ABQ lawyer-author discusses N. Korea policy in talk today

As U.S. relations with North Korea near a boiling point, an Albuquerque lawyer and author with experience in dealing with the reclusive nation will offer some policy prescriptions during a book talk in Albuquerque today.

Eric Sirotkin, a civil rights attorney and recipient of the city of Albuquerque’s Human Rights Award, will discuss his new book, “Witness: A Lawyer’s Journey from Litigation to Liberation,” in the context of the ongoing nuclear weapons dispute between the U.S. and North Korea.

The free talk is at 6 p.m. today at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

Sirotkin, who has traveled to North and South Korea multiple times in his work as an international mediator, recently formed Lawyers for Disarmament and Peace in Korea to help find creative solutions to the long-intractable dispute regarding North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

President Donald Trump said this month that the nation would be met with “fire and fury” if it followed through on a threat to target the U.S. with missiles.

“The book is about being an active witness in the world rather than a passive victim to our circumstances, and how we can walk in a world that is increasingly ‘us and them’ … and find common ground in even the most extreme situation,” Sirotkin said in an interview Wednesday.

He said the book lays out a “12-step model for peace.”

“Frankly, there is no military solution to this conflict – it is far too dangerous,” Sirotkin said. “Even the Defense Department has estimated that hundreds of thousands of people in the first few days would die.”

So, how can the U.S. and other Western nations deal with the North Korean threat?

“I think the way you have to do it is through, first, formalized diplomatic relations,” Sirotkin said. “We don’t have diplomatic relations with North Korea, unlike 150 or more other countries do around the world.

“We choose only to isolate and ignore,” he added.

Trump “isn’t fit”: Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., stopped short of calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment in the aftermath of Trump’s inflammatory remarks about the racially charged protests in Charlottesville, Va., on Tuesday, but he did tell a local television station the president is unfit for office.

“I’m increasingly of the state of mind that he isn’t fit to be president,” Udall told KOAT-TV on Tuesday.

Asked about impeaching Trump, Udall said he wants to wait for an independent inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in the 2016 election.

“It’s premature to be talking like that, I think,” Udall told the television station.

Michael Coleman: mcoleman@abqjournal.com

 

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