Is peace with North Korea actually on the horizon?
New developments seem to suggest so. Relations between North Korea and South Korea are improving by the day, and Kim Jong-Un appears willing to denuclearize in exchange for national security and the lifting of sanctions.
President Trump responded with an extremely vague tweet.
Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2018
Let’s go searching for some more concrete answers within the odds.
|Odds North Korea begins denuclearizing by 2019||6/1|
|Over/Under date of next ballistic missile test by North Korea||July 4th, 2018|
Kim Jong-Un is willing to start talking about denuclearization. Emphasis on “talking.” The North Korean dictator is ready to negotiate with the United States, which could potentially lead to him giving up his nuclear weapons and normalizing relations with the rest of the world.
If you’re not feeling very optimistic, you’re not alone. The US has marched down this road before and ended up walking in circles. Still, this is a huge improvement from Trump and Kim Jong-Un arguing over who has the larger nuclear button.
The North Korean leader is only willing to part with his nuclear arsenal once “the military threat to North Korea is resolved.” What that actually means is anyone’s guess. In his usual way, Trump spoke on the issue without committing to anything in particular.
2017 was an eventful year for the North Koreans, with two Missile launches and a nuclear test. The North Korean government claimed they detonated a hydrogen bomb, but that hasn’t been verified yet. Whatever it is, their tests are occurring more regularly.
|Peace agreement with South Korea||1/1|
|Lifting of Sanctions||4/1|
|Negotiations with US||7/1|
|A US Missile Strike||25/1|
|A Tweet from Trump||200/1|
|The 2018 Winter Olympics||200/1|
|First Draft in the NBA||250/1|
|A Pee Tape Held by the Russians||300/1|
Relations between South and North Korea haven’t been this amiable is quite some time. Their Olympic athletes marched under a unified banner at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics this year, South and North Korean officials have resumed denuclearization talks, and a momentous meeting between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-Un is scheduled for April. If Kim Jong-Un ultimately decides to give up his nukes, he’ll probably credit the South Koreans first and foremost.
Negotiations with the US will probably play a significant role as well. Kim Jong-Un will demand that the US lift its sanctions on the impoverished nation and also guarantee their security. Trump’s tweets, however, probably won’t play a huge role.
China definitely can’t be ignored in all of this, either. China and North Korea had close diplomatic relations in the past, but those relations have soured in recent years. North Korea accounts for about half of all Chinese foreign aid, which China can use as a bargaining chip with Kim Jong-Un.
|Fill South Korean Ambassador and North Korea Special Representative vacancies||1/2|
|Take credit for North Korean denuclearization||2/1|
Trump withdrew his pick for ambassador to South Korea after candidate opposed the idea of a preemptive strike against North Korea. This happened in January, and the position still remains open. The Special Representative for North Korea Policy retired last week, citing “personal reasons.” We don’t know exactly why he chose to leave, but he joins a growing list of staffers under Trump who have chosen to walk.
There are hundreds of top government jobs under Trump still unfilled, so the Koreans could be waiting a while before the vacancies are dealt with. Will those seats be taken before Trump takes credit for North Korean Denuclearization, though?
That depends on whether denuclearization ever happens. If it does, we know Trump will definitely take credit.
|Odds Trump vows to stop threatening North Korea and Kim Jong Un via Twitter||50/1|
If Trump is going to continue to threaten his own Cabinet members and appointees, then he sure as hell will continue firing off threats to foreign adversaries, 280 characters at a time.
It’s hard to look past North Korea when it comes to this prop. Kim Jong-Un claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb and has held three nuclear tests since 2016. Until recently, Trump and Kim Jong-Un were locked in a war of words, and it seemed both were willing to escalate the situation.
Iran is also one to watch. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which would shake things up to say the least. Putin recently claimed to have “invincible” nuclear weapons with “unlimited range.” That may be a gross exaggeration, but it shows that the Russian government is prepared to escalate the nuclear arms race. And let’s not be so quick to dismiss the US, the only nation to use a nuclear weapon in combat.
There are eight nuclear-armed nations — USA, Russia, China, France, England, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel — and many more that would like to join the group.
Iran is the likeliest nation to become the next nuclear-armed nation. Saudi Arabia, with their close ties to Pakistan, have the ability to obtain nuclear weapons. Especially if Iran tries to go nuclear, the Saudis will not want to cede power in the region by missing out.
Other than North Korea, no other nuclear nation is under pressure to denuclearize. Under Trump, the US has drastically hiked defense spending and Putin recently bragged about Russia’s new and improved nuclear weapons. Pakistan may face pressure to denuclearize in the future, but there’s little talk of that at the moment. For now, the arms race continues.
|Russia acknowledges state-sanctioned doping at the Olympics and agrees to stop||15/1|
|Trump rejoins Paris Climate Accord||30/1|
|BrEnter (Britain rejoins the EU)||30/1|
|India and Pakistan resolve their differences||50/1|
|Peace in the Middle East||100/1|
|Territorial disputes in the South China Sea are resolved||100/1|
|Qatar wins a World Cup||200/1|
All extremely unlikely. Russia faces more bans in athletic competitions but still deny the existence of a state-sponsored doping program. Trump pulled out of the Climate Accord and never looked back. Brexit negotiations are going terribly but it seems too late to back out. And all the major international conflicts continue to rage on.
C’est la vie.
|Odds Trump and Kim Jong-Un meet in May 2018||1/1|
Border walls, term limits for congress, a hiring freeze on federal employees: Trump says he’s going to do lots of things, and then does not do lots of those things. The proposed meeting with Jong-Un has already been called “half-baked” by the Guardian, and the fact that he seems to have accepted it unconditionally is going to be roundly criticized. This president has never been one to heed such criticism, but there’s good reason none of his predecessors accepted such invitations from Pyongyang in the past.
|Korean Demilitarized Zone||1/3|
The DMZ is the heavy favorite. Trump is not going to Pyongyang, and Kim Jong-Un is almost certainly not leaving the Peninsula, period.
|A Trump (Twitter) attack on Kim Jong-Un||8/1|
|Negative publicity in the US||9/1|
|Kim Jong-Un insulting Donald Trump||9/1|
|A new North Korean missile test||12/1|
|Trump’s common sense||49/1|
If there’s one thing these two love more than themselves, it’s insulting each other.
|End to sanctions||1/9|
|To remain a nuclear state||1/3|
|Removal of US military bases from the Korean Peninsula||1/2|
|An official end to the Korean War/td>||1/1|
|LeBron James to be traded to the North Korean national basketball team||99/1|
|A trip to Mars aboard a SpaceX craft||499/1|
|Tickets to see Hamilton||999/1|
Fun fact: the Korean War is still going!
|President Trump goes to prison||1/99|
|An African American wins Best Director at the Oscars||1/25|
|Ivanka Trump stands trial||1/25|
|Jared Kushner goes to jail||1/19|
|Donald Jr. stands trial||1/9|
|Melania Trump files for divorce||1/7|
|Tom Brady retires||1/6|
|Conor McGregor returns to the UFC||1/2|
|James Harden wins NBA MVP||1/2|
|Tiger Woods wins a PGA tournament||1/1|
|The 2018 Marlins win 10 games||3/1|
|The 2018 Kentucky Derby (May 5)||3/1|
|Stormy Daniels does a tell-all interview||99/1|
|After the meeting||2/7|
|Before the meeting||5/1|
|During the meeting||18/1|
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