Tag Archives: Kim Jong Un

Trump & the Bolton-Pompeo Axis, by Patrick Lawrence

Can Trump maneuver around Bolton and Pompeo, or can South Korean president Moon Jae-in maneuver around the US government to move towards peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula? From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

Patrick Lawrence eyes the U.S. president’s difficulties with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton as he tries to resume peace talks with Pyongyang.

Moon Jae-in’s Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump last Thursday marked an important step forward for both leaders. The South Korean president appears to have drawn Trump away from the all-or-nothing “big deal” he proposed when he last met Kim Jong-un — an offer we now know was intended to precipitate the North Korean leader’s rejection. Trump won, too: The encounter with Moon has effectively put the Dealmaker back on his feet after the calamitous collapse of the second Trump–Kim summit in Hanoi two months ago. A top-down agreement on the North’s denuclearization is once again within reach.

Moon faces Trump; working lunching in Washington, April 11, 2019. (White House/ Shealah Craighead via Flickr)

The importance of the Moon–Trump summit, while eclipsed by news of Julian Assange’s arrest in London the same day, is not be underestimated. Even before receiving Moon, Trump announced for the first time that he is willing to summit with Kim for a third time. While still stressing the North’s complete denuclearization as the U.S. objective, Trump also said he is open to the incremental diplomacy he precluded with his everything-at-once offer in Hanoi.

“There are various smaller deals that maybe could happen,” Trump said before he and Moon withdrew to the Oval Office. “Things could happen. You can work out step-by-step pieces, but at this moment we are still talking about the big deal.”

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What Really Happened in Hanoi? by Mike Whitney

The status quo in North Korea is fine by the military-industrial complex who profit it by it and the neocons who support the idea of US global hegemony and dominance, and loath Eurasian integration. Thus the attempt to subvert negotiations and an eventual peace on the Korean Peninsula. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

While the western media has written off last weekend’s summit in Hanoi as a failure, the talks did help to burnish Kim Jong-un’s reputation as a sincere statesman committed to peacefully resolving the nuclear issue. This is a significant development for the simple reason that Kim needs to continue to build popular support for his cause if he hopes to prevail in the long-term. In that regard, the lifting of sanctions is not nearly as important as Kim’s broader goal of ending Washington’s military occupation of the Korean peninsula and reunifying the country. In order to achieve those objectives, Kim will need the support of his allies in Moscow and Beijing as well as that of the Korean people. His disciplined performance in Hanoi suggests that he is entirely deserving of that support.

There’s no way to know whether Kim expected President Trump to put the kibosh on the deal or not. But with uber-hawks like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton at the bargaining table, he must have figured that there was a high probability of failure. Was that why Kim made such a generous offer during the negotiations? Was it part of a plan to make him look good because he knew Trump would throw a wrench in the works?

It’s hard to say, but it’s clear that Kim emerged from the confab looking much more amenable and statesmanlike than Trump. From the very beginning, Kim appeared to be fully committed to working with his American counterparts to hammer out a deal that was mutually acceptable. He basically showed the world that he was willing to offer up the bulk of the DPRK nuclear weapons-ballistic missile programs on a silver platter in exchange for a partial lifting of sanctions. It was an extraordinarily generous offer which should have led to a real breakthrough, but it didn’t. Instead, the offer was breezily rejected without debate or counter-offer. Why? Why would Trump shrug off an offer to permanently halt all long-range rocket and nuclear tests and to “completely dismantle all the nuclear production facilities” at Yongbyon, the DPRK’s primary nuclear enrichment facility? Isn’t that what Washington wanted from the get go?

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North Korea Talks Breakdown – Trump Keeps the Empire Happy, by Tom Luongo

The Korean Peninsula has been a good racket for the military-industrial-intelligence complex since the 1950s, and nobody wants to see anything happen that would threaten the gravy train, like peace and understanding between the two Koreas. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Given the trajectory of President Trump’s foreign policy since last year there was little hope of significant movement at this year’s summit with North Korea.

Since that first, historic meeting last year in Singapore, Trump’s foreign policy team has become the exact opposite of what that meeting symbolized.

Belligerent, threatening, cocky, obnoxious and ignorant only partially cover the depths to which Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Trump himself have taken U.S. diplomacy.

There are many who still think that Trump is working for peace in the world. But, even if he is, the reality is that he’s not in charge of anything anymore.

So the point is moot.

Since Trump announced the withdrawal from Syria in December 20th, he has been pushed further and further to the sidelines of his own administration.

Take two weeks ago in Europe for example. Two major international summits are held in Warsaw and Munich and Trump is at home tweeting about the evils of Socialism and Venezuela while the Triumverate of Evil – Bolton, Pence and Pompeo — failed to rally support for a world war against Iran.

Vice President Mike Pence is running the operation on Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. Trump isn’t allowed anywhere near where the grown-ups are allowed to be.

It makes sense Trump wanted to go to Hanoi to achieve something substantial as was Kim but that was derailed in the end when John Bolton showed up and demanded chemical weapons be added at the last minute.

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Fiasco in Hanoi, by Eric S. Margolis

Eric Margolis takes a dim view of Trump’s Hanoi meeting with Kim Jong Un. From Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

President Donald Trump’s air trip to Vietnam cost taxpayers $5,695,000 just for the president’s flying Taj Mahal.  Plus millions more for his retainers, the presidential limo, hotel rooms, meals, security details and only Ho Chi Minh knows what else.

For what?  A nice photo op and a cheery dinner for the two leaders in Hanoi.  Just about everyone who follows Asian affairs knew in advance that North Korean dynastic strongman (aka king) had no interest or good reason for giving up his nuclear program.  The director of US national intelligence, Dan Coates, told Trump as much last week.

Many moons ago, I worked in Jamaica on land and port development projects.  The boss of my firm, a self-important, bigwig, used to brush off each new problem by saying in his melodious English-Jamaican accent, ‘don’t worry, I will neeeegotiate it!’  But more often than not, the chief negotiator made a mess of things.

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The Next US-North Korea Summit, by John Feffer

Trump talks a lot about big, bold initiatives. It’s time to actually do one with North Korea. From John Feffer at antiwar.com:

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are scheduled to meet again. Here are several reasons to be optimistic about next month’s summit.

The second meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un is scheduled for next month. The most likely location will be Vietnam. The agenda is much the same as before: how to get North Korea to denuclearize and the United States to dismantle its sanctions regime. The question remains: which side will make the first substantial move?

The summit comes at a particular difficult time for Trump. The partial shutdown of the federal government is nearing the end of its third week, and most Americans blame the president. Pentagon chief James Mattis resigned over Trump’s insistence on withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a policy that other administration officials have attempted to reverse. The president faces fresh criticism of his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And the House of Representatives, now in the hands of the opposition Democratic Party, is getting ready to launch a slew of investigations into Trump’s affairs and policies.

Kim Jong UN, on the other hand, has been busy consolidating his position. He visited China for the fourth time this month and began making arrangements for Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s first visit to North Korea this spring. Relations with the South are proceeding more-or-less smoothly, with the groundbreaking ceremony for a new inter-Korean railroad taking place late last year.

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Opinion: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un continues to outmaneuver Donald Trump, by Kent Harrington and John Walcott

Is Kim Jong Un out-wheeling and out-dealing Master of the Deal Donald Trump? From Kent Harrington and John Walcott at marketwatch.com:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is eager to hold a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Since their first meeting in Singapore in June, Kim has consistently outmaneuvered his counterpart. Trump may still fancy himself a world-class deal maker, but the truth is that Kim — like Russian President Vladimir Putin — has got Trump’s number.

Kim’s bonhomie (real or feigned) and promises of denuclearization have muted Trump’s threats, brought the South Korean government closer to his side, and eroded international sanctions against his regime. Kim has accomplished all of this without diminishing his regime’s nuclear capacity, and he appears to have continued ballistic-missile development at 16 hidden sites. Having gone from nuclear-armed pariah to presidential negotiating partner, it is little wonder that Kim would want a second summit to consolidate his newfound international legitimacy and position in the global limelight.

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A Tale of Two Despots, by Justin Raimondo

Who is doing more to advance reform, diplomacy, and peace—Muhammad bin Salman or Kim Jong Un? From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Mohammed bin Salman, the phony “reformer” – and Kim Jong-un, the real thing

While the whole civilized world is reeling in shock at the barbaric murder of Washington Post writer and Saudi “moderate” Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the spotlight moves away from another despot on the other side of the world whose temperament was once thought to be more volcanic: Kim Jong-un, communist dictator of North Korea.

Remember when President Trump first announced the Korean peace initiative? Boy oh boy, the Washington wonks went wild! Why, Kim is a monster! He’s killed millions! It’s a trick! Is Trump crazy? – because, they claimed, Kim certainly is! When the Singapore Summit finally occurred, and Trump actually met Kim, the event was declared a “failure” by the Western media before it had begun. The joint statement that came out of the meeting was deemed to be so vague as to be meaningless, and the whole thing was written off by the mandarins of the Beltway as one of the President’s whimsies.

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