Tag Archives: North Korea

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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Reuters Confirms That Bolton Torpedoed the Hanoi Summit, by Mike Whitney

Was allowing neocons to sabotage his foreign policy part of a deal Trump made to get Mueller off his back? From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

An explosive report by Reuters confirms that John Bolton sabotaged the denuclearization talks between Kim Jong un and Donald Trump in Hanoi in February. According to a March 29 exclusive by journalists Lesley Wroughton and David Brunnstrom:

“Donald Trump handed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a piece of paper” demanding that Kim surrender all of his “nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States.” Trump also added a number of unrelated demands including “fully dismantling” all “chemical and biological warfare program(s)…. and ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities.” Trump surprised Kim by demanding complete, unilateral disarmament in exchange for a flimsy promise to lift economic sanctions sometime in the future. Naturally, Kim rejected the offer.

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Trump’s CIA Now Unbound and Back to Its Traditional Hijinks, by Wayne Madsen

Is the CIA trying to sabotage Venezuela and the prospects for an agreement with North Korea? Probably. From Wayne Madsen at strategic-culture.org:

Under the directorship of torture and black site maven Gina Haspel, Donald Trump’s Central Intelligence Agency has returned to its traditional roots of conducting “black bag” operations and disrupting electrical grids through cyber-attacks.

The Venezuelan government has accused the Trump administration of giving the green light for a series of crippling power failures in Venezuela, which affected 22 of Venezuela’s 23 states, including the capital of Caracas. The long-duration power failures were cited by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a reason for the US withdrawing its diplomats from Caracas. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that an international commission assisted by specialists from Russia, China, Iran, and the United Nations would help his country analyze the sources of the Venezuelan electrical grid cyber-attack. Initial cyber-forensics by Venezuela traced some of the cyber warfare being waged against Venezuela to nodes in Houston and Chicago.

In addition to electricity, water service was disrupted in Venezuela. From Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Maduro tweeted on March 12: “From the Presidential Command Post, we monitored minute-by-minute the progress of the recovery of the National Electric System.”

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Empire of Absurdity: Recycled Neocons, Recycled Enemies, by Danny Sjursen

The American empire is crumbling, as have the empires before it. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

There are times when I wish that the United States would just drop the charade and declare itself a global empire. As a veteran of two imperial wars, a witness to the dark underside of America’s empire-denial, I’ve grown tired of the equivocation and denials from senior policymakers. The U.S. can’t be an empire, we’re told, because – unlike the Brits and Romans – America doesn’t annex territories outright, and our school children don’t color its colonies in red-white-and-blue on cute educational maps.

But this distinction, at root, is rather superficial. Conquest, colonization, and annexation are so 19th century – Washington has moved beyond the overt and engages in the (not-so) subtle modern form of imperialism. America’s empire over the last two decades – under Democrats and Republicans – has used a range of tools: economic, military, political, to topple regimes, instigate coups, and starve “enemy” civilians. Heck, it didn’t even start with 9/11 – bullying foreigners and overturning uncooperative regimes is as American as apple pie.

Still, observing post-9/11, post-Iraq/Afghanistan defeat, Washington play imperialism these days is tragicomically absurd. The emperor has no clothes, folks. Sure, America (for a few more fleeting years) boasts the world’s dominant economy, sure its dotted the globe with a few hundred military bases, and sure it’s military still outspends the next seven competitors combined. Nonetheless, what’s remarkable, what constitutes the real story of 2019, is this: the US empire can’t seem to accomplish anything anymore, can’t seem to bend anybody to its will. It’s almost sad to watch. America, the big-hulking has-been on the block, still struts its stuff, but most of the world simply ignores it.

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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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The United States Is at It Again: Compiling an Enemies List, by Philip Giraldi

The US government likes enemies lists. The one commonality among its enemies is that they don’t do what the US government wants them to do. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

The United States Is at It Again: Compiling an Enemies List

Many American still long for the good old days when men were still manly and President George W. Bush was able to announce that there was a “new sheriff in town” pledged to wipe terrorism from the face of the earth. “You’re either with us or against us,” he growled and he backed up his warning of lethal retribution with an enemies list that he called the “axis of evil.”

The axis of evil identified in those days in the 2002 State of the Union Address consisted of Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Iraq, which had not yet been invaded and conquered by the American war machine, was number one on the list, with Saddam allegedly brandishing weapons of mass destruction deliverable by the feared transatlantic gliders that could easily strike the United States. Bush explained that “Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections, then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.”

North Korea meanwhile was described as “A regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens” while Iran “aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.”

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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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