Political Science Instructors Discuss the North Korea Nuclear Threat at Grassroots

Professors Ross Pink and Logan Masilamani ask, “Is Winter Coming?”

KPU Political Science Instructor Ross Pink talks to students about the issues stemming from North Korea’s aggression on the world stage. (Joseph Keller)

“Aggression left unchecked and unchallenged leads to war.”

This quote from President John Kennedy was used by Kwantlen Polytechnic University political science professor Dr. Ross Pink to describe the danger of appeasing the North Korean regime.

Pink spoke alongside his colleague, Dr. Logan Masilamani, at a roundtable discussion held by the university’s political science department at the Grassroots Cafe on Oct. 13. Both instructors presented their take on the complex issue of the North Korean nuclear threat.

“Here’s the big question: Do you want Kim [Jong Un] to get a deliverable nuclear bomb, or do you take him out now?” says Pink. “That’s the issue right now.”

Pink’s view was that North Korea is winning the ongoing nuclear showdown with the United States, arguing that the last four Presidents of the U.S. have erred by failing to reign in the Kim regime. As a result, North Korea is now believed to be five months away from possessing a nuclear weapon deliverable to North American shores.

While he is not a fan of Donald Trump, Pink says that the current President has inherited a nightmarish situation with North Korea and understands the “good cop bad cop” strategy Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson have taken to diplomacy with North Korea.

“Nobody wants a war on the peninsula, but there comes a point where you can’t appease,” says Pink. “That’s the whole lesson on the Nazi regime. They kept appeasing Hitler and then it led to World War II, so my point is that they needed to confront [Kim Jong Il, later Kim Jong Un] years ago.”

Masilamani used a sizable portion of his time to explain the complex history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and how the current situation with North Korea came about. He says that he believes the rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the Trump administration is counterproductive to reaching a peaceful solution.

“In international relations, one thing that keeps the world going is this notion of predictability … In the case of North Korea and the United States of America, the rhetoric, the speech, the language that’s coming from these two political leaders is not helping the cause, and I think someone has to back down,” says Masilamani.

Overall, Masilamani was pleased with how the evening went and how it was received by attendees. He looks forward to being involved in similar discussions in the near future. Possible topics for future discussions according to Masilamani involve the South China Sea dispute, the presidency of Donald Trump, and issues of race.

“[Roundtable discussions] bring to the forefront some of the critical issues that we’re facing right now as a country and as a community,” says Masilamani. “They bring together like-minded individuals. They spread the news and create an engaging community. I think we should have more of these.”