In a June 11, 2018 article in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, 'Atef Abu Saif, who resides in Gaza and who since February 2018 has served as Fatah spokesman, stated that the most important lesson from the June 12, 2018 meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea ruler Kim Jong-un, and from history in general, is that the world understands only the language of force, and that there is no room for the weak. He praised Iran and North Korea as countries that have succeeded in maintaining their honor in their relations with the U.S. and the international community and that never stopped working towards their goals, while surviving international condemnation, sanctions, and boycotts and forcing the world to hear their point of view. Abu Saif expressed his reservations about North Korea's tyranny vis-à-vis individual and collective freedoms and politics, and noted that Iran, too, is no model of freedom or democracy. However, he added, any Arab who is honest with himself longs for a dictator like Kim Jong-un who, unlike Arab tyrants, is pushing his country forward and can stand up to Washington's arrogance. It is regrettable, he added, that the Arabs have failed to learn the lessons of history and to follow the example of Iran and North Korea.
'Atef Abu Saif (Source: Birzeit.edu/ar/biography/Atef-abu-Saif)
The following are translated excerpts from Abu Saif's article:
"The only lesson that can be learned from U.S. President Donald Trump's meeting with North Korean President Kim Jong-un is that the world recognizes only the language of force, and that, just as relations among states are based on interests, they are also based on the balance of [the states'] power and influence, and on preserving these. Obviously, this is not a new insight in the relations of states and peoples, but this is practically a university student's first lesson in an introductory class on international relations. It is not that the world is addicted to power, or that violence is the basis for relations between countries – but that human history is in fact the history of wars of the human race and of humans fighting each other for survival...
"It is again apparent that force... is the height of realism, and [this] continues to be the most important school of thought in politics and international relations – even after new theories of understanding these areas emerged in the second half of the 20th century. This realism has remained the essence of truly understanding politics, and it has neither faded nor disappeared like theories usually do as sciences develop.
"The American-North Korean summit in Singapore was a manifestation of challenge and of free will, since Pyongyang, which had for decades stood against American policy and had issued many warnings and positions that constituted threats, did not find itself forced to sit with the stupidest man in the world, but rather sat with him as an equal among equals. It should first be noted that North Korea's policy concerning human rights, the lack of freedoms, repression and dictatorship are no cause for admiration, and are not meant to be. On the contrary, this [policy] should be criticized and condemned, particularly regarding the North Korean leader's actions against his political opponents... But that is a different matter.
"[Nevertheless,] there is no doubt that [every] Arab who examines the depths of his heart prays to Allah to send him an authoritative dictator like North Korea's, who can at least force the world [to recognize] the honor of his country and of his people, and can force himself into partnership with the arrogant Washington. In effect, with few exceptions, our Arab world is full of tyrants – but these tyrants are not motivated by the interests of their peoples, have no interest in pushing their countries forward, and make no effort to develop the capabilities of their lands. Instead, they continue to repress, to strip away the freedoms of the individual and of the general public, and to shatter the people's will. [We don't] even have a decent dictator. Of course, the North Korea model is nothing to imitate, particularly with regard to freedoms and to political rule, but it presents an opportunity to recall the most important lesson of history and politics– that the world understands nothing but the language of force and that there is no room for the weak except in the archives of sorrow and the rivers of tears.
"Iran and North Korea can be taken as models for understanding this matter. Iran has succeeded, despite all the names that the West has called it, in imposing itself on the regional and international arena – not by virtue of the strength of its ideology and not by presenting itself as a model of freedom or democracy... but by virtue of its success in presenting itself as an awe-inspiring force. It is accused of exporting terrorism and of helping extremist elements in the world, including the Palestinian and Lebanese organizations in their clashes with Israel, and it has had restrictions and a boycott levelled against it by countries and elements. But despite this it has forced its rivals to sit and talk with it, to hear its point of view, and to gradually accept it as it is. Iran simply continued to develop its military power and its unconventional [weapons] capabilities, particularly in the area of its nuclear capabilities and armament. The world shouted, protested, raged, threatened, and actualized its threats – but Tehran continued its [nuclear] activity despite the uproar, and considered only creating the facts on the ground that will move it forward to a situation in which it will be able to possess nuclear weapons within a very short time. Ultimately, the world must deal with a nuclear Tehran.
"The situation of [North] Korea seemed even worse. It not only opposed Washington, but even threatened it, and some of these threats included practical measures, such as developing missiles capable of reaching U.S. soil. No leader spoke to Washington with as much mockery as [North] Korea's... [but] what could the U.S. do? It shouted, threatened, made statements, initiated [measures], condemned and stigmatized, and levelled sanctions and boycotted. But in the end, the strong know that crises are resolved only by means of dialogue and mutual agreement, since the alternative to this is destructive wars – not any wars, but wars in which the enemy can reach American cities and is undeterred from blowing them up with missiles, because it understands that without sharp teeth it cannot defend itself.
"When states have no sharp teeth they become a lamb – but not an innocent lamb, because in relations between states, in which interests and forces struggle with each other, an innocent lamb does not arouse sympathy, but encourages [others] to defeat it. Is this not the Arab [world's] situation?! This is regrettable – and it is even more regrettable that the Arabs do not learn the lessons of history very well – or perhaps Allah has brought upon them incurable suffering."