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It Is Not A Good Idea
To Act As If You Can Not Accomplish
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Daily Beast Says, Trump's Singapore Summit Was a Bust, But It's Better Than Nuclear War

It seems to me this article raises some legitimate concerns.

However, the Daily Beast, and others who would criticize the Summit, certainly celebrated the last 20 years of paying off Kim in exchange for his sparkling personality.

Trump took us a step forward. This could be the beginning of a new and better era.

Or, knowing Trump, it could be the beginning of the end of Kim, IF he chooses to go the road of threats and bellicosity.

From The Daily Beast:
Unsurprisingly, the only language on "denuclearization" that the two sides were able to agree to in a joint statement was complete pablum, building off the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom declaration between the two Koreas. 
"Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the Trump-Kim declaration notes. It eschews the U.S.-favored—albeit unrealistic—formulation of the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons. 
From the arrangement of the flags to the seating arrangement at the bilateral sessions, there was little to distinguish this summit from one between two countries that share a decades-old hostile relationship and do not afford each other diplomatic recognition. 
This was likely always going to be part of the package of offering to meet with a North Korean leader, which is precisely why previous U.S. presidents—all of whom could have offered to meet unconditionally with Kim Jong Un or his father or grandfather—chose to place a summit at the end of a diplomatic process with North Korea. 
The idea was simple: once North Korea had shown itself to comply in good faith with a process of implementing a robust agreement on denuclearization, it would receive the legitimizing capital associated with a summit with a U.S. president. Instead, here we had Kim meeting Trump in exchange for little else than the release of three U.S. hostages in May. 
Though often framed as North Korean concessions to the United States, Kim made clear to highlight that his decision to close the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri and to enter a moratorium on testing intercontinental-range ballistic missiles was a sovereign choice—one that North Korea was making as a result of becoming a mature nuclear weapons power. 
But more seriously, this language only commits North Korea to the very same "complete denuclearization" that, in the Panmunjom declaration, approximates something like total global nuclear disarmament or bilateral arms reductions with the United States. And all North Korea will do, per the declaration, is work "towards" this objective. 
But the language on denuclearization is the least concerning aspect of the Singapore declaration; it comports closely with pre-summit expectations that North Korea was not coming to Singapore to turn over the keys to its nuclear program. 
The Singapore declaration predictably commits both countries to "establish new U.S.-DPRK relations" and to pursue a "lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula." Both of these points will support the April 27 Panmunjom process, initiated by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, but they throw the future of U.S. alliance with South Korea into flux. 
More seriously, the agreement includes the following line: “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” 
We have few details on the nature of these guarantees—which are distinct from security assurances—but given that this accompanies North Korea’s vague commitment to denuclearization, it sets up the United States to follow through with serious adjustments to its military posture in the region. It’s not clear from the released text or any statements by Trump that North Korea’s conventional capabilities were considered in the course of talks on a security guarantee. 
At the press conference at the conclusion of the summit, Trump announced that regular U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises—exercises that he chose to describe as "very provocative"—would be rolled back, granting Pyongyang a major concession. 
Viewed in the context of the momentum in U.S.-North Korea ties in late-2017—when talk of a U.S. military strike was growing worryingly common—the risks and costs of the Singapore summit seem entirely tolerable. The United States and North Korea have walked back from the brink and Trump, instead of threatening "fire and fury," has suggested that he'd be willing even to invite Kim Jong Un to the White House. 
But make no mistake: viewed in the grand picture of decades of U.S.-North Korea relations, what just transpired in Singapore between the forty-fifth president of the United States and the third North Korean leader was an asymmetric exchange. Kim Jong Un goes back to Pyongyang with his long-desired photo op, having held on tight to his nuclear weapons and with no scrutiny whatsoever on human rights. 
In the sense that the summit is an improvement over nuclear war, it was a success—Washington and Pyongyang will likely keep up a pageantry and bilateral momentum out of Singapore for some time. But "better than nuclear war" shouldn't be the only yardstick we use to gauge the success of a summit like this.
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posted by Pastorius at permanent link#


Blogger Always On Watch said...

I agree with you, Pastorius.

How this POTUS differs from other POTUSES who tried to reign in North Korea: this POTUS WILL launch.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 1:15:00 pm  

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