Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Make No Mistake, Kim Got The Better Of Dotard In The Singapore "Deal"


Kim Jong -Un and Dotard do their 'Meet and Greet' in Singapore

Fresh off his impudent, childish lambasting of allies at the G7 meeting in Canada, there was Dotard yesterday evening greeting Kim Jong Un in Singapore. As wifey and I briefly watched the proceedings, before going back to the Brewers- Cubs game, she blurted out: "Which of those guys do you think has the biggest gut?"   I replied, "Trump by about a mile! Okay, maybe a foot!"

Picayune?  Petty? Unbecoming of global TV connoisseurs?  Maybe, but vastly more substantive than the vapid media coverage, show summit and absurd speculations about the likely results- one more symptom of our 24/7 cable news fetish.   Perhaps one former CIA specialist put it most aptly: "All empty calories, no substance".

In truth,  the outcome of this "summit" is already known and well defined, as Fareed Zakaria intimated on Bill Maher's Real Time Friday night. The bottom line is there isn't going to be any widespread removal of nuclear weapons, nor any ICBMs.  Certainly not in the immediate future - if ever.  (Talking heads this morning on CBS, Jeff Glor  and Ben Tracy, cited a period of "3 to 15 years" - in other words long after Dotard has likely croaked.)

It could in fact be much longer. As per a NY Times piece on Sunday ('What's Denuclearization, Exactly?, p. 8) we learn:

"The American definition of the term has referred to the demand that North Korea relinquish its nuclear arms capabilities, making the entire peninsular nuclear free.

John R. Bolton's denuclearization would also include much more, applying to ballistic missiles, chemical and biological weapons, the means to produce them and verifiable ways to ensure North Korea is not hiding anything.

North Korea's use of the term has never explicitly applied to its own weapons. Disarmament experts (say based at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) say North Korea has used denuclearization to refer to what it views as the American military's strategic capability to strike North Korea with nuclear weapons from afar, and to the American protection of South Korea and Japan under a so-called nuclear umbrella."

Commenting on the latter, Evans J.R.  Revere - a former State Dept. official specializing in North Korea - emphasized the term is how North Korea defines it: essentially meaning all parties denuclearizing especially the U.S.  

Anyone with sense can agree there is about as much chance of this happening as extraterrestrials abducting Trump out of Air Force One before he gets back to D.C.  It ain't gonna happen, no matter how many breathless talking heads you hear or see in the next few days.

Revere also notes this has "created a dangerous basis for misunderstanding perpetuated in part by South Korea's President Moon Jae-In, who has been eager for the Trump-Kim summit meeting to succeed..  The mantra is that the North Korean leader has committed himself to denuclearization. There's an element of wishful thinking, an excess of optimism and maybe even misjudgment."

Perhaps too eager.  Also, too damned ambitious given Bolton's desire to include ICBMS, chemical and biological weapons too.  In the words of CBS' correspondent Ben Tracy:

"Dismantling North Korea's vast nuclear arsenal would be one of the most challenging attempts at nuclear disarmament in history. The first step would be finding out what they have and where they have it."

Ahhh, but the devil is in the details, and these are pretty daunting.  As  Fareed Zakaria pointed out, the North has nearly one hundred nuclear testing sites all well hidden and all over the place. There is no way the U.S. is going to be allowed into all of those sites, even assuming they could find them.  To the North, its nuclear weapons are a matter of life and death, and no promises of "prosperity" are going to change that as one N. Korean security official made clear last week.  As for Bolton's idea of including missiles and chemical -bio weapons, that's as big a pipe dream as Elon Musk thinking he can get a manned space ship to Mars in the next few years.

What everyone needs to do then in the wake of this Singapore spectacle which has been blown up into the biggest summit in over 50 years, is to take a chill pill and move away from the tube. Or the favorite streaming device.  What happened in Singapore was just a giant optics show, a PR opera and little more.  Duyeon Kim, a senior research fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum put it thusly (ibid.):

"It's pretty clear there is a strong inclination by both leaders to have a good show, a good PT opportunity, and this is where it gets risky and dangerous. My concern is that the two leaders -especially Trump  - would want to declare peace, just because it sounds good, is historic and unprecedented."

In other words, both dictators could be taken in by the hubbub and believe their own bullshit, as well as firing up preposterous expectations that can never be met.  In addition, both can spin this joke anyway they want given no notes were taken during the meet, and no aides were present to validate anything of what was said. (Oh, an absurd 4 minute PR video - claimed to have been shown to Kim  during the meet- was presented to the press later. In Lawrence O'Donnell's words "This looks like a child's presentation to another child to convince him to come to his party")

This video PR codswallop featured an idealized view of the future North under the new prosperity Trump would deliver if they only gave up their nukes.  Then the future scenes flipped  to a barren, isolated, poverty stricken landscape if they didn't. I had to tell Janice, I bet Kim held in his hysterical howls of laughter until he could trek to his personal toilet.)

Perhaps the most appalling aspect of this whole charade is how we've since learned that Dotard's blowing up of the G7 meet and attacking Justin Trudeau - was all done to "telegraph" to Kim Jong Un that he (Trump)  was a "tough leader" and the U.S. wouldn't tolerate anything from critical leaders. In other words, done to try to prove the Amerikkan Trumpie team would be tough negotiators. Of course, Kim isn't stupid, and would have seen through all this and interpreted it as weakness, emboldening him to give up even less and provide even fewer details of how the "denuclearization" dog and pony show will proceed.

Sad to say, it won't work. The takeaway - as one observer put it - is that Kim got nearly all he could ask for and more. He's been instantly transformed from global renegade and crazy guy into a shrewd and judicious world leader, almost a statesman.  By his meeting with Trump his country has also attained instant status and respect on the world stage - and he's not given up anything at all of substance - anything concrete.  Another heads up: The ink was barely dry on the statement sheet signed by both when KCNA (North Korean state news) blabbed that Kim had forced Trump to cancel joint military exercises with South Korea.

Trump insists Kim will give up his weapons.  Not a chance in hell.

You can bank on it.

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