The US government’s relationship with the Chinese and North Korean governments has grown increasingly contentious. Are better relations possible? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met for seven hours at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii with the chief architect of China’s foreign policy, Yang Jiechi.
The two had much to talk about.
As The Washington Post reports, the “bitterly contentious relationship” between our two countries has “reached the lowest point in almost half a century.” Not since Nixon went to China have relations been so bad.
Early this week, Chinese and Indian soldiers fought with rocks, sticks and clubs along the Himalayan truce line that dates back to their 1962 war. Twenty Indian soldiers died, some pushed over a cliff into a freezing river in the highest-casualty battle between the Asian giants in decades.
Among the issues surely raised with Pompeo by the Chinese is the growing bipartisan vilification of China and its ruling Communist Party by U.S. politicians the closer we come to November.
The U.S. has been putting China in the dock for concealing information on the coronavirus virus until it had spread, lying about it, and then letting Wuhan residents travel to the outside world while quarantining them inside China.
In America, it has become good politics to be tough on China.
It’s way past time to get out of Korea. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
Washington’s policy toward Korea – both Koreas, actually – isn’t going well. President Donald Trump calls the North’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un his “friend,” but Kim might be on his deathbed, incapacitated, or just hiding out to confuse his adversaries. In any case, the two haven’t talked since last summer, after a brief handshake while meeting at the DMZ when Trump visited the South. Negotiations between their underlings sputtered out in the fall.
South Korea is a longtime defense dependent, with the relationship forged in the Korean War which began 70 years ago this coming June. However, last year the administration demanded that Seoul increase its contribution toward the U.S. garrison under the Special Measures Agreement more than fivefold, to $5 billion annually. The Republic of Korea balked and talks deadlocked. The US recently furloughed thousands of ROK employees, which probably hurts American personnel, who must make up the work, more than Seoul.
As Washington officials speculated on who in North Korea currently possesses the key to that nation’s nuclear arsenal they tried to sound a reassuring note, claiming to have contingency plans if Kim dies. However, the Supreme Leader’s unexpected departure for beyond the River Styx would set off a brutal and possibly bloody power struggle – imagine millions of refugees, loose nukes and other WMDs, open warfare, and both South Korean and Chinese generals determined to intervene. Yet at this moment of uncertainty the US relationship with Seoul, which provides most of the troops on the ground, is strained and uncertain. Much could go wrong.
Well-played, Rocket Man. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
As of Dec. 26, Kim Jong Un’s “Christmas gift” to President Donald Trump had not arrived. Most foreign policy analysts predict it will be a missile test more impressive than any Pyongyang has yet carried off.
What is Kim’s game? What does Kim want?
He cannot want war with the United States, as this could result in the annihilation of the Kim family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since World War II. Kim is all about self-preservation.
What he appears to want in his confrontation with Trump is a victory without war. In the near-term, Kim seeks three things: recognition of his regime as the legitimate government of North Korea and its acceptance in all the forums of the world, trade and an end to all U.S. and U.N. sanctions, and a nuclear arsenal sufficient to deter a U.S. attack, including missiles that can strike U.S. bases in South Korea, Japan, Guam, and the Western Pacific. And he seeks the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead on the U.S. mainland.
Nor is this last goal unreasonable from Kim’s vantage point.
Is there method to President Trump’s madness? That’s a question people have been asking for the last three years. Sylvain LaForest claims there is. From LaForest at orientalreview.org:
The timing is right for everyone to understand what Donald Trump is doing, and try to decrypt the ambiguity of how he is is doing it. The controversial President has a much clearer agenda than anyone can imagine on both foreign policy and internal affairs, but since he has to stay in power or even stay alive to achieve his objectives, his strategy is so refined and subtle that next to no one can see it. His overall objective is so ambitious that he has to follow random elliptic courses to get from point A to point B, using patterns that throw people off on their comprehension of the man. That includes most independent journalists and so-called alternative analysts, as much as Western mainstream fake-news publishers and a large majority of the population.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Intelligence, Media, Military, Politics
Tagged Banks, Israel, Kim Jong Un, North Korea, President Trump, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Vladimir Putin
The Deep State considers itself above its servants—elected officials. From David Stockman at internationalman.com:
International Man: Last year, President Trump took the unusual step of bypassing his advisors to announce his intention to withdraw all US troops from Syria quickly. The decision rattled Washington and the mainstream media. It caused former Defense Secretary Mattis to resign. Almost a year later, the US has withdrawn only a token number of soldiers. It still has thousands of troops occupying the part of the country where oil fields are located. What is going on here?
David Stockman: Well, that’s the Deep State at work.
Donald Trump is all by his lonesome. He’s home alone in the Oval Office. Now, half of it, he can blame himself. If he hires someone, a known idiot like John Bolton, what does he expect is going to happen except that everything he wanted to do is going to be undermined.
Nevertheless, he can’t seem to find anybody who can articulate on a day-to-day basis a pathway to the more restrained America First posture that he had in mind.
He’s surrounded by people who constantly countermand his orders. You have James Jeffery, the US Ambassador and special envoy to Syria saying, “Well, Trump didn’t mean that when he said he wanted the troops out of Syria.”
Posted in Crime, Cronyism, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, Imperialism, Media, Politics
Tagged Deep State, Korean Peninusula, North Korea, President Trump, US Interventionism
If you’re going to be a US ally, you sure as hell are going to buy US weapons. From Stu Smallwood at antiwar.com:
South Korean President Moon Jae-in did something very unusual in early October for a leader who once deemed the Korean peace process among the highest priorities of his administration: He promoted the very fighter jets that North Korea says undermine diplomacy.
President Moon was on hand to celebrate the first delivery of the Lockheed Martin F-35A “next generation” fighter jets that, with 40 in total set to arrive by 2021, represent the most expensive weapons purchase in South Korean history according to Reuters.
“The war of the future will be a fight of science and intelligence against all elements that threaten our people’s safety and property,” Moon said in a speech to promote the jets, noting that he felt “secure about the might of [South Korea’s] military armed with new … F-35As.”
Posted in Business, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, Technology, War
Tagged F-35, Lockheed Martin, Moon Jae-in, North Korea, South Korea
Media hostility towards any Trump peace overtures translates into opposition to less American soldiers being killed at war. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
Bipartisan critique of Trump’s plan to roll out an Afghan peace plan during the 9/11 anniversary from Camp David misses the point: negotiation was the only hope to avoid more needless American deaths.
It is a rare thing, indeed, when both establishment and media “liberals” and “conservatives” agree on anything. Nevertheless, lightning has proverbially struck this week as both sides attack President Trump with equal vehemence. Thus, here we are, and here I am – in the disturbing position of defending Trump’s (until Sunday) peace policy for Afghanistan. Nonetheless, though I don’t particularly like the way this position befits me, I’ll take it as a sign that I just might be on to something when the clowns at Fox News and MSNBC, alike, vociferously disagree with my position on an American forever war.
Few in the political or press mainstream ever much liked Trump’s regularly touted plans to extract U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Even “liberal” Rachel Maddow – who once wrote a book critical of US military interventions – turned on a dime and became a born-again cheerleader for continuing the war. After all, in tribal America, if Trump proposes it, the reflexive “left” assumes it must be wrong, anathema even. That’s come to be expected.
Only this time, even his own party has attacked the president after he let it slip that he’d planned a secret peace conference with the Taliban at Camp David and might even have announced a deal to gradually end the US role in the war during the anniversary week of the 9/11 attacks. Gasp! How dare he? End a failing war, save the lives of perhaps hundreds or thousands of US troops, and do so near the 9/11 anniversary? This amounts to heresy in imperial Washington D.C. But it shouldn’t be unexpected: Trump’s own policy advisers have opposed any meaningful steps to end the Afghan War from the get go.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Afghanistan, North Korea, President Trump
The prospects for peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula have taken a turn for the worse. From Stu Smallwood at antiwar.com:
“His shameless talk of dialogue between the North and South [at a time like this] raises questions about his mental faculties… We have nothing to say to South Korean authorities and have no intention of sitting down with them again.”*
These are just some of the highlights of a North Korean spokesperson’s ruthless response to Moon Jae-in’s August 15 Liberation Day speech in which the South Korean president called for unification of Korea by 2045 and the establishment of a North-South peace economy.
The “time like this” mentioned by the spokesperson for the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country is a reference to the insulting training drills ongoing between South Korean and US forces – specifically a simulated counterinsurgency campaign in North Korea after successfully conquering Pyongyang in 90 days.
Laughable as this simulated scenario is (China and Russia would never sit back and let North Korea be conquered so swiftly), the comments embody the all-too-predictable outcome of these offensive drills: the North Korean government is upset and has lost complete trust in the South Korean president who once led the peace process.
Is Trump ready to shed his neoconservative advisors and their idiotic policies and listen to his own instincts? From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
Donald Trump’s surprise visit to North Korea last week was impressive. It was a bold first step in repairing a foreign policy in tatters after more than a year of assaults by his neoconservative boobsie-twins Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Trump took Kim at his word who said after talks broke down thanks to Bolton and Pompeo in Hanoi that no dialogue would be possible if Bolton was involved.
So, Trump sent Bolton to Mongolia. Then he went to Korea and did the one thing he had to do to begin unraveling the mess he’d gotten himself into.
Last week I asked where does Trump go after his confrontation with Iran? Trump answered that question in dramatic fashion. And he deserves a lot of credit for it.
But what does this mean in the wider context? It’s a good first step but we’ve seen this game from him before, making bold moves only to be reined in by his staff.
I would say that the optics of sending Bolton to Mongolia are pretty clear. Bolton’s time in the White House is nearly over. This is also a strong signal to Iran that Trump trying to back down without actually saying that.
The drone incident was intended to box Trump into a path to war with Iran after the tanker attack in the Gulf of Oman two weeks prior. That was likely not the Iranians but the Saudis and/or MEK, again trying to get Trump to fly off the handle, since he’s easily manipulated into emotional acts.
The “Bile Belt”—the reflexive Washington disdain for any kind of peace overture—is one of the best word coinages we’ve seen in a while. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
Donald Trump did the unthinkable. He went to North Korea. He stepped over the line in the sand demarked by Washington protocol for nearly seventy years.
And that Washington establishment, predictably, hates him for it. It can be felt from all sides of the political rotunda. They hate that Trump realizes their position, one of maximum pressure, isn’t working.
They despise that Russia and China will benefit from ending this frozen conflict not to mention Koreans on both sides of the DMZ.
The cynic in me thinks they are angry that the American people will benefit as well.
So this weekend was a good one for peaceniks around the world. Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping agreed to back down on the worst of his trade war demands.
Trump presumably had a good meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin which likely set the stage for his meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un. Remember Kim met with Putin earlier this year and designated him as his go-between with Trump after the talks in Hanoi fell apart.
The Bile Belt