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Could North Korea Be the Cuba of North Korea?

Could North Korea Be the Cuba of North Korea?

One of the big questions coming out of last week’s historic Korea summit is: what does Kim Jong-un actually want out of all of this feelgood summitry?


One possible answer, presented over the weekend, is that Mr Kim will give up his nuclear weapons in exchange for a promise from the US not to invade his country.

Interesting. The North Koreans have often pointed to the grim fates of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein as examples of what happens when you give up WMDs (or fail to develop them). Neither of those men, of course, ever got an explicit promise from the US not to invade.

The only example we can think of in which Washington has done such a thing (hat tip to Willis, resident expert on the 1960s) came in 1962 when US President John F Kennedy defused the Cuban Missile Crisis by assuring Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev that the US wouldn’t invade Cuba provided the island stayed verifiably free of nuclear weapons. Sure enough, half a century later, Fidel Castro died in his bed rather than at the wrong end of a bayonet or a noose.

Could Kim hope for a similar outcome? We’re skeptical. Cuba after 1962 posed almost no military threat to the US or its allies, making it relatively easy for JFK to forswear action against the country, particularly given the real possibility that the Soviets would have intervened on Havana’s behalf.

But North Korea today maintains the world’s fourth largest standing army, a formidable conventional force that could easily threaten South Korea, Japan, or US troops in the region. It’s hard to see the Trump administration tying itself to a no-invasion promise given the strategic challenges that even a denuclearized North Korea would pose.

Of course, if you’re Kim, you’re also aware that a promise not to invade isn’t the same thing as a promise not to send, say, an oversized exploding mollusk to kill you while you are scuba diving (you have to click on this link, do it.) All of which is to say, it’s hard to imagine the US making — or Kim believing — a promise not to invade the North.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

The long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh erupted over the weekend, with more than 50 killed (so far) in the fiercest fighting in years. Will it escalate into an all-out war that threatens regional stability and drags in major outside players?

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On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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Watch Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

A new war breaking out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, not a new conflict. They've been fighting over contested territory that used to be a part of the Azeri Soviet Socialist Republic. Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region. It was taken by the Armenians. It's a mostly Armenian enclave in terms of population. It's been contested since that military fight. There's been ongoing negotiations. The Azeris a number of months ago tried some shelling. They got pasted. This time around, it's war and for a few reasons.

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Join us tomorrow, September 29th, at 11 am ET for a GZERO Town Hall livestream event, Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn about the latest in the global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch here at 11am ET: https://www.gzeromedia.com/events/town-hall-ending-the-covid-19-pandemic-livestream/

Our panel will discuss where things really stand on vaccine development, the political and economic challenges of distribution, and what societies need to be focused on until vaccine arrives in large scale. This event is the second in a series presented by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group.

Apoorva Mandavilli, science & global health reporter for the New York Times, will moderate a conversation with:

  • Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gayle E. Smith, President & CEO, ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

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