Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 16, 2018

North Korea May Cancel Summit Over Bolton's 'Absurd' Demands - Updated

Updated below

The Trump administration thought it was an easy path in its negotiations with North Korea. Trump was euphoric when North Korea released three U.S. prisoners and proudly announced the June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore where North Korea would agree to give up all its nuclear weapons and nuclear development programs. Trump would get a Nobel peace prize and all would be well.

This was a serious miscalculation based on a lack of understanding. It misread each and every statement North Korea made. The Trump administration has no ambassador in South Korea, the most experienced North Korea expert at the State Department left in disgust. The National Security Council is run by a maniac who had sabotaged earlier agreements with North Korea and wants to do it again.

North Korea's overarching aim is to gain enough security to cut its military expenses and to then use its resources for economic development. The method to achieve peace with the U.S. was progress in its nuclear weapons program. Each time a milestone was reached in the nuclear field North Korea sought talks with South Korea and the United States. It offered some concessions - to stop or slow its progress in its development of nuclear warheads and missile - in exchange for a peace agreement and economic support. Each time a deal was made the U.S. did not stick to its commitment. The promised oil supplies were not delivered, the civilian nuclear reactors the U.S. promised were not build. Each time an agreement failed North Korea started the next phase of its nuclear weapons program up to the next milestone.

Last year it finally reached the apex. It tested a thermonuclear device, the ultimate destructive weapon. It launched an intercontinental missile that can carry such a bomb to the continental United States. North Korea is now a full fledged nuclear state. After this achievement North Korea was again ready to negotiate.

When Donald Trump came into office promising that he would not condone a nuclear weapon capable North Korea that could threaten the United States. He launched a "maximum pressure" campaign to take away North Korea's nuclear weapons. The UN security council put strong sanctions on North Korea.

North Korea was already ready to negotiate. It were not the sanctions that brought it to the table. It was its new status as a nuclear power. The Trump administration never understood that. It believed that its "maximum pressure" campaign brought North Korea to offer "complete denuclearization". North Korea used that wording but it was meant as an aspirational aim for the whole world, not a unilateral disarmament of its new capabilities.

The Trump administration did not get it - or did not want to get it. This was partly out of stupidity and lack of knowledge, it was partly mischievous:

Trump and others are presenting this process as a route that leads to North Korea’s disarmament — even though Kim has said nothing that deviates from statements that every North Korean leader has made. And in our collective self-delusion, we have a surprising cheerleader: national security advisor John Bolton.

It is worth asking why Bolton is busy giving interviews in which he raises hopes for a complete elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons that can occur in a matter of months. He has repeatedly called for a “Libya style” deal — one in which the United States simply shows up and collects the weapons and supporting infrastructure.
This is madness. There is no reason to think that Kim has any intention of agreeing to such a thing.
Bolton isn’t suddenly naive. He’s working an angle. And that angle is almost certainly misaligning the president’s expectations. Bolton won’t try to kill diplomacy by opposing it. Rather he’ll kill it by making the perfect the enemy of the good. By raising the prospects of a Libya-style surrender, the much more modest settlement offered by Kim looks sad by comparison.

This is a very cynical — and dangerous — game that Bolton and others are playing.

A side effect of the false belief that "maximum pressure" worked against North Korea is the Trump administration's belief that the same will work against Iran. It is why it aborted the nuclear agreement with Iran:

The Trump administration is convinced it has an opening for a nuclear deal with North Korea because of its maximum pressure campaign. “They call it the North Korea scenario,” the European official said. “Squeeze the North Koreans. Squeeze the Iranians … and they will do the same thing as Kim Jong-un … surrender.”

When the CIA chief, now Secretary of State, Pompeo came to North Korea on May 10 to prepare further negotiations, the North Korean side warned that Washington was wrong in its thinking:

Once they arrived, Pompeo met for about an hour with Kim Yong Chol, discussing the Trump-Kim summit and Pompeo's schedule, before Kim hosted a luncheon on the hotel's 39th floor, where he formally welcomed the Americans.
Kim then told the Americans that "we have perfected our nuclear capability," adding that "this [meeting] is not the result of sanctions that have been imposed from outside."

One condition North Korea had asked for at the beginning of the negotiation cycle was a freeze of 'strategic' military exercises by South Korea and the U.S. in exchange for a freeze of nuclear and missile tests by North Korea. This was understood by both sides. The condition had held for a while but a few days ago the U.S. and South Korea announced a new exercise:

SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will begin massive combined air force drills this week, officials here said Thursday, in an apparent move to strengthen their hand ahead of denuclearization talks with North Korea.

The two-week Max Thunder exercise will begin on Friday, involving some 100 warplanes, including eight F-22 radar-evading fighters as well as an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets, the officials said.

It is the first time that the allies have decided to deploy eight F-22 jets to a combined exercise. Observers said the planned show of formidable air power appears aimed at further pressuring the North to give up its nuclear ambitions.

F-22 stealth fighter and B-52 are nuclear capable and thus strategic assets. Incorporating them in an exercise breaks the previous understanding. In response to the exercise North Korea canceled high level talks with South Korea:

The North's Korean Central News Agency said the Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and U.S. air forces are a rehearsal for invasion of the North and a provocation amid warming inter-Korean ties.
"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 political development on the Korean Peninsula," the KCNA report said. "The United States will also 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."

The State Department as well as the Pentagon were seemingly unaware that the exercise would have such consequences.

North Korea feels cheated. It has stopped its missile and nuclear tests. It is dismantling its "northern test site" for nuclear weapons. It pardoned three prisoners and let them leave to the States. It held several rounds of hopeful talks with South Korea and the United States. Why does it now have to endure more pressure? Why should it allow the U.S. and South Korea to breach the agreement of test freeze in exchange for exercise freeze?

Trump thought he had already won. Finally North Korea is setting him straight. It will not give up its weapons under threat only to get smashed like other countries which made such mistakes:

Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan made clear that the communist regime is not interested in any nuclear talks in which it is coerced into giving up its nuclear arsenal, according to Pyongyang's state news agency KCNA.
Kim expressed displeasure with the U.S. bringing up previous denuclearization methods, including the one used for Libya.

The full statement singled out the 'repugnant' John Bolton:

High-ranking officials of the White House and the Department of State including Bolton, White House national security adviser, are letting loose the assertions of so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment, "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization", "total decommissioning of nuclear weapons, missiles, biochemical weapons". etc, while talking about formula of "abandoning nuclear weapons first, compensating afterwards".

This is not an expression of intention to address the issue through dialogue.
It is absolutely absurd to dare compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial stage of nuclear development.

We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him.

If the Trump administration fails to recall the lessons learned from the past when the DPRK-U.S. talks had to undergo twists and setbacks owing to the likes of Bolton and turns its ear to the advice of quasi-"patriots" who insist on Libya mode and the like, prospects of upcoming DPRK-U.S. summit and overall DPRK-U.S. relations will be crystal clear.

We have already stated our intention for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and made clear on several occasions that precondition for denuclearization is to put an end to anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmail of the United States.

Trump's Noble peace prize is drifting away ...

If Trump really wants the June 12 meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore and an agreement he will have to stop Bolton from making overarching demands.  Secretary of State Pompeo will have to issue some conciliatory statements. The Pentagon, which dislikes peace talks that may diminish its position in South Korea, will have to end its provocative "strategic" maneuvers.

There is no military alternative to further talks. The nuclear armed North Korea is allied with the nuclear armed China. Any attack on North Korea might cause a mushroom cloud raising over Washington DC. Risking that is irresponsible.


The North Korean protests helped on both points. The U.S. military exercise was dialed back and the White House disowned the Libya disarmament concept that Bolton introduced to sabotage the talks. Trump really wants that Nobel.

The "strategic assets" - i.e. nuclear capable bombers - North Korea lamented about have now been withdrawn from the current U.S.-South Korean military exercise:

Contrary to the original plan, nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 bombers will not participate in the ongoing combined air drills between South Korea and the United States, a military source here said Wednesday.

"In the Max Thunder exercise that began on Friday, the U.S. F-22 stealth fighters have already participated, while the B-52 has yet to join," the source said on condition of anonymity. "B-52 will not take part in the exercise, which runs through May 25."
The South Korean defense ministry also formally confirmed B-52's absence from the exercise.

In a related move, Moon Chung-in, a special security adviser to President Moon Jae-in, said in a lecture at the National Assembly that the decision was made at an emergency meeting between Defense Minister Song Young-moo and Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

The nuclear bombers were clearly a threat to North Korea and their taking part was in breach of the silent agreement that a freeze of nuclear testing by North Korea would be honored with a freeze of strategic maneuvers by South Korea and the U.S..

North Korea's second complain was about John Bolton's demand of immediate full disarmament.

This morning the White House downplayed that Libya disarmament scenario that Bolton promoted during Sunday's talkshows:

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."

She continued, "This is the President Trump model. He's going to run this the way he sees fit. We're 100% confident, as we've said many times before, as I'm sure you're all aware, he's the best negotiator and we're very confident on that front."

The White House folded quite fast. I see that as a sign that it really wants a deal.

North Korea may further insist that the 'repugnant' John Bolton does not take part in the June 12 summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. It would surely be helpful if he would be left out of any and all Korea negotiations.

Posted by b on May 16, 2018 at 11:18 UTC | Permalink

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the united snakes must be destroyed for global peace

Posted by: thirdworlder | May 16 2018 11:31 utc | 1

No matter how many times I see it I do not understand how moronic our Foreign Policy Establishment is. The 'Libya deal', you disarm, we kill you. Can these people really be this stupid?

The real world works like this, 'I give up a whole bunch of stuff, I expect something in return'. I am convinced that the U.S. is gripped in dementia that comes with having power for too long. We expect countries to bow down to us in worship just for the hope of getting into our good graces. 'For the promise of things, not yet seen', we have a God complex.

The really funny thing is that we think that this is totally reasonable. People intoxicated on power don't even realize it.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | May 16 2018 11:35 utc | 2

When all else fails, blame "O".

Posted by: Eugene | May 16 2018 12:02 utc | 3

In all likelihood, Kim wants to surrender, except that his terms of surrender require something like the West German incorporation of the east, where Kim ends up being a billionaire play in unified Korean politics. The problem with that scenario is that South Korea is not a center of empire. Not even the West Germans could afford to turn the east into capitalist paradise. It's likely that South Korea would starve millions of northerners by instituting a free market in food even as they wreck the socialist economy by looting. Nor would the Korean tradition of song bun magically disappear. The entire population of the north would be as despised as so many defectors are even now. It's not clear whether the Kim family are like the Ptolemies, and hate each other. Or whether they're like the Antigonids and they get along pretty well. But the US insistence on murdering the families of its enemies, as well as the enemies, will strongly encourage Kim to resist without too much trouble from relatives.

South Korea's Moon is in the end an insignificant stooge, but we're not always at the end. Some lip service to South Korea as an independent state complicates matters. Moon has already conceded permanent submission to the US military, which means there can be no re-unification on any terms but conquest. But US diplomacy has to go through the motions of pretending to negotiate.

The question is, whether China will reverse its alliance with the US in the economic warfare against the north? I think Xi has great ambitions for capitalist restoration in the PRC and megalomaniac delusions about a new Chinese empire. The relentless pressure by China, without even diplomatic support after the two summits between Kim and Xi, does not bode well for the US coming to its senses. Why should they, when encouraged by Xi?

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 16 2018 12:12 utc | 4

Thanks for the update B. One thing, I'm pretty sure NK's supposed ICBM capability is western manufactured fear porn.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | May 16 2018 12:30 utc | 5

re. #1 "the united snakes must be destroyed for global peace"

I would recommend going a step further. We presently live in a Psychopocracy.

Snakes in Suits When Psychopaths Go to Work Excerpts worth checking out if you haven't read the book.

The perfect model for a Psychopath is the legally defined "person" known as the corporation. And we all know who the "people" are who inhabit the upper echelon of power.

Posted by: juannie | May 16 2018 12:38 utc | 6

The historical record after WWII shows clearly that the US has had numerous opportunities for peace - starting with Stalin who offered a quite attractive deal regarding East Germany which the US rejected out of hand. The US record is clear - first surrender then we negotiate. So, nothing new or surprising about these developments. John Bolton is out front and public but the ruthless element of the US government and people win the argument with or without Bolton or Pompao.

The world now sees the US for what it is, the slaughter of unarmed innocent people in Gaza, pulling out of the Iran deal are vicious belligerent acts without any justification, the US Empire (AngloZionist/Wahhabi Empire) has lost the narrative and lost its hold over the public and is past the tipping point of collapse. This is just the beginning, things are going to get very ugly many, perhaps millions, will die before any improvement is seen. And then the climate will destroy civilization - caused by the same group.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 16 2018 12:43 utc | 7

We can all easily see why the US acts as they do: there is nothing new there.

However, why are the south-koreans agree to these current airforce excercises? Why didn't Moon simply say "no", or if he cannot do that, delay, making excuses, etc.? To do a joint military excercise, you need two partners agreeing, the US can't do it alone.

Posted by: nervos belli | May 16 2018 12:46 utc | 8

U.S.A's 'Threats and Sanctions' mode no longer works and will be totally ignored. This morning' reports suggest Trump, Bolton and Mnuchin had best huddle for alternatives to financing US'daily needs as EU allies join by-passing USD or once known as king dollar:

Europe Is Seeking "Practical Solution" To Salvage Iran Deal and of the need to strengthen ties with Iran.
Tuesday's talks are done,
And the practical solution is ?

EU to Switch From Dollar to Euro in Payments for Iranian Oil Supplies – Source

Staunch exceptional EU Allies will now use the euro to pay for oil from Iran.
China, now the world's largest oil importer, will use RMB to pay for oil. Qatar is already on board.

And scathingly, there is this from EU Council President Tusk

Europe Should Be Grateful for Trump, We Got Rid of Illusions

According to President of the European Council Donald Tusk, no one needs enemies with friends, like US President Donald Trump.
The senior official also said that EU should be grateful to Trump as he helped the bloc get rid of its illusions.

Great changes are coming. Americans are in for financial shock, awe and misery they now serve to others.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 16 2018 13:00 utc | 9

One thing b, what obama did to deserve Nobel, nothing ,Trump,already did more while both deserved long time in prison as war criminals but Nobels are sold to highest bidder since 1969 so he can afford to purchase it.

Another issue is that people of both Koreas want nukes against... Japan, yes against Japan that invaded them for whole millennium does not have nor intend to have equatable peace treaty with Koreans nor paid any war reparations for last 40 year occupation that amount to over $trillion dollars and Japan is able to develop their own nukes within nine months while all important missiles they already developed.

Korean rationally think that nukes means no more Japanese occupation while they observe in Japan clear return to fascism and militarism under Abe.

At this point nuke constitute hope for truly independent Korea and smart Koreans know that, otherwise Korea remains a vassal state to bordering powers and US as long as US imperium exists.

Posted by: Kalen | May 16 2018 13:01 utc | 10

Thanks b, the worst case of TDS is right in the Oval Office.

Posted by: Enrico Malatesta | May 16 2018 13:04 utc | 11

oops, the missing link:

EU to Switch From Dollar to Euro in Payments for Iranian Oil Supplies – Source

Posted by: Likklemore | May 16 2018 13:05 utc | 12

Great article and analysis. I am going to have my students read this as an assignment in my summer classes.

I agree with the second comment. Bolton wants a Libya-style agreement: you disarm, we kill you and move South Korean military forces to the Chinese border. Bolton is crazed and his new found power will only make him worse.

Posted by: Steven Starr | May 16 2018 13:07 utc | 13

Dear Babyl-on, We are very much on the same page, but if you were meaning we are headed for nuclear war – do you really think things will get better after that? My pessimism is much darker than yours; I don't see anything after nuclear war but a fairly rapid, grinding process of human extinction.

Posted by: mike k | May 16 2018 13:12 utc | 14

nervos belli@ 9
I doubt whether Moon was told of the plan until it was decided upon. The 'South Korean' army is commanded by a US appointed American General.

steven t johnson @5 I wouldn't start betting on your analyses if I were you, not unless you have lots of money to lose.

Posted by: bevin | May 16 2018 13:17 utc | 15

- Nope. I don't believe the north korean ballistic missile was able to reach North America/the US.
- Remember the threat against Guam ? It shows that N.-Korea knew it had a missile that could (only) reach Guam.

Posted by: Willy2 | May 16 2018 13:26 utc | 16

@Mike k

I think we are both on the right track, even if my "optimistic" view comes to pass climate change is likely to produce the same result but much slower. Either way, there is a slow moving genocide taking place which was started and perpetrated by the most powerful people on the earth who have known about climate change for many decades and made every effort to hide the information. To this day apparently the oligarchy thinks it can retreat to its bunkers or fly off to Mars and awake to a fresh new world without those useless 7 billion people - AI will do all. They are fools, yes, but they are in charge.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 16 2018 13:29 utc | 17

If I were NK, I'd get Bolton alone, hold him down and shave 1/2 of that absurd moustache. Not sure what it would change but that asshole need to be defenestrated.

Posted by: Scottindallas | May 16 2018 13:29 utc | 18

Great analysis! Well done. The only thing I would add is that Bolton isn’t trying to sabotage this on his own. He doesn’t have the ability to schedule and initiate war games. I don’t think the Trump camp is as foolhardy on this subject as we may think. I think it’s more likely that they are now aware of the NK position on “denuclearization” and are not pleased with it nor with the NK declaration that their strong arm tactics weren’t the driver of these talks. The Trump camp ultimately wants the entire peninsula fully under American control just like South Korea is. Trumps methods include extreme obfuscation via chauvinism and bravado. That’s why the military drill, and that’s also why he isn’t denouncing Bolton. Trump is outspoken when someone goes against his wishes / plan even those he considers trusted advisors and we haven’t heard him make a peep about Bolton.

Trump has no bones about an all out war on the peninsula and he knows that the Koreans will take the brunt of the casualties since the US takes control of South Korean military in the case of a shooting war.

Posted by: Ben Franklin pre death | May 16 2018 13:38 utc | 19

There was never any intention of a deal by the Americans and the North Koreans. It was planned from the start that it would appear as though North Korea walked away from the negotiations thus allowing the stinking Yanks to destroy yet another country. Lets hope NK has indeed got a few nukes that can reach the cesspit of the US and burn as many of those vile people in Washington as possible.

Posted by: john wilson | May 16 2018 13:42 utc | 20

At the risk of indulging myself in sport about serious matters:

If “by their fruit shall ye know them”, then Trump and Bolton may just be of much unintended benefit, the jolt that many countries needed to jettison, as the Europeans are saying, “illusions'. Or embrace crowd-source realism. Wouldn't that be a wonder?

Think of that somewhat washed up former American champion boxer who announces to the world that he is still champ, and swaggers into the press conference announcing with slurred speech that he is about to defeat simultaneously North Korea, Russia, China, Venezuela and of course Iran, while continuing to stick his tongue out at Cuba, and that the Europeans are commanded to curtsy and help the champ pummel the adversaries, especially those demonic Iranians.

A brave reporter asks the brain addled former champ: “Seeing that you are off your meds, and a bit pudgy, have you considered retiring?”

The former champ looks a bit befuddled and turns to his psycho sidekick/spokesperson, one 'slammer Bolton', who speaks for the former champ: “Me and the champ are gonna kick butt. Think of us as a big bowling ball and our opponents as bowling pins. How can we lose?”

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 16 2018 13:44 utc | 21

Not sure what it would change but that asshole need to be defenestrated.
Posted by: Scottindallas | May 16, 2018 9:29:28 AM | 19

You're too modest. Defenestration would work wonders.
It means chucking someone out of a window...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 16 2018 13:52 utc | 22


Are you sure about that?

A side effect of the false believe that "maximum pressure" worked against North Korea is the Trump administration's believe [sic] that the same will work against Iran. It is why it aborted the nuclear agreement with Iran

"maximum pressure" is a PR stunt. We don't know what we said behind closed doors. It is quite possible that Pompeo lured NK into believing that US was desperate for peace and that Trump was more interested in a Nobel Peace Prize than serving MIC/deep state.

Trump thought he had already won.

He did win. He got to use the prospect for peace with NK as political cover for ending the Iran deal -AND- he got 3 prisoners released. Am I missing something?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2018 14:07 utc | 23

According to Alfred Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who in the preceding year "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Kim Jong-Un, under China's guidance, has done much to meet Nobel's requirements, much of it outlined with South Korea's Moon Jae-In in the Panmunjon Joint Declaration, a result of Kim and Moon's "peace congress."

Nobel's "fraternity among nations" has been promoted by by presidents Kim and Moon on the Korean peninsula where both Korea's have been relegated to the rank of extras as they were upstaged by their Cold War patrons. This has included the release of three American prisoners. But now we have Bolton's un-fraternal remarks which as described are completely wrong.

Nobel's "abolition or reduction of standing armies" is of course a goal of North Korea (and China). For many years President Kim has complained about the large scale military exercises, the bombers overflying the peninsula, etc. There are memories of when North Korea was completely destroyed in the war, with not a building left standing in North Korea plus a lot of devastation in the south. The 1953 Armistice Agreement and the Panmunjon Declaration both proscribe hostile activities, so their cessation is a specific Kim goal which would also serve toward the removal of the US military from the peninsula because an un-exercised military force is a useless untrained one.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 16 2018 14:10 utc | 24


Agreed. There's more than one horseman stalking us in this manmade apocalypse........

Posted by: mike k | May 16 2018 14:19 utc | 25

Kim is smart like a fox. Surely his intention was never to give up his hard-earned nukes to what he knew to be the duplicitous and ever treacherous US Empire. I believe his strong overtures with South Korea were indeed sincere, but it's obvious from his comments on Bolton, he could have never trusted the US to actually carry out their end of the deal.

I don't believe it was desperation or fear of US "power" that caused Kim to offer an olive branch to the US and declare he was willing to denuclearize. Could it be Kim knew all along that the US would renege on any deal that would involve compromise on both sides? Could it be that Kim wanted the world to see his willingness to bring a peaceful solution to the table and the US would eventually be seen for the lying snake that it really is?

How tragic that the Koreans cannot truly achieve a lasting and united peace as long as the flailing, crazed, and deluded US Empire will do anything in its power to hang onto its deranged hegemonic dreams!

Posted by: Eric | May 16 2018 14:22 utc | 26

Trump may have "no bones" about a war with N. Korea, but China does, and has made clear that American occupation of N. Korea is a red line that they will defend.

Posted by: mike k | May 16 2018 14:25 utc | 27

Trump, a glamorous bully type, has continued to surround himself with other bully types. Their style is use bullying as a negotiating tactic.....might still makes right in their world. And yes, Libya is their model.

The Great Wurlitzer spins on furiously. Faster and faster she must go to keep all hanging on for dear life........focus on the important things in life like the coming Royal wedding in the UK.....grin

Or Bolton's mustache......thanks for the posting b and thanks to commenters reporting on the continued demise of the US dollar.

What will be the next great distraction from dying empire? I don't see any white flags yet......

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 16 2018 14:28 utc | 28

@27 Good points. It's about perception and right now Kim is ahead on least in Asia. The US needs to paint him as the spoiler but Bolton kind of blew it with his 'Libya model'.

I think the Trump/Kim meeting will happen. But if Trump insists on total capitulation and Kim insists on US forces leaving Korea then no progress will be made.

There will be some kind of inconclusive compromise and an agreement to meet again.

Posted by: dh | May 16 2018 14:31 utc | 29

Typical America, working hard to make the possible impossible.

Posted by: Michael McNulty | May 16 2018 14:34 utc | 30

Meanwhile in the US Congress, the attention will shift from the fake "Russia threat" to the fake "China threat." On that they can all agree.
from the FreeBeacon--

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will begin a major inquiry into the threat from China this week in a shift from its past attention on Russian subversion.
The committee will hold a series of hearings, both open and in secret, examining threats posed by China in the military sphere, economic and industrial realm, technology arena, and Beijing's significant influence operations against the United States, said committee aides. . .here

This is bound to have an effect on US--Korea "diplomacy" as the US continues its childish behavior.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 16 2018 14:50 utc | 31

If you want people to pay attention to what you are saying you need to learn how to edit you posts. Belief instead of believe, Threat instead of thread. If you cannot edit you own posts why should I bother paying attention to what you have to say??

Posted by: Paul | May 16 2018 14:59 utc | 32

Poking the Chinese Dragon will have a similar effect to poking the Russian Bear. Messing with these Entities will certainly put you in a world of "threat".

Posted by: mike k | May 16 2018 15:02 utc | 33

allegorically, the US insists N.Korea must get on its hands and knees and bark like a dog.

Ie. the US will invent requirements designed to break any chance of civilized progress.

Posted by: mijj | May 16 2018 15:14 utc | 34

"North Korea feels cheated. It held several rounds of hopeful talks with South Korea and the United States."
At this point in history, countries and people have to be realistic.
All past history, until the very recent Iran deal, shows just one obvious truth:
The only way to held talks and negotiations with the USA is when you sit atop a pile of smoking ashes in the middle of Washington DC. As long as you're not there yet, talks are useless because, as Babyl-on said, the US way is "Surrender, then negotiate".
And, truth be told, this is valid for any treaty, any deal and any negotiation in any given topic. It's just as true for economic or environmental deals. EU should understand this, act accordingly, destroy NATO and seek other alliances - with countries that understand well the US and are ready to deal with it in such a way.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 16 2018 15:27 utc | 35

I have long held the opinion that the only thing that prevented US from attacking NK was the money US corporations have invested in SK. Neither the SK dead nor the NK nuclear weapons concerned US at all. In my humble estimate, it would take NK at least another five years of the expensive nuclear and missile development to be able to truly hit the US military assets in retaliation for an attack by US.

There are some great comments here but most forget the tricky role of th SK military. Yes, they are under the direct US command at the moment, with a dotted line to SK President, but if US initiates an attack on NK which would cost millions of SK dead, then the 30,000 or so US hostages in SK could cop it from both militaries. Think as a nationalistic SK officer for a moment: in peacetime I may obey all command of the US general, but if they start a war and my family and relatives start dying big time, how long before I turn my gun on US military and their families? Are the US power brokers so dumb do think that they can keep stuffing up Korea (both North and South) forever? My good guess is that SK people and military both understand perfectly their irrelevance to the occupiers from US, being worth less than the dirt under their nails once US corporations evacuate their SK investments. My good guess is also that the Koreans are smarter than their US occupiers, mainly because only US keeps believing that the the exercise of unrestrained application of the killing power bears no long-term consequences.

Posted by: Kiza | May 16 2018 15:27 utc | 36

Libya was a US ally when, driven by France and a few US malcontents, the UNSC passed a resolution for a Libya no-fly zone in a strategy called R2P, right to protect Libyan citizens supposedly threatened by the government as reported by fake news, which Obama said would not be amplified to regime change and then it was, complete with widespread aerial bombing and then the inglorious torture and killing of the US "ally." . .Right up Bolton's alley, but bound to alienate any other national leader when threatened with "Libya style" treatment.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 16 2018 15:31 utc | 37

"Peace--anywhere in the world? Not on my watch!!"--Bolton

Okay, maybe he hasn't said it to the press, but I suspect he has it tattooed across his chest, where he can meditate on it every morning while he doesn't trim his mustache.

The only hope the Koreans have of ending this nonsense will be if they--secretly--negotiate a peace on their own accord, and then simply announce it to the world while simultaneously thanking the US troops for their "help" and asking them to leave forthwith. Any involvement of the US will be with the sole purpose of sabotaging peace. We're seeing that, now. Between the need for a strategic US presence on China's teat, the lucrative arms sales to the Koreans, Japan, and others based on the "threat," Japan's fear of being overtaken by a combined Korea as an economic powerhouse, and a general desire of the US to keep it's friends and allies weak and subservient (witness how it has imposed "Russian" sanctions on the EU)--there is simply no way the US will willingly permit peace to break out in Korea. For the US, an actual hot war would be preferable to peace, since it would continue to check most of the boxes of US goals. As much as I despise Bolton, the truth is he's actually one of the most forthright and honest caricatures of what the US actually has become.

Posted by: J Swift | May 16 2018 15:41 utc | 38

@55: Do grow up, Paul!

b is writing in a language foreign to him. Even native speakers make typos and grammatical errors - mainly because people don't have the art of proof-reading at their fingertips; just look at any discussion going on anywhere on the web for bundles of examples.

Despite the occasional (invariably minor) errors - which any fool can correct for instantly - b operates wholly outside the Permanent Bullshit Blizzard of the Anglozionist lamestream 'news' propaganda media, and is an outstandingly realistic commentator, who's also outstandingly well-informed; which is why so many of us come to his website so much.

But do cut off your nose to spite your face, if you can't be bothered to do the trivial error-correction work.

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | May 16 2018 15:42 utc | 39

PS: No flame war will be entered into. Just shout and curse a bit on your own, if you like. :) 'Byeeee!

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | May 16 2018 15:44 utc | 40

Bolton is a repugnant and dangerous fellow but he and those that he represents are no fools. Utterly ruthless and calculating they may be, but they are anything but stupid.

With a nod to some of the other comments here it is obvious that South Korea would likely suffer immense damage in any conflict. But then again perhaps this would suit certain interests in the continental United States and elsewhere? With Seoul incapacitated and needing to invest enormous time and resources in rebuilding the peninsular following a devastating war, perhaps some of South Koreas "allies" would be very happy to take up the slack for any lost industrial and technological output and replace it with their own? Thereby supplanting South Koreas own position and reaping the financial/geopolitical rewards while Seoul is out of the game.

Posted by: Glossopteris | May 16 2018 15:45 utc | 41

During the 1950's the US killed approximately 1/3 of North Korea's population, mostly by incineration, in a savage fire bombing campaign reminiscent of the recent ones perpetrated against civilians in Japan and Germany. In aggregate these unspeakable transgressions against international law and any standard of humanity represented the real holocaust, burning to death at least 6 million innocent souls.

Trump has used the phrase "fire and fury" with reference to North Korea. Considering the history this is the ultimate dog whistle inflammatory remark.

Death by fire is a traditional form of ritual sacrifice. If you want simply to commit genocide there are more efficient ways. Death by fire is a Satanic religious ritual. Bolton represents the Satanic influence directly and shapes events to produce ritual genocide. Trump will not oppose because he is on board with the Satanists, fully.

The cure for this problem is to recognize that the US is a vehicle for ritual murder of a true holocaust nature. Holocaust reparations are in order for the populations of Germany, Japan, North Korea, and many other countries. The US military budget should be confiscated to pay these reparations. We could pencil in 100 trillion dollars or the current equivalent in gold, if no further offenses are committed, penalties doubling for each further offense.

Israel and its backers are equally guilty of crimes against humanity. Time to compensate the Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, and for that matter, Americans -- all of the victims of the Oded Yinn Greater Israel psycopathic fantasy -- with funds sequestered from Bolton-buddy bilk-you-naires, Israeli dual citizens of every stripe, and of course, who could forget, the Rothschilds and their backers.

We are a wealthy and peaceful planet. We just need civil seizure from Satanist supporters to even it all out. Call it a Jubilee. Make Satan Gone Again!

Posted by: mireille | May 16 2018 15:45 utc | 42

@ Kiza 36
Yes, and even without open warfare there may come to be a realization in the South that their real enemy is the US and not DPRK.
SK president Moon Jae-In is an exceptional person, not to be taken lightly especially on reunification. His bio is here. “I’m pro-U.S., but now South Korea should adopt diplomacy in which it can discuss a U.S. request and say no to the Americans" he wrote in his book.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 16 2018 15:46 utc | 43

So Trump didn't re-invent the wheel after all and he won't get a premature Nobel Prize either. Tell me something I don't know...

Trump is an insult to every form of intelligent life on the planet thinking he can con his way into getting others to give up the farm for nothing so that his ego can wallow in the adoration of the Empire.

Trump was trying to fool Kim thinking he can manipulate a young and inexperienced leader and using North Korea as a stepping stone to bully and terrorize Iran and now he's f..k'd.

Unlike some, I'm actually very glad that Bolton brought up Libya, because, I always wanted the truth in the open. Let's not kid ourselves on good cop Trump, the ulterior plan will always be REGIME CHANGE, be it in Iran or North Korea. The U.S., Trump or some other Zionist stooge in charge will never leave a hostile leadership in charge of a country it wants to neutralize. So Kim was looking at Saddam and Gaddafi's fate in his middle age. The U.S. will never be an honest broker; Trump is the least of all honest brokers. Trump was itching to hire Bolton from the get go and held back so as not to offend and alienate his naïve, Kool aid-drinking supporters; the Hillary-adverse disillusioned, protest voting bernies and the libertarians who believed the America First bullshit of reducing bases and no regime change tra-la-la. The hicks in ignorance town are with him come nuclear rain or shine and so are all the Neocons replacing the hapless disillusioned.

This week, with the Jerusalem/Gaza fiasco and this, Trump is being rightly exposed for the fraud and Ziocon he really is. Bolton is Trump's super cop just like Sheriff Arpaio. Trump gravitates warmly to fascist imperial tools.

Welcome to the real world, again.

Posted by: Circe | May 16 2018 15:50 utc | 44

@ mireille 42
During the 1950's the US killed approximately 1/3 of North Korea's population, mostly by incineration, in a savage fire bombing campaign reminiscent of the recent ones perpetrated against civilians in Japan and Germany.
Yes, a guy who was there once described it to me. The US bombers would come in three waves. First they would drop high explosives to blow every structure (mostly wooden) apart, then would come the incendiary bombs to set everything ablaze, and finally the fragmentation bombs to kill all the people scurrying about.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 16 2018 15:53 utc | 45

All of these comments, above--most of them so fat with American contempt for the abilities of foreign peoples that they might as well have been writ by Trump or Clinton hermself--have completely neglected to note this fact, which i respectfully offer up to b as a counterpoint to his typically pessimistic analysis:

Moon has already used Kim's threats to extract capitulations from the combined US/Japanese military juggernaut

He has four years left to increase the pressure.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 16 2018 16:02 utc | 46

It's clear some power circles within the USA empire deliberately provoked this unfolding situation. Why else even use "Libya style deal" terminology. Everybody knows the gruesome ending of Libya's leader. The prospect of the summit and talks (in fairy land) would be a North Korea with friendlier ties to the USA hegemony but that would stop justifying the presence of the 30k+ USA imperial troops + strategic weaponry in South Korea ostensibly aimed against North Korea but in reality against China.

Posted by: xor | May 16 2018 16:08 utc | 47

In other words, business as usual in the good ol' USA.

Posted by: WorldBLee | May 16 2018 16:12 utc | 48


The White House folded on both points North Korea made. I updated the piece above at its end.

Posted by: b | May 16 2018 16:15 utc | 49


He did win. He got to use the prospect for peace with NK as political cover for ending the Iran deal -AND- he got 3 prisoners released. Am I missing something?

You, among all, would see this as a win based on those specific reasons. I think it's good that such prisoners are released; but not based on Trumpian BAD FAITH! Bad faith is not a win. Ending the Iran deal is also a bad faith move and spells pain for Iranians with severe U.S. sanctions and maybe followed by war - how is that a win??? Never mind.

Posted by: Circe | May 16 2018 16:16 utc | 50


Did I need to add a /sarc tag?

I think most readers could see that the my point about a "win" was to lambast the US/Trump Administration as not serious about peace with NK.

You took the quote out of context. It was preceded by my point that 'maximum pressure' is a "PR stunt".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2018 16:32 utc | 51

Although b alluded to it, this aspect of the calling off the N-S meet's been ignored by most commentators--The announcement was made from China directly after the Xi-Kim talks:

"While Kim issued the statement, the time and place of its issuing makes it clear that Kim is speaking not only from the DPRK’s perspective but that he is echoing the anger and frustrations of the Chinese leadership at the way that the US has thus far handled the preliminary steps of the peace process."

I suggest reading the entire linked article and this follow-up:

"The arrogance of the US is such that even those who have traditionally been DPRK detractors are now siding with Kim Jong-un....

"With Kim Jong-un’s popularity rating in South Korea at 80%, the good will of the Korean people should be obvious to see. This reality would indicate that either the current US government is too incompetent to prepare for a peace process based on good faith, trust and normal diplomatic language or else the US simply had their bluff called by Kim Jong-un and in reality the US does not want peace."

In related news, talk about pressure being applied:

"The share of yuan-backed crude oil contracts has soared to 12 percent of global trading since US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, compared to eight percent in March."

Now add that nice factoid to all the other economic and sanction related news today and you have a situation where for the first time in decades the Outlaw US Empire is getting squeezed due to its actions and those of its #1 criminal ally.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2018 16:36 utc | 52

Can someone please tell me how this translates as U.S. capitulation?

Sarah Sanders today:

This is something we fully expected. The president is very used to & ready for tough negotiations & if they want to meet, we'll be ready. If they don't, that's ok too & we'll continue w/campaign of maximum pressure.

Posted by: Circe | May 16 2018 16:40 utc | 53

>>>The White House folded quite fast. I see that as a sign that it really wants a deal.

More likely: it has no choice.

End-of-time empires like to pretend that they are "working a deal," but in truth they are always just shoring up leaks in a worm-ridden wall.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | May 16 2018 16:41 utc | 54

Circe @54

Good point. And in line with my skepticism @24.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2018 16:43 utc | 55

We are still looking at MAGA 2.0, despite what many here believe. The US/EURO MIC is a wounded animal increasingly cornered. It desperately wants to give the appearance of thriving supremacy, but the blowback from its bluster has proven the weak hand and small chip pile it is trying to conceal. In the game of maximum leverage, even small potatos like NOKO can command respect and win a few rounds. This is a great sign for everyone, including the REAL America which has suffered too from the effects of its violent FP.

When I say MAGA 2.0, I mean the game that America is being forced into and must resign itself, too, realistically. It is also the version where DJT and Bolton play badminton with their post-imperialist demands on other nations, or an obvious play on good cop/bad cop. *YAWN* Just look at the homicidal pouting-face they are giving to the ongoing massacres in Gaza. Simply put, they are saying: "You have stifled and cockblocked our plans elsewhere, but there is nothing you can do to us with regards to Israel." In a sense, they are "retreating to the fight at the rear-line," their Fort Israel. But they do not yet know that it is an untenable consolation.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 16 2018 16:43 utc | 56

Thanks for the update, b. As I said on the other thread, total removal of Outlaw US Empire Stormtroopers from Korea in exchange for a piece of worthless metal to adorn Trump would be an outstanding deal. The possibility of such a move creating a domino effect with Japan & Europe finally throwing off their occupations is very real, particularly in the way Trump & Co, are flipping-off the EU. Putin and Xi along with as many other national leaders as possible must keep pounding the table demanding Sovereignty regain its paramountcy.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2018 16:46 utc | 57

i suppose the theory of nuclear deterrence was born when the yanks dropped two atomic bombs on the non-nuclear Japanese at the end of ww2. which makes it not only a rather unreliable theory, but also one that can't be proven. incinerating a quarter million Japanese for no real reason other than to establish a rather unreliable theory which cannot be proven could only have been the work of seriously deranged minds, like John Bolton's, for example.

Posted by: john | May 16 2018 16:48 utc | 58

- Why not demand that Bolton will be fired ?

Posted by: Willy2 | May 16 2018 16:50 utc | 59

bevin@16 seems to agree with my paragraph about how Moon doesn't really count. I guess that means disagreeing with my contention that China is allied with the US in an economic war against the north. This seems against the fact. What may be called Chinese diplomatic support I think should be deemed calling dibs on the north after regime change. As to whether imperialistic reunification of Korea would lead to whole death in the north? It seems to me that bevin is being very rosy about the prospects here.

kiza@37 I think forgets that the great thing about armies is that they take orders. The command structure is ongoing discipline, the learning of tradition. And the southern military tradition traces back to collaboration with the Japanese, with the US in the mass slaughter of millions of Koreans in the fight against communist revolution (a fight most everybody here is equally devoted too, remember,) and the willing service to a series of dictator/puppets. Moon is supposed to be such hot shit because he's a big democrat. But the whole point of democracy is that it isn't revolutionary, which means Moon is every bit as committed to an army that services the Americans as any other southerner. Independence is not his program, and any claims to the contrary are just more political swindling. Moon is a traitor, not a hero. And this is why he's not demonized by the US.

b's belief that anything Sarah Sanders has any relationship to real policy is touchingly naive. But, if anything, her comment confirmed that Trump was indeed holding Bolton's cookie cutter in reserve.

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 16 2018 16:56 utc | 60

@ steven t johnson 61
about how Moon doesn't really count. . .Moon is a traitor, not a hero.
That's not true, as I comment at #44.
"SK president Moon Jae-In is an exceptional person, not to be taken lightly especially on reunification. His bio is here. “I’m pro-U.S., but now South Korea should adopt diplomacy in which it can discuss a U.S. request and say no to the Americans" he wrote in his book."

Moon together with Kim has set the agenda with their Panmunjon Declaration, with the US forced to pay catch-up.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 16 2018 17:06 utc | 61

It does look like Bolton has yet again become part of the Korean "Peace Process".

For anyone with a lot of time on their hands here is a time line over US negotiations with N. Korea over these nuclear issues. It includes former president Carter's efforts to jump start the process in 1994 under the Clinton admin and continues to Bolton's success in scuttling the entire process under Bush jr.

It is very clear from this that Carter was quite sincere in trying to solve this problem but shows more clearly how the deep state players, once they get their hands on the levels inside the bureaucracy can kill anything. Bolton is a master in this game.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 16 2018 17:24 utc | 62

"In a related move, Moon Chung-in, a special security adviser to President Moon Jae-in, said in a lecture at the National Assembly that the decision was made at an emergency meeting between Defense Minister Song Young-moo and Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea."
I can only interpret that as Moon and his government adding pressure to Kim's threats, if not downright threatening the US to go their own way with negotiations with N. Korea, if the US kept stirring up shit in the peninsula.
The recent trend doesn't just come from Trump wanting a Nobel or Kim playing directly the Americans, it also comes from Moon being aware that the US are a spoiler player in Korea and that both countries should take the lead, since the US were never going to lead - Moon was probably convinced way before becoming president, but Kim's posturing helped Moon a lot to harden his stance towards the US and to have a good excuse (to offer to the Korean people, the the rest of the world, and to the US) to do some of the work on his own without waiting for US approval.
I still suppose that, sooner or later, Moon will have to take the biggest gamble and threaten to expel US armed forces if the US doesn't play ball and keep using dirty tricks and veiled threats against the North, but let's see how far they can go without relying on such a risky move.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 16 2018 17:26 utc | 63

I suspect Trump had to leave the JCPOA simply so they can manufacture lies like they did in 2003 with Iraq. Having inspectors there would make it more difficult. Now, they can just attribute anything they need to make up to "our intelligence sources have uncovered Iranian lies that the international community is too sheepishly afraid to see" kind of nonsense.

Posted by: P Walker | May 16 2018 17:26 utc | 64

I continue to admire how well North Korea understands the situation and plays the game.

The US thinks it knows negotiation? With Asians? North Korea has finessed China into being its protector, using cold relations and the nuclear wild card, to reach the goal of establishing warm relations and resting on a satisfactory plateau of nuke development. Now it schools the US in the realities of the game.

It seems to me that North Korea is attempting to force the US out of South Korea - beginning with freezing the military exercise as a start - and is doing this on behalf of South Korea, because NK can talk tough but SK is in a much more delicate position. Kim and Moon both understand the realities of power, down to the finest nuance. There's no doubt they share the goal of the Korean people, to be united and to get all the foreign devils out. But North Korea actually has the leverage.


Interesting to speculate that if Trump's reality perception is managed by those around him, then it may be that the only place he can see the truth is in the communique from the North Korean Foreign Ministry - which is remarkably forthright and styled to an IQ and culture that matches Trump.

North Korea has shown such a clear understanding of the west (down to using words like "dotard" and now "ruckus"), and the White House dynamics, that it could actually be talking directly to Trump this way. This would confirm much of the picture of Trump's plasticity that we've come to theorize, and it would not be far-fetched to think that North Korea (and China) have parsed this even more accurately than we in the west have.

North Korea is playing this negotiating game astonishingly well. Even more astonishing, it's working, and shifting the US position. How else could this be possible if not for Trump as the Plasticine in the game?

Posted by: Grieved | May 16 2018 17:52 utc | 65

Re: "The White House folded quite fast. I see that as a sign that it really wants a deal."

B, never forget Chief Joseph's words: white man speak with forked tongue. With that said, I can't stop wondering why N. Korea in their right mind would even consider signing a peace treaty with a non-aggreement-capable (недоговороспособные) thugs...

Posted by: LXV | May 16 2018 17:55 utc | 66

I've presented evidence that Kim's statement was actually a joint one with Xi's voice included. What hasn't been revealed are any communications between Moon and either Russia or China, which I would expect have certainly occurred. It would seem much now also depends on South Korea's legislature to enact laws returning control over South Korean armed forces to South Korea as a required point #1 while restricting/reducing activities and numbers of foreign armed forces as required point #2. That would provide more leverage for Moon in further negotiations while moving Trump et al to the sideline. So, IMO, for events to move forward positively, South Korea's public must now exert pressure on their MPs to aide Moon and Kim. IMO, if no movement occurs during what remains of May, then the Kim-Trump Summit will be cancelled and all blame laid at Trump's feet where it belongs.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2018 18:03 utc | 67

The concept of maximum pressure is hardwired into the Washington establishment, which frequently reduces complex multi-faceted issues to simple dichotomies of "weakness" and "strength". Washington Post presented today an opinion compendium on trade issues laced with this language: "weakness…willing to cave…doesn’t have the stomach…consequences of weakness…insufficient spine…". This sort of egging on will intensify during any crisis, and in that context the tarring of Obama for not acting on his "red line" - although a grossly simplified presentation - has become conventional wisdom.

Also notable here is the presumption that the U.S. has the absolute power to "force" China and the EU to knuckle under to any US demand (depending, of course, that the politicians and diplomats aren't "weak").

Posted by: jayc | May 16 2018 18:11 utc | 68

It seems as if Trump and Bolton are playing Bad Cop/Worse Cop here.

BTW, why is it that the self-righteous Grammar Nannies' lectures are always poorly composed and riddled with errors?

"If you want people to pay attention to what you are saying you need to learn how to edit you [sic] posts", indeed!

Posted by: Ort | May 16 2018 18:14 utc | 69

thanks b and for the update...

@64 cluelessjoe.. good comment to which i agree with.. @66 grieved says something similar..
cheers james

Posted by: james | May 16 2018 18:44 utc | 70

Paul @33,

So b gets a few verb tenses wrong once in a while; he occasionally uses the incorrect tense, but not the wrong word entirely, and I think we all know that English is his second language. Why don't you take your best shot in German, eh? Wow us with your mastery of an inflected language with four cases, gender, comprehensive and flawless recall of any and all verb tenses and voices, and while you are at it, all of the grammatical conventions native to that language, to produce clear, unambiguous German in written form, while simultaneously juggling job and other life pressures, and still performing prodigalities of research and interpretation, why don't you?

I've got a suggestion for you, you pretentious boob, why don't you take a long walk off of a short pier. The value that b provides through his careful curation of news and opinions is priceless, while the use of an incorrect verb tense doesn't even rise to the status of an annoyance.

Except, of course, if you are some random dude on the internet, and in that case, it apparently vitiates all of the hours of time and judicious weighing of information and misinformation expended by b in an effort to present a coherent presentation of reality.

That random dude? Why, that would be you. When you deliver even 1% of the value that b does, day after day, week after week, we'll listen.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | May 16 2018 18:45 utc | 71

@john wilson (21) Are you seriously hoping for a nuclear war with hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of people killed? Check yourself, fella.

Posted by: Rob | May 16 2018 18:47 utc | 72

"It were not the sanctions that brought [North Korea] to the table."

I would reformulate that as, "It were not the American sanctions that brought it to the table." The Chinese sanctions have a much bigger impact on North Korea. As with Iran, effective sanctions depend on having China on board and impetuous stupidity is not the way to achieve that. We don't know what communications have been going on with China, but the prospect of their relieving sanctions could be a major incentive for the US to stay on the straight and narrow in negotiations.

Posted by: Thirdeye | May 16 2018 18:51 utc | 73

@ b

The White House folded quite fast. I see that as a sign that it really wants a deal.

Trump may (or may not) want a deal with NK, but US establishment wont let it happen, just remember Russia. NK would want negotiations as an equal side, with US soldiers leaving SK; with all sanctions being removed simultaneously to denuclearisation; with iron clad guarantees US wont renege on its word (how can it even be accomplished?). None of it would be acceptable to US, hence deal is dead from the get go.

The only real possibility is SK growing a backbone and making a deal despite of US, but it wont happen anytime soon.

Posted by: Harry | May 16 2018 18:53 utc | 74

reply to:
Posted by: nervos belli | May 16, 2018 8:46:05 AM | 9
South Korean military are under the sole command of the US and have been since the Korean War. Moon is powerless to stop or amend these war games.

Posted by: frances | May 16 2018 19:06 utc | 75

it points out what truly insane death-worshipping ghouls are in charge when libya is held up as a model of what should happen. wow. i understand bolton liking it...a chaotic hellhole full of destruction would produce plenty of orphans for him to traffic, rape and eat. but those of us from the human race tend to see libya's beheadings and slave markets and think "maybe next time we should think this out."

those of us with a non-iphone-addled memory also recall how this lame, insulting tactic has been used for decades: pretend you want peace, make a bunch of ridiculous demands then whine and bitch that you "have no partner for peace". the israelis have perfected it (but then they've always had a gift for bitching and whining) and it seems the neotrumpcons wanted to try it out "asian style".

Posted by: the pair | May 16 2018 19:07 utc | 76

"North Korea's overarching aim is to gain enough security to cut its military expenses and to then use its resources for economic development. The method to achieve peace with the U.S. was progress in its nuclear weapons program. "

I guess that overarching aim is to preserve their "way of life", and military capability plus some necessary economic development are both instruments toward that goal. Given that South Korean, at least in the North Korean estimate, are subservient to USA, the capacity to decrease average heigh of buildings in Seul is an insufficient deterrent, hence the nukes. However, some trade is necessary for their goals, that requires some tokens of deference to PRC and RF, hence the negotiations. If negotiations fail due to American intransigence, that goal is fulfilled. By reneging on the agreement with Iran, Trump decreased the difficulty of proving, to PRC and RF satisfaction, that Americans are impossible to deal with.

Concerning the "way of life", it is similar with Iran, Israel, or Southern State before American Civil war. Without judging the merit of such goals, they are supremely important to those who believe in them. Concerning the goals of PRC and RF, they do not want USA to get into their inner strategic buffer, respectively the proximity to the capital region and the main outlet to Pacific Ocean, while PDRK goal of neutral Korea without foreign military presence is music to their ears, hence, a reasonable request. Nukes in PDRK do not threaten PRC and RF, but they are a bother in the context of much higher need for international trade to enable their way of life, in particular, sufficiently satisfied population. But again, they do not need a deal but a reasonable excuse to drop the sanctions to the level that will allow PDRK to prosper enough to survive.

Bolton is similar to North Korean leaders, he does not overly care about profits or anything as mundane as that, he strives for an ideal, "Vereinigte Staaten über alles". Pompeo may share this ideal, but outwwardly misunderstands the situation, promising PKRK prosperity in exchange for obedience. Trump is clueless, the rest of the West watches with a mixture of trepidation and "canine devotion". Their understanding of the situation is probably what Pompeo was projecting.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 16 2018 19:20 utc | 77

re paul @33: If you cannot edit you own posts why should I bother paying attention to what you have to say??

This is a bit rude. I guess English is my third language, and it gets reflected in my spelling. I sometimes make fun of linguistic issues of others, but given a choice of better content and better English, if I had a stylistic priority I would just subscribe to New Yorker, NYT is not that bad either, The Economist is superb etc.

Actually, it would be nice if those of us that can spare few Euros would chip in just enough that a well educated intern would edit b posts? A great part time job for a graduate student in humanities with good command of English (and German?). Something like Patreon donations with 400-500 Euro/month would do, and with a higher level, we could have a full time equivalent of editor+research assistant.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 16 2018 19:33 utc | 78

Washington Post presented today an opinion compendium on trade issues laced with this language: "weakness…willing to cave…doesn’t have the stomach…consequences of weakness…insufficient spine…". This sort of egging on will intensify during any crisis, and in that context the tarring of Obama for not acting on his "red line" - although a grossly simplified presentation - has become conventional wisdom.
Posted by: jayc | May 16, 2018 2:11:45 PM | 69

I should amend my previous post -- craving to preserve the cherished way of life, profit or no profit, is more universal. American got habituated to self-perceived "bestriding the world like a colossus". Stiff spine and capacious stomach are apparently necessary. (What they really need in the stomach department? I am at loss, but, apparently, it is very important.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 16 2018 19:42 utc | 79

@nervos belli, #9:

If Moon is the kind of person who would say 'no' to Snake's orders, he would never have been elected. Yes, the Snake has vast control of electioneering in many vassal nations, including most of its so-called allies and 'security partners'. Remember back in 2012, Putin was moved to tears when he won over Snake's meddling in the Russian election. Geez! The Snake's reach is significant even in Russia!

Actually, even in the Snake's own home, 'uncompliant' politicians would never rise to the ranks of national politics. Same principle.

How does Snake do it? I don't really know. I suspect the root of such reach is psychological. Most prominent politicians have travelled to Snake's den. May be they left dirty laundries here and there when they had a good time sniffing out Snake's den, before Snowden revealed the 'Prism' menace to the world. Or may be they were brain-washed enough over the last half century or so Snake dominance of the world propaganda media. Yes, MSM has a lot to do; the 'evangelical' Christian Church gas a lot to do with it; Hollywood has a lot to do with it; In other words, Soft Power in addition to mischief and the stick.

Thanks to alternative news sources such as this MOA blog, among others, the Snake's soft power is slowly being dismantled and its stick is being slowly neutralized due to economical decline and scientific progresses elsewhere in making weapons. But the mischief will always be there, until it gets its bloody nose at the hands of 'heaven's decree'. Heaven's decree WILL come! I just hope it comes during my life-time.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | May 16 2018 19:49 utc | 80

@Willy2 | May 16, 2018 12:50:19 PM | 60
- Why not demand that Bolton will be fired ?

Because that would mean lowering themselves to the Nicki Haley level of diplomacy.

Posted by: lurker | May 16 2018 19:52 utc | 81

@Willy2 | May 16, 2018 12:50:19 PM | 60
- Why not demand that Bolton will be fired ?

Because that would mean lowering themselves to the Nicki Haley level of diplomacy.

Posted by: lurker | May 16 2018 19:52 utc | 82

Foreign Election rigging and coups. CIA operatives infiltrate local groups as agents provocateurs to demonize opposition, pay bribes, raise tensions, foment riots, escalate violence, use weapons, set fires, destroy property, commit murders... Pay bribes, conduct false flag operations, issue false news reports.

Then they prevent people from voting with road blocks, vehicle inspections...stuff ballots, install black box computer voting machines, shut down voting precincts...

You know. Just like they do in the USA.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 16 2018 20:05 utc | 83

Rhisiart Gwilym @ 40

Great comment on the proof reading errors one occasionally sees on this and other valuable sites. As the frequent flyers say, "If you've never missed a plane you spend too much time in airports."

Don't like quite all the talk here about "Empires" though, though it's true the usage is sometimes handy. All powerful countries will have some characteristics that are similar to those of the big civilisational empires of the past. But to use the term all the time, in connection with the more or less random screw ups of the chancers in the Beltway and the Chancelleries of Europe, is pushing it.

We could always not vote for them. The whole damn lot I mean. In my country I have to vote for a man called Corbyn because although he's a fool like the others he claims not to be so set on killing foreigners. But that's an in extremis vote. Otherwise I reckon if millions of us just wrote "No consent" on any ballot paper that came our way that would at least stop these losers pretending they represented us.

Posted by: English Outsider | May 16 2018 20:34 utc | 84

"The White House folded quite fast. I see that as a sign that it really wants a deal."
I do not think so. The usa still wants total surrender. The statements today are just makeup. They interpreted Kim's protest as a sign he needs to be seen as a strong man in his own country. So they will stop the offensive talking but not the offensive thinking.

Posted by: Pnyx | May 16 2018 20:38 utc | 85

nervos belli @9:

The US isn't the only country that have a MIC and it's supporters.   IIRC, there were protests in South Korea against the discussions of peace with their Northern cousin.   The news article labeled them 'radicals'.   These people probably subscribe to total destruction / domination of their enemy.   It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone if Japanese NGOs are running amok in South Korea.

Paul @33:

I have no problems understanding what b's message is.   It's best you move away from ad hominem attacks.

Kiza @37:

Got caught up in the political rhetoric and forgot the economic angle.   Trump is trying to create a hostile environment to bring back jobs, or at the very least, scare away foreign investors to South Korea's economy.

Posted by: Ian | May 16 2018 21:04 utc | 86

WH press secretary Sarah Sanders's statements should be interpreted as face-saving back-pedalling. There is no reason to think that B would take a PR hack's word as an indication of genuine contrition on her part or the WH's part.

For all its isolation, North Korea is proving itself more adept at reading the intentions and the agenda of US foreign policy than countries allied to the US are. Maybe a spell of political and economic isolation - and the distance this would give in terms of time and space - from the US would raise the red mist and cause scales to fall from the eyes of the EU and other Western nations.

Posted by: Jen | May 16 2018 21:18 utc | 87

86 Empires - Surely one sign of our empire is the ability to slap "sanctions" on other countries willy-nilly and get away with it, and to have unrelated countries adversely affected by them.

Within our corporations it is the custom of "do not compete" and compulsory arbitration clauses. These imperious forced agreements remind one of how serfs were bound to landlords.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | May 16 2018 21:24 utc | 88

Bart Hansen @91--

What you're referring to is known as Extraterritoriality--the expansion of domestic law into the international arena--which was deemed a breech of sovereignty decades ago. Unfortunately as with the British Empire before it, the Outlaw US Empire can enforce its breaking the law with its military most of the time. Please review the period of Outlaw US Empire history known as Dollar Diplomacy or refer to Smedly Butler's War is a Racket for details on its workings. The only way around it is the institution of genuinely neutral international financial system not controlled by any one entity as now. That this system of extortion hasn't been protested very vocally is due to the Outlaw US Empire's iron rule over its vassals, which is now in the initial process of unravelling--finally--and its globe-girdling Propaganda System--which we are now attacking through this and other likeminded websites.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2018 21:49 utc | 89

American English is my native language. I have four academic degrees from universities in the U.S. and England, including a B.A. degree in Classics with First Class Honours from Oxford and a Ph.D. in Classics from Harvard, and b's English seems just fine to me.

Posted by: lysias | May 16 2018 21:51 utc | 90

A blatant example of the U.S.'s extraterritorial application of its law is the apparent intention to criminally prosecute Australian citizen Assange for revealing documents that are classified only under U.S. law, when Assange's activities took place outside U.S. territory.

Posted by: lysias | May 16 2018 21:57 utc | 91

Frances #76 South Korean military are under the sole command of the US and have been since the Korean War.

Actually the US has controlled the SK military since 1945. It should be remembered that there was a large Japanese led puppet army in Korea during WWII. They consisted largely of Koreans. They surrendered to the US troops south of the 38th parallel, their Japanese officers removed and the US then took over control. Syngman Rhee was one of those soldiers who became the founder of the South Korean Republic that was nothing more, at that time, a US puppet state. In the last 70 years South Korea has been moving slowly towards true independence. The independence forces must act carefully for the US still has very deep roots inside the both the state, the corporate class and especially the military Which remains true to its puppet origins.

I believe that Moon is a true Korean patriot but he still has to deal with the fact that remnants of that Japanese puppet army is a major power inside SK.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 16 2018 21:57 utc | 92

lysias @95--

That's a very important example. As an English as Second Language instructor, I've thought about providing b with editing hints when his miscues impinge on meaning, but that's very rare; so, I've yet to make an attempt. There're many more important aspects involved for b in constructing his discourse he's excellent at. Plus, denigrating the host's ESL abilities potentially inhibits other ESL folks from commenting, and I want to hear what they have to say.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2018 22:44 utc | 93

93 - Thanks, Karlof.

We no longer need to use the military; we just do it and our large financial global setup will do the rest. Obama's first and worst early error in 2008 was not to temporarily nationalize the large financial institutions while breaking them up.

Here's to the unravelling!

Posted by: Bart Hansen | May 16 2018 22:48 utc | 94

@lysias #95 (re: extraterritorial)

...and with Assange, there was the ostensible 'excuse' of National Security (i.e., He's embarrassing the fuck out of us!) With Kim DotCom, it was strictly about money.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 16 2018 22:51 utc | 95

@6 Tannenhouser. So the board is in agreement then? NK does have ICBM? and it's not just fear porn?

Posted by: Tannenhouser | May 16 2018 23:13 utc | 96

I look at these "retreats" as negotiation tactics. Push way forward with the full intention of giving the other side something. It's not any different that asking a high price for something with the full intention of accepting something less. You can bargain down, not up.

Posted by: Bakerpete | May 16 2018 23:48 utc | 97

But why would South Korea agree to these exercises? They are smart enough to know this would enrage the North and my scuttle any hope for a deal. Why won't South Korea step up and freeze all war exercises for time being? They have plenty of training and readiness and they know there are psychopaths like Bolton in the US trying to sabotage any hopes of peace. They could lose everything, millions of lives, cities destroyed..etc, why won't they tell the US to stop it's provocations? Or do the South Koreans just take orders from the Pentagon without questioning or debate?

Posted by: Jason | May 17 2018 0:10 utc | 98

101 Jason,

That is a big question. Who is running the show? Here or there? We, among the commons do not know with any certainty. It seems that it is not who we are led to believe.

Posted by: fast freddy | May 17 2018 0:15 utc | 99

@61:"bevin@16 seems to agree with my paragraph about how Moon doesn't really count."

No. Moon counts a great deal. More than any of the Americans in fact. The problem, as exemplified by Bolton, is the US racist attitudes towards Korea. My guess was that the idiot Commander of US forces, the Pentagon (a dinosaur with several brains, none very large and often working against one another) and Bolton revved up the manouevres without telling the South Korean government. And that Trump changed his tune because Moon protested.
The US position in south korea is very weak and getting weaker every day as public opinion breaks out of the automatic anti-communist shell, imposed by law and by ruthless dictators, the puppets of foreigners, for seventy years.
South Korea is orienting itself towards China and re-unification. If the Americans want to stay, nobody will try to stop them, but they will be tolerated only as guests. They will not be allowed to continue dictating, interfering in politics and threatening the people with nuclear armageddon.
The slogan for the next decade, all over the world is going to be : Go Home Yankee.

Posted by: bevin | May 17 2018 0:16 utc | 100

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