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A Conversation on North Korea with Admiral Mike Mullen

May 8, 2018

Admiral Mike Mullen, Former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Retired US Navy Admiral Mike Mullen visited the school for a discussion on the de-nuclearization opportunities opening up in the Korean peninsula. Mullen served as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011 under both presidents Bush and Obama, and oversaw the end of the US mission in Iran. He is known for his efforts on behalf of veterans and for his role in dismantling the military's 'don’t ask don’t tell' policies.

Mullen began by expressing his cautious optimism regarding President Trump’s attempts to start a dialogue with North Korea. However, he warned that President Kim’s strategy is borrowed from his father and grandfather. To first make a grand gesture, then spend years negotiating a treaty, all the while developing their nuclear capabilities. However, he warned that this time around, President Kim already has well developed nuclear capabilities. For this reason, Mullen stressed the importance of planning for the likelihood that even if the talks seem to be productive, the North Korean regime might not abide by the terms of any agreement.

Mullen shared his concern over the tense and threatening comments between the US and North Korean presidents and the potentially dire consequences of open conflict on the peninsula. At the same time, the admiral pointed to the role of the American public in holding their politicians accountable for matters such as this which truly are life and death situations. He encouraged students in the audience to take an active political role and to work together to force leaders of this country to take serious and calculated decisions about Korean security issues.  

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