The eyes of the world are on South Korea as the 2018 Winter Olympics got underway. While winter winds howled on the ski slopes, a welcoming thaw emerged in North and South Korean relationships. Their teams entered the Opening Ceremony under one flag; the women’s hockey teams played as one; and Moon Jae In, president of South Korea, accepted an invitation to visit North Korea. Another positive sign was the suggestion from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the United States would engage in denuclearization talks without preconditions.

These developments are especially welcome as an antidote to the increasingly militaristic rhetoric coming from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. There are no winners in a war on the Korean peninsula, nuclear or otherwise. At a minimum, hundreds of thousands of civilians would die and such a war could lead to an Earth-destroying nuclear holocaust.

No one or two men should have the power to decide the world’s fate in that way. Two bills before Congress would stay the president’s hand in starting a war with North Korea without congressional approval.

I thank Rep. Chellie Pingree for co-sponsoring HR 4837 and urge Rep. Bruce Poliquin to do the same. The companion bill in the Senate, S2047, is still awaiting a Maine co-sponsor. I hope Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King will soon sign on.

America’s future is in their hands.

Linda Wilcox, North Monmouth

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