Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 24, 2018

How John Bolton Sabotaged The North Korea Talks

U.S. President Trump just canceled the planned summit with North Korea's chairman Kim Jong-Un. The two were supposed to meet on June 12 in Singapore. In a letter to Kim Jong-un, released to the media, Trump accused North Korea of hostile statements which, according to him, make the summit impossible:

Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I fell it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long planned meeting.

Since the very first summit talk National Security Advisor John Bolton set impossibly high expectations for the results. Trump fell for it.

The various 'hostile statements' go back to remarks by Bolton who has for some time compared disarmament of North Korea to Libya. On April 29 Bolton again asserted that the 'complete de-nuclearization' of North Korea would follow the 'Libya model'. North Korea never really offered to 'de-nuclearize'. It rejects the 'Libya model' for two reasons:

  • When Libya made peace with the U.S. it was not a nuclear capable state which North Korea is. North Korea demands to be seen as equal to other nuclear armed states.
  • Libya's transfer of the little nuclear production equipment it had was followed a few years later by a full fledged war waged by France, the U.K. and the U.S. against Libya and its government under Muhammad Ghaddafi. The war destroyed the country. North Korea has no intent to allow a repeat of such treason.

North Korea pushed back against the Bolton statement. On May 16 the White House made amends by not endorsing what Bolton said:

Referring to the Libya comparison, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that she hadn't "seen that as part of any discussions so I'm not aware that that's a model that we're using.

"I haven't seen that that's a specific thing. I know that that comment was made. There's not a cookie cutter model on how this would work."

But a day later Donald Trump was asked about the Libya comparison and he seemed to agree with it:

“The model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy.”

We called that the 'art of the mafia deal': "Sign here or we will kill you." Signing under threat is something North Korea will never do.

The U.S. media played down Trump's talk as somewhat off-the-cuff. North Korea did not react to it. The summit train was still on track.

But on May 21 Vice President Pence revived the issue in an interview with Fox News:

PENCE: We really hope that Kim Jong-un will seize the opportunity to dismantle his nuclear weapons program and do so by peaceable means. You know, there were some talk about the Libya model last week. And you know, as the president made clear, you know, this will only end like the Libya Model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal.

MACCALLUM: Some people saw that as a threat.

PENCE: Well, I think it's more of a fact. President Trump made it clear the United States of America under his leadership is not going to tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies. We've made it clear that we are continuing to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea that all options are on the table to achieve that end.

It was clear from the beginning that North Korea would not negotiate a complete de-nuclearization and would not talk while under such a threat. As the Washington Post noted: The more Pence and Trump say ‘Libya,’ the angrier North Korea gets.

The continuation of the Libya comparison was now a tactic to avoid the little prepared summit talks while blaming North Korea for the failure. The response from North Korea to Pence's remarks was quite salty but not overly hostile. Unlike Trump it did not threaten "total decimation":

Choe Son Hui, the DPRK's vice foreign minister, said she would put forward a suggestion to DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un for reconsidering the DPRK-U.S. summit scheduled for June 12 if the United States continues with hostile remarks and actions, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
...
Calling the remarks of Pence "ignorant and stupid," she said that Pence should seriously consider the "terrible consequences of his words" before making such remarks.

"We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is as he is trying to compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that has simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them," she said.

Trump's cancellation letter refers to that statement.

The cancellation comes hours after North Korea, in the presence of a dozen international journalists, blew up several tunnels it had used for nuclear tests. This was a confidence building measure even while it is of little practical value. North Korea is mountainous and has several more tunnels it can use for further nuclear tests.

I now expect another phase of huffing and puffing from both sides. The U.S. will do more fly-bys with nuclear capable bombers and push for more sanctions. North Korea will respond with more nuclear and missile tests.

Trump had expected a fast victory and probably even a total de-nuclearization of North Korea. He dreamed of a Nobel Peace Prize. But North Korea had offered de-nuclearization only as a long term aspiration for the whole world. Giving up its nuclear capabilities would be suicidal as the U.S. will not honor any security guarantees it might give in exchange. Trump proved such when he canceled the JCPOA deal with Iran.

When the summit between North and South Korea took place on April 27, I had identified several potential spoilers for a disarmament and peace process. John Bolton was one of them. His introduction of the 'Libya model', which Trump and Pence who are both novices in international talks then took up, sabotaged the deal.

The largest known rare earth deposit of this world will continued to be out of Washington's reach.

Posted by b on May 24, 2018 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

Comments
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possible silver lining? will continued Korea tensions make it harder for US to deploy military assets against Iran?

Posted by: Ace Hanlon | May 24, 2018 12:10:40 PM | 1

Looks like the only way North Korea has to convince nuclear powers that it's a member of the club that should be handled accordingly is to prove it by detonating a genuine nuke on some chosen target that is easily displayed to the world media. Which US city will volunteer?

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 24, 2018 12:16:05 PM | 2

Propaganda System says summit cancelled because of DPRK's "aggressive talk." Well, it's very clear that all the "aggressive talk" came from the Outlaw US Empire, making Trump's letter a fraud despite its authenticity.

As for JCPOA, yesterday I provided this link to Khamenei's "conditions" to EU for Iran to remain within JCPOA. Today, Khamenei has tweeted a listing of his "Experiences from the #JCPOA for decisions to make today and in the future" with point #2 being the most important as it goes to the root of the impasse existing between the Islamic Republic and the Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 12:26:40 PM | 3

Clueless Joe @2--

I volunteer The Swamp City--Depravity Central--but only after evacuating all those too poor to flee on their own.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 12:28:53 PM | 4

One has to wonder if this was intentional sabotage by the US or just a display of trump’s incompetence manifested in an over the top hostility and threats (trumps negotiating style). It’s probably both.

Posted by: Alaric | May 24, 2018 12:29:11 PM | 5

I am going to disagree with your projected outcome b while thanking you again for such fine reporting.

I project the reunification of North and South Korea as a result of this latest "throw America under the bus" move by the plutocrat "Apprentice" Trump.

It is sad to comment that we are watching our species "leadership" battle about who will be in charge and no time is spent on discussing what sort of future might be best for humanity..........sigh

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 24, 2018 12:34:52 PM | 6

The last paragraph in that letter is a jewel of Trumpspeak.

"If you change your mind having to do with this important summit do not hesitate to call me or write....."

Didn't Trump just change his mind?

Posted by: dh | May 24, 2018 12:40:22 PM | 7

What will be done with all those medals? Melt them down to make the first nuke Trump semds against Korea?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44217116

Note the aggressiveness of Trump's image, which almost seems to be forcing Kim Jong Un to move his head away from the looming US president's.

But, according to VOX, the medal did call Kim "Supreme Leader." To show what Trump is so much more the Supremest Leader?

https://www.vox.com/2018/5/21/17377278/trump-north-korea-kim-jong-un-challenge-coin

Wonder why they're called "challenge coins"....

Posted by: jawbone | May 24, 2018 12:40:47 PM | 8

Now even more aggression against Iran ...

This may seem counter-intuitive but the crazies will say that it is more imperative than ever to stop Iran before they get nuclear armed ICBM's from N. Korea or help N. Korea build nuclear ICBM's. I've already heard this crazy talk on FOX and the FDD brigades.

Can't wait to hear Sean Hannity bray ... 'appeasement doesn't work, Trump is Winston Churchill. It's all Bill Clinton's fault.'

Posted by: Christian Chuba | May 24, 2018 12:54:02 PM | 9

Ace Hanlon @ 1 -- will continued Korea tensions make it harder for US to deploy military assets against Iran?

My first thought after hearing of The Letter was that Trump is likely to choose some nation without nukes to be his next whipping boy. He's among those presidents who believe they cannot make it into the ranks of the greatest presidents without having a war. Which he is supposed to win, not too easily but in fairly short time.

Altho' I must admit Obama's various wars, or warettes, did very little for his reputation. Libya is now shorthand for don't ever trust a Democratic Corporatist president

Iran, I figure, is just too daunting for the immediate purpose of overwhelming news coverage of the loss of the Great Summit with NK. But there has been talk of "taking out" the Maduro government of Venezuela. Or going after Nicaragua and Ortega.


Time will tell

Posted by: jawbone | May 24, 2018 12:57:08 PM | 10

Jerzy @ 9 -- NK has not destroyed its nuclear bombs. They had begun to destroy an undergound testing site. The bombs are their insurance against US attacks. Trump may attack in a fit of pique, but those nukes are still there.

Unless you have information I haven't seen? If so, please leave a link.

Posted by: jawbone | May 24, 2018 1:01:00 PM | 11

yes all that is true from B cause he is an attentive expert in foreign policies vs bad old USofA.
But i cannot grab how or why the author doesnot touch a single line on an evident point of the whole NK affair.
Which is the extense identity and coincidence of interests
common to both China A

Posted by: augusto | May 24, 2018 1:01:37 PM | 12

(continud) between china and Piong yang.
Both reject foreign weapons -missiles- in the peninsula.Both want the end of US/ SK military drills offshore their ocean beaches. Beijing absolutely refuses a west oriented or west dominated state in its borders.
And the XI plus Jong have met twice peronnally this year.
I figure this is a gap in B analisys, and a significant one. Is there any reason for it?

Posted by: augusto | May 24, 2018 1:08:37 PM | 13

Trump suffered two big losses this week: 1) he got rolled by the Chinese in trade negotiations, and 2) he won't take home a Nobel to Trump Tower.

Trump won a very narrow election because he was going to bring jobs back, and he wasn't going to fight any stupid wars.

Now he's painted himself into a corner where his only options are war: a trade war with China or, as jawbone speculates, a jailhouse scenario where Trump targets the weakest opponent. I think he's cooked.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 24, 2018 1:08:45 PM | 14

US/Trump gain several levers in this cancellation.
With the Trade Talks w/China going nowhere, they get to use sanctions hard against China. The excuse will be North Korea. Banking and commodities moving again to N.K. will be the excuse.

This gains leverage for Trade Talks.

Also, South China Sea, requires the forceful presence of the QUAD navies. To bring them into SCS and ECS to show Maximum Force to Pyongyang also is leverage against China.

It whips up Japan, India and Australia to a froth against China's naval power.

So, Trump gains useful tools to look like the Hegemon he is.

Parity with Kim was a big problem in Singapore meeting. Trump never wants parity. He always wants dominance.
One reason why he doesn't want to sit with Putin as equals.

There's always a lot more to any of these "events".

China, Eurasia and Russia are the game for the Hegemon. North Korea is just a sector on the GO board.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 24, 2018 1:09:52 PM | 15

It was clear from the start that the 'Globalist/Deep State' wanted nothing to do with this summit. The U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula depends on a permanent state of war.

However the damage may already be done. The U.S. now clarifies its role as being at the root of the problem, not the solution.

It will be interesting to see if the U.S. will be able to maintain its control over South Korea, or will South Korea begin to move closer to the Multi-polar World Order.

Posted by: dh-mtl | May 24, 2018 1:29:41 PM | 16

Red Ryder @ 16: You assume that Trump enjoys Putin-like levels of support domestically. He does not. Yes, now he can ratchet things up now against China. But eventually the pain must come home, and the U.S. population has very little capacity to endure pain, and certainly not on behalf of political leadership engaged in brinkmanship.

Trump is cooked.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 24, 2018 1:30:23 PM | 17

These decisions being made, are not DJT's. His puppeteers are pulling the strings, just like all the other modern day presidents.

"Deep State" = Wealthy corporate mongols. And so it's always been with empires. The big money behind the scenes steers the ship of state.


With consolidation through monopoly, corporate power is greater now than any time in history.

Posted by: ben | May 24, 2018 1:38:39 PM | 18

Hmm... Seems I need to reconstruct my last comment that got eaten by the cloud. @3, I got the quote wrong; it's "open hostility," not "aggressive talk."

dh caught a good one @7!

Moon met with Trump Tuesday, but there's next to no news about its results. There was a USA Today report that Moon was "surprised" by Trump's cancelation, calling it "very regrettable and unfortunate." It's reported that Moon met with Bolton and Pompeo prior to meeting Trump. This RT item with video is one of the few I was able to find. Apparently, the following was said at the Moon/Trump PC:

"The summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “may or may not happen” as scheduled, depending on Kim’s actions in the coming days, Trump said in a meeting with the South Korean president." [My Emphasis]

Seems Trump's trying to outdo Obama when it comes to providing grist for the Empire of Chaos's mill as both are clearly walking contradictions.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 1:51:50 PM | 19

Further to #7 dh, and the last paragraph being "a jewel of Trumpspeak."

Trump's entire letter to Kim Jong Un is ... weird:

It begins "We greatly appreciate ... [your efforts] ... relative to a summit long sought by both parties ...."

Then we learn "... the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant."

['Then, although repeatedly in terroristic mode reminding you of our destruction of Libya, and our creation of hell on earth in place of the country that prior to being destroyed was easily leading the human development index for Africa, as what will happen if we don't get our way, you have the temerity to react to our threats with an unbecoming display of'] "... tremendous anger and open hostility ...."

[So given your attitude problem, we're calling the meeting off, but doing so will be] "... for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world ...."

Then rhapsody in blue: "T felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters."

[Thanks for releasing those hostages, sucker.] "... a wonderful gesture ...."

Then the last bizarre mind-warped paragraph in full: "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history."

But there have been so many many sad moments in history Don. Try not to get all depressed over this one. And please don't go self-mediicating now with LSD like those guys on the nuclear missile base in Wyoming. We need all the clearheadedness you can muster.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 24, 2018 1:53:59 PM | 20

The quote I read following the Moon-Trump meeting was from a SK official saying that there was a 99% chance the peace summit in Singapore would happen as scheduled.

SK is going to have to move closer to China now. Its voters ate far more awake than voters in the U.S.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 24, 2018 1:57:25 PM | 21

sorry did not intend all that bold.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 24, 2018 2:00:27 PM | 22

1.How John Bolton Sabotaged The North Korea Talks
Trump is fully responsible for this outcome. Trump hired Bolton and has been itching to have him on board since day one. Trump put a hawk like Pompeo at State. Trump thinks he can bully everyone into submission and he used the Libya model to threaten Kim if he doesn't agree to de-nuclearize. Trump has shown all his full Neocon colors, soliciting Neocons to boost his poll numbers by declaring Jerusalem capital of Israel and destroying the JCPOA and then threatening the EU to submit to this disastrous decision, and since his polls numbers are rising. Trump is a thug and a fraud so quit treating him like he's a man-baby in baby pants who still doesn't know any better. It's all intentional and was planned from the start with his Zionist financiers.

2.Giving up its nuclear capabilities would be suicidal as the U.S. will not honor any security guarantees it might give in exchange. Trump proved such when he canceled the JCPOA deal with Iran.

Did you think that maybe, just maybe when Trump realized Kim was playing hardball and would not cower to de-nuclearization; he turned on the fake outrage to postpone, yes postpone the summit because there would be no way that he could justify giving NK a deal that was more lenient and weaker than the JCPOA? I've been writing, that upon recognizing that Kim is no pushover, Trump would find an excuse to save face; a way to slither out of this, so he could justify the irrational demands being exacted against Iran.

3.The U.S. media played down Trump's talk as somewhat off-the-cuff. North Korea did not react to it. The summit train was still on track.

NO it wasn't still on track. North Korea had already given the U.S. the shut out and channels of comm. were cut after Max Thunder military exercises offended and humiliated Kim who had just recently made the gesture of releasing of releasing 3 U.S. prisoners.

The U.S. was already shut out and NKn officials incommunicado and the WH was keeping this under wraps. So, to save face, Trump used NKs reaction to the Pence comments to postpone while he still had a chance to posture strength.

Trump has no clue how to operate in good faith and respect because he's a thug, an egotistical opportunist and a blowhard and has surrounded himself with Neocon birds of a feather that he chose deliberately thinking that he could bully Kim into submission and then claim the Nobel Prize for himself when really all the rapprochement diplomacy was initiated by Kim around the Olympics and then through subsequent gestures towards Moon.

Trump is getting a well-deserved schooling from young Kim.

Posted by: Circe | May 24, 2018 2:17:46 PM | 23

It was to be expected. Never trust the US. It is all just a theater, as it was withh Hussein an Qaddafi and others before them. The Evil Empire will not budge.
The Evil Empire needs a "color revolution", methinks. So we will just fund some outlying "LEGAL" radical group, :) , free speech and all, you know like the IRA back in the day, just fund them. They will find they way.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 24, 2018 2:33:05 PM | 24

Majority of South Koreans see unified nuclear Korea as strongly stabilizing politically and militarily factor in the region.

Yes, SK does not trust US that ignores openly returning of Japanese militarism while Japanese are capable of building 100 nukes in 9-12 months while missiles threatening Koreans they already have.

Both Koreans want nukes as guarantee that Japanese occupation and Chinese influence will never happen again.

Of course blinded globalists do not want to see it in DC as much as in Beijing or Moscow.

Posted by: Kalen | May 24, 2018 2:35:51 PM | 25

11

NK dont have any bombs, they destoryed the test site, just like Trump&Neocons solely wanted. Thus why have talks now, and so Trump effectively canclelled it.

Posted by: Jerzy | May 24, 2018 2:55:21 PM | 26

Place your bets on how long Bolton will keep his job... Unfortunately Pence cannot be fired so easily, insane mofo that he is.

I predict (based on absolutely nothing)that this is just the beginning, a failed makeout in mom & dad's car. Still, it makes for an interesting cliff hanger. I am decidedly not bored.

Posted by: et Al | May 24, 2018 3:02:47 PM | 27


I am going to think like a Deep State insider now (scary thought!). What will the US public do if we attack North Korea with nuclear weapons? Basically nothing. Actually it will increase our control over the populace. What will China or Russia do? Basically nothing. It will make them more afraid of us. Conclusion? ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO!!

Posted by: mike k | May 24, 2018 3:08:30 PM | 28

et Al

Why would he be kicked, this was the plan and Trump is of course as much to blame as any other.

Posted by: Jerzy | May 24, 2018 3:09:33 PM | 29

The last link in your article B, surely is the one of most importance. Whoever will get this stuff will have a large comparative advantage for many years to come. This rare earth thing alone could explain the rush to war.

Posted by: Pnyx | May 24, 2018 3:27:50 PM | 30

@16
You nailed it

Posted by: Ike | May 24, 2018 3:29:29 PM | 31

Jerzy @26--

You're correct. DPRK doesn't have nuclear bombs; rather, they have nuclear warheads, which is a huge difference since DPRK doesn't have any means to deliver a bomb but does have the means to deliver a warhead.

mike k @28--

Apparently you missed the very overt statement by Xi that China would attack the Outlaw US Empire if it attacked DPRK as any war in Korea is a massive Red Line. Russia has tacitly echoed China in that matter and has China's back in any altercation with Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 3:32:17 PM | 32

32

Its highly doubtful NK have able working ICBM or even shorter range more precise.

Posted by: Jerzy | May 24, 2018 3:37:56 PM | 33

@karlof1 You think China will go nuclear against the US over NK? I don't think so. If the US goal is just to knock out NK's nuclear capacity, with no intent to occupy NK - I think China would be hard pressed to find a way to retaliate.

Posted by: mike k | May 24, 2018 3:42:37 PM | 34

dh-mtl @16--

"It will be interesting to see if the U.S. will be able to maintain its control over South Korea, or will South Korea begin to move closer to the Multi-polar World Order."

The South has already moved in that direction as noted by its participation in and remarks about the last Vladivostok Economic Conference, which are reinforced by both China's and Russia's remarks about the South's willingness. Many experts have stated that it's the South that has the greatest stake in this entire negotiation as its the one most threatened by the continued Outlaw US Empire's presence in Korea. Given his remarks I've read, I imagine Moon is both mystified and maddened by Trump's apparent betrayal to attend the Kim Summit. Then there's the Korean public, which will become even more anti-American than it already is, for they know full well what any attack by the Empire on DPRK means for them--millions of dead, maimed, displaced, and violently shattered future potential far worse than anything before--the Libyan Outcome applies to the South as well as the North: A point totally missed by the idiot neocons.

I anticipate both Kim's and Moon's public approval ratings to further increase as a result of Team Trump's idiocy, with thrust in the latter hitting the floor. All Kim need do is issue a statement to the people of Korea stating what I just wrote about the Libya Outcome applying to all Korea for Team Trump to suffer a huge PR disaster. I also wonder how Team Trump's antics will be seen through the lens of the Asian concept of guanxi--negatively certainly, but how so.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 3:57:50 PM | 35

Posted by: Den Lille Abe 24
The Evil Empire needs a "color revolution", methinks.

It will never happen. Fifty years ago Uncle Sam learned how to crush all resistance movements. Here in Uncle Sam Land we are living with the results: a militarized police state where folks are regularly gunned down for failure to instantly obey police commands. Even obeying their commands can still result in death.

Police gun down three civilians a day. Every day. Three hundred and sixty-five days a year. When the police strap on their gun belt at the beginning of each duty shift, they are confirming their willingness to gun down a civilian on a moment's notice. Not even the military does that - they train to kill combatants, not civilians. Yes their definition of "combatant" is very loose, but they still claim most of the dead are "combatants". Not so the police.

Anything that has even a *hint* of being a potential movement is co-opted or crushed, like the "Occupy Movement" a few years ago. Instead of a non-violent revolution there will be more repression, more police murder, and more suffering as the empire continues to decay from the incompetence, greed, and corruption of Our Dear Leaders.

I'm not sad to be closer to the end of my life than to the beginning. The near-term future looks to be very, very grim indeed.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 24, 2018 3:59:25 PM | 36

China has drawn a red line against the US invading NK, but has not to my knowledge indicated how or if it would respond to an aerial bombing campaign, nuclear or conventional. It is also problematic how NK would respond to a conventional bombing attack, given that a nuclear response on their part would signal their total nuclear extinction. And destroying Seoul or the US military base south of there would bring the same total nuclear response on them.

Of course I hope none of these scenarios unfold, but I am just trying to get in the heads of folks like Bolton and Pompeo. Are they crazy enough to think the way I have outlined? We really just don't know. And that is very scary.

Posted by: mike k | May 24, 2018 4:00:09 PM | 37

So then, what would happen if North and South had a meeting, then announced that they would like to invite China and Russia to join in. N and S make a peace treaty, China and Russia, even India could be involved invite Japan too invite everyone but the US, get as many as possible to endorse the deal and offer security guarantees.

...I guess the US would just bomb anyway.

P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C is how you spell America.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 24, 2018 4:07:05 PM | 38

So, the DPRK has an immensely valuable natural resource that is coveted by both China and the US. But, the Koreans already have a close relationship with China and I would think that Kim would be happy to let the Chinese exploit that resource in exchange for security guarantees and basic commodities needed by the DPRK to provide for its people.

It seems to me that the only way the US gets control of those rare earth deposits is by following Trump's dictum about Iraqi oil, "just take it". The "need" to secure strategic resources necessary for the national security of the Empire becomes an additional justification for going to war with the DPRK. Bolton must be licking his lips.

Posted by: John Zelnicker | May 24, 2018 4:12:01 PM | 39

The very real possibility of China carrying through on its statement that it would not help N Korea if it initiated hostilities but would come to N Korea's aid if it was attacked make a war in Korea unlikely. Israel really wants the US to go to war with Iran. It almost succeeded in 2006 with Bush junior in office. The realists in the US military know that war with Iran would be a no-win contest. That doesn't mean it won't happen. However, Hezbollah is still in Lebanon and Syria has won its war against the jihadis although many more will die before its over. So unless Israel can manipulate a unilateral US attack on Iran it won't happen in the near future. When the inevitable next economic downturn happens (which will be worse than 2008 because they really didn't fix anything but just created 10s of trillions of dollars to kick the can down the road - this coming downturn will be worse) the war needed to keep control will happen. That leaves Venezuela. It's nearby. It has oil. The Venezuelan military will be a slam dunk for the US military. I can remember Grenada and Panama.

Posted by: gepay | May 24, 2018 4:17:56 PM | 40

#17

The public counts for nothing in Hegemonic policy. 17 years of war in Afghanistan is meaningless to the voter. Trillions missing, 11 T, 20 T. is nothing. They only care about their wallet, their stomach and today's Latte.

This move was to disrupt Moon's influence, to separate (again and forever) the South and the North, and to leverage against China.

You can judge American domestic sensibilities as integral to this policy, but I think you are really off base.

Hegemony is Empire. And the citizens of the Empire enjoy security at all costs. They have given their privacy to the Deep State, their jobs to Global Liberalism, their children to drugs (legaliziation is universal) and just want a Latte in the a.m. and the blue pill to get hard.

Most males are neutered. The Army is Volunteer. They fear nothing but random terror or psychotic events or false flag violence.

But they could care less if Trump nukes Pyongyang and Teheran in the same day.

Cooked? The enemies of Empire are cooked, and the dolts called voters are cooked.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 24, 2018 4:29:14 PM | 41

Nice to see such refreshing clarity in the remarks by Choe Son Hui, the DPRK's vice foreign minister.

Posted by: financial matters | May 24, 2018 4:31:07 PM | 42

@Jerzy

No one seems to last long, hence my question about placing bets. All I have seen is that Trump hires and fires at will, bringing in certain people for the job which if they succeed (!), they get to stay for a bit until they either leave of their own volition, or a are fired (Tillerson). If they don't succeed, he looks for someone new.

So, what is the plan? If I were to be charitable to Trump (not something that comes naturally, but then again I didn't like O-Bomber or the Clint either), it may be along the lines of the Chinese insult "May you get what you wish for." Having singularly failed to manage a reasonable relationship with Russia, Trump swiveled and gave the neo-cons their wet dream.

Whilst that may be thrilling for them, it scares the sh*t out of everyone else but their closest allies. There are always costs whichever path is chosen. At least in such a case Trump can say "I did what you wanted and it failed. So now I will try something else." That's what he did on day one when he signed all those Executive Orders in front of the tv cameras - I've kept my end of the bargain, if what I promise doesn't happen, they stopped me. That was a long time ago though.

What we do know is that Trump clearly doesn't give a flying fig about being contradictory or 'saving face' before the media and others. Whether it is muddle through or genius is not really the question. If we take him at base as a results driven guy, then the paradigm the ends justify the means applies. The downside is that it might just kill us all. In short, I can only repeat that based on previous action, the clock is already ticking.

Posted by: et Al | May 24, 2018 4:33:11 PM | 43

As psychohistorian says @6, all the running came from negotiations between NK and SK, not whatever Trump had to say. There's nothing really preventing the intra-peninsular negotiations continuing, and the US will be sidelined to a degree, which may mean Trump wants back in not far away.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 24, 2018 4:35:35 PM | 44

Mike K 37

In the minds of the likes of Bolton and Pompeo, the assumption is that nobody
will dare retaliate against the exceptionals. For example, in the case of China it
is believed that they will not endanger their growth with real war because it disrupts
business as usual. Of course they will arm themselves to the teeth but I surmise
they would rather bring Taiwan to the fold before they engage the US over the Koreas.

Although, the rare earths of NOKO make it a very valuable prize.

They might wait and grab the prize after the warring parties exhaustion. If the remaining
level of radiation will allow for exploitation of the Koreas.

Meanwhile, if NOKO is going to retaliate, their best bet would be to EMP the US. In that case
probably 80% of the US population would die in the few weeks following.

This MAD between the US and NOKO will allow China to take the number one spot on the
planet without even trying.

Since China and Russia would be natural allies it would be a new world.

But yes Bolton and Pompeo and the POTUS all think they will be offered the other cheek.

Posted by: CarlD | May 24, 2018 4:44:13 PM | 46

Jerzy @33--

You're way behind the curve as we've already discussed in detail here at MoA the fact that DPRK has an ICBM, has mastered the nuclear cycle and thus no longer requires its testing tunnel. The author of the linked article below confirms the fact of DPRK's ICBM capability.

mike k @34--

I suggest reading this essay, "aggression" being the key term in the 1961 Defense Pact between PRC and DPRK, which should be read as any type of aggression resulting in a "state of war." PRC leaders have had decades to plan/prepare for such a response. The 2010 modification regarding who attacks first has no bearing on the current issue as Kim's declared DPRK will not attack first, with both Moon and the South's public having confidence in Kim's word as related by both Moon and public opinion polling.

It almost seems that Team Trump thinks very little communication goes on between Putin, Xi, Moon, and Kim; that would be a very incorrect assumption. Being able to read the South Korean press would be a big advantage at the moment.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 4:46:10 PM | 47

Thank goodness for Moon of Alabama.

Today, the world went down the rabbit hole. The Korean Summit canceled. Netherland, Australia and Ukraine investigation stating that the Russian military shot down MH-17 and Yulia Skripal's staged reading. The only conclusion is that very powerful Westerners want to expand America’s 17-year-old war.

This is one of the few places left where the truth resides.

Any semi-sentient resident of Seoul knows that they and their family are of no concern to Washington DC. President Moon Jae-in one chance of avoiding jail like his predecessor Park Geun-hye and the likely destruction of South Korea is to acknowledge that this is a multi-polar world, end the military alliance with the USA, and quarantine American forces in Korea. Agree to a peace treaty with North Korea guaranteed by China and Russia. Avoid a Japanese Invasion. It is clear that the Empire wants to isolate and stress Iran and Russia enough to force regime changes in Tehran and the Kremlin. Today’s events make Gleiwitz Incident that started WWII seem like child’s play.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 24, 2018 5:17:07 PM | 48

I'll go down with the 2 Korea see this as a chance work peace between them with Russia and China standing in the shadows waiting to see if it can happen. If it does then North Korea will fall under the protection of both China & Russia and the will move weapons in. South Korea will ask Amerika to remove their troops and navy then rent the space to Russia and China. South Korea then buys it's weapons from Russia and China and North Korea is rewarded with rail and trade with both China and Russia and so will South Korea. Moon needs to stay alive for this to happen and I do believe maybe close 70% of South Korea citizens see this as their chance to throw Amerika out and become their own people.

Then again I've been wrong before;-)

Posted by: jo6pac | May 24, 2018 5:23:27 PM | 49

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 24, 2018 5:17:07 PM | 48

I didn't read you're comment until I posted mine and I do agree with you. The noise we'll hear in the near future will be boltin head exploding;-)

Posted by: jo6pac | May 24, 2018 5:25:48 PM | 50

Clueless Joe @2:

I recommend Chicago.

Mike Maloney

I agree. Trump and GOP will suffer a set back in the coming midterms. Foolish of him to cancel over some 'tough talk'. After all, it's called negotiations.


mike k @34:
No nukes but China will try to counter any cruise missiles; similar to the Syrian situation. The destruction of the nuke test site takes away a valid military target from the US.

Posted by: Ian | May 24, 2018 5:28:57 PM | 51

Not my original thought, but I think we can all agree to it:

Nobody in the whole Trump's administration should be nowhere near the White House and the powers it bears.

Posted by: laserlurk | May 24, 2018 5:35:38 PM | 52

Strait jackets,rubber rooms and thorazine is where they all belong.

Posted by: Winston | May 24, 2018 5:49:24 PM | 53

Great Article! My concern is what happens next. As others have pointed out, currently the biggest loser is the US as it has been exposed as the problem, not the solution.

Given that fact, the most logical step would be for the Singapore Summit to resume, but with the players to included DPRK, South Korea, China and Russia, and proceed with a peace treaty between the North and South with a eye toward de-nuclearization as one of the goals.

As Mike Whitney has pointed out in other articles around the tubes, the primary driver for de-nuclearization has not been the US, but China and Russia, and who have been offering development for the entire peninsula.

http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/trump-did-not-convince-kim-to-ditch-his-nukes-china-did/

Posted by: MIchael | May 24, 2018 5:50:10 PM | 54

Red Ryder @ 41. The hegemonic empire you speak of is on the ropes. If the hegemonic empire was as powerful as you conceive, why the tiptoe strikes following the latest White Helmets false flag? Why not a clear display of hegemonic dominance and a complete crippling of Syrian air defense? The hegemonic empire would also blockade those artificial Chinese islands and bring on immediate armed conflict. The hegemonic empire, accepting no dissent of its sanction policy on Russia, would immediately collapse the nascent M5S-League government in Italy.

Voters still matter even in the belly of the beast. How do we know? Empire's choice of regent, Hillary Clinton, lost by a relatively small number of votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, accelerating our present imperial crisis.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 24, 2018 6:01:20 PM | 55

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2018/05/103_249570.html
The Korean Times in English

Posted by: col from oz | May 24, 2018 6:08:39 PM | 56

Could someone explain why SK and NK can’t reach a settlement by themselves? Does the US have to be involved?

Posted by: Jim Simmons | May 24, 2018 6:21:35 PM | 57

US and its European/British commonwealth vassal states do not want peace. It wants perpetual war and conflict. Nothing new here

We are in the calm before the storm. Events in June will keep b awful busy me thinks. Just a feeling. Hope I am wrong.

Posted by: Pft | May 24, 2018 6:24:59 PM | 58

@21 Yes, the South Korean voting public can not help but to notice that if/when the USA decides that it has to attack NK then it is them - not the US public, but them - who will be the unavoidable "collateral damage" in that war.

The US public will get to wrap themselves in the Mission Accomplished! banner.
The SK public will get their coffins wrapped in the South Korean flag.

More than a few eyes are being opened south of the DMZ, I suspect.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 24, 2018 6:29:07 PM | 59

B you said it right. This summit would never occur. Now, S. Korea is scratching its head "What the F*** is wrong with the Americans? Don't they know when to shut up?" S. Korea is just another vassal and even if tries to reconcile with the North, S. Korea will always need US approval.

Posted by: Toxik | May 24, 2018 6:29:39 PM | 60

When I heard that the odious Bolton made reference to the Libyan model it was obvious that he was spiking the outbreak of peace in the Korea's.
Dull Pence and the Nikki Harpy were all to happy to push the same theme.
The score: Outlook for War: 100 - Outlook for Peace: 0

Posted by: AriusArmenian | May 24, 2018 6:30:11 PM | 61

#56

The US controls the SK military, their Intel and generally can muster an election victory when they want one.
Moon is a political aberration historically. Usually, a compliant President is in "power".
SK is a vassal state, kept terrified by the Hegemon.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 24, 2018 6:30:59 PM | 62

South Korea has over 20 nuclear reactors and has re-evaluated its nuclear enthusiasm after the Fukushima catastrophe involving primarily four reactors. Japan has over 50 reactors, most idle since Fukushima. But these reactors whether operating or not have also left a legacy of large amounts of highly radioactive materials, for example spent fuel pools.

Japan has attempted to cleanup its contaminated environment, and one of the highly visible results is tens of millions of large plastic bags containing radioactive material.

Much of the radioactive material from Fukushima ended up in the North Pacific Ocean, and much has been deposited around Earth. The North Pacific Ocean coincidentally over the last few years has experienced unprecedented loss of life.

A real war in the region, even without involvement of nuclear weapons, would have the potential to create a global scale nuclear catastrophe, among other terrible results.

So for this, as well as other reasons, there is an enormous incentive for all the countries in the area to find peaceful solutions.

The problem is, as often noted, that the US has a war habit, a war dependence, and a war 'belief system'; simultaneously, a declining military and financial Empire to hang onto. They also have an elite and deep state with deeply pathological characteristics. And they are at a seeming 'safe' distance from the Koreas etc. So the horrific remains a possibility.

One of the great problems with the 'Russia did it' crazy-dishonest meme, and the Ukraine coup, is that it is now difficult for the Americans to have any kind of sensible dialogue with Russia, let alone one that Russia could trust. And by making China into the 'next big enemy' an adult type dialogue is again made near impossible.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 24, 2018 7:17:26 PM | 63

Clueless Joe @ 2: I should think that of all major US cities that should volunteer, the home of Hollywood and Disneyland - historically the prime dispensers of US propaganda and two major tools of the US Deep State - ought to do so. An additional benefit to North Korea is that this city is well within the range of its warheads.

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2018 7:18:50 PM | 64

Jim Simmons @ 56: NK and SK actually were working towards formally ending the Korean War. Their two leaders met on 27 April 2018 with Kim crossing the border. The US insists on barging in and taking control of the negotiations and shaping them to meet its expectations.

One of those expectations is to keep over 28,000 American troops in SK and to maintain yearly rehearsals of invasions of NK and assassinations of its leaders.

If the US cannot hold onto its beach-head in SK, then a future invasion of China becomes near-impossible.

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2018 7:33:49 PM | 65

OJS @ 64: Dems love Hollywood. God-fearing Americans love Disneyland. Clueless Joe says NK only has to demonstrate with one nuclear warhead strike.

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2018 7:36:31 PM | 66

Mike Maloney 17
The US support for foreign wars has dropped a bit. TPTB don't care. If they can't get support, they'll take a lack of protest. It's boots on the ground that gets attention. And the media is on board with either keeping things like Libya below the public radar or only one-sided viewpoints as with Syria.

Circe 23
I tend to agree that it's not Bolton wagging the tail (Trump). But it is back to birds of a feather. Trump brought him in of his own accord. It's like the way the media portrayed Obama as being on the fence for wars with the usual suspects (Hillary, Kerry, Power, Rice) pushing for war. Whether Obama, Bush, or Trump, Harry Truman was right that the "buck stops here" (the President's desk).

Ron Paul's video headline says "Trump yields to Bolton" but in the video they admit it was Trump who brought in Bolton.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHywLqNz7uw

Posted by: Curtis | May 24, 2018 7:46:54 PM | 67

Putin and Russian Senators on Summit cancelation. Their observations are similar to those expressed by us Barflies. None seemed surprised by Trump's backing out.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 7:51:56 PM | 68

Posted by: OJS | May 24, 2018 7:16:26 PM | 61

We'll see.-)

Posted by: jo6pac | May 24, 2018 8:00:03 PM | 69

col from oz @55--

The Korean Times item you linked is merely a reprint of an AP item by writers Ken Thomas, Darlene Superville and Jonathan Lemire.

Jim Simmons @56--

The article I linked @68 provides an answer to your query by Putin in paragraph 4.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 24, 2018 8:03:51 PM | 70

Has anyone considered that this is simple a face-saving exercise from both sides?

As in: both sides have understood that the chasm between them is much too wide to warrant a top-level summit and, therefore, that meeting should be delayed until there is at least *some* prospect of something coming from it.

I mean, the idea that Trump can be offended by belligerent rhetoric is, well, it's pretty outlandish, don't ya' think?

And, after all, despite the "suddenness" of Kim and Moon meeting on the DMZ line, it bears mention that when Kim did step over the line there was - surprise! surprise! - a pre-prepared document just waiting for both of them to sign.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 24, 2018 8:18:19 PM | 71

As I said earlier in another thread before this one went up, the prevailing emotion that drove the orange incompetent to tip over the card table and deny the chance of cutting a deal with North Korea, has nothing to do with paper tiger Bolton's aggression and everything to do with Trump's lack of spine - cowardice in short.

Last weekend the NYT ran a story highlighting the chaotic manner that trumpist 'negotiators' aka sunkist fell into when attempting to do a trade deal with China. This was a 'home' match conducted on amerikan soil where there could be no problem with screwy communications being intercepted yet still orangekist failed to present a unified front - chiefly because trump had provided no leadership about negotiation priorities - how could he? Trump remains ignorant of the nuts and bolts inner workings of the policy positions that he trumpets should be adopted.
In the middle of high level talks with China the two lead amerikan negotiators have to step outside for a quick blue. Coats didn't come off but the cursing out of each other could be heard back in Beijing without any reliance on 'new tech'. What a joke. Now the other side were free to run a wedge play and get what they needed.

I apolgise to those who cannot get past the nyt paywall, I only lucked in/out because I never read the f##kin' rag any more.
I was wised up to orange negotiating incompetence by this article Trump Has No Idea How Diplomatic Deals Work at FPdotcom. In it a former oblamblam era negotiator outlines the screwups which orangekist idiots make:

Based on these experiences, what was stunning to learn about the China trade negotiations was how at every step of the way, U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic team did precisely the wrong the thing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Director of Trade and Industrial Policy Peter Navarro, Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross executed a textbook case study in how to not conduct international negotiations.

yep the writer one Ilan Goldenberg is likely a dem partisan and maybe even a liberal interventionist zionist to boot, but he/she does set out a cogent set of reason about how orangekist screwed the pooch listed under three main hedings which detail exactly how orangekist destroyed any chance of a viable outcome. They are elementary school mistakes in negotiating but sunkist made them:
Failure to prepare
Leaking sensitive negotiating positions
Circular firing squad

The NYT on the other hand in typical pseudo-intellectual bitchy style it uses concentrates on the gossip around last week's summit that led to the collapse of negotiation. The NYT kicked off with:

"On Friday, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters that China had offered to reduce its trade surplus with the United States by $200 billion. Two days later, he said that the number was merely a “rough ballpark estimate,” and that the two countries never expected to reach an agreement and merely planned to issue a statement laying out next steps.

It was a muddled end to a chaotic process — one that revealed an American team riven by conflicts over tactics and policy, working for a president eager for a victory but torn by his desire to have a smooth summit meeting next month with North Korea, over which China wields enormous influence."

Yep so what? Given that both these publications are like user manuals for empire, who reads 'em except as a somewhat amusing way to see the collapse of amerika Inc. Certainly not me, or most readers at MoA I imagine, but the idjits of pennsylvania ave have lived and died on the NYT since they first nutured their megalomania. Being taken apart so publically hurt everyone on the sunkist team sure, but Trump couldn't a flying F*ck bout that. However it also made him look like a prize goose hanging around the oval office waiting to be cooked.

trump has become what he claimed to despise - the criticism has cut his fragile persona and he has now decided only re-election can give him the acceptance and validation to which he aspires.
Consequently instead of calling in his team and giving them an exact & achievable set of outcomes, with fallback positions and a workable toolbox of targets, li'l donnie tells the world he has lost his balls attempting to conceal his cowardice with the usual trumpian bumptious bluster.

What a mess; both China and the people of North Korea can have a quick laugh up their sleeves and then get down to factoring trumpian cowardly incompetence into any further dealings.
Japan's Abe creep will be alternating between anger at the crass stupidity and fear at the way this issue has suddenly been boiled down to one option - extreme violence, when even old blind Freddie can see that the amerikans really have no stomach for conflict with a comparably strong, superior strategically China. Japan will have no choice but go through 'back channels' to cut a deal with China and by proxy North Korea.

A major bulwark has been pulled outta the foundations of empire and replaced with a yellow belly. hahahha it couldn't have happened to a bigger hatful of arseholes.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 24, 2018 8:28:25 PM | 72

This is not about North Korea. It is about controlling China and Russia.

The 'Globalists/Deep State' want regime change in North Korea so that they can put their military on the N.K./Chinese border. N.K. nuclear capability is just an excuse. For the 'Globalist/Deep State' this summit is the worst news possible.

Russia and China want the U.S. out of East Asia altogether. They have already told the U.S. that they will not allow the U.S. to attack or take over N.Korea.

I look for the gamesmanship around de-nuclearization to continue. The question is whether or not Russia/China will be able to shake South Korea loose from U.S. control. I am not sure that Trump even knows what the real game is.

There will be no U.S. attack on North Korea, for the same reason that they haven't attacked Syria (beyond token strikes with no follow-up). The U.S. cannot afford to show the world that it is just a paper tiger, and thus dares not face Russia directly.

Posted by: dh-mtl | May 24, 2018 8:29:15 PM | 73

The following items are very nearly certain to be correct. The USSA is not going to reach any direct agreements with N. Korea, since the only card in play is N. Korea removing its nuclear deterrent, and that card will never be played. (The whole Trump and Kim meeting was doomed from the start.)

The USSA is most unlikely to attack Iran. The geographic obstacles alone would make it very cost ineffective, and they also have Russian anti-air. Plus they would destroy the Saudi oil facilities. Besides, the Chinese would not put up with either of these adventures; all they would have to do is recall their giant cargo ships and the USSA economy would sink like a rock.

So that leaves Venezuela. Where might that go? Nobody knows. Brazil would likely be very unhappy about that. Brazil is probably the third most powerful nuclear power. But the assholes are fairly likely to go for Venezuela.

Posted by: blues | May 24, 2018 8:29:26 PM | 74

@71 "Has anyone considered that this is simple a face-saving exercise from both sides?"

Yes but this is very high stakes poker they are playing. More than just saving face is involved.
Trump was losing the 'diplomatic game' and his advisors kept reminding him of that. So now he is looking for a major concession from Kim.
The question is what happens if he doesn't get guaranteed denuclearisation before agreeing to talks? And it's hard to see that happening.

Posted by: dh | May 24, 2018 8:54:34 PM | 75

Posted by: blues | May 24, 2018 8:29:26 PM | 74

Yeah probably correct amerika has been pushed off the block and now it can only hide behind the high walls n locked gate of it's funky and unkempt backyard playing cowboys and indians with itself.
It would be great if the honest injuns leapt out from behind that rotten orange tree down the back whooping & waving tomahawks but I just don't see that happening since foggy bottom has hospitalised injun leaders by dobbing them in to mommy. That gave power back to the slimy arse kissers of yesteryear. That shift is only temporary but the timing does mean there won't be much initial push back until the people of Latin America take back what has been stolen.
Of course JCPOA plays a role here too since europe won't sit on it's hands for a south american fuck over, but equally they may use that situation as a trading card for their own agenda...

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 24, 2018 8:58:58 PM | 76

I get the feeling Trump is like Hitler - he makes his expectations known and then sits back while all the competing groups within his regime squabble with each other over who does what. Didn't work too well for Hitler, why does anybody think it'll work any better for Trump.

Otherwise, this is just the neo-con fuckwits like Bolton hammering a few more nails into the exceptionalist coffin - in a few days or weeks Trump will realize what a threat to Trump's ambitions Bolton is and sack the cretin.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 24, 2018 9:00:07 PM | 77

@Jen | May 24, 2018 7:33:49 PM | 65

......If the US cannot hold onto its beach-head in SK, then a future invasion of China becomes near-impossible.

My goodness such radical dream "future invasions of China become near-impossible"

Two countries the fucking USA should never invade: One is India and the other China. Why you might ask? These are two most populated countries. The populations multiples fast and swallow its invaders. Both arms with nuclear weapons. They were invaded and colonized for centuries. They learned and moving fast into the next century not as frens but arch rivals. China unlike India took an aggressive>peaceful dictatorial system while India the fucking western Democracy. Nevertheless both systems are doom to fail as history had shown to date. The dictatorial and democracy systems still control by the rich and powerful Oligarch - sugar coated outside to please its citizens.

Posted by: OJS | May 24, 2018 9:46:33 PM | 78

I think there was general consensus here beforehand that the US never wanted a summit with Kim.

But also some had said that North Korea didn't want a meeting either, and I agree strongly with this. But talking with the US seemed a piece of the necessary protocol that had to be played out.

So we've seen the round of betting go full circle, and the US checked the bet - and it could be argued, so did North Korea, since its own actions were not very costly. It's like the face-saving suggested by commenters, but it's even more than this, it's much more simply an empty play, a "free round" in the poker parlance. [Explanation of checking the bet, for non-poker players.]

The protocol has been observed with the US for this round, now the play moves back to the Koreas. The next round of betting increases the pot. Would this be the peace treaty? I don't know. One supposes that the US remains in the betting to an extent, but the Koreas will continue to drive the game. This round has shown all of Asia that the US is not serious. The day comes closer that China and the UN can sponsor the reunification of the Koreas, and the US will have to leave.

This game is being run by Korea. As far as I can tell, it proceeds apace.

Posted by: Grieved | May 24, 2018 9:54:17 PM | 79

Korea. What a simple word. Three harmonious syllables, and all achieved with only five characters.

What a relief it will be to talk about Korea. No more of this cumbersome North and South, no more acronyms that I, at least, always have to double-check before using.

One country, one word.

In this complicated world, surely ease of speech, alone, demands reunification? [/humor]

I look forward to a better world. I believe Korea will achieve it.

Posted by: Grieved | May 24, 2018 10:09:03 PM | 80

@75 "And it's hard to see that happening."

It is impossible to see that happening.

The contours of a peace treaty are obvious and unavoidable: North Korea dismantles its nukes *and* pledges not to attack South Korea, the South Koreans agree to withdraw from its mutual-defence-treaty with the USA *and* pledges not to attack North Korea. The two Koreas agree to discuss a federated economic union leading - eventually, and in ways To Be Decided by them and them alone - on a single, unified state.

And the USA? It agrees to pack up and go home.

That's the only deal that can work.
It is also the only deal that is utterly, totally, and completely unacceptable to the United States of America.

So any such deal will have to be struck in-spite-of the USA, not because of the USA.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 24, 2018 10:14:02 PM | 81

@65 "If the US cannot hold onto its beach-head in SK, then a future invasion of China becomes near-impossible. "

It always was an impossibility. But a US military presence all the way up to the Yalu River is the ultimate prize for the USA, in the same way that pushing NATO up to the very border of the Russian Federation gives the USA a major strategic advantage.

In both cases it brings the idea of a 1st strike nuclear decapitation into the picture, and that is just as big a nightmare to Beijing as it is to Moscow.

It is a crazy way to deal with other nuclear powers, but that's modern-day America for you.....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 24, 2018 10:33:00 PM | 82

Altho I do not agree that after trump's weird and largely irrelevant press release/open letter to Kim Jong-un, that the next move is up to Pyonyang. Silly missives cannot alter the momentum which drove the trumpet to crave and then craven a meeting with Kim, but let's pretend for a moment that everyone does act as if the ball is indeed in the Koreans' court.

The Koreans will prolly adopt the time honoured "Ships & Mirrors" strategy that was always popular for those in tight spots around the corridors of power in Canberra way back when I had a sojourn among the arseholes.

The koreans will just continue to sit tight - waiting & being all inscrutable until the inevitable moment that will occur one night when agent orange wakes up all in a sweat from the realisation that any legacy comparison between him and Barry oblamblam always comes back to the fact barry scored a nobel peace prize and he didn't. The numbing fear has been forgotten with the passage of time. Fear of being publicaly bested by a wily oriental has been replaced by the dread of getting beat by a goddam nigger, - a nigger who both Charlie Koch and Robert "my friends call me Bob" Mercer* reckon is about as thick as two very short planks

That's when the bolton derp will cop a tweet in the middle of the night summoning him to the orange boudoir immediately.
He turns up wearing yesterday's suit over his heavily crotch-stained p.j.'s and says "what is it mein fuhrer - er Mr President?

"These korean slopes, what do they want? I need to know - so get over there and find out asap Bolton".

Bolton who is just sharp enough to know that his career - his entire livelihood and future in fact, rests in the hands of stupidly capricious Agent Orange now races off to make the calls which will begin this 'new' and highly confidential negotiation. The Koreans have been expecting this call which both psychologists and astrologists agree is inevitable, have a little fun messing with Bolton's head for a few days with variations of the intermittent reinforcement which behavorists across the planet swear can induce a psychotic break in the most seemingly 'stable' individual and Bolton is far from that.

So Ri Yong Ho's underlings teamed up with Kim Yong Chol's acolytes bounce Bolton back and forth each one blaming the other for "any inconvenience" hehehe.

Once the underlings become bored with the simple-minded bolton derp's histrionics they agree on time, venue and agenda.

Ri & Kim Yong Chol front at the meeting where they sit patiently out-waiting Bolton who eventually cracks and launches the trumpet nonsense about raining hellfire and horror upon all of Korea. The Ri/Kim double act bows and scrapes then says something along the lines of "we are foolish here in North Korea we cannot tell whether what your great president says in his tweets to the great amerikan proletariat is what we should follow, or if it is that which he is reported on telling your senate which we must believe.
We humbly request oh lord and master, that you just tell us what it is that the greatness of amerika desires, that would be very helpful".

Whereupon the fact his stressed out meltdown has pushed Bolton into loony toonz territory the fantasy world that is the only place he can feel comfortable, has bolton grandiosely claiming everything from Launceston Tasmania to the Kurils as 100% amerika's & that 'every means necessary will be used to ensure that" has Ri nearly choking on his mass produced western mineral water while trying to suppress laughter. Much elbow nudging from the cheap seats behind Kim & Ri.

But Kim Yong Chol decides it is time for the old 'ships & mirrors' play so says:

"Oops - so sorry mein Fuhrer Herr Bolton Mr Bolton as I said we are a foolish people, we shall take this very interesting & novel, yet timely suggestion on board and look into it, with the reccomendation to Pyonyang that they do the same" (I.E. take it on board and look into it).

Of course nothing happens but since Korea has all the time in the world but trump has a huge deadline (the ballot for his second term coming towards him faster than a rat scooting up a drainpipe, is not so lucky.

The ball is very much in amerika's court with PRDK coming across to the world at large as patient decent folk, while the bolton trump troop of performing morons present as a bunch of derps with more than a few kangaroos loose in each one's top paddock.
Trump will have two chances, SFA & none, of getting support for a clampdown on DRPK or China from any pol outside amerika much less the public. Even the perennially brown-nosed, always acquiescent to amerika englanders can not afford to 'get behind this' as doing so would eternally piss off the EU 27 right when england's survival depends upon a deal with europe.

N.B. a smarter man than donnie would leave Korea in the too hard basket now that his innate cowardice caused him to screw up this deal, by only considering the issue when some other derp spouts trumpian nonsense about the need to somehow punish Korea for the 'crime' of being far smarter than amerika.

*Of course Mercer has no friends so everyone calls him Robert or mostly 'Mr Mercer'

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 25, 2018 12:42:49 AM | 83

Grieved @ 79 said: "The day comes closer that China and the UN can sponsor the reunification of the Koreas, and the US will have to leave."

Please, from your post to the universal ear..

Ditto your # 80...

Posted by: ben | May 25, 2018 12:45:45 AM | 84

#40 gepay

"That leaves Venezuela. It's nearby. It has oil. The Venezuelan military will be a slam dunk for the US military. I can remember Grenada and Panama."

ameristan likes deserts, not jungles. I remember Vietnam.

Posted by: OhOh | May 25, 2018 12:48:49 AM | 85

From Truthout, with a picture of the correspondence DT sent KJU:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/44578-trump-cancels-north-korea-summit-citing-open-hostility

Posted by: ben | May 25, 2018 12:56:57 AM | 86

#73 Posted by: dh-mtl

"There will be no U.S. attack on North Korea, for the same reason that they haven't attacked Syria (beyond token strikes with no follow-up)."

ameristan has and continues to attack DPRK and Syria on a daily basis. Financially, human rights, military threats, slaughtering local citizens, destroying homes, etc. The attacks have never stopped

Posted by: OhOh | May 25, 2018 1:01:02 AM | 87

So ZH has a posting up with a misleading title as usual

North Korea Comes Crawling Back: Stresses "Desperate Need" For Summit "Whenever, However"

The take away quotes
"
NORTH KOREA SAYS TRUMP'S SUMMIT CANCELLATION IS UNEXPECTED
NORTH KOREA SAYS IT'S WILLING TO MEET WITH U.S. AT ANY TIME
NORTH KOREA SAYS IT IS STILL WILLING TO RESOLVE ISSUES WITH UNITED STATES WHENEVER, HOWEVER
NORTH KOREA SAYS U.S.-N.KOREA SUMMIT IS NECESSARY TO RESOLVE CURRENT HOSTILE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP
NORTH KOREA SAYS IT HAD WISHED `TRUMP MODEL' COULD RESOLVE ISSUES
NORTH KOREA SAYS IT HAD HOPED FOR ISSUES REGARDING N.KOREA TO BE RESOLVED "TRUMP-STYLE"
NORTH KOREA SAYS NO CHANGE IN N. KOREA'S WILL TO DO BEST FOR PEACE
NORTH KOREA SAYS ITS PREVIOUS REMARKS REGARDING U.S.-N.KOREA SUMMIT HAD BEEN IN PROTEST AGAINST STRONG U.S. REMARKS TOWARDS NORTH
N.KOREA HAS WILLINGNESS TO GIVE CHANCE, TIME TO U.S.
NORTH KOREA HAS WILLINGNESS TO GIVE CHANCE, TIME TO U.S.
And the punchline:

NORTH KOREA SAYS CURRENT SITUATION REFLECTS DESPARATE NEED FOR SUMMIT
"

Korea is/are going to play Trump/Bolton like a fine instrument. N/S Korea will reunite in a process that kicks the US out in an embarrassed way, IMO

How many US troops have to die unexpectedly in Korea before the plug is pulled? I don't think it will even go that far but just like in Syria, the US is not as welcome as it used to be......the multi-polar genie will not go back in the bottle and she is just beginning to stretch out and breathe....

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 25, 2018 1:03:28 AM | 88

I do not believe for 1 minute this deal will be "allowed" to happen.
The Lybian model is what is desired.
But I'd suggest not this time. But, Moon Ja In has found the length of his leash.

Posted by: V | May 25, 2018 1:31:48 AM | 89

NBCNews: Inside the summit collapse: Trump wanted to cancel before N. Korean leader could

The decision occurred so abruptly that the administration was unable to give congressional leaders and key allies advance notice and the letter went out while more than two dozen foreign journalists, including several U.S. citizens, were inside North Korea where they had gone to witness a promised dismantling of a nuclear test site.
...
The move exposed significant disagreements among the president's top advisers. Several administration officials said Pompeo, who has taken the lead in negotiating with the North Koreans, blamed Bolton for torpedoing the progress that had already been made. Pompeo flew to Pyongyang twice, met personally with Kim and helped secure the release of three Americans who had been held there. Bolton, a longtime national security hawk who has publicly advocated for regime change in North Korea, was integral, these officials said, to convincing Trump to back out of the summit.
...
One person close to Trump said that the president was unhappy with Pence for public remarks he made earlier this week that appeared to threaten Kim with the prospect of regime change if North Korea didn't meet America's terms to rid itself of nuclear weapons. "This will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jung Un doesn't make a deal," Pence said Monday.
...
One senior administration official said that Bolton and Pompeo, new to each other since Bolton joined the administration less than two months ago, have been at odds about the summit since it was first proposed.
...
Bolton, who has led the effort on the White House side, has worked unilaterally to shape the summit. One person familiar with the summit preparations said it was Bolton who drove the decision to cancel and that he had convinced Trump to make the move. Trump then relayed his decision to Pompeo, who felt blindsided, according to multiple officials.

Posted by: b | May 25, 2018 2:55:19 AM | 90

@92 There must be so many in the US military who are sorely tempted to grab their rifle, shove it into Bolton's oh-so-pink-and-pudgy hands, point him in the direction of the Korean Peninsula and say: They ya' go, Mr Tough Talker, how's about this time *you* sort 'em out while *we* cheer from the sidelines.

Mind you, in such a circumstance I wouldn't be entirely certain that Bolton need fear the bullets coming at him from the front so much as he should worry about the bullets that would be fired from behind him....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 25, 2018 4:36:41 AM | 91

@ Debisdead 85

Ded's love ya, saved my day :)

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 25, 2018 5:41:16 AM | 92

I think the cancellation was in play all the time. What the US thinks it can achieve with this is unclear to me. The US is already pretty alone with the Iran debacle, making this stunt will estrange the EU even more, not to mention China and Russia.
The US is slowly maneuvering itself into a position, where the rest of the world just says: Fuck off!
The only game around is to try to convince the US that it has no way forward with the war option and that the future is multi-polar, whether it likes it or not.
I do not think that there is a "public" anywhere in the world that opts for war willingly, self defence is another matter, and the US and UK are the only places where the government has tthe power to do what it pleases, with the public helpless.
I am an EU citizen, I can not see the EU supporting further sanctions on Iran, Korea or Russia, the Hegemons true intentions have been revealed.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 25, 2018 5:55:48 AM | 93

John Bolton is Dr.Strangelove of 2018. He is a war-monger and works quietly behind the scenes to egg President Trump, who unfortunately very gullible, to choose the frontal attack option. He tried very to have the US attack Pakistan, a nuclear state when Pakistan fired shore to ship missile called "HARBA," an Aircraft Carrier destroying Cruise Missile, US 5th Fleet backed-off. If US ships had attacked Pakistan, its defences would have launched MIRVs carrying nuclear bombs on India, an ally of the US within 3 minutes. This how close we came to a nuclear war, due to this right-wing fascist John Bolton. He is the most dangerous man in the Trump Administration followed the Nuke Lady, Nikki Haley, John Bolton is a NEOCON PLUS.

Posted by: AGA MAJID | May 25, 2018 5:59:27 AM | 94

b @92:
If there is any truth to that NBC article, it appears no one in Washington knows what they're doing anymore. It paints Trump as nothing more than a meat puppet, while his advisors are duking it out in the halls of power. I find it difficult to believe that Pompeo could be blindsided as he used to be head of the CIA.

However, we are dealing with NBC, a MSM outlet, where they've been attacking Trump non-stop. All the vitriol levied against Trump could be attempts at setting up a narrative for the coming midterms to discredit him and the Republicans. Walking away from the Singapore summit didn't help Trump at all. If the Democrats regain control of Congress then it's over for Trump.

Posted by: Ian | May 25, 2018 7:01:20 AM | 95

The Spanish government of Rajoy is probably about to fall through a no-confidence vote. Would a succeeding center-left government treat Catalonia any better?

Posted by: lysias | May 25, 2018 7:54:56 AM | 96

Has anyone observed how Trumps shake China trade rep Liu He hand? In equal term with humbled posture & expression, no longer his signatory arrogant look bending each leader hand to make them look like a broken wrist sissy. Its a sign of weakness that he & ZUS knew, China hold their lifeline in treasury, supply of irreplaceable cheap goods that provide corporates inflated profits & keep inflation artificially low, with largest mkt for US FDI & No1 buyer of US goods. Any trade war will kill ZUS economy & stability spectacularly, culminating to ZUS & WH immediate collapse.

Globalresearch has articles explaining, how is it like when China start trade sanctioning US. Its gone case, China will continue its hollowing out of ZUS manufacturing, & start emptying its technology innovation too with its forever growing market & unparalleled R&D investment back by 1.4B talented Chinese. There aren't anything US can do, but to see itself sinking down the quicksand it has make itself.

Now all China got to do with NK Kim who is ready to hold his great uncle Prez Xi hand to denuclearize, is to start rewind the sanction to give NK back its past 6% GDP growth. ZUS can go ahead its costly war games & empty threats while life goes on. If need, China can conduct a 1Mt thermalnuclear using NK site, while gathering real explosion data without violating international law for its new generation of nuke weapons, it also help NK to warn US against any foolish attempt. If not sufficient, then help NK launch a intercontinental missile with ReEntry warheads across Washington, plunging into Alantic ocean with a flash of nuke explosion. That will be enough to scare the shit out of US to demand China help. A new NK showcase submarine with SLBM launch will tighten the last nut.

Kim-Trumps meeting Part2, on China term, Venue= Beijing, arbitrator= grinning Prez Xi. Both wankers John Bolton & Pompeo will chill out in gay bar helping each other, with Mattis breath out a relief of not having to witness a catastrophic NK war that WH armature politicians fantasizing.

Posted by: DrTT | May 25, 2018 8:02:08 AM | 97

Posted by: AGA MAJID | May 25, 2018 5:59:27 AM | 96

Where you read about all these attacks, any source to share?

Doubt PAK has the a/carrier killer yet, only China has proven one, Russia & US not sure. Its not easy to sink a/carrier, even USN trial nuke explosion proved unable to sink huge vessel, esp its super hardened steel runway cover. According to a military article, China can do up to index 600, US 800, Soviet 1000. UK & Fr bought all these steel material from US. No other country can make such grade of steel.

But one can always disable it by attacking its control tower & destroy its runway, or with a submarine launch missiles to destroy its underneath belly / drive train.

Posted by: DrTT | May 25, 2018 8:18:57 AM | 98

Debisdead 74
If I peruse the MSM which is rare including what I call the tabloids (BBC, CNN, FNC) on my semi-smart phone, I'm looking to see what propaganda is being shoved at the masses. And occasionally some tidbits of truth (and/or their hypocrisy) leak through. We can take ammunition wherever we can find it.

psychohistorian 90
The North Koreans are pretty good at manipulation. We've seen that from the outside with Clinton approving a nuke plant (to be built by a Cheney-linked firm) only to break the deal. Jang Jin-Sung wrote about the same in "Dear Leader." The US plays games, too so pot-meet-kettle. It is interesting that Pompeo and Bolton are on message with Iran but not on North Korea.

Posted by: Curtis | May 25, 2018 9:21:15 AM | 99

There's a simple fact that small "isolated" DPRK outplayed the whole giant mighty USA.
Kim Jong-Un personally outplayed Donald Trump.

The US intimidated the DPRK, imposed heavy sanctions, promised to destroy/eliminate the whole country, conducted numerous joint military exercises with South Korea, sent powerful Naval troops to the Korean shore, the plan to eliminate the DPRK leader was publicly announced, D. Trump insulted the DPRK leader in twitter many times.
All this failed to break the DPRK.

The country did not refused to test its nuclear weapons.
The country did not refused to test its ICBMs.
The country continued to use its testing fields.
The country was managed to create & test even a hydrogen bomb.

Doing all this (and ignoring all threats from the US), DPRK reached its purpose - now this is a country with a nuclear weapon and means to deliver it to the US territory.
To reach this purpose, Kim Jong-Un raised rates to a maximum and maximized the aggravation of the situation. He was ready for this and he was doing this consciously.

[Only after] Reaching this purpose (i.e. getting a nuclear weapon and means of deliver), the DPRK leader changed his tactics/behavior abruptly and presented himself to the World as a peacemaker.
He proposed a few nice & peaceful initiatives to a South Korea, and he got what was needed.
Athletes of both the DPRK & South Korea were a united team at the Winter Olympics, which of course was the result of negotiations between the two Koreas.
Meetings of high-ranking officials of both countries were held.
A remarkable summit of the two Koreas took place in April.
The DPRK agreed to terminate its explode-testings. In exchange South Korea dismantled loudspeakers that sprayed anti-DPRK propaganda.

Against this background, all the threats of Trump have become faded, dim and weak.
He promised to destroy the entire DPRK. So what? You said it but you failed (= was scared) to do it.
He sent mighty Naval troops to the Korean shore. So what? Mighty Naval troops arrived and... returned after a while, without any result (= they did nothing). And the whole World saw this failure.
He repeatedly insulted the DPRK leader in twitter. So what? He received a no less severe answers from Kim Jong-Un (what other country leader in the World allowed himself to insult the US president?).

I.e. DPRK leader showed himself to be a smart and courageous man who's ready to confront the US, who's not afraid of any threats, who's ready to aggravate the situation to the limit, and when the goal (getting nuclear weapons and delivery means) is reached he's ready to cool down the situation and begin to negotiate.

The DPRK totally outplayed the US.
And this is well seen.

Btw, that's why it's pretty funny to see now how the US is trying to pretend they are power that "broke down" Kim Jong-Un, and D.Trump is a leader who deserves a peace nobel prize. A nobel prize for what?
You forced the DPRK to start peaceful initiatives? No. Kim Jong-Un started these initiatives by himself after he got what he was need (nuclear weapon and means of delivering). You participated to improve relations between DPRK and South Korea? No. Both countries decided to send their athletes to the Winter Olympics by themselves. Both countries organized (through long negotiations) and conducted Korean summit by themselves.

In fact, DPRK got what they was need - nuclear weapons and means of delivering (by ignoring all the US threats). Then both DPRK and South Korea got a perceptible improvement in relations not least thanks to Kim Jong-Un's initiatives (changing tactics from aggravation of relations to peacemaking).
Against the background of all this, the US, in fact, was thrown out to the side.

And the question is - does the US elites understand that the DPRK outplayed them and, in fact, won the game?
I'm really not sure they understand. I think that they are sincerely mistaken, believing that they "broke" Kim Jong-Un with their sanctions.
Although in fact, Kim has changed his behavior not because of sanctions, but because of achieving his goal (getting nuclear weapons) and the subsequent skillful change in tactics of action.

Posted by: alaff | May 25, 2018 9:45:42 AM | 100

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