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Our Expert Voices conversation on North Korea

How does the threat posed by North Korea end? There are many "hard landing" scenarios. War. Regime collapse. A premature exit by Kim Jong Un that leads to a military junta or another family member taking over. There aren't many "soft landings" except for maybe the "China model," a process where the North liberalizes its economy like China did in the late 1970s and slowly becomes a more responsible, if not particularly appealing, country. The problem with all these scenarios is the nuclear weapons remain — or worse — they are used.

The Lesson of Nuclear History: Use Diplomacy. During the nuclear age, dozens of countries started down the path to nuclear weapons but reversed course. And there are cases where countries that acquired or inherited nuclear weapons gave them up outright. Often, that happy result was accomplished not through war but diplomacy – agreements that stopped or rolled back a nuclear weapons program.

But we can't negotiate with a murderous, evil regime, right? Well actually, we do it all the time, and thank God, because it has protected our national security. Nuclear agreements with the gulag building Soviet Union? Yep. How about the terror supporting, Israel hating Colonel Gaddafi in Libya? Check. Talking to your adversary is not a reward; it's how you protect yourself and your interests. When the North Koreans are at the table they are better behaved, the danger of war through miscalculation and misperception declines, and with an agreement, you can freeze or even roll back that nuclear program.

Bottom line: No negotiation? Well, you better start preparing for that hard landing.

Other voices:

Go deeper

Kenosha shooting lawsuit accuses police of coordinating with militia

Police and protesters confront in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The only survivor of a fatal shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests last year has accused law enforcement in a lawsuit of conspiring with a "band of white nationalist vigilantes," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Of note: Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is due to stand trial on Nov. 1, accused of wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, who filed the suit, and killing two other people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 25, 2020. He's pleaded not guilty to charges including homicide and attempted homicide and maintains he fired in self-defense.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro.

6 hours ago - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.