Tag Archives: north korea

An ‘ugly American’ abroad: NATO, the Queen, and pal Putin, oh my!

The NATO Summit will be held July 11-12, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. As Summit Nears, NATO Allies Have One Main Worry: Trump:

[T]here is one wild card: President Trump.

Nobody knows which president will show up — the truculent one railing about inadequate military spending by the allies or the boastful one taking credit for recent spending increases.

Either way, NATO members say they fear that all the preparation and the desire to show solidarity in the face of a new Russian threat will be overshadowed, if not undone, by a divisive encounter followed by Mr. Trump’s prospective summit meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

The European allies are deeply worried that they will confront the Trump who was on display at the meeting in June in Canada of the seven major economies, known as the Group of 7, or G-7. Those in the room described him as angry, mocking, wandering and rude, especially to the host, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

There, Mr. Trump focused on two of his fixed ideas: the unfairness of trade with European allies and their inadequate level of military spending.

The Trump administration regards Western European nations as free-riders on an American-funded, postwar peace that enabled them to build lavish social benefit systems because they spent so little on defending themselves. He has also made clear that he thinks the European Union, as a trading bloc, has taken advantage of American generosity.

European and some American officials say they dread the same pattern — a noisy, divisive NATO summit, damaging deterrence, followed by a chummy meeting with a dictator, in this case Mr. Putin, whose long-term goals are to destabilize the European Union, undermine NATO and restore Russian influence over Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Balkans.

Continue reading

A propaganda video? Seriously?

The most bizarre moment of the Singapore Summit was the propaganda video prepared by Team Trump to show North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, which he also showed to the media. Reporters thought this video was North Korea propaganda. It came from the White House.

Reporters crowded into a Singapore auditorium Tuesday, expecting President Trump to walk out and announce the results of his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Suddenly, two huge screens on either side of the empty podium came to life. Soaring music boomed over the speakers, and the reporters were bombarded with a montage portraying North Korea as some sort of paradise.

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 4.10.42 PM

Golden sunrises, gleaming skylines and high-speed trains. Children skipping through Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang. North Korean flags fluttering between images of Egyptian pyramids, the Taj Mahal and the Lincoln Memorial.

In a split-screen shot, Kim Jong Un waved to an adoring crowd while President Trump stood beside him with his thumb in the air. The pair appeared over and over again, like running mates in a campaign video.

The film went on like this for more than four minutes, with brief interludes of missiles, soldiers and warships interrupting the pageantry. Some journalists, unable to understand the Korean-language narration, assumed they were watching one of Pyongyang’s infamous propaganda films. “What country are we in?” asked a reporter from the filing center.

But then the video looped, playing this time in English. And then Trump walked onto the stage and confirmed what some had already realized.

The film was not North Korean propaganda. It had been made in America, by or on the orders of his White House, for the benefit of Kim.

Continue reading

America’s ‘great negotiator’ gets snookered by ‘Little Rocket Man’

“Little Rocket Man,” Kim Jong-un of North Korea, got the photo-op that he so desperately wanted from President Donald Trump: the U.S. and North Korean flags side-by-side and President Trump smiling and shaking his hand. Trump said it was “an honor” to meet him.

Trump-Kim4

This will now run on a loop on North Korea’s state-run propaganda media to show that North Korea’s Supreme Leader, by developing nuclear weapons and an ICBM missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental United States, forced the President of the United States into meeting with him one-on-one as an equal among nuclear states, and obtained assurances from the president of the survival of his despotic murderous criminal regime.

Other despotic regimes around the world will take away the message: get yourself some nukes, and force the United States to deal.

Trump-Kim2

Michael Green, senior National Security Council official on Asia policy during the George W. Bush administration, writes at Foreign Policy, Trump Pardons Another Celebrity Criminal:

In Singapore on Tuesday, the president of the United States demonstrated that he has the authority to give unconditional pardons not only to felons at home, but also on the international stage. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime has violated multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions by continuing to test ever more dangerous ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons and was found guilty of crimes against humanity by a U.N. Commission of Inquiry in 2014. In Singapore, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he trusted Kim, said it was an honor to meet him, and declared peace on the Korean Peninsula. The situation on the peninsula is so horrible in terms of human suffering and threats to peace that one wants to hope for the best with this diplomatic pageant. Maybe I am just another “hater and loser” — but parsing what we know thus far, it is hard to see what we have achieved for the North Korean people or the safety of the world in exchange for pardoning Kim.

Continue reading

The ‘Dotard’ to meet ‘Little Rocket Man’ for a photo-op

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post warns, After Trump’s G-7 summit fiasco, be afraid (excerpt):

Trump’s Republican enablers, who ridiculed liberal Democrats for coddling dictators and ignoring allies (ah, the good old days when they groused, inaccurately, about the return of a Churchill bust!), should see what their groveling has wrought. They now back a president who does not put America or the West first. A Manchurian Kremlin candidate could not show greater fealty to Russia nor more diligence in helping Russia pursue its goals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who refuses to consider reclaiming Congress’s role in trade, will see the consequences that flow from his and his fellow Republicans’ neglect of their constitutional obligations. Republicans have rejected their obligation to restrain an unfit executive and lessen the damage by reasserting Congress’s rightful power in areas such as trade. They are now Trump’s facilitators in his apparent desire to blow up the international world order — the world order America helped created and has always led. In that sense, McConnell, too, is helping, wittingly or not, to make Russia great again.

* * *

As Trump is poised to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, he declares he’ll know within a minute whether the meeting will be a success. Here is a man declaring his gullibility and waiting to be snookered with a few smiles, some stomach-turning flattery and many empty promises from a calculating adversary. Trump seems not to know that the first meeting between the U.S. president and the dictator of North Korea is not an amazing achievement for the United States; it’s a huge win for Pyongyang.

Continue reading

This was entirely predictable: Trump cancels Korea Summit

Back in March South Korean officials briefed President Trump on their recent visit to Pyongyang, where the North Korean leader expressed a willingness to discuss nuclear disarmament with the U.S. and said he would suspend all nuclear and missile tests during the dialogue.

Trump impulsively agreed to a summit with the man he had derided as “Little Rocket Man” in his Twitter rants, without any strategic plan or even an ask for North Korea. By doing so he did what no other president had ever done before: he gave legitimacy to the murderous dictatorship of Kim Jong Un and elevated North Korea to equal footing with the United States as a nuclear power on the world stage.

Trump started praising Kim Jong Un as “honorable” and even canceled a B-52 bomber training exercise with South Korea after the South Korean government expressed concerns that it could generate tensions before the summit. The White House even minted a Commemorative ‘Peace Talks’ Coin Ahead of the Trump-Kim Summit.

Then all of this suddenly changed today when Trump just as impulsively canceled the Korea summit that he had so impulsively agreed to in March. This was entirely predictable. It was never going to happen.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post explains What really led to Trump’s North Korea faceplant:

Looks like President Trump may have to wait for that Nobel Peace Prize he has been hoping for:

President Trump on Thursday canceled a planned summit next month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” from the rogue nation in a letter explaining his abrupt decision.

“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump said to Kim in a letter released by the White House on Thursday morning.

This is what we call “cutting your losses.” We’ve had reports in recent days that Trump was having second thoughts about the summit after learning, to his shock and dismay, that the North Koreans were not eager to simply give up all their nuclear weapons right away. So it appears that after a couple of weeks in which he and his administration seemed to be trying everything they could think of to sabotage any chance for an agreement, Trump decided that canceling the summit now was preferable to holding the summit and coming away with nothing after raising expectations so extraordinarily high.

Continue reading

‘It’s déjà vu all over again’ on North Korea

It’s déjà vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra

The headline at POLITICO reads As Korean leaders make history, Trump stands ready to take credit:

KoreanLeaders

A dramatic Friday meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea is stoking optimism that President Donald Trump might strike a historic nuclear deal with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un — leading skeptics to worry that expectations are growing dangerously high.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 12.55.36 PMScreen Shot 2018-04-30 at 12.54.46 PM

Trump sycophants in the personality cult of Trump are already spiking the ball before having scored in the end zone, saying that Trump – rather than the leaders of North and South Korea – should get a Nobel Peace Prize.

Trump himself wasn’t talking about peace prizes on Friday. But as remarkable images emerged of the bellicose Kim stepping for the first time across his country’s border with South Korea, the president’s excitement — and desire for credit — was plain to see.

* * *

However stirring the images of Kim’s visit to south were, the resulting talks between the Koreas produced few specifics and left open numerous crucial questions, including whether and how the Korean War — which halted in 1953 without a formal peace treaty — might be ended.

Continue reading