Successive British governments have for decades been afflicted with exactly the same delusion as Kim Jong-un, writes Anthony Matthew. Talks have worked before, writes Dr Douglas Reilly. Plus letters from Caroline Westgate, Dr David Lowry, and Jim Pragnell
Your second leader (A nuclear armed rogue state is bad but war would be worse, 4 September) states: “It is in the nature of paranoid autocrats like the Kim dynasty never to be satisfied with the security they have.” But if we look at the nuclear arsenals of the western powers from Kim’s point of view, his paranoia begins to look more like a rational response: what is good for the west’s security must also be good for North Korea’s. On 7 July, 122 nations endorsed a United Nations treaty to ban all nuclear weapons. The nuclear-armed states boycotted the entire proceedings. How might Kim have reacted if instead they had been there and signed up?
• As you say: “To talk of nuclear weapons in rational terms … is always slightly misleading.” The UK is supremely unqualified to teach a lesson in rationality to North Korea, since successive British governments have for decades been afflicted with exactly the same delusion as Kim Jong-un. He may think the rest of the world is in awe of his weaponry, whereas in fact his posture is regarded as ridiculous. Viewed from other countries the UK’s sense of its importance in depending on nuclear arms is equally ridiculous. What would impress the rest of the world would be our voluntarily scrapping them.