRK has  said before that it would halt nuclear weapons development in exchange for economic and development aid, received that aid, then went ahead and further developed its nuclear capability anyway.

Meanwhile, few people doubt that if North Korea did launch a preemptive attack on any U.S. military base in the Pacific, much less on the U.S. mainland, that it would mean all-out war with America — which could lead to the nuclear holocaust that the world has long feared. Even if North Korea launched a limited military attack on South Korea, the U.S. would be bound by treaty to immediately defend the Korean peninsula’s southern nation. If the situation begins to look a little like children playing with matches in the dynamite room, that’s because it is.

So…what would New Spirituality principles call for in this situation? And what would you do if you were the North Korean leader or the President of the United States? I am most interested in hearing your comments, below.


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