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Peace for Korea?

Peace for Korea?

South Korea’s President Moon will meet North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim next Friday at the southern side of the demilitarized zone between the two countries, where they’re expected to discuss an official end to the Korean War. (The 1953 armistice was essentially a ceasefire; the two countries remain technically at war.) President Trump says, “they have my blessing on that” and he revealed that he had sent CIA Director (and Secretary of State-designate) Mike Pompeo to North Korea for secret talks with Kim over Easter weekend.


First, the questions:

  • Would a “peace agreement” persuade South Korea to ask the US to withdraw its 28,500 troops from the peninsula or disarm them for deployment solely as “peacekeepers?” Would Trump agree to that?
  • Would an agreement between Moon and Kim eliminate the demilitarized zone?
  • Would Kim agree to let North Koreans watch all the South Korean TV shows they want? Allow all North Koreans to visit South Korea? Allow South Koreans to travel anywhere they want in North Korea?
  • If the answer to all these questions is “of course not, are you high?” what difference would a peace agreement make? Peace is better than war, but what would prevent Kim from tearing up such a deal anytime he wants? It’s not like North Korea has never cheated before.

Now, the suspicions:

  • Kim knows an “end to the war” agreement with Moon won’t move a single US troop or a single landmine.
  • He also knows his peace proposal and the US refusal to move troops can drive a wedge between the US and South Korea and allow him to cast Donald Trump as the #1 obstacle to peace. He risks nothing by playing this game.
  • If his meeting with Trump ever takes place, Kim might offer to “denuclearize” in exchange for a US troop withdrawal because, even without nuclear weapons, he knows he has enough conventional military power to kill millions of South Koreans. (South Korean officials say Kim is willing to talk without such preconditions.) And he knows this threat would be more credible without thousands of American soldiers standing in the way.

The bottom line: Trump talks about this meeting as if Kim is coming to surrender. North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and the threat they pose the US mainland, will always be Kim’s best defense against US invasion. He won’t give them away unless he believes he no longer needs them. What can Trump offer that could persuade him of that?

No peace treaty, no pledge from Trump, not even a promise from China can offer Kim the peace of mind his weapons provide. Everything else is a piece of paper.

Microsoft released a new annual report, called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware. Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that steps are taken to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies, and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication. Microsoft summarized some of the most important insights in this year's report, including related suggestions for people and businesses.

Read the whole post and report at Microsoft On The Issues.

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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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

The enormous scale of the coronavirus pandemic was captured earlier this week as the global death toll surpassed 1 million people. As the weight of the grim milestone sunk in, the New York Times noted that COVID-19 has now killed more people this year than the scourges of HIV, malaria, influenza, and cholera — combined. While some countries like Germany and South Korea are models in how to curb the virus' spread through social distancing and mask wearing, other countries around the world have recently seen caseloads surge again, raising fears of a dreaded "second wave" of infections. Here's a look at countries where the per-capita caseload has spiked in recent days.

Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

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