September 27, 2017

Protestors Call for “Diplomacy, Not War” With North Korea

By Donald Gilpin

About 50 people, many carrying signs, gathered in Palmer Square at noon on Saturday to rally for diplomacy, not war with North Korea.

In a demonstration organized by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) in response to heated rhetoric and threats, including President Trump’s threat at the United Nations last week to “totally destroy” North Korea, eight different speakers called for de-escalation and diplomacy rather than the saber-rattling that has been characteristic of the dialogue on both sides.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see more of the same bluster and counterproductive threats coming from Donald Trump,” wrote CFPA Executive Director Bob Moore in response to Trump’s UN speech. “Less than a year into office, Trump has managed to take what was a difficult, challenging situation, and turn it into a major crisis that puts the world on the verge of a catastrophic nuclear war. Threats and bombastic tweets are not leadership. They won’t keep America safe, and they need to stop.”

In his speech to the gathering Saturday, Moore went on to urge diplomacy as the only way forward. “There’s a lot of fake news about whether diplomacy with nations like North Korea can work,” he said. “But it has worked, and it’s the only way to prevent war and reduce the risk of nuclear war.”

Other local leaders and scientists who spoke included New Jersey State Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Princeton Council Member Tim Quinn, Princeton University Physics Professor Frank von Hippel, Imam Qareeb Bashir of the Ewing Islamic Center, CFPA’s Committee for Political Action Co-Chair Kip Cherry, CFPA Board Member the Rev. Carol Haag, and CFPA Board Chair Irene Etkin Goldman.

Moore described Trump’s U.N. statements as particularly “breathtaking and catastrophic in the context of an institution that was created to prevent war.” He continued, “We need to stop this escalating roll toward a nuclear war, and quickly de-escalate the North Korean crisis diplomatically.

“There is no military solution to this problem. War on the Korean peninsula would kill many millions of Koreans, Japanese, and American troops stationed in the region, wreak havoc on the world economy, inflict a humanitarian crisis not seen since World War II, and potentially provoke the North Koreans to use their nuclear arsenal.”

“Diplomacy not war” was “the basic mantra” of the rally, according to Moore, and he noted, “the fate of the region and the world depends on it.”