Tag Archives: North Korea

An Elite Coalition Emerges Against a Trump-Kim Agreement, by Gareth Porter

There is a substantial segment of the American political and media establishment who don’t want the US to leave the Korean peninsula, even if Kim Jong Un, Moon Jae In, and President Trump negotiate de-nuclearization, a peace treaty, and a rapprochement between North and South Korea. In other words, they’re against the negotiations because they might succeed. From Gareth Porter at consortiumnews.com:

Media coverage of the Trump-Kim summit has highlighted a political reaction that threatens to torpedo any possible U.S-North Korean agreement on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, says Gareth Porter

An implicit coalition of corporate media, Democratic partisans and others loyal to the national security state are actively hostile to any agreement that would endanger the continuation of the 70-year-old Cold War between the United States and North Korea.

The hostility toward Donald Trump on the part of both corporate media (except for Fox News) and the Democratic Party establishment is obviously a factor in the negative response to the summit. Trump’s dysfunctional persona, extremist domestic strategy and attacks on the press had already created a hyper-adversarial political atmosphere that surrounds everything Trump says or does.

But media coverage of the Singapore summit shows that something much bigger and more sinister is now in play: a consensus among foreign policy and national security elites and their media allies that Trump’s pursuit of an agreement with Kim on denuclearization threatens to undo seventy years of U.S. military dominance in Northeast Asia.

Those elites are determined to resist the political-diplomatic thrust of the Trump administration in negotiating with Kim and have already begun to sound the alarm about the danger Trump poses to the U.S. power position. Not surprisingly Democrats in Congress are already aligning themselves with the national security elite on the issue.

The real concern of the opposition to Trump’s diplomacy, therefore, is no longer that he cannot succeed in getting an agreement with Kim on denuclearization but that he will succeed.

The elite media-security framing of the Trump-Kim summit in the initial week was to cast it as having failed to obtain anything concrete from Kim Jong-un, while giving up immensely valuable concessions to Kim. Almost without exception the line from journalists, pundits and national security elite alike compared the joint statement to the texts of previous agreements with North Korea and found that it was completely lacking in detail.

To continue reading: An Elite Coalition Emerges Against a Trump-Kim Agreement

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The Unfreezing of Korea Begins, by Tom Luongo

Tom Luongo finds the positives in the Singapore summit. From Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Now that we’ve had a few days to let the war-mongers and Democrats (or do I repeat myself) fulminate over the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un it’s important to look at what actually happened and where we’re going next.

For a good analysis of what was actually accomplished, read this excellent post over at Moon of Alabama.

… the ‘freeze for freeze’ North Korea had offered [Obama previously in 2015 and 2016] and China promoted. The U.S. stops the large “strategic” maneuvers involving nuclear capable bombers flying from Guam, aircraft carriers and the like, while North Korea stops testing nukes and missiles. North Korea achieved its first aim. It can now lower its miliary posture and develop its economy.

The situation is still somewhat unstable as both freeze steps are reversible.

The ‘freeze for freeze’ is, as the Chinese Foreign Minister envisioned, a starting point for a long series of talks which may finally lead to a peace agreement and some nuclear disarmament. Now comes the “dual-track approach” of a peace agreement in exchange for some disarmament “in a synchronized and reciprocal manner”. This will be a “step-by-step” process which will take years or even decades.

Russia was promoting this same strategy publicly during the worst of the tensions between Trump and Kim last year. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of the ‘double freeze’ repeatedly.

And it was always going to end this way because, as I’ve been saying all along, North Korea has a nuclear weapon and the U.S. will only come to the bargaining table when it has lost significant leverage.

And a nuclear deterrent is a major bit of leverage.

So, the “Freeze for Freeze” is now in effect.   The war games are a direct economic benefit to North Korea as MoA points out at length.  And Trump gets the win by spinning it as a cost-cutting measure.

The imperial sycophants and quislings are crying in their lattes over this and defense stocks have taken it on the chin.  All of this is to the good of mankind.

To continue reading: The Unfreezing of Korea Begins

Trump’s Bold Historic Gamble, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump may be gambling, but he’s got some pretty good hole cards. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

President Donald Trump appears to belong to what might be called the Benjamin Disraeli school of diplomacy.

The British prime minister once counseled, “Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.”

At his Singapore summit, Trump smartly saluted a North Korean general and then lavished praise on Kim Jong Un as a “strong guy” with a “good personality” and a “great negotiator.” “He’s funny, and … very, very smart … and a very strategic kind of a guy. … His country does love him.”

Predictably, Trump is being scourged for this.

Yet, during his trip to Peking in 1972, Richard Nixon did not confront Chairman Mao on his history of massacres and murder, though Nixon’s visit came in the midst of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a nationwide pogrom.

Nor did Churchill or FDR at their wartime summits confront their ally Stalin for his legendary crimes against humanity. Both gushed over “Uncle Joe.”

Still, if the Trump-Kim camaraderie goes south and the crisis of 2017, when war seemed possible, returns, Trump, as he concedes, will be charged with naivety for having placed his trust in such a tyrant.

Yet, to Trump’s credit, we are surely at a better place than we were a year ago when Kim was testing hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, and he and Trump were trading threats and insults in what seemed the prelude to a new Korean War.

Whatever one may think of his diplomacy, Trump has, for now, lifted the specter of nuclear war from the Korean peninsula and begun a negotiating process that could lead to tolerable coexistence.

The central questions to emerge from the summit are these: What does Kim want, and what is he willing to pay for it?

Transparently, he does not want a war with the United States. That black cloud has passed over. Second, Kim and North Korea have emerged from their isolation in as dramatic a fashion as did Mao’s China in 1972.

In 2018, the North was invited to the Seoul Olympics. Kim met twice with South Korea’s president and twice with China’s Xi Jinping. Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister stopped by. And Kim had a face-to-face summit with a U.S. president, something his grandfather and father never came close to achieving.

It is unlikely Kim will be retreating back into the cloisters of the Hermit Kingdom after being courted by the world’s foremost powers.

To continue reading: Trump’s Bold Historic Gamble

South Koreans Reject Pro-War Old Guard as Moon’s Peace Party Wins Big in Local Elections, by Stu Smallwood

The South Koreans are solidly behind their president’s peace effort. From Stu Smallwood at antiwar.com:

When South Koreans went to the polls yesterday they registered their unambiguous backing for President Moon’s Democratic Party and the peace process that is a signature policy of his administration. In doing so, they also dealt a devastating blow to the country’s main faction hostile to North Korean diplomacy.

Here’s how one South Korean outlet summed up the results: “In what was considered an opportunity to measure the public support of the Moon Jae-in administration one year into its term, the Democratic Party achieved an enormous victory in the local elections of June 13th, providing even more political flexibility for Moon’s government…. At the same time, the Liberty Korea Party suffered a historically crushing rout that has seen its power wither, leaving it solely with its [traditional strongholds]…as the party appears on the verge of being swept away in a maelstrom of internal discord with members looking for someone to blame for this defeat.” (Translation of original Korean by author.)

The Democrats took 14 of the 17 metropolitan districts voted on today, including the city of Busan and Southeast Gyeongsang Province – both former mainstays of the Liberty Party. They also captured 11 of the 12 seats in the National Assembly bi-elections held the same day. The assembly now houses 130 Democratic representatives to 113 from Liberty with the full election coming in 2020.

While these results were largely expected, they represent a stunning fall from grace for the once-dominant political force in South Korea. Harsh as the outcome was for the Liberty Party as a whole, it may be the final death knell for its leader Hong Jun-pyo, who had declared his intention to retire from politics if Liberty failed to take at least six of the major jurisdictions voted on today.

If this truly is the end for the beleaguered conservative leader, it’s to his credit that he went down swinging during a final election rally in Seoul on the eve of the vote, deriding the Singapore summit for failing to deliver any concrete results. It was the kind of rhetoric that – coming from an ostensibly influential South Korean politician – should be music to the ears of the anti-peace American media establishment. But his time is up, and South Koreans have shown that politicians who oppose North Korean diplomacy don’t hold sway in the country any longer.

To continue reading: South Koreans Reject Pro-War Old Guard as Moon’s Peace Party Wins Big in Local Elections

Career State Department Officer Rages: 5 Media Myths Of Trump-Kim Summit, by Tyler Durden

Not that it’s difficult, but President Trump and Kim Jong Un just made the mainstream media look like the idiots they are. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In the midst of Tuesday’s historic Trump-Kim summit and accompanying myriad pundits giving their hot takes on mainstream news networks, 24-year State Department veteran and geopolitics expert Peter Van Buren began an epic rant on twitter with the following: “If you’re keeping score at home, every pundit and MSM head who claimed the summit would never happen, or Trump would blow up, is now 100% and forever wrong. Still watching CNN????”

Van Buren is best known as a whistleblower who was ousted from a successful career as a foreign service officer after he chronicled the astronomical amount of US government waste, fraud, criminality and abuse in post-Saddam Iraq based on his experience leading two reconstruction teams for the State Department.

His 2011 book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, which precipitated a lengthy legal battle with the US government as he stood accused of leaking allegedly sensitive and classified information in the book, initially earned him the ire of beltway bureaucrats, mainstream pundits, fanatical neocons, and liberal interventionists alike. But he was proven right.

Career State Department officer and U.S. Envoy to Iraq Peter Van Buren. Image source: We Meant Well

During and after the Trump-Kim meeting Van Buren live tweeted in reaction to the cable news shows repeatedly slamming the whole event as a charade merely meant to score domestic propaganda victories for both leaders.

Here are 5 media myths which persisted throughout the day’s wall-to-wall mainstream coverage based on career State Department expert Peter Van Buren’s analysis…

* * *

Myth #1: Trump “betrayed” US ally South Korea

No, the South Korean’s were not “betrayed” or “abandoned” as Vox , MSNBC, and many others claim — the reality is opposite: the peace efforts are being led by the South Koreans, as President Moon Jae-in’s own unambiguous words indicate, saying he was very happy with the meeting.

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations and welcome the success of the historic North Korea-United States summit,” Moon’s statement begins.

The fact remains that 81% of South Koreans supported the summit, and 88% supported the prior Kim-Moon summit. Moon also has an 86% approval rating. 70% of Americans support the meeting.

The pundits now claiming “betrayal” of South Korea have no clue what they’re talking about.

To continue reading: Career State Department Officer Rages: 5 Media Myths Of Trump-Kim Summit

The Trump / Kim Summit is the Wedge Issue of 2018, by Tom Luongo

If Trump and Kim sign an agreement, say in the middle of October, Democrats are going to look like churlish idiots criticizing it in the run up to the mid-term election in early November. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.com:

If there was anything that could dampen my enthusiasm for a positive outcome from President Trump’s meeting with North Korea Leader Kim Jong-un it would have been the outpouring of bitterness from the Left and the Never-Trumpers of the establishment Right.

Perusing #TrumpKimSummit last night on Twitter while the meeting was happening was an illuminating experience.  It was full of #TheResistance demeaning any prospect of peace simply because Trump was the one standing opposite Kim Jong-un.

All thoughts of the prospect of peace and ending a seventy-plus year conflict frozen for the very same cynical geopolitical reasons these same people normally decry as welfare for the Military-Industrial Complex took a backseat to their DeNiro-esque agenda against Trump.

Welcome to the wedge issue of 2018.  Here, like the Ron Paul campaigns of 2008 and 2012, the liberal-interventionists and the neoconservatives join forces to circle the wagons against someone breaking through the carefully constructed, yet false, narrative of the politically powerful.

The goal?  Enforce the status quo which enriches them and bankrupts you.

Libs and Never-Trumpers, MSNBC and the National Review in lock-step to demean and spew venom in support of a geopolitical gameboard designed to keep the world cowering in fear of catastrophic events to maintain political and social control.

It was disgusting.

That was last night.

Memes and snark mixed with bitter crocodile tears because the wrong guy was shaking Kim’s hand.  MSNBC and CNN’s coverage of the event was nauseating, save for Dennis Rodman’s raw emotion as he detailed Obama’s intransigence, aloofness and his personal costs for trying to do the right thing.

The Morning After

And if there is anything worse than the pre-summit commentary decrying Trump and Kim talking it is looking at the after-shocks this morning, where memes and snark have turned into crass and cynical talking points about Trump giving up something and Kim giving up nothing.

To continue reading: The Trump / Kim Summit is the Wedge Issue of 2018

 

 

Does Singapore Have Relevance to an Eventual Trump-Putin Summit? by Gilbert Doctorow

Even if Trump and Kim reach a meaningful agreement, Gilbert Doctorow cautions against thinking it will have much applicability to US-Russian relations. From Doctorow at antiwar.com:

Now that the document concluding the US-North Korean summit in Singapore has been signed by President Trump and Chairman Kim, the world’s political commentators are busy making their assessments of what exactly its vague points on denuclearization really mean, in what ways it is historic and unlike previous agreements between US administrations and the North Korean regime of Kim’s father and grandfather.

In this brief essay, I will not join the pileup on that scrimmage line but look in a slightly different direction. I will be asking how the image of Donald Trump, the courageous peacemaker, as he immodestly styled himself in his remarks about this “very historical” event at the press conference which followed the signing ceremony, how this Trump can or cannot now move on to a similarly epochal summit with Vladimir Putin to end the risky and volatile confrontation with the world’s other nuclear super power so that we all can sleep calmly.

The idea of such a summit has recently been advanced publicly by some of my friends and colleagues in the Russian expert community who are alarmed by the recent incidents we have had with Russia in places like Syria where our troops are engaged backing opposing forces within close proximity. And they also think back to the promise of normalization of relations with Russia that Trump held out repeatedly in speeches during the electoral campaign of 2016 that brought him to the presidency. Some of these friends even hope that a Putin-Trump summit could be the starting point of a global strategic partnership between the United States and the Russian Federation.

In our times, Russia and its president are reviled daily in US media. In our times, the House of Representatives votes 419 – 3 and the Senate votes 98 – 2 for the Russia Sanctions bill (August 2017). Under these circumstances, it takes a large measure of courage to speak out in favor of a summit with Vladimir Putin and I take my hat off to these colleagues. However, I firmly believe they are dead wrong in their optimism over what is feasible and they are dead wrong in their pessimism over the risk of a great power war today.

To continue reading: Does Singapore Have Relevance to an Eventual Trump-Putin Summit?