Friday, June 01, 2018

Can Kim Jong Un Put His Life in Donald's Trumps Hands?

There's so much double-dealing going on lately it's hard to figure out who can be trusted but, on the trustworthiness scale, Donald Trump must be pretty close to the bottom. Over the objections of America's security and intelligence czars and the Chiefs of Staff, not to mention Washington's allies, Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear pact. Now he's infuriated and alienated America's closest allies - Canada, the European Union and Mexico - by starting a trade war purely on impulse, whim.

To someone like North Korea's Kim Jong Un, these things can't be confidence-building. Yet Trump is on a mission to get Kim to surrender North Korea's only meaningful means of defence, its nuclear arsenal. That's all Kim must do and a glorious future will be assured for Rocket Man and his long-suffering, malnourished people.

It was all going swimmingly until Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, said the word "Libya." Doug Bandow, from the rightwing Cato Institute,argues that Trump has already defeated himself, the US and America's Asian allies.

Bolton, uncompromisingly hawkish and an experienced bureaucratic backstabber, publicly mused that the model for denuclearization should be Libya in 2003, essentially boxing up the North’s weapons and facilities and sending them to America. 
Although the U.S. president apparently sought to downplay Bolton’s comments, he ended up threatening regime change and war. Amid a rather muddled discussion of Libya, Trump said, “If you look at that model with Qaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. … that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely” with Kim. The vice president followed with much of the same, announcing that the North could “end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.” 
It was a dubious example, since North Korea’s arsenal is far more complex, including completed nukes, as well as a substantial inventory of missiles and chemical and biological weapons. Libya also didn’t have a tempting target like Seoul within missile range. 
But such language is also a rhetorical disaster — perhaps a deliberate one on Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence’s part. The Libya model lingers in North Korean minds. When I visited Pyongyang last June, I was informed that Libya’s experience illustrated why nuclear weapons are necessary — something that the North Koreans have repeated to many other visitors. Officials talked about eliminating America’s “hostile policy,” “military threats,” and “nuclear threats.” But the Libyan experience means that verbal assurances and paper guarantees will never convince the North to give up its weapons. 
The North Koreans are well aware that history did not end with Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi’s relinquishment of his most important weapons. U.S. President George W. Bush announced in 2003 that Libya’s “good faith will be returned.” For eight years, the United States and Europe showered him with flowers and whispered sweet nothings in his ear. In one of the more infamous examples, U.S. Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman supped with Qaddafi in Tripoli, discussing the possibility of dispensing aid to reward him for his opposition to al Qaeda.
...But then a popular revolt broke out in 2011, and the West used the excuse of humanitarian intervention to launch a campaign for regime change on the cheap. The onetime Libyan strongman died a particularly public and gruesome death. Pyongyang was watching. As the North’s official news agency wrote, “‘Libya’s nuclear dismantlement’ much touted by the U.S. in the past turned out to be a mode of aggression whereby the latter coaxed the former with such sweet words as ‘guarantee of security’ and ‘improvement of relations’ to disarm itself and then swallowed it up by force.”

The North has drawn the obvious conclusions. Last year, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, explained that Kim “has watched, I think, what has happened around the world relative to nations that possess nuclear capabilities and the leverage they have.” As for Libya, Coats said, the lesson is, “If you had nukes, never give them up. If you don’t have them, get them.”

Although the Wall Street Journal attempted to exonerate Bolton by explaining that he was talking about Libya in 2003, not 2011, the two Libyan experiences are inseparable in the minds of North Koreans. By surrendering his missiles and nukes, Qaddafi invited Washington to take advantage of his weakness. Even if that was not America’s plan from the start, Washington did not hesitate to oust its recent partner. In fact, Bolton, who had been involved in the Qaddafi negotiations, advocated that the U.S. military target the Libyan leader.

...Another diplomatic disaster has further poisoned the waters. Assuaging the North’s concerns has been made more difficult by Washington’s termination of the Iran nuclear deal, followed by a set of far harsher demands for Tehran. Ironically, the Obama administration had hoped that the Iran agreement would attract Pyongyang. For instance, then-Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said in 2015 that the Iran deal “might give North Korea second thoughts about the very dangerous path that it is currently pursuing.” Once the Trump administration tore it up, however, all bets were off.

...Whatever happens with the summit, the Trump administration has become a major hindrance to nonproliferation.
...Trump has highlighted North Korea as the party more willing to engage in diplomacy, and much harder to demonize as an appropriate target of U.S. military action. He has demonstrated to South Koreans that the United States, under his administration, is the more obstructionist and dangerous nation. He has made it easy for Beijing to resist future U.S. requests, since he abandoned negotiation. The only certain loser from the president’s language and decisions is the United States.


Toby said...

The United States has always been an obstructionist and dangerous nation. It is also the only country to have attacked Canada and I have no doubt that it would do so again if frustrated over oil or water. A crackpot in the White House is not necessary. Thomas Jefferson was reputed as saying, "The acquisition of Canada this year will be a mere matter of marching."

Back to Kim Jong Un who leads a rather nasty regime. When compared with Trump, Kim appears sane, logical and almost nice which he isn't. What the North Korean regime wants is to be allowed to continue as a repressive Stalinist country without fear of external meddling.

The frustrating thing for outside observers is that North and South Korea were making positive steps toward mutual toleration and cooperation back when Kim's dad was in charge. Then David Frum wrote that stupid "Axis of Evil" speech. There was a massive collective groan in South Korea when GW Bush read that speech.

As a side note, did you know that many South Koreans boycotted one of the James Bond films? It had a portrayal of an American General announcing that he would mobilize South Korean military forces. South Korean's are rather sensitive about American attitudes.

Trailblazer said...

South Korean's are rather sensitive about American attitudes.

And so should we all..

There is little reason to trust the USA and seldom has been.

When it, USA, treats friends as it does any potential enemy would be mad to trust anything they do or say.

Rocket man, Kim, won round one of the negotiations by being accepted as an equal.
My guess is he will win round two by a TKO.


Anonymous said...

Rocket Boy put his life in his own hands firing off ICBMs into the Sea of Japan. He can only save his life by ending his ICBM nuclear program. (Which he appears to be doing, thanks to Donald J. Trump. No more rockets either.)

Trump is no BHO. He has no interest in bombing North Korea to send a flood of Muslim refugees into Europe. He's trying to avoid regime change.

Trump's position is non-nuclear proliferation among rouge regimes. Period. Nothing more, nothing less.

He is saving the world from some form of inevitable exchange of nuclear fire that would see North Korea and/or Iran wiped off the face of existence (for about 10,000 years, in any case; before their lands become habitable again.)

Trump has also signaled that the days of free-trade-globalization looting are over. He's hitting Mexico and Canada with trade sanctions, specifically, because they refuse to raise wages for Mexican workers and renegotiate NAFTA. They represent oligarch looting. Donald J. Trump represents workers across North America.

Just take note of who's saying to act hysterical over Trump and for what reasons. The wolves tearing up the hen-house say Trump is the problem because he's trying to stop them!

Anonymous said...


U.S. President Donald Trump says he’d prefer to see separate bilateral trade deals with Canada and Mexico instead of the current North American free-trade agreement.

Mr. Trump says – as he has many times before – that NAFTA has been a terrible deal for the United States, while its North American trading partners make “many billions of dollars” at the expense of Americans.

And he suggested Friday that the idea of a trilateral trade deal doesn’t make sense – a notion he has floated before as a possibility, should the current NAFTA talks fail to reach a consensus.

“To be honest with you, I wouldn’t mind seeing NAFTA where you’d go by a different name, where you’d make a separate deal with Canada and a separate deal with Mexico,” he said Friday after a meeting with North Korean officials.

“You’re talking about a very different two countries. I wouldn’t mind seeing a separate deal with Canada where you have one type of product … and a separate deal with Mexico.”

NAFTA, he repeated, has been “a lousy deal for the United States from Day 1.”

“We lose a lot of money with Canada and we lose a fortune with Mexico. But it’s not going to happen like that anymore.”

Trump floats replacing NAFTA with bilateral agreements with Canada, Mexico

The Mound of Sound said...

Wow, Anon, I didn't know North Korea was one of those "rouge states" (sic) awash in Muslims. Scary stuff, eh?

Trailblazer said...

Well; when I read the above I shit my pants.
It was not for fear but for laughing too hard.


the salamander said...

.. its 4:15 AM - I have cows to milk & 400 pound beeves to feed
The vagaries of donald the Trumph's twisted brain are just that

Later I have a fine piece of vinyl to hand over for my one son
a Fred Neil.. an album I never knew existed
and not Eveyone's Talking At Me

el Trumpho can do a double invert mooberry
full twist toe grab with double doobery
and stick the landing
I care not

nor if he face plants

I know a scumbag when I see or hear him
( I is experienced.. as Hendrix might say)
and he exceeds every intrinsic
danger metric embedded in me
I wouldn't sell the A hole a pail of water
if his ass was on fire

Off to milk some cows
and discuss politics with them

Think it will be Stone Roses in the milk room this AM
Yesterday was Steve Earle..
and my foot got stepped on during Copperhead Road

" I learned a thing or two from charlie.. dontcha know.." ouch !
get off my foot.. says I slappin an 11 hundred pound holstein
who looks back at me placidly..

damn ..

Anonymous said...

I was being facetious. 'Obomba' had a reason to overthrow Gaddafi after striking a peace deal with him – as well as expanding 2 unpopular wars (he promised to end) into 7 military interventions across the Middle East (which produced a flood of Muslim refugees into Europe.) A reason that should be investigated by some kind of Congressional committee, IMO.

But Americans have no interest in North Korea, aside from de-escalating tensions in the region. They and the rest of the world want nuclear non-proliferation. No nukes in NK or Iran (or Saudi Arabia.) And Trump is the one who's bringing it. All the elite gum-flappers pathetically let tinpot dictators walk all over them. They were Neville Chamberlains before the Kim dynasty. How pathetic.

The Donald trumps bribe-taking lawyer-politicians and revolving-door businessman-politicians because he's a gameshow host! Think of it this way: if you think Trump is a fool, than even a fool is better than someone who will make the worst decisions all of the time because that's what they get paid to do in some way, shape or form.

He's not only a gameshow host, he's also a reality-TV contestant starring in the Biggest Show on Earth! And he's in it to win it! That is, go down in history as one of the great presidents! Revered by future generations.

Think that's funny? I think it's funny his cliquish bigoteer opponents could never bring themselves to give him credit for anything. They would rather self-immolate. And that's how they keep losing. That's how they lost to Reagan. That's how they lost to Bush.

And Trump is doing a lot more for Americans, despite whatever his personal flaws and policy errors, than they ever did.

Toby said...

Nuclear non-proliferation should include all countries, including the USA. Let's start by removing US nukes from the Korean peninsula. That would be a good start to showing North Korea the Americans are serious.

Anonymous said...

Meathead 4:44 said, "Donald J. Trump represents workers across North America." How? By being a deadbeat and ripping them off in business dealings? By not paying his bills and declaring bankruptcy five times? By having his shirts made in Asia? His daughters' companies (which he uses the office of the President to shill for) have products all manufactured in Asia as well.

Some representative for the North American worker.

mr perfect

Owen Gray said...

When Trump chose Bolten to replace McMaster, he doomed any hope he might have had to accomplish anything worthwile on the international stage.

Anonymous said...

Trump uses existing global supply chains like any other businessman. But he's putting his money where his mouth is by following through on his vow to change them and bring workers higher wages via Fair Trade.

He's already trying to force Mexican oligarchs to pay their autoworkers $15/hr from $3/hr. Trudeau stands on the side of Mexican oligarchs and Canadian plutocrats who want to continue to drive down wages and ship Canada's auto industry to Mexico.

Trump didn't declare bankruptcy 5 times. He lost big on a casino and trashed his reputation and credit. So he had to use junk bonds to finance other projects. Like using the credit card, you have to pay much higher interest. When a project was near completion and seen as a success, it was no longer a big risk. Therefore no sense paying big risk premiums. Therefore he would declare Chapter 11 to renegotiate the debt. Junk-bond holders would become shareholders. Art of the Deal, baby!

Anonymous said...

Uh huh.

mr perfect

the salamander said...

.. you do get some whing ding anon responses Mound..
some seem to live in an alternate and hysterical universe
where facts, history & reality aint present
so they just shape their surrealism or fantasy as they see fit

The Mound of Sound said...

Yeah, this anonymouse is a standard form douchebag, Sal. He's one of Hannity's trained squirrels. Every despot attracts his kind, that's the way of life.

The Mound of Sound said...

Here's another bit of reading for Anon:

That might screw up his best conspiracy theory.

Anonymous said...

Haters gotta hate!

Here's a more balanced article on Trump's "wheeling and dealing in bankruptcy court":

Whether wheeling and dealing in bankruptcy court is viewed as a skill necessary for Commander-in-Chief remains to be seen. But Trump’s quest for the highest office is an entertaining chapter in an already complex history in the capital markets.

That's what I like about Trump: he puts on a big show wherever he goes! Very entertaining. Best reality TV EVER!

Anonymous said...

Your blog........the answer is `not likely`.