Let’s Just Buy Them

I wonder if anyone of the U.S. representatives that has bargained with North Korea in the past has considered, or even offered, to just buy their nukes to get the process started.

The estimates I’ve seen for the total cost of Kim’s nuclear program are between $1-3 billion. To the U.S., that’s spare change, so why not just buy them?

NK is thought to have about 60 nukes. Offer $500 million cash for each complete warhead successfully delivered to Oak Ridge for decommissioning. That’s $30 billion total, giving Kim at least a 1000% return on investment if he spent $3 billion to get them. An infusion of cash nearly three times his country’s GDP (12 billion) would be hard to turn down, even if he just uses it to build better torture chambers and more statues of himself.

To us, it would be completely worth it, even if we paid twice that. $60 billion is a bargain to avoid a nuclear exchange, and $30 billion is a steal.

Kim could try to game this. He could turn over 50 or so older warheads, collect $25 billion, and keep 10 or more modern ones, losing very little capacity to strike. But we could combine the offer with insistence on unrestricted inspection, not shipping or paying for them except all at once after confirming we have all of them, and sweeten the deal by placing zero restrictions or expectations on how the money could be spent and signing a peace treaty. Now that would be something.

In any case, as complicated as that would be to arrange, all that would really only be Step 1 of disarmament. Next would be deals for the missiles, the reactors, the technology, the facilities – all the apparatus to start it all easily would have to be destroyed and then constantly checked forever afterward. That’s what Trump can’t understand. This is not like buying a hotel. I struggle to come up with a sufficient parallel. The scope of Superfund comes to mind.

 

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