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Hullabaloo


Friday, March 09, 2018

 
Donnie and Kim's excellent adventure

by digby





Can I just ask one question to anyone who thinks that Trump is going to "prevail" in a North Korea nuclear deal? What exactly does that mean? Nobody on any side of the political divide in this country can possibly believe that North Korea is a "good" regime we should just leave alone to do as it wants within its own borders and if it wants to use nuclear weapons well, doesn't the US have nuclear weapons too? That's totally, 100% insane. North Korea is a dystopian authoritarian dictatorship out of science fiction. The US may not be able to stop them from getting nuclear weapons --- unfortunately, I would imagine that ship has sailed. And Donald Trump is not going to change Kim's regime or change his basic character. So what's likely to happen? Trump will normalize Kim as another one of his favorite strongmen because he "wants to meet him" and he'll go around talking about how he's a good guy at heart with whom we can deal. Just like Xi. Just like Putin. Just like Duterte. He is telling people everywhere that the strongmen are the good guys --- because they play him like a fiddle.

The right wing Daily Caller is now running apologias by Russian oligarchs with strong ties to Vladimir Putin. They are being portrayed as good guys who are being persecuted by the left.

Trump is an imbecile who has no knowledge of the complexities of the situation so that is actually the best case scenario if they do actually meet. And he's not going to have much help figuring them out. The Post reports:
President Trump’s high-wire gambit to accept a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sets off a scramble among U.S. officials to assemble a team capable of supporting a historic summit of longtime adversaries and determine a viable engagement strategy.

State Department officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were downplaying the immediacy of talks in the hours before the White House rolled out the South Korean national security adviser, who made the surprise announcement that Trump would meet with Kim.

The apparent lack of coordination marked a pattern of mixed messaging that has characterized the Trump administration’s North Korea diplomacy since Pyongyang launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile last year, sparking the Trump White House’s biggest national security crisis to date.

The U.S. point person on North Korea, special envoy Joseph Yun, announced his retirement in late February and has not been replaced. More than a year in, the administration has yet to nominate an ambassador to South Korea. And the Senate has not confirmed the top U.S. diplomat to eastern Asia.

Jennifer Rubin reports:

Talks can be good, but a summit should be a carrot for the end of a satisfactory process, not the beginning,” cautions Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security. He thinks that there is a “high chance Kim will pocket the optics, show his people and the world he is received as a legitimate head of state, and in the end keep his programs intact.”

Fontaine is not alone in his thinking. “The risk is that Trump has little knowledge of the history of negotiations with North Korea,” says Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute. “There is some chance he will think that he has a unique opportunity to make progress on North Korea’s nuclear program, when in fact he’s going down the same road that the Clinton and Bush administration’s have.” He says bluntly, “North Korea is not giving up its nuclear weapons. Period.”

And can you blame Kim, really? Saddam and Khaddafi both gave up theirs and look what happened. He can hear that Trump and the Republicans want to tear up the Iran deal. So, why would he trust any US president, much less Donald Trump not to overthrow him if he gives up his leverage?

Unless Trump blunders into some kind of secret Kim and Xi grand strategy to denuclearize North Korea, it ain't happening. And things could go very sideways very fast.



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