Trump and Kim Jong-un meet again

The good that the U.S. is trying to do in Venezuela, sending aid to the beleaguered and hungry populace —aid that never gets there— and supporting the self-declared president Juan Guaido instead of the nefarious dictator Maduro (Democrats: where is your support for Guaido?), is being offset by our “President’s” meeting this week with Kim Jong-un in Hanoi.

Trump somehow thinks that he’s going to “reform” North Korea, perhaps getting it to ditch its nuclear program.  But as I’ve written before (here and here), Trump is completely deluded. Nukes are what the DPRK has as its one bargaining chip, and eventually, if they keep developing them, they’ll be able to deliver nuclear bombs to the U.S.

Yes, it would be suicidal for Kim Jong-un to use them, but he’d take South Korea with him. Still, a North Korea without nukes is a nation without teeth. As I predicted, the DPRK will keep advancing its weapons program, and I predict that they’ll keep developing it up to the point where they either run out of money or, more likely, become a full-fledged nuclear power with long-distance missiles that can hit the U.S. There is no incentive for them to stop their progress, nor to delay their real aim of united both Koreas under DPRK leadership with the U.S. out of the picture.

Trump is the worst person to negotiate here, as he’s a narcissist with an inflated opinion of his abilities and a severe underestimate of Kim Jong-un’s smarts (and aims). And Trump seems to actually like Kim Jong-un. Bad mistake!

Should we even be negotiating? I don’t think so—not so long as we know that nothing will stop the DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons. It’s a hard situation, for our only alternative—economically squeezing the North—will ultimately hurt its people even more than they are already. But that’s all we can do. What we (but apparently not Trump) know is that Kim Jong-un will not give away his most precious resource, his nuclear weapons, and that North Korea has reneged on such agreements several times before.

I quake when I think what Trump will say to the dictator when they’re alone in a room in Hanoi. As NBC News reports, noting Trump’s unwarranted liking for the dictator:

And that’s why U.S intelligence officials are increasingly concerned about Trump’s upcoming second meeting with Kim in Vietnam — as North Korea has CONTINUED developing its nuclear arsenal after the first summit, NBC’s Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube report.

“‘One of the worst possible outcomes is he makes some crazy deal pledging to withdraw U.S. troops for a vague promise of denuclearization,’ said one former senior U.S. official.”

More: “Among the possible incentives the U.S. could offer North Korea during the summit is to establish diplomatic interests sections, one in Pyongyang and one in Washington, D.C., according to current and former U.S. officials.”

And: “The U.S. could also offer to formally end the war on the Korean Peninsula, more than six decades after North Korea and the United Nations Command signed the 1953 Armistice Agreement.”

Why does this worry intelligence officials?

As Lee and Kube write, some officials are concerned that the above outcomes could “amount to a de facto U.S. recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state.”

And that could happen even without significant concessions from Kim.

It all underscores the question: Why does Trump assail authoritarian leaders in some countries (Venezuela) and praise them in others (North Korea)?

I agree that if any kind of deal is struck, Trump will be the clear loser. As for the final question about Maduro versus Kim Jong-un, I have no answer.

 

73 Comments

  1. randallschenck
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Kim Jong-un is just playing Trump like a piano and will continue with his nuclear program. Pretty soon Saudi will also be nuclear as will Iran out of necessity.

    Trump knows how to blow up treaties and agreements but has no idea how to create new ones. With most of his ideas and intelligence coming from Putin, everyone should be scared of the results. If Trump really thinks he has leverage with China in the trade talks, he better use that to get something out of Kim in N. Korea.

    The odds are that Trump gets nothing out of Kim and will concede much more than he gets. These so-called meetings or summits are a one-way street.

  2. GBJames
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    sub

  3. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Why is the United States still in Korea? Why not let the North and the South work out some kind of agreement that looks toward eventual reunion?
    The military around Kim in the North probably wants to keep the status quo going. They live quite well under the current set up. The US military also likes the current set up in the South. They are living quite well at American taxpayer expense.
    The American empire is over extended and this is going to lead to serious economic problems in the future. An American invasion of Venezuela would be a disaster. The same holds true with respect to war with Iran.

    Trump has no plan for easing world tensions. His foreign policy is as deranged as his domestic policy.

    John J. Fitzgerald

    • Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      If the US abandoned South Korea, it is expected that North Korea would either invade or force South Korea into reunification with Kim Jong-un in charge. That may not be a practical thing for Kim to do but a lot of lives will be lost to prove him wrong.

      • Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        I personally don’t think that would happen, even if we were to leave SK. The stance of the North Korean leadership is one of fear of invasion and loss of power, not one that indicates ambition to re-open the Korean war. Even if they somehow won that, there would be the problem of holding onto their new territory against a populace that is inspired to fight them at every turn.

        • Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Remember what happened to South Vietnam.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            The US had no business being in Vietnam in the first place. It was a nationalist war of liberation. We learned nothing from the French misadventure in Indochina. The 17th parallel was a temporary demarcation between the Northern and Southern halves of a single country. The Eisenhower administration backed the corrupt Ngo Dinh Diem regime in cancelling the reunification election scheduled for 1956, in violation of the Geneva Accords, because it was clear that Ho Chi Minh would trounce Diem in a fair popular election.

            • Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

              Eisenhower made a grave mistake – as Paul Johnson put it, “the Original Sin” in Vietnam. I don’t think Comrade Ho would win a fair election in the South, but this is impossible to prove now – and forever.
              I wouldn’t call the establishment of a Soviet-backed regime “nationalist war of liberation”.

              • randallschenck
                Posted February 25, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

                Soviet backed and American backed, it was a civil war and the north won. Just like here. Ho just accomplished what the nut in Korea did not. And also true, we had no business being there.

    • Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      The agreement South Korea will get with the North unless protected by the USA will, to my opinion, similar to the agreement South Vietnam got from the North.

      • Adam M.
        Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        And now, 40+ years later, do you think Vietnam is doing poorly because of the communist takeover specifically? I don’t know enough about it to say, but perhaps if there was no Vietnam War in the first place (and we just let them become communist), they’d be better off now. At least they’d have avoided the ravages of the war.

        The Cold War is long over. I rather doubt it’s going to get hot again if we leave Korea. The world is a different place and countries are a lot more hesitant to start big wars of conquest. It’s hard to imagine China rejoining the fight and invading South Korea. I doubt North Korea has the power to defeat South Korea by itself, especially given the great economic disparities that have developed between the two since the war. (And if it did restart the war, then we’d have a real reason to get involved.)

        I have a really hard time getting worked up about “stopping the commies”. I wish we’d just declare the war over, make an official peace deal that accepts the status quo, and stop spending so many billions of dollars maintaining huge numbers of troops all over the world (~50,000 in Japan, 25,000 in Korea, 35,000 in Germany, 13,000 in Italy, even 9,000 in the UK). The wars are over! We’ve been there for 70-80 years. What are we gaining with this huge ongoing expenditure of funds?

        • Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          As a citizen of a country that has been in both World Wars and then was taken over by communism, I do think that most drawbacks of Vietnam society must be due to communism, with some damage from colonial rule and from defects of the indigenous culture. I suppose the war has damaged the ecosystems and the cultural heritage.

          The world is an insecure place now. Rogue powers like Russia and China think they can do whatever they want. They know that the US public opinion is strongly against involvement in wars. Americans are asked in polls, “Should US lives be wasted to protect Estonia?” (or insert another small NATO country) and the answer is overwhelmingly “No”. If the USA disingages, I think South Korea is doomed. Democratic countries tend to lose wars against totalitarian and authoritarian ones.

          • Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            Of course, if the USA decides that she no longer wants to protect, police and try to improve a largely ungrateful world, I have nothing to say about such a decision. But let’s not say that it will bring no harm. It will.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted February 25, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

              The other NATO countries answered the bell big-time when the US was attacked on 9/11. It would be foolish for us to scrap the NATO alliance now — especially with yond Vladimir casting a lean and hungry look toward the Baltics and Balkans.

              • Posted February 26, 2019 at 3:08 am | Permalink

                I hope more Americans think like you!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      South Korea is part of the ring of US bases around Russia & China – it is vital to US strategic interests. Read up on CAMP HUMPHREYS IN South Korea – the largest US overseas base in the world.

  4. John Crisp
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    In response to your last point (“I have no answer”), there seems to be a likelihood that it is a three letter word that has dominated US foreign policy since World War II. It begins with O and ends with L. And that’s not a conspiracy theory. John Bolton announced it unabashedly on Fox Business: “We’re in conversation with major American companies now. I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here. … It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”

    I don’t think there’s any doubt that Maduro is a corrupt dictator, but this is nevertheless a pretty barefaced pursuit of regime change for economic advantage. I particularly like the last line. “… have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” Oil companies have something of a tradition of doing this in corrupt regimes. Strangely, the investment never seems to trickle down to the indigenous folk, unless we are talking trickle-down pollution, while a few people up at the top end up with bank accounts in Switzerland in return for a relatively free hand and, if necessary, a bit of security support to deal with any local resistance.

    Trump called Guaido “to congratulate him on his historic assumption of the presidency and to reinforce President Trump’s strong support for Venezuela’s fight to regain its democracy,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. I think its a good precedent. If I were American, I would like to see Nancy Pelosi or Bernie Sanders exercise a “historic assumption of the presidency”. It is somewhat amusing to see much of progressive America outraged over putative Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, while happily endorsing the manufacture of a coup d’etat just down the road.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      The aim of OIL drilling no doubt dictated US policy in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. Oh, wait, there is no oil to speak of in any of these places. This must mean that US policy is dictated by the aim to build pipelines to bring in the oil, which also explains the US expedition to the moon and the space probes to other likely pipeline sites such as Mars and Jupiter.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 25, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        That may be so, Jon, but to say that US foreign policy is unconcerned with oil would be as far off the mark as to say that it is only concerned with petro-policy.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Like every other world leader, Kim has figured out that the way to the Donald’s heart is through fulsome flattery. Mark my words: Trump will head off to Vietnam (if his bone spurs don’t start acting up again) and come back with nothing but another page of precatory prose about NoKo someday de-nuking (and maybe a handful of magic bean).

    If Kim were at all serious about getting rid of his nukes, we would’ve had shortly after the last “summit,” an inventory of all NoKo’s nuclear facilities (through which we would’ve known if Kim was acting in good faith) followed by a timetable for their destruction. Trump will no doubt get rolled again by Kim (who will again gain the prestige of appearing on the world state as a statesman on par with the US president), and there’s no telling what concessions Trump might make in his desperate effort to claim a “win.”

    Imagine what the rightwing would’ve done had Obama (or any other previous president) announced, as Trump did, that he and the world’s most brutal dictator “fell in love” for no better reason than that Kim was nice to him.

    • randallschenck
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Yes, the idea of agreeing to anything is that you already got something for it. If you assume you are getting something and go ahead with giving away, you loose. Even the idea of ending the stalemate and agreeing to a full peace from the 1950 war should not be considered without receiving much for it. I suspect he will go for this and get nothing for it.

      People ask – Why are we still in S. Korea. It is because S. Korea wants us there. Japan wants us there. It is in our national interest to protect both of these countries from the north and from China. If anyone thinks the American tax payer is paying for all of this…think again. I know that Japan pays for most of our presence in Japan and Okinawa and Korea pays a share in their area.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Why does Trump assail authoritarian leaders in some countries (Venezuela) and praise them in others (North Korea)?

    Well, you’ll never see Trump assail an authoritarian leader of a country that has a Trump-branded property (or where Trump has designs on putting one).

  7. Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Yes, Trump is a dolt. And yes, Kim Jong-un doesn’t give a rat’s ass about international law, his people or US sabre rattling. Regardless, negotiations seem a reasonable endeavour to me. They have minimal downside (beyond embarrassing Trump) and the upside – however remote – should not be so carelessly dismissed.

    • Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      If it was anybody other than Trump, I wouldn’t be so opposed!

    • randallschenck
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      If you wonder why most previous presidents actually used their experts, their departments to do all the diplomacy ahead of time, this should tell you why. Doing what you say is good – just winging it with Trump is playing right in to Kim. It presents him as an equal and he gets tons of film to show to his cult. He comes out way ahead even if Trump says nothing. Trump thinks you just get on a big jet and go do it. Sorry but it does not work that way.

    • Posted February 25, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      The downside is Trump giving away the farm in order to claim a “win”. I think this is a distinct possibility.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 25, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Even if he does, so what? NK’s got nothin’ right now. Any opening up would probably be good in the long run.

        Besides, the other alternative – that tRump starts a war to satisfy his ego – is so bad that talks, whatever their result, can’t help but be better.

        I’m hoping we can trust Kim Jong-Un’s sense of self-preservation not to let anything really stupid and self-destructive result.

        (Yep, I said it. I have more confidence in the common sense of a despotic dictator than I do in the ‘leader of the Free World’.)

        cr

        • Posted February 25, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          Trump giving away the farm would be good in the long run? Talk is good, of course, but “giving away the farm” is more than just talk. For example, many expect Trump and Kim to officially end the Korean War. If they do, I expect Kim to use that to push for US troops leaving the Korean Peninsula. After all, the war will be over, right?

          Trump’s story about how he’ll convince Kim to give up his nukes and turn NK into an economic powerhouse would be great coming from any other president. Unfortunately, Trump has no idea how to put such a process in place. Perhaps Pompeo does but Trump won’t give him a long enough leash to make it happen. No way Kim respects Trump enough to take him seriously. Instead, he expects Trump will lose in 2020 and be replaced by a normal POTUS. Kim will keep his nukes.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 26, 2019 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

            If ‘giving away the farm’ means easing sanctions, I’d say it could well be beneficial. The tougher the restrictions on NK, the more that plays into the NK government’s ‘us against the world’ domestic narrative. While, evidently, NOT preventing them acquiring nuclear weapons.

            “Trump’s story about how he’ll convince Kim to give up his nukes and turn NK into an economic powerhouse would be great coming from any other president.”

            Well, yes. NK will ‘never’ be an economic powerhouse – at least, not for many decades. But it could certainly cease to be the economic basket case that it is at present.

            cr

  8. Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I still think that the least terrible option is to let NK just have their damn nukes with the proviso that they not share them with other despots (that last bit is the main flaw, but all other arguments also have flaws). They are not going to give them up, as is made clear here, but they are also not going to use them either. The technology exists as a deterrent so the current leadership can stay in power so let’s just stop pretending that the weapons exist to be used.
    The way forward, I think, is to let ’em have that. Meanwhile pursue trade and development. Their dependency on advanced weapons will segue into a dependency on a growing economy. Less reason to distrust and less reason to even have the damn weapons.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      You’ve mentioned this “let them have their damn nukes” on past posts about NK. I tend to agree.

  9. David Harper
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    “As for the final question about Maduro versus Kim Jong-un, I have no answer.”

    Maduro has no nuclear weapons. Kim does. So does Putin, and Tr*mp fawns over him even more nauseatingly than he does over Kim.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I basically agree with your assessment. However, in lieu of saying tRUMP “fawns over” Putin, perhaps “fawns under” Putin would be more precise.

    • Steve
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I think you’ve nailed it in one. One’s areal threat; the other, one not so much.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      It’s also good for Florida GOP politics. Ousting Maduro helps the GOP strengthen its ties with Florida’s Hispanic voters.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Venezuela has oil. NK does not. Who ya gonna invade?

      I don’t think the greedies behind tRump are much bothered about NK, other than a general consideration that a nuclear threat could be bad for business (arming up for a war, on the other hand, is undoubtedly good for Big Business). But Venezuela’s oil, now, that’d be worth stealing. (Recall tRump said in so many words that the US should have just ‘taken’ Iraq’s oil…)

      cr

  10. Posted February 25, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mark. I don’t think NK wants a war. Both North and South K would like to sign a peace treaty and begin trade. I don’t think we should stand in their way. Talks are good, even if it us Trump. I think he knows they will keep their weapons, but wants them to quit testing and threatening the rest of the world.

    Sanctions just hurt the people and add to their hate and paranoia. Time to try talking and trade.

  11. Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s entire approach to this is determined by
    a) the fact that Obama told him it would be his biggest problem, so he is obsessed with trying to prove Obama wrong;
    b) the fact that he doesn’t understand his actual status relative to Kim Jong-un. He feels subservient to Kim because Kim has more power over his people than Trump, and Trump has no personal investment in US foreign policy beyond hoping to look good.

    • Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      A positive outcome for the US would be if Trump doesn’t secretly give nuclear technology to North Korea.

  12. Jon Gallant
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    As an aside, I suggest that it is not quite correct to describe Juan Guaido as a
    “self-declared” president of Venezuela. He is president of the National Assembly, being a member representing the state of Vargas, and he was appointed interim president of Venezuela by the National Assembly, pending a new, fair presidential election, in accordance with articles 233, 333 and 350 of the Venezuelan constitution. Sr. Guaido is a member of the opposition Voluntad Popular party (which, by the way, belongs to the Socialist International), and is a protegé of Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of that party who is currently under arrest, along with many other opposition figures.

    The situation in Venezuela resembles that in the USA in some ways. In 2015, President Maduro’s Unified Socialist Party lost the legislative elections in a landslide, and the opposition parties (in a coalition called MUD) won 2/3 of the National Assembly seats. Sr. Maduro responded by calling a national emergency, and thereafter bypassed the elected National Assembly altogether. In 2017, his party created a new legislative body, the “Constitutent Assembly”, which represents only his party and includes Sr. Maduro’s wife and son among its membership. In 2018, he called a new presidential election in which all leading opposition candidates were barred or actually under arrest. The fraudulence of this election is the basis of the National Assembly’s recent determination that the election was invalid and the post of President is thus unfilled.

    Our President Trump has begun to follow Sr. Maduro’s example by declaring a national emergency, and attempting to bypass the House of Representatives which is now controlled by the Democratic Party. It remains to be seen whether Señor Trump will go the whole Unified Socialist way, and set up a new House of Representatives of his own, with Melania and Don Jr. in the lead.

  13. rustybrown
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I think your pessimism is unwarranted. The situation with North Korea, a problem Trump inherited, is much better now than when he took office. There are hopeful signs that trend will continue, although the outcome obviously remains uncertain.

    I disagree with your characterization that NK is backed into a corner with no other option than developing nukes and further belligerence. A much better option for them is precisely the one Trump’s laying on the table: Stop bankrupting your country, starving your people and alienating the rest of the world and join the booming global ecomomy with the blessing of the US and all our allies. Trump is laying out a vision for Kim to go down in history as a hero to his people, bringing NK into a golden age of prosperity and openness. It’s far from certain this is the path Kim will choose, but it’s prudent diplomacy to offer that option to him without giving away the store. The alternative for Kim is to continue looking over his shoulder for a military coup while scurrying from one subterranean bunker to the next to avoid a targeted US assassination. Maybe he’s getting tired of that.

    I absolutely disagree with your opinion we shouldn’t be negotiating. We should try everything in our power to enact a peaceful solution that helps the greatest number of people. The Trump vision mentioned above does that. The only alternative you’re identifying (economic squeeze and hostility) merely kicks the can down the road while creating humanitarian crises and fomenting more hostility.

    • randallschenck
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      That is a very rosy take on the Trump plan but I do not see it at all. So go ahead and say, I disagree with your opinion. Trump, so far only says he does not want any testing. What the hell is that? It fixes nothing. He stops the exercises in the South we have always done and what did we get for that. Nothing. Even the media always saying, we are working for the denuclearizing of the Korean region is wrong. Only one guy has nukes. The South has no nukes and their army is set up for defense. Everything about it is defense and they have zero reason to invade north. North Korea is just the opposite with more than a million people in uniform. He wants nukes for one reason and they have been working on it for many years. That would be to push America around and talk big. Thanks to Trump, they can do that now.

      Trump tries to say that Obama was just about ready to go to war in Korea. Where does he go to make this stuff up? The only guy pushing for war was Trump.

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Well, you’re wrong about the facts. Trump has not only called for a halt to the testing but has explicitly and continually talked about denuclearization of NK. And as I pointed out above, Trump’s calling for a complete paradigm shift for NK’s relationship to the rest of the world, one that offers a substantial face-saving way out of the corner they’ve historically been in.

        Thanks to Trump they can “push America round and talk big”? Trump “pushing war”? That’s ridiculous. Thanks to Trump we’re in the middle of peace negotiations and the temperature has been turned down quite a bit without the US giving up

        • rustybrown
          Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          without giving up….anything substantial.

          • randallschenck
            Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            North Korea has been breaking agreements very consistently for years. That is the primary reason the west put sanctions in place and stopped talking at the highest level. Simply going back, exchanging love letters and talking about what a great guy this Kim is, only shows how easy it is to play Trump. North Korea has nothing to offer except a lot of hungry people. The only thing Kim is after is his world as dictator. Trump is just his most recent sucker.

            It should be very simple. Tell Kim to either get rid of the nuclear program and stop harassment of the south. Anything else is just hot air. Trump is really nuts – today he says North Korea really can increase their economy, really go places.

            • rustybrown
              Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

              I think your prescription leads to more human suffering and a vastly increased nuclear threat, not only from Kim but from him passing along nuclear technology to bad actors around the world. Trump’s plan is far superior and worth a shot. Here’s just some of the rosy news in the region that’s occurred during his presidency:

              https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/04/opinions/north-korea-progress-on-peace-nathan-park/index.html

            • rustybrown
              Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

              “Trump is really nuts – today he says North Korea really can increase their economy, really go places.”

              What’s so nuts about that? If you’re willing to lay aside the stale, cartioonish framing of this issue we’ve been saddled with for decades, what’s so nuts about NK accepting the olive branch and changing their destiny for the better?

        • Posted February 25, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          I can almost hear Trump’s voice while reading this.

          • rustybrown
            Posted February 25, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            Try Obamas voice, then tell me what’s wrong with it. Seriously.

            • Posted February 25, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

              You missed my point again. You are hopeless. You are so uncritical of Trump that any debate with you is a waste of my time.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 25, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

                You’re so under the influence of TDS that you think your ambiguous sentence is a coherent point.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, because there are SO many historic examples of totalitarian despots just handing over their wealth and power to their people and creating a benevolent democracy. And there are even more historic examples of totalitarian dictators doing this at the behest of another country’s leader- a leader who is only interested in getting a Nobel Peace Prize out of it. Naivety all the way down.

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        There are plenty of examples of totalitarian despots capitulating to American interests with the right amount of carrots and sticks. Look at Gaddafi and Libya. He was a terrorist and a sworn enemy of the US before Reagan bombed the crap out of him in the 80’s and got him to renounce terrorism and play ball with the US over various concerns in the region. That situation was going along pretty well until Obama and Hillary fucked it all up.

        It’s naive to buy the current media myopia on this issue.

        • randallschenck
          Posted February 25, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          Lets just look at that example and another from the now dead dictator from Iraq. Kim looks at these examples and says to himself, I will never let go of the Nukes. Look what happened to the guys who did.

          • rustybrown
            Posted February 25, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            I agree with you 100%. I’ve always been against both of those overthrows.

            It’s a good thing the architects of those fiascoes are not in office. Hillary’s bad judgement in Libya was one of the major reasons I couldn’t vote for her. She was a major backer for regime change which not only backstabbed Gaddafi (literally), sending that wrong message you’re talking about, but precipitated Europes migration crisis and Libyas decent into a terrorist state with open-air slave markets.

  14. CAS
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Kim Jong-un will play Trump as he did last time and Trump will declare it a great success.
    These are just political shows for Trump. He really doesn’t care about any of this. Personally, I’m more worried about Trump taking military action against Venezuela. If the Muller report turns out very badly for him, this would be a classic political move. Invasion would be an awful disaster since a significant part of the population supports Meduro.

  15. dabertini
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Am I missing something? Didn’t Trump proclaim that it was a done deal: NK was getting rid of their nuclear program. We could all sleep easily. Funny, that is when I started to sleep uneasily. Sorta like the proclamation that Mexico was gonna pay for the wall. Another done deal by the artist.

  16. Jose
    Posted February 26, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    I am puzzled at what you could mean by dictator refering to Maduro. He was elected in democratic elections in 2018. I mean, it’s not the first time I’ve heard or read “dictator” aplied to him; I’ve heard it a lot actually, constantly here in spain, but I still haven’t seen a good and reasonable explanation about it.

    And I am not even implying an evaluation of the situation in Venezuela and his responsability or not in it. I can accept, for the sake of the argument, that the situation is a disaster and that he is reponsible for it. I still don’t see why is he a dictator.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 26, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Dictators are commonly elected in rigged elections.

      • Jose
        Posted February 26, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        So?

        • GBJames
          Posted February 26, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          So your assertion that Maduro isn’t a dictator isn’t supported by your “evidence”.

          • Jose
            Posted February 26, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            Well, I didn’t assert that. I mean, you can guess what I think in that respect, but neither have I made that assertion, nor would it be relevant.

            What we have here is the assertion that he is, and I would, really, want to know what is the reasoning for that.

            What you are asking me, then, is to prove a negative, which I am not going to entertain. Don’t want to monopolize the thread with you on this silly point either, so I would hear gladly the reasoning for Maduro being a dictator from whoever thinks so, and also of course if anybody thinks the assertion is not supported by evidence.

            • GBJames
              Posted February 26, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

              “I am puzzled at what you could mean by dictator refering to Maduro. He was elected in democratic elections in 2018.”

              Sentence #2 appears to be offered as the reason why you are “puzzled” how one could call Maduro a dictator. If that isn’t what you meant, then I have no idea what your intent was.

  17. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted February 26, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Some further food for thought:

    Statement of Pro-Diplomacy Groups Regarding U.S. Policy Toward North Korea

    February 2019

    The United States has a rare opportunity to advance the twin goals of denuclearization and a lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, commitments that the two nations made during their unprecedented Summit in Singapore in June 2018. With this in mind, pro-diplomacy organizations urge members of Congress to commit to the following principles as they relate to U.S.-North Korea policy:

    Support a process with reciprocal actions that verifiably suspends and dismantles North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and addresses mutual security concerns, such as:
    a political statement declaring an end to the Korean War,
    building a stable and lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,
    joint US-DPRK trust-building programs such as:
    continuing POW/MIA remains repatriation, and
    reunions between long-divided North Korean and Korean American families
    Support South Korea in its efforts to improve inter-Korean relations through confidence-building and tension reduction measures, including the commitments made in the Panmunjom Declaration in April 2018:
    reduce acute military tensions
    replace the armistice agreement with a peace regime
    inter-Korean economic and civic projects, and
    humanitarian relief efforts.
    Oppose an unprovoked U.S. military attack on North Korea, which could trigger full-scale — potentially nuclear — war, endangering the lives of tens of millions in the region, including South Koreans and Americans;
    Support targeted sanctions relief in exchange for concrete, verifiable actions toward denuclearization
    Strengthen sanctions exemptions for humanitarian activities and maintain consistent congressional oversight on the implementation of humanitarian exemptions.
    Support the inclusion of women, youth, and other civil society actors in ongoing negotiations.

    Endorsed by: Arms Control Association; Beyond the Bomb; Campaign for Peace Disarmament and Common Security; Center for International Policy; Council for a Livable World; CREDO; Daily Kos; Foreign Policy For America; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Good Friends USA; Just Foreign Policy; Korean American National Coordinating Council, Inc.; Korean Americans in Action; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office; Military Families Speak Out; MoveOn; National Association of Korean Americans; Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability; Nuclear Age Peace Foundation; Nuclear Crisis Group; Pax Christi International; Peace Action; Peace Committee of the Korean Association of the United Methodist Church; Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ploughshares Fund; Presbyterian Church (USA); VoteVets; War Prevention Initiative; Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility; Win Without War; Women’s Action for New Directions; Women Cross DMZ

    • Posted February 26, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Please don’t make such long posts; a link will suffice. Thanks.

      • John J. Fitzgerald
        Posted February 27, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        My bad! Will not do it again.

        Regards,

        John

  18. Jonathan Gallant
    Posted February 26, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    In regard to the description of President Nicolas Maduro as a dictator, we might consider the nature of his re-election to the Venezuelan presidency in 2018. Wikipedia describes this triumph of democracy as follows.

    “The majority of popular leaders of the MUD and other members of the opposition could not apply for the elections because of administrative and legal procedures and were disqualified from participating in the presidential elections by the government. This included Henrique Capriles (candidate in the 2012 and 2013 elections), Leopoldo López (sentenced to almost 14 years of prison during the 2014 protests), Antonio Ledezma (arrested in 2015 and later placed under house arrest), Freddy Guevara (whose parliamentary immunity was removed and fled to the residence of the Chilean ambassador), and David Smolansky (currently in exile), as well as María Corina Machado and Miguel Rodríguez Torres, former defense minister and dissident chavista, also incarcerated.[61] On 5 April 2017, the Comptroller General of Venezuela notified Capriles that for 15 years, he would be prevented from participating in public office, due to his alleged misuse of public funds, a charge that Capriles denied.[62]

    [Ramos Allup has in his head that he could be a presidential candidate. That is Maduro’s candidate…
    Henrique Capriles[63]]

    The main opposition political parties were disqualified after they were forced to reregister themselves for a second time in less than a year by the National Electoral Council (CNE) after not participating in the 2017 municipal elections. The parties Popular Will and Puente refused to do so, while the CNE prevented Justice First; only the party Acción Democrática was revalidated.[64] In late January 2018, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice blocked the revalidation of the Democratic Unity Roundtable card, the most voted in the electoral history of the country, and was also banned.[64][65] Finally, Justice First was disqualified weeks later from the presidential race in early February 2018, leaving only Democratic Action and other minor opposition parties.[66]”

    • Jose
      Posted February 26, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Jonathan, I wanted to answer to your comment but I actually made it as a new post.

  19. Jose
    Posted February 26, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    These disqualifications were made acording to law. As your text says, two of the main oppossing political parties were excluded because the voluntarily refused to comply with registration. The main problem was their refusal to participate in the former local elections.

    In fact international observers, including former spanish president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, validated the election. In fact all elections in Venezuela have been validated Just the only one they won. That has been their tactic since the beggining, denouncing election after election until it seemed true enough. But as I said, al of them were validated.

    The english version of the wikipedia about the presidential election simply lies about the no presence of international observers. You can check the spanish version and/or make a internet search were you would find multiple sources confirminf the presence of such observers.

  20. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted February 26, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Not much to add here.

    … he’s a narcissist with an inflated opinion of his abilities … if any kind of deal is struck, Trump will be the clear loser.

    The Fart of the Feel.

  21. Zetopan
    Posted March 1, 2019 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    “Trump seems to actually like Kim Jong-un.”

    One should never assume that anything Trump says is actually true. He habitually claims that anyone who can help him monetarily or politically is great, really smart, doing a wonderful job, the best, or even in love with him. At least up until that person is no longer useful to him wherein they become really bad, criminals, liars, etc.

    After all, he only hires the “Best”, yet several of those “Best” have resulted at least 34 indictments and 7 guilty pleas thus far. This count even ignores the members of Trump’s staff who have resigned to avoid any criminal prosecution.

    • Posted March 2, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Someone on CNN (I forget who) nailed it, I think. It is well known that Trump enjoys flattery. He assumes that others enjoy it as much as he does so he uses it as a negotiation tactic. It seems very unlikely to work with Kim Jong Un.

  22. Zetopan
    Posted March 1, 2019 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    “The Fart of the Feel.”

    Which is also commonly known as “The Art of the Steal”.


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