Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Bolton's just waiting patiently for the tantrum

by digby

My Salon column:

Now that the Singapore dust has settled and we've all watched that bizarre White House produced propaganda film at least a half a dozen times just to be sure we weren't dreaming, it's worthwhile to look at the event with fresh eyes and ask ourselves if it really was as surreal as it seemed to be. As I wrote yesterday, the signed agreement certainly didn't add up to much despite's Trump's predictably tiresome hype that it was the most spectacular deal any two leaders had ever made in the history of the world. It's basically a watered down version of earlier deals that ultimately fell apart and a recommittment to the one that Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In signed a couple of months ago.

Trump later said in his press conference that he was going to halt regional war games because they were unnecessarily provocative (for which received nothing in return) surprising Seoul and the Pentagon. It is still vague as to how and why that announcement happened but last January the Wall Street Journal reported this, which offers a clue:
Mr. Trump had an idea about how to counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, which he got after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin : If the U.S. stopped joint military exercises with the South Koreans, it could help moderate Kim Jong Un’s behavior.
It's nice of President Putin to offer Trump such advice but any other US president would have been just a little bit skeptical of his motives since it serves the Russian president's interests to drive a wedge between the US and its allies as well as hasten a withdrawal from the region. One imagines that Chinese president Xi Jinping was equally pleased to see Trump take that advice and seek nothing in return. Everyone's happy but America's allies.

North Korean state media reported that Trump offered the concession personally during their 45 minute unrecorded meeting which raises the question as to why it wasn't included in the written agreement. But then North Korean State media is also saying that Trump told Kim that he's going to lift the sanctions, which Trump said he did not do. And according to the Wall Street Journal:
The report quoted Mr. Kim as saying that, if the U.S. were to take “genuine measures for building trust,” then the North could reciprocate in a “commensurate” fashion—a clear suggestion that U.S. concessions would have to come before any North Korean move...The report also suggested that Mr. Trump had adopted the North’s preferred phased approach toward any denuclearization process, saying the two men had agreed to the “principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action.”
Trump indicated in interviews yesterday that Kim was rushing back home to start "de-nuking" immediately. He certainly didn't say he'd agreed to a "principle of step-by-step simultaneous action."

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what the truth is. Both leaders are untrustworthy liars and there is no record of their discussion. It's entirely believable that the North Korean government just made the whole thing up as a propaganda ploy but it's just as easy to believe that Trump gave all those concessions in a closed door meeting to please his new best friend. He has a habit of giving away the store to people he's trying to impress.

It will be very interesting to see how the White House responds because the president spent the day extolling the virtues of Kim Jong Un as if he were the second coming of Honest Abe and Mahatma Gandhi. He even said, “His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor, they have a great fervor,” apparently having no clue about the repressive regime's propaganda tactics.

Here are just a few of the glowing descriptions of his pal:

In an interview with Greta Van Susteran Trump made it clear that it's all very personal:
“We had a great chemistry — you understand how I feel about chemistry. It’s very important. I mean, I know people where there is no chemistry no matter what you do you just don’t have it. We had it right from the beginning, I talked about that and I think great things are going to happen for North Korea.”

He told George Stephanopoulos, "I trust him and he trusts me."

Most observers and experts are wary of making too many sweeping statements about this because the stakes are high and anyone with sense has to hope for the best. Perhaps Trump's vaunted salesmanship and personal outreach to the North Korean dictator is worth a try since so many previous attempts at more formal agreements failed. Who knows? Maybe Kim really is anxious to build some Trump branded condos on the beach and open a McDonalds in Pyongyang. It's understandable that all of us would be relieved that the inane insults about "Little Rocket Man" have given way to inane compliments if only to buy some time.

But as I watched footage of the summit, I couldn't help but think about what National Security adviser John Bolton had said a few months back:

Bolton believes the US has to overthrow Kim Jong Un, period. He got himself into trouble with his comments that the US would insist on using the "Libya model"  and got sidelined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  He stepped aside, said little and watched as the president kissed up to the North Korean dictator and basked in the glory of his delusional historic agreement. He's just sitting back, waiting for the moment when Trump realizes he's been betrayed.

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) seemed to have a similar idea, only he seemed to want to play the role of Trump press agent and announce it to the world. He said,  “If you try to play Trump or back out, there’s going to be a war and nobody wants war. Look at what he said to Canada when he thinks he’s wronged."

This was the danger in letting Trump do his elaborate photo-op and then go all over the media praising Kim as his very favorite new friend, telling everyone who will listen that they have "chemistry" and they trust each other. It's very personal for him now and like the playground bully that he is, Trump will feel betrayed when he finds out that Kim didn't feel the same way about their "special bond." 

You can be sure that John Bolton has Plan B ready to go.