It didn’t take long for the leader of North Korea to upset plans for denuclearization. Can the effort be saved? Ray Zinn wades into international waters in this Tough Things First podcast with guest host Rob Artigo.
Rob Artigo: That’s me, Rob Artigo, your guest host for this edition of the Tough Things First podcast. I’m a writer and an expert researcher/investigator being invited back. It’s always a pleasure. Hi Ray.
Ray Zinn: Hello Rob. Good to have you here.
Rob Artigo: The hopes of the President Trump meeting with Kim Jong-un regarding an end to North Korea’s nuclear program quickly went from what seemed like a victory to now apparently North Korea expanding its nuclear program. Why is nuclear non-proliferation which is obviously what they’re trying to accomplish with North Korea, why is nuclear non-proliferation in the world important when we already have so many countries that have a massive nuclear arsenal?
Ray Zinn: Nuclear weapons are the issue of course. Using nuclear power or using nuclear energy for peaceful things are okay. It’s just when they decide to start using them for weapons and by the way, it’s not just nuclear. It’s also these weapons of mass destruction, chemical, nerve, other types of weapons. The fact that we’re talking about nuclear, denuclearization, bombs, nuclear bomb [inaudible 00:01:49], we’re also talking about weapons that have been outlawed since the Second World War or actually First World War using mushroom gas and so forth. It’s not just nuclear. Any time people use weapons which have the potential of mass destruction, whether it be through biological, chemical, whatever, that’s what Trump was trying to work out with Kim Jong-un and so let’s don’t confuse what he was trying to do vis a vis this meeting compared to what you hear on the radio or the news about denuclearization as being the only issue. That’s not correct.
Rob Artigo: There is a movie which I’ll mention the title to but I remember a scene in this particular movie where they were talking about North Korea, they were talking to Kim Jong-il, Un’s dad, and the fact that he was building nukes and they said, “Look, if you don’t stop doing this, we’re gonna send you a very stern letter,” and that was the most they could do to threaten North Korea if they keep trying to get their nukes is that they will send them a very stern letter and it’s the joke because in the past, the world body, led by the United States, has tried to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program as well as Iran and other places and never does anything of any sort that actually has any teeth.
Ray Zinn: It’s the same thing Rob with immigration or with trade. If you don’t have any teeth … [inaudible 00:03:25] this NATO thing. If you don’t have any teeth in what you’re saying, then of course people are just gonna ignore you if it helps them or benefits them. It used to be when you drove in a carpool lane it was like a $25.00 fine or something, some small number. They had to increase it to close to $300.00 or $400.00 before people would start looking at it and say, “Maybe I don’t want to be in a carpool lane.” The citizenry have to make it powerful enough and viable so that whoever it is that you’re trying to convince otherwise listens to you and so this line in the sand that we’ve set in the past, “Oh, if you cross this line, this is gonna be the end,” and so we’ve been a paper tiger. This is the thing that Trump is turning around and saying, “You know something? You don’t want to cross the line because with me, when you cross a line, you’re done. It’s the end.” So what he’s shown is that in every single things, whatever it is he’s promised, he’s gonna do, he carries it through and so now people say, “You know, when Trump says something, he means it. There’s teeth in it. There’s no longer this bunch of hot air.”
Rob Artigo: When I was in Iraq, we used to joke about the idea of a ceasefire. Because what we learned was that to many of these Middle Eastern military leaders, whether it’s a large organized army or some faction of some tribe somewhere with a leader at its helm, that when they want a ceasefire, what they would do is agree to a ceasefire for a certain period of time and we knew that what that meant was they weren’t trying to find an avenue for peace, but they needed to reset and rearm so they needed time to do that. In negotiating a temporary truce, it wasn’t a means to an end which was peace, it was a means to an end which was soon they’ll fight us again and they’ll be healthy and they’ll be well-fed and they’ll have more guns and ammo and everything else.
Ray Zinn: It’s like calling a timeout. Timeout, I need to go to the bathroom or timeout, I need to go have dinner. It’s that sort of thing that it’s really not a peace negotiation, it’s called a timeout. Now in the case of North Korea, we have not backed off on the sanctions and Kim Jong-un knows based on what the experience with Trump after the year and a half is that he’s gonna do even more. In other words, he’s gonna make this so unpleasant that at some point if I don’t stop doing this nonsensical stuff, worse bad things are gonna happen. That’s the story and so if you are a person who you’re a man of your word, you say, “If you do this, here’s what I’m gonna do,” and you follow through, then the other side’s more likely to listen. I think that’s the point that we want to make in this podcast is that be a person of your word. Don’t be wishy-washy, don’t say, “Well, okay, but next time, I’m gonna give you a second, third, fourth and fifth chance.” When you put the red line in the sand, whether it be with an employee, whether it be with a customer or a vendor, you better be able to have some teeth in that or they’re just not gonna fall through and listen.
Rob Artigo: You can have a meeting with somebody where they agree to work with you on something, but if they fail you and then you don’t take the appropriate follow-on steps, then they’re just gonna keep taking advantage of you and we’ve talked about trade, we’ve talked about immigration on this show, we’ve talked about a lot of different things whereas if you prove to be wishy-washy, then you’ll lose out in the long run. You oughta be a person who calculates, makes appropriate decisions, honest, fair decisions, but at the same time if you’re negotiating in good faith, then you have to be able to follow through if the other side reneges.
Ray Zinn: Yeah, whether you’re a parent, whether you’re a leader of a company, whether you’re a schoolteacher, whatever your occupation is, whatever the relationship is, you have to be a person that follows through because if you don’t follow through, you’re gonna have a tiger with no teeth.
Rob Artigo: Join the conversation at toughthingsfirst.com. Your questions and comments are always welcome. You can even pitch Ray a few ideas, a few topics if you’d like, some things you’d like to hear about here. You may even choose to be a host on this very show and talk to Ray yourself about whatever your issue is. So give us an idea of your background, tell us what you like to talk about and perhaps you’ll find yourself with a slot here on the Tough Things First podcast and you can find that. Again, make that contact at toughthingsfirst.com. Follow Ray Zinn on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and also Ray Zinn’s book, Tough Things First is out there on Amazon and his new book, The Zen of Zinn is available everywhere. Thank you Ray.
Ray Zinn: Thank you.