Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 13, 2018

John Bolton Once Sabotaged A Deal With North Korea - He Will Try To Repeat That Feat

The Washington Post published a half-truth story today about the U.S. occupied al-Tanf border station between Syria-and Iraq. Downplaying the possibility of military action around al-Tanf it inserts this strange nugget:

Mattis’s main focus of late has been preparing for possible conflict with North Korea.

Why is the Defense Secretary Mattis preparing for conflict with North Korea? Why is this his "main focus"? Ain't we all gonna have peace and love after Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet on June 12 in Singapore? No? Why am I not surprised?

I suspected all along that the whole theater between Trump and Kim Jong-un is a setup designed to fail. North Korea offers a phased denuclearization in exchange for a peace treaty and (partial?) U.S. withdrawal from South Korea. The U.S. is unlikely to accept that. For U.S. hawks nothing less than total capitulation is acceptable. But even if North Korea offers all its nukes at once the U.S. will demand more. It will likely ask for intrusive verification access to all North Korean military facilities and the like.  North Korea will surely reject such inspections as a danger to its defense capabilities and as a breach of its sovereignty. The Trump administration will spin that into a reason to heat up the conflict.

That would be a replay of the situation in 2008. Following the six-party-talks North Korea blew up (vid) the cooling tower of its sole reactor. It submitted information about its nuclear program as had been agreed. The U.S. did not fulfill its part of the deal, taking North Korea off the "terrorist supporter" list, but demanded additional verification access. That ended the deal.

From a forensic report at that time:

The unraveling of the landmark deal to end North Korea's nuclear weapons programs began just weeks after its high point -- the televised destruction of the cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in late June -- when U.S. negotiators presented Pyongyang with a sweeping plan for verifying its claims about its nuclear programs.
Under the proposal, heavily influenced by the State Department's arms control experts, the U.S. requested "full access to all materials" at sites that might have had a nuclear purpose in the past. It sought "full access to any site, facility or location" deemed relevant to the nuclear program, including military facilities, ...

The United States pressed ahead with the proposal despite warnings from China, Russia and other countries that it was asking too much of the xenophobic North Koreans, officials said. North Korea immediately balked and the once-promising talks were at an impasse.

The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control was -up to 2005- one John Bolton. He had hired the hawkish "experts" and continued to influence the department after he had moved to the American Enterprise Institute. The intrusive inspection issue is said to have been his idea.

John Bolton is back selling Kool-Aid to those around him. He is now Trump's National Security Advisor. In February he published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which falsely argued that an attack on North Korea is legally justified. On March 9 Bolton was on Fox news and said (video @~4:00 min) it would be an upside to have top level talks as fast as possible because they would fail and the U.S. could then take the next step.

Bolton is now described as the man most influence over Trump:

Mr. Bolton is emerging as an influential figure, with a clear channel to the president and an ability to control the voices he hears.
...
Even if Mr. Mattis had wanted to fight for the [nuclear deal with Iran that Trump nixed], it is not clear how much he would have been heard. Mr. Bolton, officials said, never convened a high-level meeting of the National Security Council to air the debate. He advised Mr. Trump in smaller sessions, otherwise keeping the door to his West Wing office closed. Mr. Bolton has forged a comfortable relationship with the president, several people said, channeling his “America First” vocabulary.

Bolton has long argued for waging war against North Korea and he is now in charge. It is thus not by chance that Mattis is working on plans to attack North Korea.

But now, ten years after Bolton sabotaged the six-party-deal, North Korea has, thanks to Bolton, high-yield nukes and can hit targets within the continental United States.

Would Trump be willing to risk an attack on North Korea and the inevitable retaliation?

Posted by b on May 13, 2018 at 01:38 PM | Permalink

Comments

Well if I was the King of North Korea, I would not even think of giving up any nukes. Given the USSA track record, that would be like jumping into a pool with a big starving shark.

Posted by: blues | May 13, 2018 1:52:21 PM | 1

Spook Bolton worked in both Reagan and GHW Bush admins in several positions within the State Department, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID (1981-1983).

Involved in Iran Contra. Walked away unscathed from all trouble from that and numerous other issues that would have derailed most people.

Like Kissinger, he wields power and influence and he has done so for 40 years.

He always finds ways to enrich himself either in government positions, think tanks, or corporate boards.

Posted by: fast freddy | May 13, 2018 2:16:15 PM | 2

The nub and the rub right here:

"I suspected all along that the whole theater between Trump and Kim Jong-un is a setup designed to fail. North Korea offers a phased denuclearization in exchange for a peace treaty and (partial?) U.S. withdrawal from South Korea. The U.S. is unlikely to accept that. For U.S. hawks nothing less than total capitulation is acceptable. But even if North Korea offers all its nukes at once the U.S. will demand more. It will likely ask for intrusive verification access to all North Korean military facilities and the like. North Korea will surely reject such inspections as a danger to its defense capabilities and as a breach of its sovereignty. The Trump administration will spin that into a reason to heat up the conflict."[.]

You nailed it b. Exactly my thoughts. Kim has laid the table well. First he announced denuclearization, reached out to SK that took away Trump's after June 12 meet-up bluster.

Trump's withdrawal from the Iran deal is a dangerous precedent. Allies are alarmed.
Kim needs to see brightly that the war-hawk Bolton is Trump's pilot.
NK and Iran are marked for take out. Bolton has not read Xi's Memo and does not care to. Nor does Bolton and Trump understand USA is fast tracked for isolation; the bypassing of king dollar making Russia, China and Iran the winners:

O my, btw China is reported ready to replace Total in Iran should they be forced to quit due Trump's new sanctions.
RT LINK

Chinese energy giant CNPC is willing to buy French firm Total’s stake in the Iranian South Pars gas project should the latter decide to quit because of US sanctions against Tehran, Reuters reports.

“The possibility of Total’s pullout is quite high now, and in that scenario CNPC will be ready to take it over fully,” the news agency quotes its industry source as saying.

“CNPC foresaw a high probability of a re-imposition of US sanctions,” another source said.

The South Pars field is the world’s biggest natural gas reserves ever found in one place. Total has a 50.1 percent stake in the project that develops phase 11 of the South Pars, while China has 30 percent with the remaining shares belonging to Iranian national oil company subsidiary PetroPars.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | May 13, 2018 2:26:57 PM | 3

The American political class is too dependent on campaign funding from certain donors to act wisely or consistently. They are delusional about the extent of their own power.

The American people are completely confused about the world. A steady diet of Manichean analysis has dominated the US media and information systems since at least the 1980s. Americans believe they are good and designated enemies are evil because this has been their indoctrination.

This system allows truly despicable clowns like Bolton undue influence. However, instigating major showdowns with N Korea and Iran simultaneously while at the same time trying to impose severe financial control over the business interests of China and the EU is way too much. I think the Germans will be the first western power to break away, but this will not occur via a sudden announcement or turnaround, but through subtle steady efforts which will happen very quietly and beneath the surface. America will be the frog, suddenly noticing the water has been heating up.

The main thing for the rest of the world is to avoid shooting wars which could allow the crazies their chance to go really bonkers. Too optimistic?

Posted by: jayc | May 13, 2018 2:44:39 PM | 4

Notwithstanding Bolton's extreme, sometimes maniacal war-mongering rants over many years, he has still managed to worm his way into the highest of the upper circle -- he is obviously a supremely talented bureaucrat and is not a man to be dismissed or trifled with.

Posted by: chet380 | May 13, 2018 2:49:21 PM | 5

blues

Indeed,

North Korea must give up missiles if it wants détente: Bolton

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/05/13/561602/US-Bolton-North-Korea-denuclearization-Trump-Kim

Koreans must wake up, fast!

Posted by: Zanon | May 13, 2018 2:59:32 PM | 6

Any agreement that the U.S is involved in, is bound to fail. That's been fully demonstrated. So the real agreement will be between the two Korea's, and they have already made fulsome progress with their Panmunjon Declaration, with more to come. . . . extract (my bold) --

The two leaders, sharing the firm commitment to bring a swift end to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner, declared at this historic site of Panmunjeom as follows:
1. South and North Korea will reconnect the blood relations of the people and bring forward the future of co-prosperity and unification led by Koreans by facilitating comprehensive and groundbreaking advancement in inter-Korean relations. Improving and cultivating inter-Korean relations is the prevalent desire of the whole nation and the urgent calling of the times that cannot be held back any further.
(1) South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.
(2) South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreements reached at the Summit. . . . etc.
2. South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula. Alleviating the military tension and eliminating the danger of war is a highly significant challenge directly linked to the fate of the Korean people and also a vital task in guaranteeing their peaceful and stable lives.
(1) South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of military tension and conflict. In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 1 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line.
(2) South and North Korea agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities. . . . etc.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13, 2018 3:04:31 PM | 7

thanks b.. the american system is completely fucked..

i guess south korea doesn't have any say in any of this.. or china.. it is all usa military/financial industry dictating the terms and a press ready to say whatever they want them to say.. bolton.. who cares about him? he is so wrong and yet he is given this position of influence.. well - that says where all the 'influence' in the usa resides... same deal trump.. i don't know that he has any say in anything.. maybe he would like to get the nobel peace prize, but not sure that the military/financial establishment will let him... it is easy to see who drives the usa at this point..

Posted by: james | May 13, 2018 3:14:01 PM | 8

The wolf accused the sheep of fouling the river. "That's impossible," the sheep said. "I live downstream the river from you, so I couldn't foul the water for you." "It doesn't matter," the wolf said. "I just need a reason to eat you."

This little fable explains every US demand on other countries, ever.

Posted by: WorldBLee | May 13, 2018 3:53:50 PM | 9

I follow events but I don't get this: all news is about USA and what it wants, but what about North Korea? Why did they opt for this path? What was the motivation / promises made to them? I don't think they are stupid, until yesterday it was all nuclear stuff, threats to hit US mainland, today it is all red roses. I don't believe that Bolton angle is valid, however evil he might be, however possible it might seem for him to want to derail this thing. IMHO, Trump, having walked away from Iran deal (down with all things Obama...), wants the Korean thing done for his own purposes. And has told Bolton to stay put and out of this.

In my opinion it doesn't make any sense for North Korea to walk blindly toward the abyss, because from the presses it looks like this. Libya is not that distant as a memory, so I don't think that's the case. If I read the news, and interpret them, so does North Korea, so if I have doubts as an outsider, of course they are turning options upside down, analysing everything, all the time. Yet they march, march, march... now want to publicly close the testing site, what will they do tomorrow?

Is something being promised to North Korea but kept hidden? Something very solid, like a foundation for the future, so that they (and China, and Russia) believe that the US will be honest this time? But it has to be kept secret for whatever reason? Could it be that US wants to discard the Korea thing as an option/asset/whatever and abandon that part of the world, focusing elsewhere? Could it be (if this is true) that walking away from Korea will free US military assets, save a lot of money? Or there is no way that US can let this go? Is this deal necessary to keep Trump and republicans in power?

I don't know, just don't understand the logic of developments here.

Posted by: albagen | May 13, 2018 4:06:13 PM | 10

I am hearing all manner of childish blather from friends who imagine we have NoKo on the ropes because of Trump's bellicose blather. These people think the NoKo's are wetting their pants and anxious to do anything to appease us. They also think Trumps has intimidated the Chinese into leaning on Noko and that when he sits down with Kim he'll be laying down the law and Kim will say : Yes Massa, how high? Some of my friends point to the upcoming decommissioning of their test site as further proof they're running scared. They don't seem to realize they no longer need to test; they've closed the circle and can go over to simulations and improvements to the basic designs which they now know will work.
What's actually going to happen is Kim will offer to join the NNPT nations and open up his nuclear program with the stated intention of a possible future end to their weapons program in exchange for a real treaty where we agree to forego aggression on the Korean peninsula, begin withdrawal of US forces, and loosen up our embargo. We'll offer empty promises based on a presidential executive order and we'll demand total intrusive access to make them prove their good intentions. The Senate will never ratify any treaty that doesn't involve total surrender and any other agreement will be abrogated on any sort of flimsy pretext. The North Koreans haven't spent the last decade "sleeping on stones and licking liver" to develop their deterrent only to trade that cow for that plate of beans.
No the whole thing is Kabuki theatre. The one hope is that the rapprochement between the North and South will proceed independently and I think there's a good chance it will. The South, having grown rich over the last 65 years is tired of the bullshit and yearns for collegial relations with their relatives across the line. That and the fact that both Russia and China border on North Korea may make the prospect of going it alone too much for us. We'd better tread carefully going forward. The NoKos could decide to shit in our punch bowl and provide the finished product to Iran...

Posted by: Casowary Gentry | May 13, 2018 4:10:47 PM | 11

The United States has always demanded the removal of nuclear weapons as a precondition to any talks. Now they offer to talk but that condition will be stated again during the talks. NK wants an end to all the war games between the U.S. and SK and a peace treaty to the Korean War. SK would like to deal with NK but also wants to phase out the American troops. The U.S. will insist on keeping troops on the peninsula to be near China.

How these competing demands can be met is beyond me. Don't put money yet on that Nobel for trump.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | May 13, 2018 4:53:08 PM | 12

The one big difference is that South Korea, Russia and China do not want a war on the Korean Peninsula. John Bolton is insane to advocating a war when the most powerful nations in Asia do not want one and, if fought, the USA will lose. The opposite is the case in Syria. Israel is pushing for the war and to have the USA sever the Iranian landline to Lebanon. This is implicit the WP article. It quotes Dennis Ross at the end: “That is a war that you know how it starts but you don’t know how it ends,” he said. “Rather than waiting, why not get off the sidelines?” This is bat stir crazy. At best, a war with Iran will add a couple more decades to the ongoing 17-year war and bankrupt America. At worse, it will destroy the earth.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 13, 2018 5:08:28 PM | 13

The thing is that EU typically follows the US lead.

That is not good. It must stop. Are they insane? Or does the US have pictures of them forking goats?

Posted by: fast freddy | May 13, 2018 5:11:20 PM | 14

b, possible answers to your 'main focus' question could be a negotiation tactic, or attempts to sow doubt into the minds of North Korean diplomats to derail the whole peace process.   I'm sure WaPo is read by them, even for laughs.

I do hope for a peace treaty as a way for the Koreans to kick those sick bastards in the groin.   This meeting between Trump and Kim may be ground breaking in terms of diplomacy, similar to the "Only Nixon can go to China", but I fear that it's all for show just to give the GOP a leg up on the coming midterm elections.   If not, we could get the following: "Only Trump could bring peace to Korea."   Now that would be one hell of a campaign slogan, if the peace treaty is signed before midterms.

However, the cynic in me predicts Washington will revert back to their usual shenanigans after midterms.   The Koreans is nothing more than political pawns.   So, the pressure is on the Koreans to get their peace treaty in place by US midterm elections.   In doing so, the US have no maneuvering room to keep their armed forces inside Korea.   It would be smart of them both to publicly declare that US forces are no longer needed.   Make some big show thanking the US so that Washington to save face.

If there is any draw down to US forces, I expect for it to begin slowly.   As slow as US forces leaving Japan for Guam.   The process will take a couple of decades.

Posted by: Ian | May 13, 2018 5:23:39 PM | 15

And meanwhile China. She won't be leaving the islands in the South China Sea anytime soon, although I anticipate bilateral agreements with at least Vietnam and the Philippines to smooth the waters. She has just inaugurated a new train service to Iran and reportedly has offered to buy Total's share in the South Pars gas fields. The petroyuan is up and running. In other words, there is hope.
By pushing Iran, Russia and China into alliance, the West has created a formidable block in the global heartland. And the truly self-defeating aspect of this is that both Iran and Russia would rather be aligned with the West. Stupid, stupid.
Sooner or later America will have to either piss or get off the pot. Will she be satisfied with the destruction of Damascus and Iran's retreat to within her own borders? That may satisfy Israel, so maybe.

Posted by: Hal Duell | May 13, 2018 5:56:04 PM | 16

What Mattis is planning is a 300 missile strike from Ohio-class cruise missile submarines. To de-escalate the situation Russia will have to deliver to North Korea 100 Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft systems.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 13, 2018 6:43:54 PM | 17

A war on two fronts, in Iran and Korea, is Trump's best hope for a second term and victory in the mid-terms. This all revolves around the question, "What does Trump have to lose?"

Posted by: Burt | May 13, 2018 6:45:32 PM | 18

I don't know if there is political support for war on two fronts amongst the general population, but in the population of Generals in the government I am sure there is plenty. Instead of any more humiliating counter-insurgency operations, they want a chance to "shine"... conventional war in Eurasia is what their shiny toys are built for. Unlike a lot of other posters here, I think the US could handily defeat the militaries of both Iran and North Korea, and I think instead of a costly and horrific occupation, Trump and the brass are perfectly happy to pull a Libya on both nations and let the neighbors deal with the human catastrophe that follows. The US government has had zero compunction about letting their allies in the Europe and the Near East soak up massive refugee populations, they'd love to saddle their enemies with such a problem.

Posted by: Almand | May 13, 2018 7:31:11 PM | 19

It's all just fucking insanity at this point. We are not dealing with Machiavellian super geniuses people. We are dealing with a silver spoon buffoon with a flair for showmanship and a bunch of bought-and-paid-for down-punching mediocrities who in any halfway rational society would never rise above being vice-principal of a middle school. The very notion that agitating for, much less undertaking, a joint war against North Korea and Iran could forward American interests--even understood at the most crass, materialistic level--is so hallucinatory insane that rational argument seems hardly the appropriate response. Well fellow American MofAers, I have to say our polity deserves more than the worst that's coming to it. Our children are innocent but so of course were the children of all the many countries we've bombed, invaded, starved, and used to buy our cheap plastic goods from Walmart. We must certainly be the shallowest, emptiest "culture" yet to arise on the face of the earth. The abolitionist anarchist prophet John Brown held that the founding sin of American slavery would one day be avenged in rivers of blood and he wasn't just talking about the Civil War, I am afraid.

At this point, and I do not think I am exaggerating, a total US governmental collapse followed by a period of long social
mayhem resulting in a barely functional state is probably the best chance our children and the children of the rest of the world have to live somewhat human lives.

Posted by: WJ | May 13, 2018 7:41:48 PM | 20

Bolton, nor anyone at top level of the US, doesn't want war with a nuclear NoKo. The game is to keep the situation as unstable as possible to keep the THAAD into place in South Korea and the dollar-guzzling mass military drills. So many US "jobs" depend on a quasi-war situation... by now, so many US people (and I use the term loosely) live off the South-North Korea phony divide that peace would be a catastrophe.

The USA is RULED by its military-Industrial Complex. It is America's business N°1, the second one being Big Pharma and the piles of meds they feed Americans.

BTW, it turns out nutjob Bolton was propped up in his "career" by none other than uber war-pusher McCain. It all ties in beautifully.

Posted by: Lea | May 13, 2018 7:57:33 PM | 21

It was clear, as soon as attempts were made by North and South Korea to settle their differences, that the West (i.e. Media and governments) would twist this as a sign of weakness and a triumph of their bellicose attitude towards North Korea. And that is what has been happening. Information Warfare (via the Corporate Media) is an arm of the military force of the West. It is the most important arm in the sense that any attack on a country begins with this warfare. They will keep screaming the "North Korea is running scared! North Korea is running scared!" until reality bites and a deal with the West breaks down or some sign of resistance comes from the North Korea. And then they will act all surprised and say "Well no one saw that coming!"

Posted by: Grand Inquisitor | May 13, 2018 8:29:56 PM | 22

To continue with my post at 16 above, anyone born since 1970 has seen the reuniting of east and west Germany and of north and south Vietnam. Korea's chance is coming, altho that is complicated by the presence of so much US military hardware in the south.
The route around this may come from Bill Clinton, of all people. I don't remember much of what he said during his time in the White House, but while getting there he said, "It's the economy, stupid." It still is.

Posted by: Hal Duell | May 13, 2018 8:42:13 PM | 23

Let's look on the bright side.
South and North Korea will work things out on the peninsula, not depending (or trusting) Washington regarding any settlement terms on the peninsula.
Couple that with Russia and China picking up the pieces to compensate for US losses in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran and voila! we have a new world order which might include Germany and France (forget UK) if they get their stuff together, and Haley and Bolton can't do anything about it. They weren't elected, BTW.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13, 2018 8:42:50 PM | 24

John Bolton Once Sabotaged A Deal With North Korea - He Will Try To Repeat That

That's not an accurate prediction, b.
Trump's repudiation of the Iran deal was more than sufficient to kill any prospect of a US-negotiated settlement of NK's Nuke program. By what practical, or even conceivable, means could the Yanks persuade the Koreans that they can be trusted?

Here's an accurate prediction...

The only possible way North Korea could be persuaded to take a US promise seriously would be if the US...
(1) Reinstates and reconfirms the Iran deal, in full and
(2) Apologises to the other parties to the original agreement, for believing too much of their own cockamamie bullshit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 13, 2018 11:00:35 PM | 25

Of course the U.S. won't follow through, but Washington is throwing out the bait:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is prepared to quickly lift sanctions on North Korea and promise its leader, Kim Jong Un, that it would not seek to oust him from power, senior officials said Sunday, sketching out the terms of a possible deal if Kim agrees to give up his nuclear weapons.
“We will have to provide security assurances” to Kim as part of a nuclear deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Our hope is that Kim wants a strategic change, and President Trump is prepared to help.”
U.S. officials emphasized that they are not close to finalizing an agreement with Kim, a month before he and President Donald Trump are scheduled to meet at an unprecedented summit in Singapore. They also stressed that Kim will have to agree to sweeping concessions up front, unlike in previous nuclear deals with Pyongyang that were phased in and ultimately fell apart.
“We’re prepared to open trade and investment as soon as we can,” John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week.” Before that can occur, he added, “We want to see the denuclearization process so completely underway that it’s irreversible.”. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13, 2018 11:18:09 PM | 26

Posted by: SteveK9 | May 13, 2018 11:03:45 PM | 25

Good doggie. But...
By tracking and analysing the trajectories of NK's missiles, the World's ballistics experts knew that the range of Kim's rockets was sufficient to reach the USA...and said so before Kim announced it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 13, 2018 11:21:26 PM | 27

A war on two fronts, in Iran and Korea, is Trump's best hope for a second term and victory in the mid-terms. This all revolves around the question, "What does Trump have to lose?"
Posted by: Burt | May 13, 2018 6:45:32 PM | 18

What does he have to lose? A couple of aircraft carriers, for example, half a dozen bases in the middle east (personnel included) Guam and Hawaii, several tens of thousands of US military, large numbers of aircraft, Saudi petro facilities in flames, Persian Gulf closed, a truly historic loss of face and (especially military) credibility, massive loss of lives of civilians of allied countries especially South Korea and Japan, global condemnation including a unified Europe, total financial meltdown - is that enough perhaps? Doesn't sound much like a vote winner to me. What kind of a cretin is going to vote for Trump with 30,000 body bags coming in? Even when the alternative (Clinton) is even worse.

Posted by: BM | May 14, 2018 2:31:49 AM | 28

Everyone has it backwards, including b but especially the Americans.

Kim is working this Trump-Talks-As-Farce just as much as Bolton is, and such is the lack of talent in this Administration that they will not realize what Kim is up to until it is too late.

It is this: Kim is stringing the Americans along until it becomes undeniable that the USA intends to turn the entire Korean Peninsula into a war-ravaged wasteland. Not just North Korea, because it will be completely impossible to limit the battlefield to the North.

Because this is true: Bolton's plans will result in North AND South Korea in flames, from top to bottom, from east to west. At least 10 million dead, and 99.9999999% of them will be..... Koreans.

So while Kim is stringing Trump along with a theatre of the absurd Kim will also be whispering in Moon Jae-in's ear: You do know what is coming, right? You do know that the Americans do not care how many millions of *your* people will perish, so long as millions of *my* people are killed, right?

And that message will get through to the South Koreans, because it is true.

Kim is aiming for nothing less than a peace treaty with South Korea that will be hatched IN SPITE of Washington, completely without their knowledge nor their participation. Trump and Bolton will be the last two people on earth to know about it.

Or, put another way: Kim is not planning to renounce his nukes, he planning to bring South Korea under HIS nuclear umbrella. And at that point the South Koreans will demand that all US troops leave because, well, shucks, WE aren't planning on shooting each other, and we don't want YOU shooting at either of us.

It will be a cataclysmic event, a savage knee to the groin of the neocon idea of American Exceptionalism, and the best part about it is that witless fools like Bolton will be too flabbergasted to realize just how monumentally they have f**ked things up.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 14, 2018 3:18:32 AM | 29

@ Don Bacon | 24

South and North Korea will work things out on the peninsula, not depending (or trusting) Washington regarding any settlement terms on the peninsula.

You are assuming SK has a choice in the matter, they. do. not. Sometime in the future - yes, but not now or anytime soon. US have way too much influence in SK, and will blackmail or even dispose of SK president if they have to. NK and SK already had multiple peace endeavours, US killed every single of them.

Speaking of if Kim would trust US word, of course he doesnt, neither his backers in China/Russia. US signatures are not worth of toilet paper. I actually dont know of a SINGLE agreement US made to its enemies where americans kept their word, not one. Iran's deal was the latest, but just one in the history of thousands of US broken promises.

Posted by: Harry | May 14, 2018 3:28:15 AM | 30

@24 "South and North Korea will work things out on the peninsula,"

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Exactly.

Washington is so up itself that it doesn't give a single thought to this simple truth: all their sabre-rattling is scaring the SOUTH Koreans just as much as it is supposed to be scaring the NORTH Koreans.

If Bolton gets his war then millions of SOUTH Koreans will die and the entire peninsular will be in utter ruins just so Trump can tweet "We've now made the world A Safer Place!" and Bolton can do his very best Madeleine Albright "The price was worth it!"

Don is correct: the only chance that South Korea has to escape that fate is to find common cause with North Korea AGAINST the warmongers who run the United States. I would imagine that even at this very moment the two Koreas are negotiating the parameters of a peace treaty between them in total and absolute secrecy, with the hope that the very first that Washington hears about it is when the two Korean leaders sign the document.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 14, 2018 3:28:52 AM | 31

@17 Tomahawks are useless against underground bunkers.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 14, 2018 3:32:38 AM | 32

Everyone here keeps ignoring the power that is really pushing to keep the Korean War going: that's Japan, and pushing far harder than the US or Bolton ever could. Doesn't anyone remember that meeting between Trump & Abe just last month?

https://www.reuters.com/video/2018/04/17/abe-trump-meet-amid-extremely-high-level?videoId=418579659

Abe's bloc & backers quite literally depend for their political & economic life on maintaining the war footing in Korea & keeping the north separate from the south.

Yes, Bolton & Trump are dangerous wild cards in this equation, but nobody should neglect the power that Japan wields, and is most certainly using to keep the Korean peace process permanently stalled.

Yet at the same time, Japan very, very much does NOT want a shooting war in the region. Anyone who thinks that the US can "handily" or "easily" defeat the DPRK in a hot war is simply fantasizing; the same is true for Iran, & for the same reasons: both are extremely mountainous & dug in as thoroughly and deeply as they could possibly be. Both have missiles & loads of artillery, and have them aimed at Israel on the one hand, & ROK/Japan on the other.

If the US were stupid enough to initiate a hot war with either Iran or DPRK, it will unleash holy hell that will destroy the economies of two entire regions in the world, as well as threaten to involve Russia (on the side of Iran) & China (on the side of DPRK) directly. Both Russia & Japan have made it quite clear that they will retaliate following any use of nukes by the US, & the simple truth is that the US can't win in either place without using nukes.

Limited missile strikes are not an option; both Iran & DPRK have more than enough weaponry to launch crippling counter-strikes on Japan, ROK, or Israel, take your pick--so if the US initiates hostilities it will be forced to follow them through until Iran/DPRK are reduced to piles of rubble. China & Russia will not stand by and let that happen.

If the US is stupid enough to start such a thing, it will escalate & will take us into WWIII.

But yes: I am sure that Bolton, Mattis, Abe, etc, are all scheming well into the wee hours of each night, trying to find some way to sabotage ROK's slowly unfolding peace initiative. Yet at the end of the day, if ROK is able to continue building trust then it doesn't matter what the US does--short of starting WWIII, the US (& particularly Japan) are just irrelevant to what's taking place over there, right now.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 14, 2018 4:07:08 AM | 33

Yeah, Right @29:

Yap. I think you've hit the nail on the head, there. These people in the current US government & military have grown up on the de facto world dominance of a US that has never outgrown its contempt for any foreign people who isn't overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon in body & culture. The idea that the US could be outsmarted by an Asian people is just beyond their ken.

They're in for a rude awakening: I just hope this Korean peace-plan gets worked out while there's an overt Conservative/Neocon dominance in gov't.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 14, 2018 4:14:07 AM | 34

Harry, @30:

>>>You are assuming SK has a choice in the matter, they. do. not. Sometime in the future - yes, but not now or anytime soon. US have way too much influence in SK, and will blackmail or even dispose of SK president if they have to.

Nonsense. Apparently you missed this event, last year:

http://time.com/4583033/south-korea-protest-demonstration-seoul-park-geun-hye-choi-soon-sil/

Which was followed by this one, just a few months ago:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/06/asia/south-korea-park-geun-hye-corruption-intl/index.html

Young Koreans are wise to the tricks the West has played on them. They are also quite aware of what sort of power the ROK's pro-US right wing represents:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeju_uprising
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodo_League_massacre
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Corps_incident
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwangju_Uprising
http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/f18a8d5c266f5cefb0acb3bb0d1338f7


It's a new day in ROK:

http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2017/may/18/south-koreas-moon-to-reopen-probe-into-1980-massacre-of-pro-democracy-activists-1606210.html

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 14, 2018 4:44:29 AM | 35

Oops: sorry, typo @33; should be:

* Both Russia & China have made it quite clear that they will retaliate

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 14, 2018 4:46:56 AM | 36

Big protests against US embassy relocation to Jerusalem right now
LIVE: https://www.rt.com/on-air/426614-jerusalem-embassy-protest-gaza/

Posted by: Zanon | May 14, 2018 6:36:24 AM | 37

Pacifica_Advocate / 36

They have absolutely made no such guarantees to neither countries.

Posted by: Zanon | May 14, 2018 6:37:58 AM | 38

@15 ...."but I fear that it's all for show just to give the GOP a leg up on the coming midterm elections"....

I am quite convinced that this summit is also "all for show" for Kim, because he understands full well the Trump has no intention of accepting any deal that is also acceptable to the North Koreans.

For all of his foolish appearance Kim is no fool. He is playing his part in this pantomime because he knows that it will keep egoists like Trump and psychopaths like Bolton distracted.

So Trump will preen and prance, Bolton will glower over his moustache, Washington think-tank-land will convince themselves that OMG Stupid Kim Is Falling For It!!! and all the while Kim will be running parallel (and very secret) negotiations with the South Koreans.

That's where the action will be.
That's where the breakthrough will come.

Everything else will be pure distraction, and Trump and Bolton are going to be too stupid to take their eyes off the baubles that Kim will be dangling in front of them.

After all, the one thing we definitely do know about neocons is that they are irredeemably stupid.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 14, 2018 7:01:10 AM | 39

@chet380:

Notwithstanding Bolton's extreme, sometimes maniacal war-mongering rants over many years, he has still managed to worm his way into the highest of the upper circle -- he is obviously a supremely talented bureaucrat and is not a man chet380 @5

Notwithstanding? Those rants are exactly _why_ he repeatedly gets hired. Those rants, that lust for war, that crushing of any chance for peace, and even that supposedly unintentional strengthening of demonized targets (i.e., skuttling the nuclear deal 10 years ago, to which North Korea responded as expected by fully developing nuclear weapons) , all of it sells weapons and increases war budgets. Bolton has demonstrated he is uniquely reliable as a bull in any 'peace' china shop. That's likely why he constantly reappears at the heights of power, not bureaucratic talent.

Posted by: fairleft | May 14, 2018 7:11:52 AM | 40

from Stripes--

“We’re prepared to open trade and investment as soon as we can,” John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week.” Before that can occur, he added, “We want to see the denuclearization process so completely underway that it’s irreversible.”
Bolton appeared to widen the scope of U.S. demands, insisting that the U.S. also wanted to put elimination of North Korea’s chemical and biological weapons and other issues on the table. “I think we need to look at their chemical and biological weapons programs,” and the return of South Korean and Japanese citizens abducted by the North, Bolton said. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 14, 2018 9:23:38 AM | 41

@41 Totally irrelevant, Don. The North Koreans understand perfectly well that even if they completely disarm then the only "open trade and investment" they will receive in return will be dropped from, oh, somewhere in the region of 10,000-20,000 feet.

They aren't stupid. The Americans fooled Libya, but by doing so they blotted their copybook way, way too much. They are, by any measure, "non-agreement-capable".

So it really doesn't matter how many conditions Bolton piles onto his list of demands. It is a non-starter from the very beginning.


Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 14, 2018 9:36:52 AM | 42

Imho distant take...The main, and certainly crucial, action is between N and S Korea, the preparations for it not new have been a bit hasty?

Trump is a sort of side-actor. I feel he is kept in the ‘loop,’ as a VIP because the other two want to prevent him getting mustard or worse up his nose. They will willingly give him credit and thunderous applause, to keep everyone on board.

Pure Trumpism: Trump the fixer de-escalates conflict (nukes!, baad, terrible relationships, etc.), and helps people get on, solves problems, does ‘deals’ that ‘do great’ for ‘wonderful’ people. (+ have foreign policy successes but in his terms. Remember DT the candidate even said he would present a ‘great’ solution to the Palestine-Israel problem.)

Trump, it appears to me, often insists (or tries to) on ‘taking losses’ and ‘losing face’, accepting the ‘reality’ and moving on to some kind of better scene, absolutely typical of brash, influence-wielding, law-skirting, short-sighted US bizmen. Sensibilities, victimology, it is a bore, you lose some then you win some more, whatever..

Which of course is completely contrary to Clintonesque third-way neo-liberalism - while weeping over victims with very creepy crocodile tears, and doing the slice-n-dice thing, divide to rule - probably represents the most vicious, war-mongering, extractive, and overall criminal enterprise (mafia-type, threats and blackmail, extortion, at the global level, plus sadism at the personal level) in the political sphere since WW2. — Ok it is not a contest but the hypocrisy is unbearable.

Posted by: Noirette | May 14, 2018 9:59:41 AM | 43

How can you trust a yank...? You can't. Ok. Maybe the only way you can is to be overthrown, consumed and assimilated by the giant vampire squid. To become subservient to their brand of overt capitalism. Then you can trust. There can be no room for sovereignty here. A tentacle must be attached, a tribute must be offered. Very mafia.

I would like to believe the commenters here that N&SK will just do this alone, and do it this while the US is losing the PR battle under Trump. Never a better time to rid the peninsula of foreign troops. Once they unite, Korea has the bomb...the only language the filthy yank MIC understands.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 14, 2018 10:01:30 AM | 44

@ Yeah, Right 42
I agree, that's why I posted "Any agreement that the U.S is involved in, is bound to fail. . ." upstairs @ #7, with quotes from the North-South Declaration, and "Of course the U.S. won't follow through, but Washington is throwing out the bait. ." @ #26.

I posted Bolton's quotes because his "rants" have been the subject of discussion, and what he says is important.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 14, 2018 10:27:18 AM | 45

@ Pacifica_Advocate | 35

Thats just wishful thinking, I also wish for SK to be fully independent and reunite with NK, but it wont happen anytime soon.

If you think otherwise, just wait and see how current peace negotiations between NK and SK goes down the drain. 'b' thinks the same btw.

Posted by: Harry | May 14, 2018 11:22:22 AM | 46

Yeah, Right--

Thanks for echoing what I've said since the Kim-Moon meet--The two Koreas will make their own Peace Treaty under the aegis of China and Russia, present it to the world and Outlaw US Empire as a fait accompli, and then utilize South Korean legislation to force the removal of all foreign forces to satisfy the Peace Treaty's final provisions.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14, 2018 11:24:19 AM | 47

Hal Duell @16

First take a look at the Vietnam map that claims all the South China Sea belong to Vietnam.. Don't fall for the misled trap by MSM that portaits Vietnam as "small victim of a big bully."

Second know how many islands that occupied/owned by different countries and then see Who Is the Biggest Aggressor in the South China Sea? :

- Vietnam currently occupies 21 features in the Spratly Islands:

1. Southwest Cay (Vietnamese: Song Tu Tay),
2. South Reef (Da Nam),
3. Petley Reef (Nui Thi or Da Thi),
4. Sand Cay (Son Ca),
5. Namyit Island (Nam Yet),
6. Discovery Great Reef (Da Lon),
7. Sin Cowe Island (Sinh Ton),
8. Collins Reef (Co Lin),
9. Lansdowne Reef (Len Dao),
10. Sin Cowe East Island (Sinh Ton Dong),
11. Ladd Reef (Da Lat),
12. Spratly Island (Truong Sa or Truong Sa Lon),
13. West Reef (Da Tay),
14. Central Reef (Truong Sa Dong),
15. East Reef (Da Dong),
16. Pearson Reef (Phan Vinh),
17. Allison Reef (Toc Tan),
18. Cornwallis South Reef (Nui Le),
19. Pigeon or Tennent Reef (Tien Nu),
20. Barque Canada Reef (Thuyen Chai),
21. Amboyna Cay (An Bang).

- Philipines: 9/10
the Philippines in the Spratly Islands are:

1. Northeast Cay (Filipino: Parola),
2. Thitu Island (Pag-asa),
3. Loaita Cay (Panata),
4. Loaita Island (Kota),
5. West York Island (Likas),
6. Flat Island (Patag),
7. Nanshan Island (Lawak),
8. Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin),
9. Commodore Reef (Rizal).

- China: 7
1. Subi Reef (Chinese: 渚碧礁 Zhubi Jiao),
2. Gaven Reef (南薰礁 Nanxun Jiao),
3. Hughes Reef (东门礁 Dongmen Jiao),
4. Johnson South Reef (赤瓜礁 Chigua Jiao),
5. Fiery Cross Reef (永暑礁 Yongshu Jiao),
6. Cuarteron Reef (华阳礁 Huayang Jiao),
7. Mischief Reef (美济礁 Meiji Jiao)

- As the remanant of ROC, Taiwan controls:

1. Itu Aba Island (Chinese: 太平島)

Before any serious discussions about the issues concerning South China Sea, we should clear out all the disinformation plus manipulation put out by Western MSM to really understand the ground reality there.

One thing can be assured: without US & Co's agitation around South China Sea, peaceful solution will prevail.


Posted by: mali | May 14, 2018 11:28:46 AM | 48

What really motivates Bolton? He's obviously good at what he does - bureaucratic in-fighting to make the world a worse place for humans - but what makes him "tick"? Is he just a wimpy (but hirsute) Thanos, with some twisted desire to kill (at least half of?) all living beings? Or is he a hired hand, getting paid to promote some secret purpose?

He seems to consistently promote a radical Likudnik perspective, but he was apparently raised Lutheran, so why? Simplest explanation is that he's in the pocket of the worst faction(s) of AIPAC, enforced with some combination of bribery & extortion. If I'm right (this is only Holmesian theory, based on elimination of alternatives, looking for proof), then exposing that connection would be a good first step to bringing him down and possibly saving the world.

Posted by: elkern | May 14, 2018 11:34:34 AM | 49

@39 yeah right.. i agree with you.. kim is no fool.. the north and south koreans can work something out and if south korea is really interested in peace and integrating north korea into their sphere, they can try to lessen there reliance on the usa to make it happen.. it is up to them, not the usa..

Posted by: james | May 14, 2018 11:42:27 AM | 50

Two groups of astute commentators disagree on this thread about whether SK and NK have the joint power and ability to pull off a peace treaty that excludes the US from the process. b and Harry and others believe there is no real possibility of this happening; Pacifica Advocate, Noirette and perhaps Don Bacon believe the contrary. I am assuming that the point of disagreement involves the relative remaining strength and influence of the US in the region and particularly its ability to determine SK politics. I am also under the impression that all parties agree that the power of the US hegemony is declining globally at an increasing pace. For those who think a SK NK peace exclusive of US interests is impossible at this time, what will be the future visible mark or sign of the US sufficient decline telling us that such a peace would now be possible? For those who think that a SK NK peace is possible and even likely in the short term future, what has changed in the interim between the last peace process and this one that leads them to believe that the US is unable to control the process?

Posted by: WJ | May 14, 2018 11:46:56 AM | 51

@Zanon, @38:

You can interpret this how you wish, but its meaning is rather clear and stark, IMO: China will retaliate against the US in the event of a 1st strike, & if it detects an imminent 1st strike it will act to end it. China certainly has the technology that would allow it to detect an imminent US 1st strike.

"China will prevent the US and South Korea from carrying out strikes on North Korea and trying to overthrow the leadership there, but will remain neutral if Pyongyang launches missiles at American targets first, the state-run Global Times said."

https://www.rt.com/news/399310-china-prevent-us-strike-nkorea/

Putin came out and plainly stated that Russia would consider any nuclear attack on its allies as an attack on Russia, and respond accordingly.

"President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow would regard a nuclear attack on its allies as a nuclear attack on Russia itself and would immediately respond."

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-putin-nuclear-arms/putin-moscow-would-regard-nuclear-attack-on-allies-as-attack-on-russia-idUSKCN1GD4R9

Can't get any plainer than that; esp. not after this:

http://theduran.com/russia-eaeu-draft-free-trade-deal-with-iran/
https://sputniknews.com/military/201501221017215252/
http://theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=2637

So yes, Zanon: they have quite plainly explained themselves in this regard.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 14, 2018 12:00:32 PM | 52

Perhaps the best way to gauge the future in Korea is with the annual military exercise 'Foal Eagle'. They just had one involving 12000 US troops and 300,000 South Koreans. We have to wait a year to see if it gets scrapped, postponed or scaled back. A lot could happen in the meantime.

Posted by: dh | May 14, 2018 12:14:54 PM | 53

WJ @51--

I'm in the latter camp and will address that query. IMO, there currently exists a political/economic/socio-cultural synergy between the two Koreas, China and Russia as never before, with its most visible expression to-date appearing at last year's Vladivostok economic development conference prior to the Olympics and several summits. One facet of this synergy was the ousting of Park's very corrupt right wing government--one very much loathed by South Koreans given its very bloody history within the South. Another aspect driving this is longstanding to the point of traditional Outlaw US Empire's Pan-Asian Racism as shown by its willingness to kill millions of Koreans for a policy goal--this racism has helped the unification of the Korean peoples as its now been ongoing for 3+ generations. The strength and vigor of the Sino/Russo partnership, how that's viewed by both Koreas as being very positive, and the very strong cultural/natural human drive to renew old family ties, while recognizing the overall future potential of the 4 nations acting in concert to become an even stronger 3 nations--Xi's Very Asian Win-Win formula is highly attractive. The desire for unification has always been strong amongst Koreans, but they've seen their desires thwarted too many times by the Outlaw US Empire and Southern presidents captured by the Empire--the ousting of Park and ascension of Moon along with a willing/motivated Kim provides great motivational force to the Korean people, North and South. Finally, there's the Iraqi Lesson: Iraq was able to oust Outlaw US Empire troops after the 2003 invasion without needing a military campaign by refusing to renew the Status of Forces agreement; South Korea could do the same thing and vote the Stromtroopers off their peninsula.

It seems rather apparent that Kim's getting direct negotiation coaching from both China and Russia, and all three certainly understand the Outlaw US Empire's incapable of entering into any lasting agreement on anything. So, Trump's being led into what might be termed a trap. I think the Koreas, Russia and China would gladly agree to Trump getting a nice shinny medal in exchange for the total withdraw of all foreign forces from Korea. Once they're gone, they won't be allowed back peacefully. What will happen with the North's nukes? I don't think they'll be disposed of until the withdraw of forces is completed; then the IAEA will document the disposal of the nukes. Kim would be an utter fool to agree to anything else. And that's precisely why the Outlaw US Empire must be forced to sit on the sidelines of the Peace Treaty negotiations as it ultimately does NOT want peace anywhere--Bolton proves that axiom.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14, 2018 1:10:43 PM | 54

Harry, @46:

Just curiously, do you speak or read Korean, Japanese, or Chinese? Do you have any personal friends who read these languages, whom you are capable of vetting as to their authenticity and accuracy?

I do. I meet kids from Korea all the time; some of them I number amongst my best friends. Ditto for China, Japan.

>>>Thats just wishful thinking, I also wish for SK to be fully independent and reunite with NK, but it wont happen anytime soon.

What, exactly, are you accusing me of being "wishful" about, exactly? The fact (!) that S. Korean youth have been vigorously fighting (for which they sometimes die, & often get mauled & jailed) against the right-wing US/Japanese-led hegemony for over 40 years?

Or do you think it's "wishful" that the Korean people massed together to throw out Pres. Park (daughter of a dictator), & that she's now facing a 24 year prison sentence--despite the protestations of the US & Japanese economic elite?

Or do you think that it's "wishful" that Pres. Moon served as head of the cabinet of another leftist President who was hounded to his suicide by false accusations & charges that jailed & imprisoned his friends & loved ones--a campaign of slander led and authored by the very group whose chosen representative, Pres. Park (vile daughter of the dictator), is now rotting in prison. A woman convicted for the very crimes she and her fellow thugs once slandered Pres. Moon's tragic mentor, Pres. Roh.

Or do you think that it's "wishful thinking" that the Korean people have elected not one, but three prior governments (in addition to the current one), each of which implemented a "Sunshine Policy" that gradually built on the gains of those before, & each of which watched as those gains were immediately eroded by the aggression of the conservative governments which followed?

So yeah, y're right (& so is b): so far, the US & Japan have been "winning."

But nah: y're wrong. There's nothing written in stone that the US & Japan will continue to win, & yah, the stars are not aligned in the US/Japan-bloc's favor, at the moment.

But you go on & keep telling yourself this is all "wishful thinking." It's pretty clear what you want: continued domination of the Korean peninsula by a vicious neo-colonialist hegemon that uses the threat of WWIII to whip any opposition into an actively servile, exploitative surrender that will allow any and every violence to be perpetrated upon it.

Or at least, that's what all this cynical "wishful thinking" bullshit communicates: a pink-skinned foreigner who doesn't speak any of the languages over there, & who is completely convinced that getting-along-and-going-along is always & in every way seen as the best choice by people who don't share that same preciously fragile pigment.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 14, 2018 2:16:30 PM | 55

Pacifica_Advocate @55--

Yes, as I said, ongoing for 3+ generations. Outside of Korea, knowledge of how revolted the Korean public is at its horrific right-wing/pro-US dictators is difficult to find, as the usual propaganda that they love their Hitlers has prevailed throughout the West for decades and discolored many people's perspectives. Koreans can't help but notice the travail of the Okinawans, subject to not one but two Imperialist oppressors--US and Japan, with the Japanese subjecting Okinawans to the same type of racism Koreans experienced during occupation by Japan: Japanese Exceptionalism it ought to be called. Koreans, Chinese and other Asian peoples will know when Japan has changed: Japan will finally allow Okinawans their independence and help end the Outlaw US Empire occupation. IMO, Korean unification will boost Japanese efforts to end their occupation by the Outlaw US Empire. And the easiest way to end the artificial South China Sea "tension" is to end the Outlaw US Empire's military presence in the Far Western Pacific region.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14, 2018 3:06:37 PM | 56

@29

Masterly analysis, this. Kim might not look like the sharpest tool in the shed, being a goofy-looking fat man and all, but the man is incredibly brilliant. Imagine if you are the leader of one of the poorest country in the world, always running out of food, militarily very backward, politically and economically stunted ever since the 70s, and always under the threat of annihilation from the most powerful country in the world.

And yet, he was able to scare the Americans into sitting down with him as an equal. That is unheard of. Imagine if Trump would sit down with Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad, Muammar Gaddafi, or Mullah Omar as an equal. Ludicrous, right? And yet he was able to pull it off based on sheer bluster and strategy. This man is crazy like a fox, and I eagerly anticipate his next moves. The dotard, not so much.

Posted by: Cycloben | May 14, 2018 7:08:17 PM | 57

karlof1, @56

>>>Outside of Korea, knowledge of how revolted the Korean public is at its horrific right-wing/pro-US dictators is difficult to find, as the usual propaganda that they love their Hitlers has prevailed throughout the West for decades and discolored many people's perspectives.

Foreigners to E. Asia commonly mistake Confucian accommodations for servility and submission; they seem to miss that even "The Art of War" contains a lot of advice about how important "go along to get along" is, even (or especially) when dealing with a threat, or outright enemy.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 14, 2018 9:05:13 PM | 58

@51 "For those who think that a SK NK peace is possible and even likely in the short term future, what has changed in the interim between the last peace process and this one that leads them to believe that the US is unable to control the process?"

That's an easy one to answer: there can not be a single South Korean politician who does not now understand that the USA under Trump and Bolton intend to slaughter and firebomb their way through the entire Korean peninsular to ensure the "safety" of the good ol' USofA.

It doesn't matter if those South Korean politicians think that the USA will "win" that war. After all, what's that to *them*?

What does matter is that they can't now deny that the USA has made the decision that the death of millions upon millions of Koreans on both sides of the DMZ is no big deal if it means that Trump and Bolton get to claim victory.

And that doesn't seem like much of a big deal in Washington, but it must concentrate the minds of those who live in Seoul just as much as it does to the leadership in Pyongyang.

Because - let's face it - they are either going to live together or die together, but if they don't do something to bring about the former then Trump and Bolton will make certain that they endure the latter.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 15, 2018 3:50:21 AM | 59

Is China using Kim to play hardball with U.S. or is Kim setting terms on the table?

http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-cancel-trump-kim-jong-un-summit-date-2018-5

Whichever it is--good on them!

Posted by: Circe | May 15, 2018 4:20:28 PM | 60

- I am NOT surprised to see that Bolton will (try to) sabotage a deal with North Korea. But then there's a problem. Pompeo seems to want have better relations with the same country.
- According to my information, Kim Jung Un (supposedly) wants to renege on his promises to meet Trump. Is this real or is this already the "succes" of one John Bolton ? Don't know what to make of it. Which person is here "on its way out" of the Trump administration ? Pompeo or Bolton ?

Posted by: Willy2 | May 15, 2018 4:27:16 PM | 61

- Correction: Kim Jung Un canceled a meeting with the Prime Minister of South Korea over the fact that South Korea is hodling an military exercise with the US and the meeting with Trump in Singapore is also in question right now.
- Succes for Bolton ? At the expense of Pompeo ?
- Mattis is working on a confrontation with North Korea ? According to my information, it was Mattis and McMaster (the previous "National Security Advisor") who were (partially) responsible for the improvement of relationship on the korean penisula.
- I always had my doubts on how sincere the US was when it came to its relationship with North Korea. Bacause the US Military Industrial Congressional Complex has (much) more to gain when tensions remain high e.g. in the Far East. Only time will tell what's going to happen over there.

Posted by: Willy2 | May 15, 2018 4:48:24 PM | 62

@61 "Which person is here "on its way out" of the Trump administration ? Pompeo or Bolton ?"

Neither. It's Trump's version of Good Cop, Bad Cop.....carrot & stick.

It will be interesting to see the response to Kim's cancellation of talks because of Max Thunder.
Presumably the exercise was discussed at Panmunjom between Kim and Moon. It's a relatively small exercise conducted from Gunsan Airbase but it will be a big test for Moon.

Posted by: dh | May 15, 2018 5:00:06 PM | 63

Thanks all who responded above. Here is the RT version of the report about the cancelled talks between NK and SK:
https://www.rt.com/news/426827-north-korea-threaten-talks-trump/

I don't read this development as a victory for either Bolton or Pompeo. I read it as NK reminding the US that it has still not destroyed any of its nuclear testing infrastructure and so both need to slow down their talk about what conditions NK must or must not meet. The cancellation also forces the US into showing to all the world and all of SK that it's not going to give up its war games for the sake of a peace process. This could play into NKs strategic attempt to convince SK to settle a peace accord apart from the US.

Posted by: WJ | May 15, 2018 5:02:31 PM | 64

That didnt too long, idealists and over optimistic posters above expected something different, but thats life. Peace talks are not over per se, but they will be, as long as US have a say, and they have plenty (with gun to Moons head if they have to).

Posted by: Harry | May 15, 2018 6:12:52 PM | 65

@dh:
- Trump hasn't got the fainstest clue about foreign policy and all its intracacies.
- US foreign policy always has been the outcome of a power struggle in Washington DC. Sometimes group A wins and sometimes group B wins. And other countries are also (trying to) influence US foreign policy.

Posted by: Willy2 | May 15, 2018 10:59:43 PM | 66

@66 Trump doesn't like intricacy. He likes to keep it simple. That's the way his base likes it too. He works on the assumption that everybody has their price i.e people can either be bought or intimidated.

Posted by: dh | May 15, 2018 11:30:26 PM | 67

Kim is playing a smart game, playing Moon against Trump.
1. The recent Panmunjon Joint Declaration, Kim with Moon, said no "hostile acts.".

2. South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula. Alleviating the military tension and eliminating the danger of war is a highly significant challenge directly linked to the fate of the Korean people and also a vital task in guaranteeing their peaceful and stable lives.
(1) South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of military tension and conflict. In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 1 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line. . .here

2. According to the Pentagon, the 2018 iterations of Max Thunder (air) and Foal Eagle (ground and naval) exercises were ongoing as of May 15, 2018, after both countries agreed to push them back so as not to conflict with the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang earlier in the year. There were no plans to halt them in response to North Korea's objections. Press reports have been muted.

3. DPRK has objected. "This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive development on the Korean Peninsula," KCNA declared. "The United States will ... have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities."

4. The 1953 Armistice Agreement also says no hostilities and no acts of armed force.

The undersigned, the Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command, on the one hand, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and the Commander of the Chinese People's Volunteers, on the other hand, in the interest of stopping the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides, and with the objective of establishing an armistice which will insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved, do individually, collectively, and mutually agree to accept and to be bound and governed by the conditions and terms of armistice set forth in the following articles and paragraphs, which said conditions and terms are intended to be purely military in character and to pertain solely to the belligerents in Korea: . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15, 2018 11:45:35 PM | 68

@68 Here's a link for the exercises...

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/pentagon-plays-down-us-skorean-drills-after-north-suspends-talks

They will run from May 14th to 25th. We are told by the ever-helpful Sarah Sanders that the North Korean objections come as a surprise to the White House. Got to wonder if they were discussed at Panmunjom and what Moon will have to say.

Posted by: dh | May 16, 2018 12:17:38 AM | 69

@21 -- "So many US "jobs" depend on a quasi-war situation..."

Exactly. And Trump is a market maker. The monopoly money is 'printed' and fed into the system with rivers running into the pockets of elected representatives whose seats are dependent on cunningly distributed military industry production across voting states. Some trickles down to wages in 'real' jobs and much funnels into shareholders portfolios and from there overflows into political donations. Inventory stocks are managed by overseas events and production goes on. Indeed, it is a magic circle and political economy based on perpetual conflict.

Posted by: imo | May 16, 2018 12:17:47 AM | 70

Don Bacon, @68:

>>>Kim is playing a smart game, playing Moon against Trump.

Indeed he is; and it's reaping rewards, most likely b/c Moon is on the same page. Moon's certainly using Kim's objections to their best possible effect, at the moment:

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2018/05/16/0200000000AEN20180516002700315.html?sns=tw

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 16, 2018 1:15:05 AM | 71

Just for clarification, here's the lede to the article referenced in @71:

SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. B-52 strategic bomber may not participate in the ongoing South Korea-U.S. air maneuvers, a source here said Wednesday,

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 16, 2018 1:16:12 AM | 72

Its time NK made this clear, neocons seems to believe NK will surrender in total, from government, to nuclear weapons, to economic system, to military.

Of course the whiny MSM criticize NK, but why are US to set all these demands and NK nothing? Thats not how peace can be achived.

Posted by: Zanon | May 16, 2018 4:26:34 AM | 73

@61 "I am NOT surprised to see that Bolton will (try to) sabotage a deal with North Korea. But then there's a problem. Pompeo seems to want have better relations with the same country."

I heard an interesting podcast featuring Jeffrey Lewis (normally an exceptionally uninteresting individual) where he speculated that Pompeo is such a sycophant that he won't be able to stop himself telling Trump what The Orange Man wants to hear.

And Trump wants to hear that the Nobel Prize is there for the taking, so Pompeo is busy boosting Trump's expectations of success with Kim to utterly ludicrous levels of unreality, because that's what sycophants do.

Which leaves Bolton licking his moustached lips: he is planning to make the talks into a disaster for the master deal-maker, after which a furious Trump will blame Pompeo for letting expectations get too high.

At which point there will be just one person left standing: the dude with the lip-caterpillar.

Seems a plausible theory to me.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 16, 2018 7:20:13 AM | 74

It’s very hard to actually see what’s going on here.
Although I agree with a lot of what you are saying,b.

However, you may be missing the Forest for the Trees.

Donald Trump looks like he’s a very self-contradictory type of a person; ie he does or says one thing one day, only to do the opposite the next. (ie sell aircraft to Qatar, only to then accuse them of nefarious doings (ie terrorism-supporting) the next.)

Trump may or may not be swimming against the tide (in general). He stood for election on an America First platform, implying one kind of mindset. And then proceeds by appointing a bunch of the usual discredited neocons (they have a hell of a track record behind them, of complete failure), implying another kind of mindset.(don’t tell me he’s some sort of a schizophrenic).

Anyway, (regardless of the current US administrations coming and goings), we need to be looking at the bigger picture.

We have to ignore the usual practise of rushing for the latest copy of the Washington Post/New York Times/CNN newsfeeds to find out what’s going on (you’ll only end up misleading yourself). (The MSM main attitude is just to go boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo, any time they see Peace breaking out)

So lets see for ourselves, And see what the natives/colonies are planning for themselves.
Ie
1) The recent ( May 9, 2018 ) China Japan South Korea trilateral summit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Japan%E2%80%93South_Korea_trilateral_summit) The first of its kind since 2015 (prev one was in 2012).
2) And, secondly a Currency swap deal between China and Japan to be signed shortly.
China and Japan to revive currency swap line as relations thaw.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-Relations/China-and-Japan-to-revive-currency-swap-line-as-relations-thaw
3) And then this headline “Japan, China and South Korea are ‘in sync’ on North Korea, Japanese official says
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/05/09/national/politics-diplomacy/japan-hosts-leaders-china-south-korea-summit-north-korea/#.Wv1_hqQvyvE

PS a remember reading about a World wide opinion poll taken in January, regarding the likelihood of war breaking out on the Korean Peninsular this year (this was at the height of War fever on the Potomac season)

World Divided On Whether A Korean War Is Brewing
https://www.statista.com/chart/12440/world-divided-on-whether-a-korean-war-is-brewing/
“Nevertheless, the world is worried about the prospect of war on the Korean peninsula, if research from Ipsos is anything to go by. Their latest polling has revealed that approximately half of people in Brazil, Turkey, the United States and Canada think war between the two countries will break out in 2018. In Asia, people are far less fearful. 32 percent of respondents in China think there will be a war, along with 30 percent in China and 21 percent in South Korea.”

Brazil 50%;
Turkey 49%
US, Canada 47%
India 45%
UK 39%
Japan 32%
China 30%
Russia 23%
South Korea 21%

If anybody has a better idea of what’s going on in their own back-yard then the chances are that it has to be the locals.

Posted by: chris | May 17, 2018 10:08:46 AM | 75

The comments to this entry are closed.