By Adam Dick
“We’ve been here before,” College of William & Mary Professor Lawrence Wilkerson declared in a Monday The Real News interview in which he relates his less-than-optimistic take on an anticipated meeting between North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and United States President Donald Trump. The meeting’s purposes would apparently include reducing tensions between the two nations and preventing a major military conflict from arising in the Korean region.
Wilkerson, in making this comment, is referring to talks in North Korea capital Pyongyang in the latter months of the Bill Clinton administration between then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Kim Jong-Un’s predecessor and father Kim Jong-il. The expected follow-up visit by Clinton to Pyongyang never materialized. Further, the prior progress was lost in the succeeding George W Bush administration, in which Wilkerson explains that Bush had gathered around him “people like Dick Cheney and John Bolton and others who had made it a point of life to eliminate the agreed framework that Bill Clinton had negotiated with North Korea.” Wilkerson saw much of this firsthand as he notes he was “more or less the right-hand man” of Secretary of State Colin Powell “for actions vis-à-vis North Korea and South Korea” at the State Department, where Wilkerson was Powell’s chief of staff.
Again, Wilkerson expects peace will not be secured due to failures on the US side. In fact, Wilkerson says in the interview that he believes the meeting between the US and North Korea leaders will most likely not happen and that — if it does happen — he does not expect the discussions will result in a peace treaty to truly end the Korean War, which has merely been on a decades-long pause with a cease-fire and demilitarized zone, or in ending the US-South Korea alliance and the presence of US military forces in South Korea.
Among the impediments to reaching such a deal, explains Wilkerson, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity’s Academic Board, is that there will be “a tremendous bureaucratic battle” to maintain the US military presence in South Korea. In this regard, Wilkerson offers as a historical comparison the opposition that met President Jimmy Carter when Carter unsuccessfully sought to reduce the US military presence in South Korea as a potential step toward a full exit. Meanwhile, Wilkerson argues, it “has been a policy of the Kim dynasty since 1954, 1955” to get a peace treaty “by having the United States sit down with it, preferably in Pyongyang, and talk.”
Watch Wilkerson’s complete interview here:
The above originally appeared at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.