Russian offer in NKorea talks is a serious one

Published Jan 6, 2018 at 4:00pm

There’s a famous line in the animated classic “Aladdin,” where the star extends a hand to his true love and asks, “Do you trust me?”

The American public can ask itself that question about Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose government is offering itself as mediator between the United States and North Korea.

Can we trust the Russians? That’s an easy one. No.

Russia’s offer comes with a mountain of risk for the United States, whose mistrust of its superpower rival is ingrained.

Throughout the 20th and 21st Century, the two nations have co-existed, sometimes more amicably than others. But they have never been trusted friends, even during the Reagan-Gorbachev era of glasnost and the fall of the Soviet Union.

Yet Russia’s offer must be taken seriously, if only because the alternative is terrifying. The U.S. and North Korea are engaged in a dangerous game of chicken, with hubris and flame-throwing rhetoric on each side taking the place of meaningful diplomacy.