Trump duped again by North Korea

As you probably know, Trump just became the first U.S. President to actually set foot in North Korea, meeting the odious Kim Jong-un after stepping over the border in the demilitarized zone, and then meeting privately with the dictator. You can see a number of reports at the CNN site below (click on the screenshot):

First of all, Trump tweeted what’s below, touting the “great honor” of standing on the soil of North Korea. That’s shameful: it’s like tweeting about the “great honor” of being received in Auschwitz by Hitler. For—and I’m not trying to denigrate the Holocaust here—North Korea is a country that is in effect a concentration camp, and it’s no “honor” to be in the world’s worst and most oppressive land meeting with the world’s most oppressive leader.

Worse, Trump is a fool if he thinks that North Korea is going to give up its nukes or its nuclear program in some kind of deal. The nukes are all North Korea has to keep its people in line and unified, and there is no way in hell it’s going to abandon a program that, as it’s assured its people repeatedly, is the only weapon in their ongoing war with America.

As usual, Trump is being played by a fool who also happens to be the kind of dictatorial strongman our “President” admires. Here’s former director of national intelligence James Clapper on this charade:

“I think it’s a great historic moment … and it’s the first time a sitting president ever set foot in North Korea,” Clapper, now a CNN national security analyst, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar when asked if it was a breakthrough moment in US-North Korea relations. “I think when it comes to the hard business of negotiating here, I think that’s another story. I personally don’t believe the North Koreans have long term any intent to denuclearize.”

Clapper questioned why North Korea would denuclearize.

“Why should they,” he said. “It’s their ticket to survival.”

I can’t imagine anyone would think otherwise. If our intent really is to get nukes off the Korean peninsula (the U.S. has none there) and to persuade the DPRK to disarm, it’s doomed to failure. I see no alternative to simply leaving sanctions on the country but accepting that, on some dark day, North Korea will have nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver them long distances.

46 Comments

  1. Steve Gerrard
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Actually I’m a bit more concerned about the first part of the tweet: “a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un.”

    Wonderful in what way, sir? Good food? Un is a thug, deserving no respect or admiration.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I think N. Korea is laughing all the way to the Chinese Bank. China has been their existence since 1950. They would not exist except for China. China saved them in the war and has been doing so ever since. Trump deals with this little fat dictator as if he was totally separate from China.

    I have visited the DMZ a couple of times but never had any thought of crossing over into the North. Lots of people in the North think about going south and would except they would be killed trying.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Many do leave in spite of the danger. Since 1953, 100,000–300,000 North Koreans have defected, most of whom have fled to Russia or China. Some end up in South Korea traveling first through China to Tailand.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Thailand

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted July 1, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

      I have also visited the DMZ a couple of times, and have technically actually stood in North Korea. I was a member of a British Government delegation that was allowed access to the hut in which negotiations take place, and which straddles the border. We were allowed to walk all round the hut, including the half of it that is in NK.

      Incidentally, the visit was during one of the periodic “flag wars” between the North and South. This one involved the national pennants that sit on each side of the table. At the time of our visit, these had ballooned to about 18″ x 12″. This looked, and indeed was, completely ridiculous.

  3. P Walden
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    People try to understand that Trump is not being taken for a fool, he is not interested in anything but becoming a dictator. He wants and seems to be getting total control in the USA! He makes friends with the dictators and does not care that people in those countries are suffering, are marginalized, killed when expedient. HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT ANYTHING BUT BECOMING LIKE THEM.

  4. DW
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    How do you expect to bring North Korea into the modern world? Do you want to invade it like we did Nazi Germany with hundreds of thousands of troops? You think that will end well?!?

    What Trump is doing is how you chip away at a country that you cannot invade, due to its nuclear weapons. The point it not to convince North Korea to give up its nukes. That will NEVER happen, because they know that as soon as they do, invasion is back on the table.

    So how do you defeat it? You chip away at the walls. Attack them with trade and culture. You keep the demand to get rid of their nukes so that when they give in to your demands to open the borders up a bit they don’t lose face.

    If we find any way we can to give the people of North Korea a taste of prosperity, that will cause the internal change necessary. You have to ask yourself which is more important to you: Helping the people of North Korea or destroying the Kim Jongs. If you’re willing to make the people of North Korea suffer more out of hatred for the Kim Jongs, then your priorities are backwards.

    So, yeah, Trump will say nice things to North Korea. We call that DIPLOMACY. Even a crass, narcissistic, asshat like Trump can see that you need to use diplomacy to get what you want.

    Ask yourself truly, would your reaction have been the same if it had been Obama doing and saying the same things?

    • Caldwell
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      +1 I noticed there’s no evidence presented to support the post’s title.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        The evidence is that we’ve heard the same bullshit from Trump and his apologists about huge progress in NK for the last two years, and KJU has simply continued doing what he’s always done. There is no reason whatsoever to trust a single word that comes out of KJU’s mouth, for the reasons mentioned in the article.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      In that case I’d’ve thought Obama was an idiot, and I’d have thought his comments were morally unhinged.

      Even if Trump’s just being ‘diplomatic’ there is still absolutely no reason to add any of all the gross ancillary bumph about KJU being a great leader of his people. This is a guy who executes dissenting family members with a fucking anti-aircraft gun.

      Obama wouldn’t have behaved this way, didn’t behave this way, because he had an instinctive respect for liberal democracy and human rights.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Trump is getting rolled by Kim. At the original summit in Singapore Trump gave up military exercises with South Korea and an increase in international sanctions. He returned waiving around a single page of precatory prose Kim had given him, declaring that the nation could rest easy, that NoKo’s nuclear threat was OVER, and demanding his Nobel Peace prize.

      Kim knows that the way to keep Trump placated is through fulsome flattery, so writes him fustian love letters. While this fakakta love fest is going on, Kim continues apace to stockpile fissile material and nuclear weapons and has recommenced testing mid-range missiles menacing Japan. And he continues apace to purge his nation of the slightest rumblings of dissent. Meanwhile, Trump has promoted Kim — the world’s most brutal and despotic dictator — to the status of statesman on the world stage, the envy of every other tin-pot third-world dictator who longs to achieve such status by wielding nukes.

      Can you point to a single improvement in the lives of rank-and-file North Koreans that’s occurred as a result these Trump-Kim antics?

    • Posted July 1, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Even when trump on rare occasion adopts the right course of action, he goes about it all wrong. As we used to say, trump could F up a Polish wedding.

  5. T.H.
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Imagine you’re the president of a major world power, and a foreign nation with a tyrannical government, hostile to your own country and interests, develops nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to use them all around the globe. It’s highly questionable whether denuclearization is viable. A preemptive strike would be unimaginably disastrous and is not on the table.

    You can up the rhetoric and escalate the tension, or you can hold your nose and try to build a bridge. Pick wisely.

    • Posted June 30, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      I would build the bridge, but not like Trump is doing. Mine would be to negotiate that North Korea can keep their damn nukes, and we would gradually lift sanctions but meanwhile we expect the following from NK.
      1. Open up the border to trade and industry building within NK.
      2. Open up the border to cultural exchange.
      3. Do not sell your missile and nuclear technology to any other country.
      4. When they do test fire a missile, don’t deliberately aim it at Japan or any other traditional enemy. Just aim it out to sea like everyone else.
      5. Sign the armistice officially ending the Korean war. Establish diplomatic relations.

      Because I would allow NK to keep their weapons, I expect I would only have 1 term in office.

      • CJColucci
        Posted July 1, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Assuming even modest rationality, there is no reason in the world for North Korea to give up its nuclear program, and no administration would be able to get that. The nearest thing to a silver lining is that Trump might get a “freeze” deal, which is objectively the best we can hope for, thus making it possible for a more competent administration to work on a real deal that does not require the impossible when North Korea cheats, as it will.

  6. Roger
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    In a way I can see how buttering up other leaders could be a sort of diplomatic strategy. But buttering up world class jerks while being a jerk to our friends exposes the true depths of Trump’s idiocy.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump has gone before the cameras today and told the baldfaced lie that the Obama administration “begged” Kim Jong-un for a face-to-face meeting for eight years, but was turned down by Kim. In truth, NO previous American administration — Democratic or Republican — would have ever taken such a meeting with Kim (or with his familial predecessors), so as not to promote him to a major player on the world stage (and, thereby, to encourage every other tin-pot third-word despot to attain parity through nuclear proliferation) as Trump has plainly done while being rolled by Kim over the past year.

    Such an easily demonstrable lie would’ve been the death-knell for any previous presidency; it would have led the news every day from now until election day and put the kibosh on any incumbent’s reelection prospects. For Trump, “he constantly lies” is simply baked into the cake.

    When we have a national-security crisis — as assuredly we eventually will — how in the world will any American citizen, or any leader of one of our allies, ever be able to trust a goddamn thing Donald Trump says? I know I won’t, not unless it’s corroborated by highly ranked, trusted sources inside the Pentagon and intelligence community (preferably ones without the modifier “acting” before their titles). Trump has now surrounded himself with second- and third-string talent and with people petrified to incur his wrath by contradicting him in public.

    Right now, this nation could well be just one minor incident away from finding itself in a major international crisis.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      You can tell a lot about a man by the company that he keeps.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I do have to say I’m frustrated with Obama’s unwillingness to forcefully rebuke Trump’s constant smears, lies and distortions. Or maybe the media simply doesn’t cover Obama when/if he does call out Trump. From experience, I’ve learned that Obama is not confrontational, and not a very tough fighter, but PLEASE stand up for yourself when it comes to Trump’s bullshit lies.

      I’m sure he could write an elegant and truthful rebuke and I’m sure he could get it published in any newspaper or magazine he wanted.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 30, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        There’s a long tradition in this country of former presidents not publicly criticizing sitting presidents. Poppy Bush didn’t criticize Bubba; Bubba didn’t criticize Dubya; and Dubya didn’t criticize Barry. It’s like the world’s most exclusive club.

        Obama’s doing his level best to keep the tradition going, but I think there’s an exception (or oughta be) for merely correcting the record on outright lies about a prior administration (given that there’s also a hoary American tradition of sitting presidents not telling blatant whoppers about their predecessor, the way Trump does).

        Jimmy Carter’s catching grief right now, for not even criticizing Trump’s actions as president, but merely for acknowledging what’s made plain by the Mueller report — that Trump had Russian help in getting elected.

        It’ll be interesting to see how warmly Dubya and Obama — both of whom are gentlemen and play by the game according to Hoyle — welcome Trump (who’s neither) into the former presidents’ club. Jimmy Carter is 94 years old now and fresh outta fucks to give. One thing we can likely count on is Trump not shutting his yap when it comes to criticizing his successor (whoever that is).

        • rickflick
          Posted June 30, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          “It’ll be interesting to see how warmly Dubya and Obama … welcome Trump”

          It’s hard to imagine them even sitting next to him for one of those kumbaya group photos they always do.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 30, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            True. But they kept up polite appearances at Poppy Bush’s funeral service.

        • Mark R.
          Posted June 30, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Trump and tradition are an oxymoron. I don’t think we’ll ever get a moments rest from the fool until he’s dead. I can almost see (assuming he looses) that the media will continue to cover Trump’s antics (bullshit) more consistently than they cover the new POTUS. I’m glad I’m 50. There’s hope that by the time I die, I won’t have to listen/read/see him everywhere and everywhen.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 30, 2019 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            The real question (as I see it anyway, Mark) is when Trump loses, and he claims the election was fixed, and tries to get the results overturned in court, how many Republicans will follow him over that cliff? The “deplorables” — the dead-enders who wouldn’t care if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue — will, and maybe some of the Freedom Caucus crazies in the House. But most congressional Republicans will have to distance themselves from him, amid recriminations of betrayal from Trump and his base.

            It may tear the GOP apart for good.

            • Mark R.
              Posted July 1, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

              Yes, I agree that could become a real scenario. And I’d be happier than a clam at high tide if the GOP imploded. Interesting times indeed.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 2, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

            “I’m glad I’m 50. There’s hope that by the time I die, I won’t have to listen/read/see him everywhere and everywhen.”

            Heck, I’m 71, and I’m hoping exactly the same thing.

            (Yes this does sort of imply I’m hoping something terminal happens to Der Trumpfer in the not-too-distant future. Next week would be convenient.)

            😎

            cr

  8. Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Actually, we don’t know that the US has no nukes in S Korea. US ships visit there regularly, and the USN has a policy of not revealing which ships are nuclear armed.

    The idea that nukes keep the North Korean people in line is silly. They have bullets for that. The patriotic appeal of nuclear weapons held by the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea is not noticeably greater than the patriotic appeal of all the other weapons they own.

    I have no idea what Trump thinks he’s accomplishing, but it seems to have the side effect of making Kim Jong Un less aggressive toward South Korea. I call that a good result. As for North Korea being “seen as a major player on the world stage” – what is this, kindergarten? Well for Trump and Un, yes, kindergarten is where they live. But the rest of us can afford to let them play, as long as they play nice.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      The “player on the world stage” is a matter or rewards and punishment, incentives and disincentives, as to both Kim himself and the leaders of other nations similarly situated.

      What kind of message do you think this sends to Iran about their nuclear program? If you were the leader of a nation with an opportunity to acquire nuclear-weapon technology on the black-market (the way, say, Pakistan did through the machinations of AQ Khan) would you choose to go the Kim route or the Gaddafi route?

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The first time I was in South Korea was 1983. The last time was around 1994. I think in total maybe 7 or 8 visits. South Korea changed significantly during this period and great improvements were made just from a visitor’s view. I think the last martial law was around 1980/81? Great improvements were made around the time of the Olympics and after. S. Korea became a much more modern society during this period that I could see each time I was there.

    The connection with South Korea for the U.S. is very substantial as is our connection with Japan. I hope that connection will not be damaged a great deal while Trump is president. His actions are a great worry for many in these countries.

  10. Posted June 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s not due to ignorance that Trump behaves submissively towards to Kim Jong Un. It’s because on a personal level he is acutely aware of his lesser status. He’d love to have what Kim has, but doesn’t know how to get it. So he’s limited for the moment to joking with Putin about getting rid of journalists, until he can figure out a way to do it like the Saudis do.

    He is not capable of inhabiting the status normally accorded the role of US President, and probably doesn’t think much of it anyway — after all even that black guy had that status for a while. It can’t be so important.

    I’m not joking.

    No one seems to realise it.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Yep, for the first time in America’s history, we have a President who is actually envious of brutal dictators. Pathetic.

      • Posted July 1, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        And who hasn’t met a brutal dictator whose arse he won’t kiss for a photo op.

  11. Charles Sawicki
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Trump wasn’t duped. His main goal is continuous news coverage with useless actions that are often damaging to America. He succeeded in keeping himself on TV. This seems to impresses the idiots who think he is doing a good job. He doesn’t give a damn about the long term effects of anything he does on the country. Total success for Trump!

    • rickflick
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Whenever anyone suggests Trump has a political mind with goals and strategy I shake my head. He’s good at getting that continuous attention. If you’ve noticed, (and I’m sure you have) he pretty much goes the complete opposite of what experts say on any issue. If experts would use diplomacy, he’ll chose confrontation. When they say don’t he does it. It’s a sociopath.

      Sociopathy:
      Consider the person’s relationships with others.

      1. Sociopaths are incapable of experiencing guilt or shame for their actions.
      2. Sociopaths are manipulative.
      3. Sociopaths lack empathy and may be incapable of love.
      4. Sociopaths have a hard time dealing with criticism.

  12. Posted June 30, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Just as only Nixon could go to China, only Trump could go to North Korea.

    The hypocritical Republicans in the House and Senate would be apoplectic if a Democrat president tried this.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 30, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Nixon, as pathological as he was, at least had a vision (occluded though it may have been), a grand geopolitical strategy (egged on by Kissinger, who fancied himself the successor to Klemens von Metternich) of leveraging China against Russia for the benefit of the West.

      Trump is just winging it, solely for the greater aggrandizement of Donald John Trump.

  13. Mark Cagnetta
    Posted June 30, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    It may not be eliminating nukes that is Trump’s goal here. He may be consulting with North Korean officials as to how to brainwash an entire nation. Gaslighting works, but only only a population of non-thinkers.

  14. Posted June 30, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Trump just does (and says) one damn thing after another to keep his name in the headlines. That’s it, and it works.

    rz

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 1, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Trump pulled off quite the triple-header this past weekend — giggling with Vladimir Putin about interference in our 2020 election, absolving MBS for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and making a field trip to the DMZ to kiss the ring of Kim Jong-un.

      Foreign diplomacy and national security at their finest.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 1, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        He’s leading the world into an era of dangerous instability. Every ally and neutral country has to discount US military support so they’ll end up rearming. What could go wrong?

  15. Steve Pollard
    Posted July 1, 2019 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    The Guardian cartoonist has a slightly different take on the visit:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2019/jun/30/ben-jennings-donald-trump-meeting-kim-jong-un-cartoon

  16. MakingBelieve
    Posted July 1, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    TV coverage seems totally one-sided – all Trump tweets, photo-ops and sound-bites.

    I don’t think I’ve heard reported a single word from KJU about Trump, USA, visits, anything… Why is that?

  17. Posted July 1, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Many years ago, Vanity Fair ran an article on the opulent interior decorating of millionaires. They covered trump and concluded he had the tastes of a dictator.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 2, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say tRump was duped. That implies that he had some aim in mind and was deceived.

    He got a photo opportunity. That’s all he wanted, that’s all it was ever going to be, that’s what he got.

    The only people ‘duped’ were those who might have hoped against hope that something substantive might emerge from all this showboating.

    cr


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