Basketball and cranes: A suggestion for peace

To the Editor:

The North Korean leader says he does not want war. The American leader says he does not want war. The South Koreans do not want war. The Japanese leaders do not want war. The Chinese do not want war.

If all this is true, then why do we see the possibility of war — even nuclear war — on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

The answer is that the leaders lack courage and wisdom.

The truth is it takes more courage to seek creative and non-traditional approaches to secure peace than it does to follow machismo utterances and threats.

Dennis Rodman, the clown-like NBA professional basketball player, was able to go to North Korea and “hang out” with the North Korean leader several years ago. The Obama administration was not wise enough at the time to put machismo aside and use guile to follow up on the basketball strategy. Instead of Rodman, the Obama administration should have put together a team of prominent NBA stars willing to go to North Korea to learn more about the habits and hobbies of Kim Jung Unn.

Crazy idea you might say…and I agree…crazy like a fox…and I don’t mean Fox News.

In 1971 then President Richard Nixon sent the American ping pong team to “Red China” and we all know that this sport was the ice breaker for the Nixon trip to the Peoples Republic one year later. That trip led to renewed relations with the most populous nation on our planet.

It is not too late to put together an NBA cast of stars to woo the Korean leader. It would be the 2017 ice breaker. What is there to lose? If we do not find a clever ice breaking strategy we could lose far more than a few inconsequential criticisms from both the right and the left.

George Archibald is the founder of the International Crane Foundation located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. He is a Cornell graduate, and in the early 1970s, about the time that the U.S. ping pong team traveled to China, was establishing an organization dedicated to saving the largest and most interesting birds on planet Earth, the cranes.

Archibald and others have traveled throughout Asia, Africa and the West to save the 17 species of cranes…many species highly endangered.

One could establish a summit with Asian leaders and some Western leaders in the same room with strict guidelines that politics was absolutely forbidden as a topic of discussion. Strict pre-established rules would dictate that the sole topic of discussion would be cranes. Archibald would be tasked with identifying cranes native to the Korean Peninsula, Japan, China and the United States. Large images or, better yet, actual live cranes would be introduced by Archibald. Archibald and his representatives would discuss the threatened nature of each crane species. This information and /or live cranes would, and could, be the modern ice breaker which….could…. like ping pong… break down machismo barriers and ultimately allow human leaders to see each others common humanity. The Japanese already revere the crane and use it as a symbol of world peace

Now, is there someone who has the courage, strength and ability to bring this about? I hope so.

Timothy P. Chaucer

Director, Milford Marine Institute, Inc.