Tag Archives: South Korea

Who ‘Won’ The Trump-Kim Summit? By Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis doesn’t think Kim Jong Un will give up his nuclear program or the massive artillery and rocket batteries just north of the DMZ that can reach Seoul. From Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Last week’s Economist Magazine won the day with the best-ever headline about the Trump-Kim Jong-un summit: `Kim Jong Won!’

That said it all.   Just out of hospital, I was in no shape to compete with the great Economist or its very witty headline writers. But after watching a week of post Singapore summit between Great White Father Trump and delinquent Kim Jong-un I must totally agree with the Economist.

What was billed as a second-coming extravaganza between the two leaders – who have been trading insults of ‘little rocket man’ and ‘dotard’ (someone who is senile) turned out to be a very expensive photo op for both publicity seekers that made much noise but produced very little – at least so far.  It seemed as if two schoolyard bullies had been forced by the principal to shake hands.

Beyond gestures, North Korea’s leader certainly came out ahead.  His objective – and those of his family predecessors for the past 60 years – was to normalize relations with the US, start trade, and end US efforts to overthrow the Marxist government in Pyongyang.

Trump’s objectives, at least initially, were to crush North Korea and the threats it could pose to the United States and its regional allies Japan and South Korea. Trump sought to set up Kim as a bogeyman, and himself as America’s savior.  Trump knew perfectly well that he could not destroy all of North Korea’s deeply buried nuclear-armed missiles, and, in spite of his huffing and puffing, had no stomach for an invasion of North Korea that could cost the US an estimated 250,000 casualties.

So Trump’s solution was more show-biz.  A much ballyhooed flight to Singapore, backslapping a delighted Kim, and a love-fest between the two chunky leaders was sold to Americans as the dawn of peace.  America’s media was quick to retail the story and burnish Trump’s credentials among the seriously credulous.  No more hiding under your school desks or in dank basements.  As Trump grandly proclaimed, Americans no longer have to fear North Korea and can sleep peacefully at night!

To continue reading: Who ‘Won’ The Trump-Kim Summit?

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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

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

For Lasting Peace, President Moon Must Lead South Korea Out of America’s Orbit, by Stu Smallwood

It seems like the only chance for lasting peace anywhere on the planet is to be out of America’s orbit. From Stu Smallwood at antiwar.com:

It didn’t take much for the leaders of the two Koreas to put an end to the decades-long culture of crisis pervading the Korean Peninsula. With a phone call, a quick drive to the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone, and a public embrace, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un emphasized the absurdity of the barrier wedged between a people with a common history, culture and language.

It was the United States’ aversion to diplomacy that encouraged Moon and Kim into one another’s arms on May 26th, and it may ultimately have been the impetus needed for South Korea to take the lead in ensuring this peace process — a top priority of the current administration — is a success.

Moon’s agreement to meet with Kim so soon after Trump unilaterally called off the Singapore summit was nothing short of an act of defiance against the US administration, something no South Korean president before him would have had the domestic backing to do.

With images of their embrace broadcast around the world, North Korea’s genuine interest in diplomacy became undeniable and the onus was immediately put on the United States to reopen the summit. Failure to do so would throw into stark relief what few politicians, media members or regular South Korean people have been willing to acknowledge — that the United States has been the most to blame for antipathy between the two Koreas since the Korean War.

Forced to follow suit, Trump eventually declared the summit will go ahead after all. Though his decision should be applauded, the process remains a lengthy one with no clear end in sight — at least not a positive ending — if America alone is permitted to determine its outcome. After all, it is extremely risky to trust the United States, and the North Koreans know it.

America: An Unreliable Diplomatic Partner with a History of Duplicity

The stated aim of this whole process is, of course, peace through North Korean denuclearization — something the US establishment remains skeptical Kim will ever do. Yet while the North’s commitment to nukes is often stated as the reason why this initiative won’t end successfully, in truth it is America’s long-standing policy of North Korean regime change as well as its overall record of duplicity, betrayal and general lawlessness around the world that makes it impossible for Kim to completely believe any security guarantees the Trump administration may offer as the process moves forward.

To continue reading: For Lasting Peace, President Moon Must Lead South Korea Out of America’s Orbit

CIA Undermines North Korea Summit By Leaking Report To Media Asset, by Kenneth Whittle

The CIA is horrified at the prospect of lasting peace and amity breaking out on the Korean Peninsula. From Kenneth Whittle at disobedientmedia.com:

Just as it was reported that the summit between the United States and North Korea was back on and that Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea was on his way to New York to meet with officials in preparation for the June 12 summit, the CIA leaked an intelligence assessment concluding that “North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon.” The timing of this leak is striking, as it seems to be an effort to undermine negotiations between the two nations and comes just days after ranking members of the Democratic Party and Republican hardliners attacked President Donald Trump over his efforts to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The identity of the reporter who helped break the story also raises serious questions about whether or not a faction within the CIA deliberately attempted to undermine diplomatic efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. According to NBC News, the report was leaked to none other than NBC national security reporter Ken Dilanian, known as “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man.”

In 2014, The Intercept reported on Ken Dilanian’s correspondence and relationship with the CIA while Dilanian was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

According to The Intercept, “Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a close collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.”

According to the Huffington Post, while writing for the Los Angeles Times, Dilanian also reported a CIA claim as fact by stating that “there was no collateral murder in a 2012 drone strike on Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi.” Dilanian’s article was directly disputed in an Amnesty International report.

In the aftermath of the revelations about Dilanian’s ties to the CIA, he was disavowed by the Los Angeles Times. The disclosure of Dilanian’s collaboration with the CIA also led his former employer, David Lauter of the Tribune Washington to believe Dilanian could have violated Tribune news policy. Lauter acknowledged that Tribune policy dictates that reporters “not share copies of stories outside the newsroom.” Lauter further stated that he was “disappointed that the emails indicate that Ken may have violated that rule.”

To continue reading: CIA Undermines North Korea Summit By Leaking Report To Media Asset

America’s Incredible Shrinking Influence, by Ron Paul

Could it be? Could the rest of the world be learning how to ignore the US? We can only hope. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.com:

Just two weeks after President Trump pulled the US from the Iran nuclear agreement, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, issued 12 demands to Iran that could never be satisfied. Pompeo knew his demands would be impossible to meet. They were designed that way. Just like Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia in July, 1914, that led to the beginning of World War I. And just like the impossible demands made of Milosevic in 1999 and of Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003, and so many other times when Washington wanted war. These impossible demands are tools of war rather than steps toward peace.

Secretary Pompeo raged at Iran. The mainstream news media raged at Iran. Trump raged at Iran. But then a strange thing happened: nothing. The Iranians announced that they remained committed to diplomacy and would continue to uphold their end of the nuclear agreement if the Europeans and other partners were willing to do the same. Iranian and European officials then sought out contacts in defiance of Washington in hopes of preserving mutually-beneficial emerging commercial relations.

Washington responded to the European snub by threatening secondary sanctions on European companies that continued doing business with an Iran that had repeatedly been found in compliance with its end of the bargain. Any independent European relationship with Iran would be punished, Washington threatened. But then, again, very little happened.

Rather than jump on Washington’s bandwagon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made two trips to Russia in May seeking closer ties and a way forward on Iran.

Russia and China were named as our prime enemies in the latest National Security Strategy for the United States, but both countries stand to benefit from the unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran deal. When the French oil company Total got spooked by Washington threats and pulled out of Iran, a Chinese firm eagerly took its place.

It seems the world has grown tired of neocon threats from Washington. Ironically the “communist” Chinese seem to understand better than the US that in capitalism you do not threaten your customers. While the US is threatening and sanctioning and forbidding economic relations, its adversaries overseas are busy reaping the benefits of America’s real isolationism.

To continue reading: America’s Incredible Shrinking Influence