In light of increasingly dangerous rhetoric and the risk of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula, on October 30th Tech4GS joined forces with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and the Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley to discuss the true nature of the threats facing the region and how everyday citizens can get involved and actually have an impact.
Joining the discussion was an illustrious panel including the Honorable Dr. William J. Perry, the former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens and Dr. Jeffrey Lewis of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Gloria Duffy, the president and CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California, moderated the discussion.
It became clear through the course of the discussion that the lack of open channels for dialogue, as had existed in the past, severely constrains options for ratcheting back tensions between the United States and North Korea. Much was discussed in terms of what the United States and other nations have done in the past to create diplomatic space and alternatives for North Korea's future - and it was reiterated that the only solution short of catastrophe must come through similar diplomatic means. The panelists made clear that while they felt that would still be a challenge - in light of the current situation in Washington as well as in the region - that renewed efforts must be undertaken to avoid what would inevitably be a calamitous outcome if military action were to break out on the peninsula. The panelists all concurred that the North Koreans do not seek war - that their actions, while provocative and inherently destabilizing, are the result of a regime acting out of its interest in simply surviving.
Dr. Perry concluded the evening by reminding the room - which included a large number of young attendees from Santa Clara University - that making their voices heard with their representatives in Washington still makes a difference, particularly in light of legislation being proposed to require Congressional approval in advance of any preventative military action by the United States.
The event was recorded and can be accessed here: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/podcast/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-and-threat-war
The recording is also set to air this Thursday, November 9 at 7 pm on KLIV AM (1590).
-Philip Reiner, Executive Director