Early in the morning, on a Tuesday, North Korea time, president Joe Biden puts in a call to the ruler of that country. The call is made through a top secret video link that had been cleared days before by people on both sides. The stated topic is nuclear weapons.
Biden – Good morning to you.
Kim – Good afternoon to you.
Biden – Thank you. Kim… you keep firing the missiles… and I’m worried that you might make a mistake.
Kim – I won’t.
Biden – Mistakes can happen to the best of us. We understand you want to be acknowledged… and believe me, we do. We have no intention of harming you or your country in any manner.
Kim – Then lift the sanctions.
Biden – I’m getting there. Kim, it costs a lot of money and effort to build those weapons… money that can go to more productive uses. Let’s discuss the war in Ukraine for a moment. Your friend Putin has talked about firing his missiles at us… but he won’t. You know why?
Kim – You will fire back.
Biden – Exactly. If a city in the West burns, then Moscow and St Petersburg will burn… but Beijing and Shanghai will burn, too. People in Moscow, with their skin falling off because of radioactivity, will go hunting for the man responsible for such atrocity. ‘Where is Putin?’ the angry people will say. And they will find him. I don’t have to tell you what will happen to him when they do.
Kim – You think the same will happen to me?
Biden – Worse. If you hit us, China won’t risk their country to defend you. They have bigger plans.
Kim – Why would the West hit China if Putin hits you with a missile?
Biden – Because they are Putin’s accomplice, and if we let them stand they will continue his war to dominate the world.
Kim – You are wrong, China wants every nation to be free.
Biden – If you want to believe that, good luck. Let me ask you, do you think your people are free?
Kim – Yes.
Biden – Can they say anything they want?
Kim – They understand they must sacrifice… for our glorious future.
Biden – How long, Kim?
Kim – I don’t know.
Biden – Got you. I’ll get to the point. Our present strategy with you is not working. You keep building more weapons and like I said before, I really think you will make a mistake. So here’s my proposal. We would have to work with the United Nations to have it approved but here is what I have in mind.
Kim – I’m listening.
Biden – We would lift all economic sanctions on you… so you could trade with any nation in the world… so long as you abide by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). That way businesses from anywhere could go into your country and employ your people, create goods and services, train your workers, relieve hunger and slowly begin the process of lifting your GDP.
Kim – I will not stop building nuclear weapons.
Biden – We wouldn’t ask you to stop.
Kim – No?
Biden – What we would ask you is not to sell your expertise in nuclear weapons to anyone.
Kim – Hmm. But France does it?
Biden – Yes but they are a mature and responsible nation. Kim, you have to prove yourself first. We can’t have you – in your desperation – selling nuclear expertise to anyone you want.
With this offer, you would have the chance of developing your nation. Technologically, industrially, scientifically. And you and your people will benefit.
Now, we know that you will be tempted to cheat, let companies into your country and then, secretly, try to sell your nuclear expertise to others. But we would have to insist with the companies willing to go into North Korea, that if you violate the agreement, they will have to stop doing business with you immediately.
So you must decide. Again, the United Nations would have to approve this.
I think your people would be very grateful if you agree to this idea.
Kim – I’ll have to think about it.
Biden – Of course. Think of what the West did for China when we went in with all our companies. China, on its own, would not be where they are now without the West. Sadly, they’re now choosing to deny our contributions to their development and think they have all the answers.
Eventually, your political system will have to change to take maximum advantage of what the rest of the world has to offer, but that will take many years, more than your present life expectancy… so you will die while still in power.
Kim – I’ll have to think about it.
Biden – Take your time. One final note. Ukraine will win the war against Russia. The winds of freedom are blowing and they have reached Iran. I predict that the mullahs will fall and a woman will emerge as leader of that country. And they will be pro western.
That will stop Iran’s interference in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and create conditions for more positive political changes throughout the Middle East.
Kim – I predict the mullahs will repress that protest movement.
Biden – Time will tell. So that’s all I have for you today. Hope you consider the proposal.
Kim – I will.
Biden – Oh, almost forgot. I was thinking of sending you a present…
Kim – What?
Biden – A pair of my favorite aviator glasses.
Kim – I won’t be able to use them when I meet with Putin or Xi but send them anyway. I’ll use them when I go fishing.
Biden – Okay. Have a good day.
Kim – Good night.