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What Really Happened in Hanoi?
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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?

Author Michael Haas disputes this account in an article at antiwar.com. Haas says there WAS a counter-offer that expanded Washington’s demands to include other weapons systems unrelated to the nuclear file. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The most probable reason for lack of progress was that the United States made new demands at Hanoi. Although North Korea’s proposal for limited if robust sanctions relief had been discussed weeks prior to the meeting, American negotiators in Hanoi suddenly asked for destruction of a second nuclear enrichment facility that Pyongyang had not previously acknowledged. Even though North Korea apparently agreed to that demand, another unanticipated request was not only for full disclosure of all nuclear and missile sites but also for a full accounting of all biological and chemical weapons. In other words, the American negotiators moved the goalposts regarding the focus of the potential agreement, startling their North Korea counterparts, who then countered that such a step might require removal of all sanctions. Upping the ante on one side was mirrored by the other side, giving Trump an excuse to walk away.” (“Why the Hanoi Summit Failed”, antiwar.com)

Okay, so according to Haas, the Trump team deliberately blindsided Kim in order to sabotage the negotiations. That sounds about right. Of course none of this has popped up in the western media where US leaders are typically extolled for their unshakable virtue while their rivals, like Kim, are vilified as “brutal dictators who can’t be trusted.” Regrettably, the facts tell a different story.

What was particularly puzzling about the summit was the manner in which the negotiations were conducted, that is, there were no negotiations at all, not really. The Trump delegation simply listened politely to Kim’s offers, scratched their chins and then rejected them without debate or counter proposal. In other words, the whole summit was a fraud. The US did not come to argue, dicker, quibble, wrangle or haggle on any of the key issues. In their minds, the final verdict was already was set in stone before they ever touched down in Hanoi. It was a done deal. The sanctions would continue to be enforced until the DPRK government collapsed or until hell froze over, which ever came first. The media would like readers to believe that the credulous Trump narrowly escaped a lethal trap set by the evil despot, Kim Jong un. But that’s not what happened at all. What happened is that Kim showed his willingness to go the extra mile for peace but was slapped down by an unreasonable, inflexible and intractable adversary who remains focused laserlike on preserving the status quo, intensifying the sanctions and paving the way to regime change. That’s what the summit really proved, that one side is looking for compromise and resolution while the other favors confrontation and conflict.

So why did Trump agree to go to Hanoi if he had no intention of hashing out a deal? What did he hope to gain by looking rigid and unyielding while Kim made every effort to find common ground? Didn’t he know that leaders in China, Russia and South Korea would be following every word, putting every minute detail under the microscope, and convening high-level meetings to decipher what really took place?

Maybe those things don’t matter to Trump but they’re certainly going affect the way that Kim’s allies address the sanctions issue in the future. After Hanoi, I would expect Russia and China will look for ways circumvent the sanctions in order to reward Kim for the steps he’s taken towards denuclearization, after all, Russia and China do not seek a permanently divided peninsula or regime change. They simply want Kim to abandon his nukes program for the sake of regional stability. That was the original purpose of the sanctions, to stop the provocative nuclear and missile tests that were intensifying the clash with Washington. But now the sanctions have taken on a life of their own and are being used to pursue a geopolitical agenda that conflicts with Russian and Chinese national security interests. That wasn’t plan.

Neither Putin nor Xi Jinping want to see North Korea brought to its knees creating another failed state that becomes a hotbed of terrorism and anarchy. That’s not what they want at all. They want a North Korea that is ready to participate in their massive economic integration plans (One Belt, One Road, Eurasian Economic Union etc) They want a North Korea that enjoys the benefits of modernization, state of the art technology and infrastructure, high-speed rail, gas pipelines and ever-improving standards of living. They want a North Korea that is an ally, a partner, and a friend that will participate in the shared vision of a giant pan-Asian free trade zone that benefits all equitably while respecting the sovereign rights of the individual nation-states. They want to implement a regional development plan that doesn’t put western banks and corporations at the top of the ladder where they arbitrarily impose ‘the rules of the game’ on everyone else. This is what Beijing and Moscow want, and this is what Kim wants. He wants to set aside his nukes, end his conflict with Washington and get on with the business of making money. Sound reasonable?

The one fly in the ointment is Washington, which is determined to torpedo Kim’s plan by any means possible. Pompeo and Bolton know what’s going on, they know Kim is not a communist ideologue or a Marxist revolutionary. They know he aspires to be Korea’s Deng Xiaoping, the leader who opened Chinese markets to the outside world. Here’s how author John Delury summed it up in a recent op-ed in the New York Times:

“Mr. Kim wants to be a great economic reformer….From the moment Mr. Kim took power almost seven years ago, he signaled a shift in the regime’s focus, from security to prosperity. …He decentralized decision-making,…lifted curbs on informal grass-roots markets and small private businesses”….and “called for “a breakthrough” in “re-energizing” the economy. In April… he said, all efforts should go to “socialist economic construction.”

Since then, the-economy-as-priority has been regular fare in North Korea’s media and from propaganda organs. Mr. Kim spent the summer months visiting farms, factories and tourist resorts, often chastising cadres for failing to implement development projects fast enough. During recent festivities celebrating the country’s founding, the parade featured floats with economic slogans and no ICBMs. If the iconic image of Mr. Kim in 2017 shows him watching a missile test, the one for 2018 shows him inspecting a fish cannery….

Mr. Kim wants North Korea to become a normal East Asian economy, catch up with and integrate into the region, and it’s in everyone’s interest to help him do so…”(“Kim Jong-un Has a Dream. The U.S. Should Help Him Realize It”, New York Times)

The author is wrong about one thing, it is NOT in everyone’s interest to help Kim achieve his objectives, in fact, Washington believes it’s a threat to their national security and their so-called pivot to Asia strategy, which is a plan to economically dominate Asia through the next century. If Kim’s regional economic integration plan goes forward, you can stick a fork in Washington’s strategy. Here’s more from the same article:

“On his visit to Pyongyang this week, South Korea President Moon Jae-in brought the heads of state-backed rail and energy corporations, along with the CEOs of South Korea’s top conglomerates. No deals were struck, and the group has been mum so far about its meetings. But its presence was enough to send the message that South Korea stands ready to move forward with major economic cooperation projects with the North.

In one astonishing scene, Mr. Moon addressed a crowd of 150,000 cheering North Koreans and pledged to “hasten a future of common prosperity.” He praised Pyongyang’s “remarkable progress” and said he understood “what kind of country Chairman Kim and his compatriots in the North want to build.”

In a formal agreement known as the Pyongyang Declaration, the two leaders committed to reconnect rail and road links between the two countries, reopen a frozen joint industrial zone in Kaesong and a tourist site at Mount Kumgang, and make plans for a special economic zone, of the kind Deng promoted to open up China to foreign investment in the 1980s.” (“Kim Jong-un Has a Dream. The U.S. Should Help Him Realize It”, New York Times)

Can you see what’s going on? The economic integration plans are moving forward even before the nuclear issue has been resolved, the sanctions have been lifted, or a formal treaty ending the war has been signed. The entire region appears to be breaking out of Washington’s orbit and charting a new course on its own. Naturally, this has ruffled a few feathers at the White House where Trump’s advisers have concocted various means of derailing the project. Sabotaging the summit in Hanoi is just the first volley in this new confrontation., there are bound to be many more in the days to come. Check out this clip from Business Insider:

“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that if North Korea agrees to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program, then the United States will allow American companies to invest in the country.

“This will be Americans coming in — private-sector Americans, not the US taxpayer — helping build the energy grid,” Pompeo said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “They need enormous amounts of electricity in North Korea, to work with them to develop infrastructure.”… Pompeo added that Americans will also help invest in North Korean infrastructure and agriculture to help feed its people if the country meets US demands.

All the things the North Korean people need — [including] the capacity for American agriculture to support North Korea so they can eat meat and have healthy lives,” he said. “Those are the things that if we get what the president has demanded, the complete, verifiable, irreversible de-nuclearization of North Korea, that the American people will offer in spades.” (“Pompeo says American companies could invest in North Korea if Kim Jong Un meets US demands”, Business Insider)

See? None of this has anything to do with Kim’s nukes, it’s all about money. The administration wants the North to open its markets on Washington’s terms which means the free movement of capital, safeguards on foreign investment, the mass privatization of state-owned assets, and preferential treatment for the uncompetitive, monopolistic US-backed mega-corporations that control the state behind the illusion of democratic government. And that’s why the Summit failed, because Kim wants to join an emerging coalition of independent nations that are building a prosperous multipolar world for the future.

Washington is determined to prevent that at all cost, which is why Trump walked out of the meetings in a huff. He wants to nip this thing in the bud.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, North Korea 
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  1. Sean says:

    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/fall_winter_2001/article06.html

    As the above The main reason for US intelligence failures in the Korean War was the presumption that the Soviet Union would only mount a global attack, and was totally in control of North Korea. Now it seems North Korea is being presumed to be totally independent, and not influenced by another country. There is a country called China.

    Puny China with no nukes had no fear of attacking American forces in 1950 when they tied to invade north Korea. The US is not going to make the mistake of invading North Korea twice. The idea that Kim needs ICBMs and nuke warheads that draw intense pressure from America, because NK needs to deter Yankee capitalistic exploitation is preposterous.

    The US’s relations with North Korea depend on China. The attitude of China to North Korea defends on what China wants from America. Right now America is clipping China’s economic wings by to declining continue to trade on the old terms. I am sure it is a coincidence that China is suddenly available to help Trump with North Korea, which has has taken a great leap forward in ICBM nukes somehow.

    China’s priority objective is to obtain a wedge to be used in negotiations with Trump. The North Korean nukes are there to create a pseudo security crisis for the Pentagon and State department that can be solved very easily if Trump is willing to make concessions on China’s economic aggression against America. Defence freeloaders on the US (South Korea and Japan) are also going to benefit from a derailing of Trumps international trade policy.

    • Replies: @anti_republocrat
  2. Or North Korea could circumvent the US altogether and develop said economy without US participation.

    It is my understanding that S. Korea is very open to developing a relationship with N. Korea. Should that occur in any meaningful way, we may find ourselves with an empty hat.

    • Replies: @Johann
    , @AnonFromTN
  3. Brilliant article. But that is what it always was about: US interests in East Asia have always been about money, first and foremost. Japan was goaded into World War II precisely for that reason, humanitarian propaganda notwithstanding. The PRC is being provoked similarly today, but is likely to tread far more carefully than its neighbor had. Current concern for the region focus, once again, on money and on it being economically/militarily subservient to the US.

    All luck to Kim and the PRC on this matter. If their diplomacy continues to follow this path, and they manage to enlist the support of other regional nations, the DPRK may be able to thrive despite US sanctions. (The lone holdout would likely by Japan due to the abductions of its citizens by the DPRK, as well as its post-war obsequiousness to US demands.)

    Provided that regional rivalries and disputes could be put aside, there could come a time when the entirety of East Asia could form an EEC-style economic union which would draw it closer together economically, while shutting out the US. A long shot, but the actions of Kim and Xi could very well be the first modest steps towards realizing this. Time will tell.

  4. Biff says:

    The corporate monopolies want that cheap labor, the cheap resources, and the real estate. They want to break up that country like an old shipyard and sell off its parts to their criminal friends, and most importantly, they want to keep it out of the hands of their competition(the rest of the world).
    This is plan A

    • Agree: jacques sheete
  5. The conclusion of this piece is defective. It’s not about money, it’s about US military bases. It’s about maintaining the standoff between the North and South so that there continues to be a justification for the US military presence in Korea. Rapprochement and – perish the thought – Korean unification would lead to calls by the South Koreans for the US military to leave. Consider these words by Brzezinski:

    ‘… the retention of the American presence in South Korea becomes especially important. Without it, it is difficult to envisage the American-Japanese defense arrangement continuing in its present form, for Japan would have to become militarily more self-sufficient. But any movement toward Korean reunification is likely to disturb the basis for the continued U.S. military presence in South Korea’ (The Grand Chessboard).

  6. Tyrion 2 says:

    Isn’t Kim merely China’s puppet? I mean they could shut the place down by actually enforcing sanctions, if they wanted to.

    Indeed, they could denuclearise North Korea without any difficulties at all. They’d only need to offer a security guarantee to the Norks and otherwise threat to shut it down.

    Kim is not the decision-maker in Trump’s chats, it is President Xi. No point in wasting time, anymore, in getting the expressed interest of the puppet. It seems the puppet can’t go independent in any real way at all.

  7. swamped says:

    What really happened up in Hanoi?”There’s no way to know whether Kim expected President Trump to put the kibosh on the deal or not.” Quite. So we’re left to spin & speculate; and, “The most probable reason for lack of progress” natch, is guess who? Hint: “Kim showed his willingness to go the extra mile for peace but was slapped down by an unreasonable, inflexible and intractable adversary.” Shades of Bob Cratchit and Ebeneezer Scrooge. Tut, tut.
    “Sabotaging the summit in Hanoi is just the first volley in this new confrontation., there are bound to be many more in the days to come. Check out THIS clip from Business Insider”:
    [03/05] “As President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam for their second summit last week, hackers linked to North Korea reportedly continued attacks on targets in the US and others.
    The attacks, first reported by The New York Times citing researchers at cybersecurity firm McAfee, allege that North Korean hackers have engaged in an 18-month-long operation against American and European businesses that continued during the collapsed summit between Kim and Trump.
    McAfee published a report on the global espionage effort — dubbed Operation Sharpshooter — on Sunday, revealing that hackers targeted more than 80 organizations across key industries including energy and telecommunications, as well as government and defense sectors.”
    “See? None of this has anything to do with Kim’s nukes, it’s all about money…And that’s why the Summit failed, because Kim wants to join an emerging coalition of independent nations that are building a prosperous multipolar world for the future”… by waging multinational cyber war in the present!Nice kid.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @AnonFromTN
  8. The arguments in this article are very compellingly put. The apparent rapprochement between Washington and Pyongyang has a ring of Munich 1938 or the German-USSR non-aggression pact. The Road-to-Damascus transformation of relations between the US and North Korea has been astonishing. It also happened to coincide with increased belligerence towards Iran. Coincidence? Possibly.
    What is true, is that the pattern of history suggests we are moving towards another world war. The comparisons with the 20th century are unsettling. All such disputes have ended in war; it’s no different today. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. It is the one thing we will destroy ourselves for, as well as everyone else (the fall-back position of nuclear Deterrence doctrine). Leaders and decision-makers delude themselves, thinking they can avoid that fateful war, that it can be limited in scale or even won. History ultimately proves them wrong. https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

    • Replies: @follyofwar
  9. onebornfree says: • Website

    Meeting summary:

    Two short -term representatives of two rival gangs of crooks , who none the less share the same core ideology [socialism/ big government], appear to fail to reach an agreement about something or other.

    Depending on which “side” the spectator hallucinates him/herself to be on, one crook comes out looking better than the other.

    Big frickin’ deal. Same old same old political theater and smoke and mirrors. Am I supposed to be surprised ?

    Reminder: “Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be “reformed”,”improved”, nor “limited” in scope, simply because of their innate criminal nature.” http://onebornfree-mythbusters.blogspot.com/

    Regard, onebornfree

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  10. @The seventh shape

    Yes, but what do they want bases and military hegemony for?

    For power of course.

    But what is the power ever for but the gaining of more money, and what is the money ever for but the increase of the power.. and so on.

    The endless, ravenous cycle of an oligarchical republic that has become overmighty.

  11. @Nicolás Palacios

    Provided that regional rivalries and disputes could be put aside, there could come a time when the entirety of East Asia could form an EEC-style economic union which would draw it closer together economically, while shutting out the US.

    True.

    It seems clear to me that a major reason Japan was goaded into war in order to prevent that. Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere which was intended to form a block of Asian nations free of Western domination could not have failed to arouse the smothering greed of the international bankers and corporations, especially with Standard Oil all over China and you know who peddling narcotics there.

    Germany after WW2 also was recovering, at least somewhat free of Western domination, as well and we all know how that turned out.

  12. @onebornfree

    Two short -term representatives of two rival gangs of crooks , who none the less share the same core ideology [socialism/ big government], appear to fail to reach an agreement about something or other.

    True.

    And even if they did agree on something one or the other or both would forget about it in a heartbeat, we peasants and proles wouldn’t have a clue in any case, would be discussing it for generations after the fact, and playing the dupes and marks ad infinitum.

    …the same core ideology…

    I.e., running protection rackets. Extortion, monopolies on the use of force, lies, theft and repeated maiming and murder on a massive scale, but “hey, who’d bild da woads and MAGA???” Besides, we gotta have one world gubbermint so “we” can concentrate wealth and power into the hands of fewer and fewer so they could ensure our freedum!!! What could go wrong???

    What are you, sum kinda kunspirasee theerist er sumpin??? 😉

    Regardless…we be screwed.

  13. @Tyrion 2

    Isn’t Kim merely China’s puppet?

    Maybe, but why is it tRump’s business?

    Isn’t tRump Netanyahoo’s puppet, and isn’t that “our” concern?

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
  14. litre says:

    “Provided that regional rivalries and disputes could be put aside, there could come a time when the entirety of East Asia could form an EEC-style economic union which would draw it closer together economically, while shutting out the US.”

    It can’t come fast enough as far as I’m concerned. If Germany and France can bury the hatchet, considering their horrendous history, why can’t China, Japan and Korea? Think what an economic power house that would be! I am amazed that the simmering tension between China and Japan is still there after all these years. Get over it guys and co-operate. What’s the alternative? There isn’t one unless you want to be burnt to cinders in the near future. Which I’m sure is what’s going to happen if the current situation is maintained.

    On current projections ASEAN as well will have a more powerful economy than either the US or the EU within about twenty years and if all the Asian nations could form a free trade association it might be just what the world needs to free itself from the global hegemon.

  15. Not really the acute centerpiece in world affairs. Russia and China never wanted any permanent solution. Both countries wanted only to stop escalation. Testing of NK did stop and US exercises did stop.
    There was no real reason to go further.

  16. anon[266] • Disclaimer says:
    @swamped

    Why did the summit fail? One doesn’t need to spin to realize the fact that US made the failure its primary objective. Otherwise tell us why the media has been spinning about NK’s promises of total dismantling and denuclearization before any simultaneous concrete steps undertaken by US. That was a convenient lie The negotiation was based on quid pro quo: you do A , I will do B and so on.

    US after the lies of the last 18 yrs, shouldn’t have been engaged by NK to begin with.

  17. Tyrion 2 says:
    @jacques sheete

    America has been in the Korean peninsula for decades. Is this yet another thing you’ll pretend the Jews are behind? I await whatever bizarre theory you can now construct to justify your inanity.

  18. Don Bacon says:

    It’s all about mutual national stature and relations. The US will never accept a normal relationship with DPRK, even after agreeing to do so.

    In June, President Trump and Chairman Kim committed to the the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations, and Kim agreed to to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In September SecState Pompeo announced that “the United States is prepared to engage immediately in negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations.” But despite DPRK positive actions there has been no effort on the part of the US to end the war or reduce sanctions.

  19. Nuclear America leading its poodles, Britain, Israel and India against Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea… where does France fit in?

    • Replies: @BengaliCanadianDude
  20. Joe Wong says:
    @Tyrion 2

    North Korean is not spinless kowtowing American lackeys like Taiwan, Japan, SK, Canada, Australia, etc. North Korean knows how to think for themselves. Americans always estimated situation wrong because they never can think outside of their mindset belonging to the morally defunct evil ‘puritans’, stalled in the old days of colonialism, and constrained by the zero-sum cold war mentality.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    , @Wally
  21. HBM says:

    Trump never had any principles to begin with. He played at detente for a bit. He saw Bolton on TV. Now he lets Neocon Bolton sabotage. Why not? Sounds ridiculous, but that’s what we are dealing with. We always knew Trump was a narcissistic vulgarian, but we assumed his personality at least had a core, and that he was a patriot who understood what he was up against. We were wrong. It doesn’t mean the Left was correct, but we were wrong.

    • Replies: @Wally
  22. Tyrion 2 says:
    @Joe Wong

    So you’re holding up North Korea as a model of success, especially in contrast with Japan and South Korea? Are you mad?

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  23. Wally says:
    @HBM

    The alternative was Hillary. LOL

  24. Wally says:
    @Joe Wong

    said:
    “North Korean knows how to think for themselves.”

    Right, and just look at N. Korean society.

    America is so “evil” that everyone is trying to get in.

    Yep, so “evil” that YOU live in … America.

  25. ricpic says:

    Hey, I didn’t know the American media were in Trump’s pocket! But I guess I’ll have to take Mr. Whitney’s assertion on faith NOT.

  26. @Tyrion 2

    Who needs to pretend? Te Jews have bsdn behind many thins. Stop with the hasbara

  27. @Reuben Kaspate

    France fits in with Britain, Israel and the US duh

  28. Johann says:
    @EliteCommInc.

    O my God thevfact that South Korea might want to live in peace with North Korea terrifies the real American , those who have been existing for over two hundred years and absolutely love the scorched battlefield and mangled bodies. The Korea War has been officially on for ove 75years and the American deep state lies I fear that it might be replaced with peace. Americans both Republican and Democrat/ liberal andconservative can never have enough of war and the profits it supplies. For over two hundred years the American government has not missed a year without being engaged in some form of warfare. They even built a Temple in DC to the Great War monger A Lincoln who is adored for his effort to carry out a civil war costing near one million casualties. Americans bring their young children tomhis temple to bow before the Great War monger. There are also memorials to people like a Grant, Teddy Roosevelt , Woodrow Wilson , FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, we are still waiting for the statues to Johnson, Reagan, Clinton, the two Bushes, Obama and John MCaine (the quintessential war monger).

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  29. @Tyrion 2

    If there is money to be made there, You can bet your sweet butt that Jews are somewhere there.

    • Replies: @republic
  30. @Wally

    Alibaba talking to the stone: “Open sezam”
    Everybody got the hint.

  31. bjondo says:

    you define success
    as a nation
    on its knees,
    speaking when permitted?

    • Replies: @bjondo
  32. Agent76 says:

    October 18, 1994 Remarks on the Nuclear Agreement With North Korea William J. Clinton

    This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world. It reduces the danger of the threat of nuclear spreading in the region. It’s a crucial step toward drawing North Korea into the global community.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=49319

    Apr 30, 2017 What The U.S. Wants You To Forget About North Korea

    On today’s edition of “WHY ISN’T ANYONE TALKING ABOUT THIS,” Did you know that the United States dropped more bombs on North Korea in the 1950s than it did on the entire Pacific Theater during World War II?

    May 16, 2018 Korea and the U.S.: Towards a Peace Treaty?

    The pathbreaking April 27 Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula signed by Chairman Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in constitutes an expression of solidarity and commitment.

  33. @peter mcloughlin

    World Wars in the past could not result in the destruction of the entire planet. The US psychopaths have shown that they will use nukes to their advantage, and Truman proved it when he dropped two nukes on an already defeated Japan. No other country to date has dropped nukes on another country.

    That will change if there is a Third World War. Nukes have made another World War unlikely, but it could start by accident, as it almost did a few times in the past. (Look up Russian Colonel Stanislav Petrov, who saved the world from nuclear war in 1983 when he judged that an incoming American attack was a false alarm).

    Nukes help to keep the peace. The US psychopaths have yet to attack a country that has them. Kim is smart enough to know that he is dealing with lying snakes. He will keep his if he wants to survive.

  34. Trump truly believes everybody’s as stupid as he is. He figured he can walk into Hanoi and offer Kim Baubles and beads in exchange for NK’s freedom. Kim’s smarter than that.

  35. David says:

    Do we just accept that Mr Whitney knows everything he’s asserting in the first 5 or 6 paragraphs? He acknowledges some ignorance with phrase like “no way to know” and “hard to tell” but the first assertion that is sourced is attributed to Haas, who presents no source. Do other readers know from long association that what Haas and Whitney say usually turns out to be so?

    Articles like this seem useless to me. What would be useful is for the author to present evidence that supports his assertions. For example, how does he know, to find it puzzling, how the negotiations were conducted?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  36. @Wally

    Wally,
    American, and for that matter most other nationals, don’t think for themselves any more than North Koreans do. I still hear people talking about the 19 EH-Rabs on 9/11 and the horrors of Auschwitz. Both narratives are laughable, yet overwhelmingly believed.

    http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/2016/01/international-holocaust-remembrance-day/#5

    • Replies: @onebornfree
  37. peterAUS says:
    @David

    Articles like this seem useless to me. What would be useful is for the author to present evidence that supports his assertions.

    True.

    But, you see, the purpose of the article isn’t to convey some facts and, hopefully, inspire a productive discussion here.
    It’s purpose is…….how to put it……well, how about “online help”?
    So, it is useful for some people.
    So, all good.

  38. @Sean

    If one considers the possibility that Kim wants NK to be able to defend itself without relying on a Chinese occupation, the development of a nuclear deterrent is not so preposterous. Besides, China has recently been of no help in getting the US to stop its semi-annual military exercises threatening invasion. Those exercises were strangely timed at spring planting and fall harvest times when NK’s demand for labor was highest. Getting them stopped was higher priority than even lifting sanctions, and the nuclear bargaining chip along with Moon’s coopertion seems to have accomplished that. Not so preposterous after all.

    • Replies: @Sean
  39. @Tyrion 2

    There are several common stories about this situation:

    a) Boxer gets into the ring, is outclassed, KO in round 3. He revives, and in later years says “I really had the Champ worried in round 3. He thought he’d killed me.”

    b) Mad inventor makes a device that will cause the Sun to go nova. Threatens the US & USSR with said device. Response: Go ahead and press the button. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose yourself.

    Common point: Sometimes weakness is strength. Agree, N. Korea has no reason to fear Korean War II. Even a Chinese invasion is more likely than a US invasion. However — what would happen if China really did seal its border? Orderly regime change? Not a chance. The N. Korean population is apparently as war mad as the fictional population of Oceania in _1984_. Without their protectors (N. Korea’s government) their reactions are unpredictable, except in their destructiveness. Some idiot might decide to try using N. Korea’s nuclear test site again, which might then fail catastrophically and shower the whole region with radioactive fallout. Better for China to play for time and hope things work out.
    Is the same true for the US? Seems that previous administrations have thought so. The concessions were intended to strengthen the N. Korean regime, and unfortunately had the byproduct of strengthening the N. Korean nuclear program. Catastrophe was deferred past the incumbent’s retirement, but became worse. Trump’s not doing that, probably because it’s better to have a controlled let-down than an uncontrolled let-down. Trump is, in a way, reducing the eventual trauma to the world when the US foregoes its global policeman role.

    Second topic, to other posters:
    You guys really should try your hand at being preachers who have found Satan in the world and want to start a crusade. I’m surprised to hear from you that there is evil in the world, and more surprised to hear that it has only one source. In fact, if you hadn’t told me, using flat assertion that is apparently based on your telepathy of the world leaders involved, I’d never have guessed.

    Counterinsurgency

  40. Anon[253] • Disclaimer says:

    Now it becomes much clearer, and what a bunch of pathetic butt-lickers we have in charge. Really, the top 0.1% are dumb and the only people they can have work for them or be on their team have to be much dumber. This is a serious problem for the US as it really is all about the Benjamin’s. Destroy the US Middle Class (done). Destroy public education so that actually intelligent individuals have a true education and can do something worthwhile (done). Elevate the Ass Clowns from the Ivy League to near Deity status (done). Destroy American Manufacturing, Science, Engineer and High Technology yet to be imagined (done). All for the love of the Juz’s, or should I say for their wallets at the expense of the Goyim. (More on this at a future date.)

    So Trump who has given up lets Bolton, who should be in a padded cell run the foreign policy of the United States of America. As a tax paying citizen I think Johnny Boy Bolton needs a waterboarding appointment so we can determine precisely who is paying him to set up this $hit. (I’m guessing Juz’s but I could be incorrect. Who want’s to bet?) He will talk, probably when you just show him the set up. Could make for a good 60 minutes episode. Convince the CBS executives it’s in their personal best interest to do it. Gina could substitute for Leslie just for the event and she could come clean too.

    The US actions against Venezuela are just a feeble push back against China and Russia. Pathetic and stupid too, but then just look at the inbred moron who claims to be the new Venezuelan President. He either came from some inbreeding facility at the CIA farm or is on powerful sedatives or had a surgical or chemical lobotomy. Of course more than one of the above could be a correct answer.

    Now the claim is that there is a lot of oil beneath Venezuela. Can you really know for sure? Why hasn’t this been exploited over the last 30 years. Is it really there or is it just a pile of steamy horseshit vomited from the mouths of the Neocons and their sycophants.

    Korea by comparison has been a long term successful investment by the US Military Industrial Cartel. Its a major stable source of revenue, cash cow, hind tit etc etc etc. Along comes Kim and he won’t go along. Want’s to make PEACE. Wow, them’s fighting words if there ever was in America today. But the horse is out of the barn. To late for the US of A to do anything about it except self immolation.

    The solution is at hand but not pretty.

    Help wanted ad,

    “Need Lenin or Stalin Like individual for short term contract. God like powers upon assumption of position. List of individuals that need re-education will be provided. Facilities required for conduction of work already established and operational. Significant Bonus to be paid for completion of work ahead of anticipated schedule. Any and all measures deemed necessary for accomplishment of duties already approved.” Send Resume and names of 3 personal references to Robert Rheault @ someone needs to take charge dot ORG.

  41. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wally

    It doesn’t hurt anybody Just it doesn’t hurt to say ” we honor our heroes” in school, buses,colleges,churches,markets and airports.

  42. onebornfree says: • Website
    @Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon says: “American, and for that matter most other nationals, don’t think for themselves any more than North Koreans do.”

    Prezactly!

    Regards, onebornfree

  43. @EliteCommInc.

    You are forgetting that South Korea is not exactly an independent country. It is occupied by the US, as is Japan. As long as this occupation lasts, neither country can make its own decisions without the occupying power.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  44. @swamped

    Google the word “alleged”, please. If I allege that you are a murderer, that won’t make it so, would it?

  45. @Wally

    Sometimes Wally comes across as Tyrion 2’s missing identical twin.

    You know, it is highly probable that those people bowing are expressing “the right to think for themselves.”

    You, Wally have been cucked by the mythology of U$A “land of opportunity”.

    Of course, if you have the Benjamins (and NOT the Yahoo).

  46. Sean says:
    @anti_republocrat

    The US were roughly handled in 1950s Korea by Chinese troops, and this was when China was a third world country. It would be insane for the US to contemplate any military provocation let alone the conquest of North Korea. America just could not do it and would would get steamrollered of the peninsula within days of starting anything. The idea that North Korea is of tempting economic value to Western investment is absurd.

    Kim is his own man but he can rely on the mere threat of another Chinese intervention protecting NK from the US. For extra independence a modest nuclear program if not capability of NK’s own would be handy and work as a chip in bargaining. However, Kim is going well beyond that and the level of capability Kim’s impoverished county’s sudden Great Leap Forward in a range of technologies has attaine makes NK far more of a US bugbear than it ever was before. And as a result XI is suddenly needed to help America with NK (coincidence?). Compare Iran which is scared of the US because it has no powerful superpower friend.

    Kim’s development of nuclear warheads and ICBMs was in keeping with his country’s resources, unimpressive, but suddenly accelerated contemporaneously with Trump threatening China with having the US market closed off. Suddenly Kim is almost capable of hitting the West Coast with a nuke warhead on a full blooded ICBM. (China is known to have given Pakistan actual missile parts). America is being taken for a ride by China and Koreans both north and south. They are all out for themselves; sure, but the pseudo tensions between them works for them all of them and to frustrate America economic self defence.

  47. republic says:
    @The seventh shape

    Lots of Japanese businesses would like a direct rail link to Europe via Korea saving many days in transit time.

    Hope that there is a comprehensive peace treaty which leads to all US troops leaving S. Korea.

    The late Chamber Johnson said that the bases would remain until the US became bankrupt.

    Hope that is not the case.

    I hope that Putin’s vision of a Lisbon to Vladivostok free trade zone will soon be realized with an extension to Busan.

    Sooner or later the pressure of free trade will trump politics. Many German businessmen would like to trade with Russia.

    The same will be true in NE Asia.

  48. Asagirian says: • Website

    Look here. Military Industrial Complex + Pop Fantasy.

  49. republic says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    The Jews gave Japan a lot of money to start the Russo-Japanese war in 1905.

    Help them stage the Port Arthur attack on the Russian fleet there, eerily similar to the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack.

    Jacob Schiff floated bonds worth $200 million, half of Japan’s war expenditure.

    Schiff was later given two highly prestigious awards from the Japanese in 1905. He was the first foreigner to receive it in person from Emperor Meiji in the Imperial palace.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  50. @litre

    You’re amazed that the simmering tension between China and Japan is still there after all these years?

    Japan is militarily occupied. I’ve lived there, lived on one of the 37 US bases and can promise you that Japan is no more independent than Rhode Island.

    Remember who determines Japan’s foreign policy and you will not be surprised that, like US-owned and semi-occupied Australia, it continues to insult and provoke China.

  51. @Johann

    I am unclear of your point . . .

    sincerely.

  52. @AnonFromTN

    I am aware of that. And I agree in part. But as S. Korea has been slowly and gradually engaged in talks with N. Korea, it’s clear that they are making some choices independent of the US.

    Change is frightening. But I suspect change is coming. We can either be a part of that change or sit on the sidelines. Now I personally believe the US could quite well either way. we can have a robust military presence in spite of what other states decide to do about their defense. The way forward is for us to prepare for change and make adjustments that serve who we are as a people and a nation.

    Our presence has served a bevy of foreign countries. Meanwhile, with increased speed, the US citizens has been sidelined, in my view. If we are needed in S. Korea, then S. Korea needs to chip more to the till. What I have learned in the last twenty years is that I have more faith in my country than do the leaders, and that includes faith in our military to fulfill its mission of defending the US. And I reject the silly contentions that paying attention more to our concerns is isolationist.

    Personal whine — laugh — I am tired of being falsely accused of the ridiculous: being gay, transgender, a muslim, an apologist, a commie, a jew, a hater . . . a racist, antichristian, anti-muslim . . . the issue is whether talking to N. Korea can be accomplished while remaining vigilant about past behavior, theirs and our own.

    I think so.

    I am sick and tired of mexicans, israelis, canadians, muslims, waltzing into the US and determining our politics and policies. La Raza is a criminal enterprise and any church or organization that supports illegal immigration from anywhere should be treated as an enemy of the state. There’s reason why I voted for this president, and there’s a reason I am disappointed in his tenure on these issues thus far.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  53. @litre

    Because what japan did makes Germany appear like a mere rabble rouser – I exaggerate, but the Japanese occupations during WWII were deeply personal. They did not have room for targets, everyone they conquored were considered inferior in every way to be with as the Japanese would. Germany was in a sense was expected to compensate for her targeting. Japan on the other hand considers the matter closed and the losers got what they deserve. Apologies and self recrimination for exercising what she thought was her right and duty as a superior people remains to this day a source of pride — and deeply held face saving.

    Even I was enamoured (not that you are) by Japan until 1996 or so when the Japanese made comments about a segment of our population. It was then I began to understand the Japanese are not so humbled by previous events. And that the our leadership tolerated this commentary remains deeply troubling.

    • Replies: @Biff
  54. @litre

    amended:

    Even I was enamoured (not that you are) by Japan until 1996 or so when a Japanese minister made comments about a segment of our population.

  55. @EliteCommInc.

    What our country needs is to start dealing with our own problems (infrastructure, education, health care, industry – their name is legion) and stop meddling in others’ affairs. That would stem the flow of immigrants. If you burn down other people’s house, does it come as a surprise that they look for shelter? The US messed up Latin America for decades, so now it is only natural that the chickens are coming home to roost. As Mexicans say, Mexico is too far from God and too close to the US.

    The US presence everywhere served only two purposes: suppress competition and give MIC profiteers an excuse to increase Pentagon budget, so they can steal even more from us.

    If the US stops playing policeman and restores its industry, it has a chance of being a great country. Otherwise, it is doomed.

  56. Joe Wong says:
    @Tyrion 2

    Japan is an unrepentant war criminal. Its people are basically introvert without a sense of belonging to Asia community.  The society itself is a cult like horde, racist and bigotry.

    Japaneses continuously deny about their inhuman atrocities, wrongful acts and invasion during the world wars. The Japanese PM Abe and many political figures there publicly regularly deny what the country had done in WWII. More importantly, his cabinet received overwhelming support from Japanese. This nation and many of its people were not only evil but has lost their conscience to enable them to be a normal person. Such nation and people are a real danger to other countries.

    SK is competing with Japanese for better position to lick American’s rear. Besides, you need to know the Empire of Chaos lies about present, about the past, even about the future. It lies day and night, relentlessly, only boneheads believe what the Empire of Chaos says.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
  57. @Nicolás Palacios

    Defective analysis. It’s not just about money. It’s about hegemony and power, and that means that it’s about military bases. From the point of view of geopolitical strategy this is far more important than the profits of a few US corporations. The aim is to maintain a perpetual standoff between the North and South so that the justification for the US’s military presence in Korea is perpetuated. For any rapprochement or – perish the thought – unification between the Koreas would negate the reasons for that presence and would lead to calls for the US to leave. Consider the words of Brzezinski:

    ‘… the retention of the American presence in South Korea becomes especially important. Without it, it is difficult to envisage the American-Japanese defense arrangement continuing in its present form, for Japan would have to become militarily more self-sufficient. But any movement toward Korean reunification is likely to disturb the basis for the continued U.S. military presence in South Korea’ (The Grand Chessboard).

  58. Tyrion 2 says:
    @Joe Wong

    I’d rather be born a citizen of Japan or South Korea rather than China, and that times a trillion than a citizen of North Korea.

    You crazy.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  59. Biff says:
    @EliteCommInc.

    Even I was enamoured (not that you are) by Japan until 1996 or so when the Japanese made comments about a segment of our population.

    For years before he made that comment I had to hear it from my Asian wife constantly – yes Americans are fucking lazy! So what! Who cares? Not me….

  60. uffhjc says:

    There was an intrusion into a DPRK embassy in Spain, they stole papers and computers. It happened a few days before the meeting. http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2019/02/103_264561.html

  61. @Tyrion 2

    Then thank whatever gods you believe in that you are a citizen of Israel.

    • Troll: Tyrion 2
  62. Good to see another article by Mike Whitney here.

    I have been worried since CounterPunch stopped running articles by Mike Whitney, Diana Johnstone, and Caitlin Johnstone. The repression started with the Propornot false flag operation that put CounterPunch on their list of those supposedly colluding with Russia.

    My admiration is for those that can think and are not fooled by the fear and hate mongers that control most of the media in the US.

  63. Hell bent on military employment… Here the whole concept of establishment military lifers and the pensions of the war machine, called peace, through tough love-hate and the bottom line. Keeping the war-mongers in power via military proliferation… once it was Russia and the commies, Vietnam, the place of Blood letting of our generation… Has anything changed? and it won’t. You can spend money on multi-million dollar planes and tanks that might become useless with a neutron burst???! Yet, we can’t put all these warriors out in the work-a-day world… The latter would destroy any economy we have. And, what would they do without the corporate Rothschild investment in the industries to keep the payola rolling to the Bankster’s of world resource hegemony? All the latter supports world consumerism at the demise of the working man and the deluded patriots, those dismembered soldiers who advertise that military life is what it is all about… Propaganda and conditioning rules the day… Kim knows the drill and the lords of London banking. The latter world tuned into the prophetic light of universal security and the numbing of patriotic deception in the land of North Korea…aka… any state controlled by oligarchy and the Machiavellian rules laid down by the Masonic order and the Massod mad men of fake Israel and fake America and it’s puppet government on the taxpayers dole.
    Now tell me I’m wrong! Security for enslavement to laws that keep the elites in power, nothing changes in the venue of deception except the dissemination of presenting the lies we all except as truth… and the rhetoric of who or whom is right! Live by the sword and die by the sword… these are not the meek that will inhered this planet, that is if they don’t completely destroy the ecosystem of breathing entities. The meek will die at the hands of the governing with the tools of destruction… As the Blind lead the Blind and the dead bury the dead… There will be no peace in this self made Hell!

  64. EoinW says:

    In the recent past the Russians stated that America is not agreement capable. This summit is the perfect example of that assertion. It would have been interesting if NK had agreed to everything the US wanted, even the new demands. How long would it have taken Trump to find a reason to not agree?

    Now that Kim has figured out what he’s dealing with in Washington, the next stage is to see how independent SK is. As Syria has shown, the first step towards peace is to eliminate the Americans from the equation. At this stage it is safe to conclude the occupying US military will never leave Korea until the North and South have signed a peace agreement. Not much else left to do: cut the Americans out, make peace, then see how foolishly Washington overreacts.

  65. @Biff

    Uhhh excuse me.

    I would correct what you think I am referring to but, as I have never heard that reference, it further bolster my view that the Japanese so dependent on “____ lazy” US citizens for their defense, they are more than welcome to get give it a go on their own.

    Laughing. I never heard that comment. But I do consider it reflective. I am sure millions of tax payers would be delighted to save the expense of supporting the Japanese. I would think that millions of tax payers care would chagrin supporting a nation happily drinking at the productive state of the US citizens.

    Laughing — I never heard that. And the reference I mean has nothing to do with laziness.

    It was a lazy US citizen that transformed the Japanese economy and work methodology.

    Note: I am an advocate of free speech. You are welcome to engage me in any manner you so choose. However, I would prefer that in exchanges with me — that colorful references be avoided. I doubt seriously that the minister in question used such color.

  66. @AnonFromTN

    Without advocating for a mass withdrawal from the real world and neither of seem to make that contention —-

    I generally think that is correct.

  67. @Biff

    Apparently she preferred your “american laziness” over her fellows in Japan.

    Smile.

  68. Yee says:

    Tyrion 2,

    “I’d rather be born a citizen of Japan or South Korea rather than China, and that times a trillion than a citizen of North Korea.

    You crazy.”

    Always a delimma whether be an independent poor or be a house n*gger…

  69. Art says:

    This article says that Trump got what he wanted – that it was take it or leave it – it was Trump way or the highway – I think that is BS.

    Trump put his reputation with the American people as a deal maker on the line and he lost. Trump did not leave happy.

    Does Kim have all the power he needs to make peace? Maybe it was Kim’s MIC that killed the deal. They have the most to lose with a peace deal. They have all the enforcement power in N Korea. Kim both fears and needs them.

    The N Korean people see a “KIM” as a royal figurehead. The N Korean MIC needs a “Kim” to carry on in power.

    Perhaps these three power centers need to reconcile a lot more before peace can happen.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  70. @Art

    As long as the US is involved, peace won’t happen. Peace is not conducive to justifying humongous Pentagon budget we have, and the US MIC would never voluntarily agree to reduce the money in its trough.

  71. @AnonFromTN

    ” If the US stops playing policeman and restores its industry, it has a chance of being a great country, otherwise it is doomed”

    If the insane Democrats get back in the WH they will proceed, through their “green” mania, to dismantle the US industrial element, and then we are doomed anyway.

    Their goal being a leftist/green/socialistic system, which of course will then implode with chaos and bloodshed following. The main problem being they are too stupid and crazy to envision these inevitible results of their endeavors.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US army vet, and pro jazz artist.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  72. @Authenticjazzman

    I wish I could see any difference between the policies of Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, and now Trump. Ostensible “party” changes, but nothing else. Can’t hope for a real change in 2020, either.

  73. As usual, with utmost clarity Whitney provides the geopolitical perspective against which the Kim-Trump meeting took place. While one was looking for peaceful trasition to prosperous economically vibrant N Korea, the other a colonial submission to its imperial will. No self respecting leader who cares for his people would submit to this. It will perhaps take a decade or so for the Empire to adjust to its diminishing stature in world affairs, as more and more nations start defying it.

  74. Siktoria says:

    after all, Russia and China do not seek a permanently divided peninsula or regime change. They simply want Kim to abandon his nukes program for the sake of regional stability.

    . Oh seriously? Typical Western “Anti-War”. You guys really let me down with so shallow commentary.

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