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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Olympics raised the international bar for Korean diplomacy

Political leaders should learn from the powerful symbolism of the Olympian gestures.

An "echo" opinion letter published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper in West Virginia ~

Senators should ensure Trump can't attack North Korea

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games offered an important lesson in diplomacy. Even while political tensions between South Korea and North Korea remain high, athletes from the two countries walked together during the Opening Ceremony’s Parade of Nations. Athletes from both nations were be represented by one Korean Unification Flag.

Political leaders should learn from the powerful symbolism of these gestures.

In recent months, as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have lobbed insults at one another about the strength of their nuclear arsenals, the threat of conflict between our two countries has become increasingly real. This drum beat toward war undermines decades of diplomacy and dialogue that have prevented conflict and slowed nuclear weapon development in North Korea.

To go to war now would be catastrophic. (MaineWriter ~ Now that Donald Trump doesn't have a Secretary of State, he's capable of anything.)

Military experts estimate that, even if such a war did not involve nuclear weapons, it would be lengthy, expensive, would require significant U.S. ground forces and would result in tens of thousands of deaths in just the first few days of fighting on the Korean Peninsula. If the war did involve nuclear weapons, the costs would be all the more substantial.

Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, have been too silent on this issue. However, Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., has introduced a bill (S. 2047) that would bar the president from launching a military attack on North Korea without explicit congressional approval or an imminent threat. 

Signing this bill is an opportunity for senators to support diplomatic efforts over military action and would ensure that the president does not have the unilateral ability to begin a costly and dangerous conflict.

We should urge Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin to co-sponsor bill S. 2047. The stakes are too high for any other option.

Jamie Shinn ~  Morgantown  West Virginia

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