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“Questions for a world on a precipice”
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“Questions for a world on a precipice”

The possibility of a catastrophic standoff among nuclear-armed countries translates into a grave phase and a diplomatic crisis for the rest of the world, writes Ope Adetayo, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos, Nigeria.

It began as an arms race where everyone built an arsenal of devastating magnitude on the pretext of protecting territorial integrity and national security.

But it now has assumed an unprecedented level of confrontation and an unarguable sense of foreboding.

The crisis has been aggravated by the in-your-face rhetoric of both presidents Trump and Kim, especially at the last General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, making the diplomatic emergency more arduous to tackle.

The United Nations and a handful of powerful countries like the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia have meted a varying set of sanctions on North Korea, but the latter in her quest for equilibrium with the United States and her neighbours has not been deterred in the slightest instance. Hence, president Trump asserts that a military solution is a possibility. And this is absolutely horrifying.

While the rest of the world anticipates the final outcome of this verbal confrontation between two of the biggest nuclear-armed countries, there is a palpable atmosphere of anxiety over nearby countries. And there are questions that must be answered: How is the world going to negotiate this landmine? What could be the fallout of a nuclear war, and how can the United Nations possibly ensure a compromise so as to arrest this development? Is military solution not preposterous? Any slight attack will definitely trigger a chain reaction of direct armed conflicts.

Before all these can be satisfactorily answered, there are other questions that are of crucial importance to this discourse. Does the United States of America have the moral right to dictate which country does or does not possess a nuclear arsenal? Does North Korea have a legitimate reason to construct an International Ballistic Missile ammunition system? Is her territorial integrity or national security really threatened? Won’t it be politically unjust for countries with sophisticated weapons to stymie North Korea’s effort to have her nuclear structure?

The non-proliferation and disarmament resolution of the United Nations to checkmate the dangerous upsurge of creation of weapons of mass destruction has become a diplomatic holy grail. The political giants among countries are unyielding in distrust of countries with a  troublesome history related to nuclear weapons – examples are North Korea and Iran – and that creates an impasse.

It is worthy of note that Iran’s nuclear deal, which was brokered courtesy of former President Obama’s administration, is already losing its sanctity owning to some recent violations. This has compounded the headache and increased exponentially the apprehension that surrounds the nuclear power-game.

It cannot be denied that the stability of the world is critically predicated on peaceful international relationships. The military face-off that is looming is a threat to all the visions of the United Nations, and the trend must be seriously curtailed. That is easier said than done, albeit it is the only solution to a world that is now on the edge of a precipice.

For this to be achieved, North Korea must first put an end to her prolific provocation in international waters close to Japan and South Korea, because it is a clear threat to the territorial sovereignty of the neighbouring countries. It must also abandon using dangerously inciting polemic that could trigger unsettling reactions from other nations. A fundamental part of North Korea’s tactic is inflammatory media antics, and these have done damage to multilateral relationships.

A tentative solution has to be pursued by modelling it around the political and economical solution that was offered to Iran. The United States and other powerful nations like China have to propose a compromise that will compel North Korea to abandon her ambition in acquiescence to the United Nations’ resolution of non-proliferation.

The barrage of sanctions is no longer working, or has never worked. What the countries involved in this crisis must tirelessly work to achieve is a diplomatic end. Simultaneously, Iranian nuclear ambition must be kept in check because that deal is a worthy testament to the compelling charm of diplomacy.

If such watershed consensus could be  achieved “without firing a single bullet”, then President Trump should understand that his decisions can be role-modelled around peaceful negotiation no matter how tough it might be. There is no other mutually benefiting option than diplomacy. Even if there was to be a victor in the conflicts, both sides – and unfortunately by extension, the rest of the world – still lose a great deal owing to the numerous attendant results: a markedly scorched Earth which will damage the already-battered climate and cause far more damage; a humanitarian disaster; a refugee crisis;  and a fatal blow to the United Nations.

The answers to these questions shape the future of global politics. We need to huddle together and talk frankly about it before it snowballs beyond reverse.

Reach me on Twitter @Opeadetayo1

photo credit: mikecogh BKK Clouds at Take Off via photopin (license)

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About me: I am Ope Adetayo, an undergraduate of Performing Arts at the University of Ilorin.  I enjoy indelible interest in literary and critical writing, theatre works and journalism among others, which I use as my platform to propagate my ideas, to project a better future for African youths, and to improve its political and humanitarian systems. I am the author of Age and Blood and I hope to write more books in the future.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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