Tom Luongo tries to analyze Trump’s foreign policy. From Luongo at tomluongo.me:
“You know General, sometimes the men don’t know when you’re acting.
It’s not important for them to know. It’s only important for me to know.”
The more I observe Donald Trump the more I’m convinced he’s more bark than bite, that his instincts on foreign policy are correct but his method is mad.
I was on Radio Sputnik Moscow recently discussing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly. They did a very nice write up of the interview which you can read/listen to here.
And in that interview I touched on a number of things I’ve been writing about currently that I think are very important to remember as events spiral out of control.
President Trump’s and his top administration officials’ behavior in foreign circles have created a lot of chaos. That’s not news.
And we know that chaos is part of Trump’s method. He likes to stir the pot and get people, “on tilt.”
The world is figuring out workarounds for US insistence that the world play by its rules. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:
The secret comments that Donald Trump made off the record leaked. He was not sincerely negotiating a compromise: he was bullying his opponent. If any deal was to be made, he boasted, it would be “totally on our terms.” America’s negotiating partner was “working their ass off,” Trump admitted, but “every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala.” The Impala is a car that would be affected by U.S. auto tariffs. Imposing auto tariffs would “be the ruination” of that country: “all I have to do is tax their cars, it would be devastating,” Trump said. Trump would only boast off the record about his threat to ruin the country if they dare to negotiate rather than yield because if he says publicly what he threatens privately, it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”
Trump’s negotiating partner was not Iran. It was not North Korea. It was Canada. Canada! Not America’s enemy, but, historically, one of America’s closest friends. And the negotiations were not over a nuclear weapons program: they were over a free trade agreement. But, even here, the president who boasts that he is a great deal maker had nothing but bullying. No negotiating, no diplomacy: “totally on our terms” or it will be the “ruination” of you.
North and South Korea are making more diplomatic progress than they have since the Korean War, but their efforts are being denigrated or ignored. From Mel Gurtov at antiwar.com:
On September 18 leaders of North and South Korea signed a September Declaration to advance inter-Korean cooperation and the possibility of the North’s denuclearization. Critics immediately dismissed the agreement for having accomplished nothing on the latter objective while largely ignoring what was accomplished on the former. From my perspective, the critics have it wrong: They have bought into the Trump administration’s narrative about denuclearization and failed to pay attention to the importance of North-South Korean cooperation as a tool for reducing tensions on the peninsula and, potentially, for neutralizing if not eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
Few people outside Washington are likely to read the text of the September Declaration or the accompanying military agreements signed by the two countries’ defense ministers. These documents, far from being mere window dressing, contain substantive tension-reducing steps. And the symbolism is important too: These are agreements by and for Koreans. As the declaration states: “The two leaders reaffirmed the principle of independence and self-determination of the Korean nation, and agreed to consistently and continuously develop inter-Korean relations for national reconciliation and cooperation. . . . ”
For their own nefarious reasons, many neocons and other purveyors of US war do not want to see peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
Springtime in Korea. Peace and love have erupted all over the mountainous peninsula as the leaders of the two rival nations seek to end the nearly seven decades of hostility between them.
One can’t underestimate the passionate longing felt by most Koreans on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for some form of reunification – or at least reattachment – of the two nations. Amazingly, the 1950-53 Korean War has never been ended by a peace treaty so a simmering state of war exists between North and South Korea in spite of past attempts to end it. During the war, 33,686 Americans died and 128,600 were wounded, and the two Koreas suffered over 2 million dead. Chinese casualties were heavy. Continue reading
Is the NY Times just trying to drive Trump and his administration crazy by making everyone suspicious of everyone else? From Diama Johnstone at unz.com:
Undermining Peace Efforts by Sowing Suspicion
The New York Times continues to outdo itself in the production of fake news. There is no more reliable source of fake news than the intelligence services, which regularly provide their pet outlets (NYT and WaPo) with sensational stories that are as unverifiable as their sources are anonymous. A prize example was the August 24 report that US intelligence agencies don’t know anything about Russia’s plans to mess up our November elections because “informants close to … Putin and in the Kremlin” aren’t saying anything. Not knowing anything about something for which there is no evidence is a rare scoop.
A story like that is not designed to “inform the public” since there is no information in it. It has other purposes: to keep the “Russia is undermining our democracy” story on front pages, with the extra twist in this case of trying to make Putin distrustful of his entourage. The Russian president is supposed to wonder, who are those informants in my entourage?
Justin Raimondo has a different take on the North Korean situation. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:
The media continues to get the President’s North Korean peace initiative all wrong: in some cases this is due to laziness, Washington-centric group-think, and just plain ignorance. In other cases, it is quite deliberate. Take, for example, the recent “news” that Trump canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s scheduled trip to Pyongyang due to a “belligerent” letter sent by the North Koreans to the White House. What is the source of this alleged development? A single report in the Washington Post put out there by one Josh Rogin, not a reporter but an opinion columnist with strong neoconservative inclinations. Rogin attributes this information to “two senior administration officials” while admitting that “[t]he exact contents of the message are unclear.”
It’s annoying now, this establishment onslaught against negotiations with anybody or peace anywhere, but it’s hard to see how in the long run that’s anything more than a strategy that will backfire. You can’t come out and actually say you’re against negotiations and peace, so have to resort to lies and subterfuge, which the establishment and its media arm are employing with reckless abandon. From Gareth Porter at theamericanconservative.com:
Press irresponsibly relies on single-source report to accuse Kim of breaking an agreement he never made
President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un shake hands in summit room, June 12, 2018. (Office of the President of the United States/Public Domain)
In late June and early July, NBC News, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal published stories that appeared at first glance to shed a lurid light on Donald Trump’s flirtation with Kim Jong-un. They contained satellite imagery showing that North Korea was making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program just as Trump and Kim were getting chummy at their Singapore summit.
In fact, those media outlets were selling journalistic snake oil. By misrepresenting the diplomatic context of the images they were hyping, the press launched a false narrative around the Trump-Kim summit and the negotiations therein.
The headline of the June 27 NBC News story revealed the network’s political agenda on the Trump-Kim negotiations. “If North Korea is denuclearizing,” it asked, “why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” The piece warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”
CNN’s coverage of the same story was even more sensationalist, declaring that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said had been carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It pointed to a facility that had produced plutonium in the past and recently undergone an upgrade, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal. CNN commentator Max Boot cleverly spelled out the supposed implication: “If you were about to demolish your house, would you be remodeling the kitchen?”
To continue reading: The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations