Price of peace with North Korea

Regarding the May 8 front-page AFP article “N. Korea moves missiles from coast” and related stories: Is it better to rent or own? It’s an age-old debate and one where the White House has drawn a line in the sand right along the 38th Parallel.

On Monday, the U.S. point man on Asia, Daniel Russell, clearly voiced that line: “We and the world will not try to rent a little peace and quiet by acceding to North Korean demands.”

His warning set the stage for last week’s sit-down between U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun Hye. The two allies are making a big show about locking arms as they lock horns with North Korea.

While that heated confrontation appears to be cooling off, the United States isn’t backing down. It’s not about to rent peace from anybody. Why should it?

Anybody who has played the board game Monopoly knows that renting is for losers. The U.S. plays to win and will pay any price for peace on its own terms. Then again anybody who has rolled the Monopoly dice knows that when you own “Park Place” and “Boardwalk,” as the U.S. does, forking over the rent for “Oriental Avenue” is something you do with a chuckle. It’s a pittance when you weigh it against the price of an all-out war.

In reality, renting (either a home or international peace) has its advantages. When you’re a renter, you never have to weed or plant a lawn, let alone weed out an insurgency or sow the seeds of democracy on inhospitable terrain.

You don’t ever need an exit strategy. When it’s time to go, you just pack everything into the back of a van and hit the road. Most importantly you never pay with your life or the life of another, and that’s a price Americans know all too well.

j.t. cassidy

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.