Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 12, 2018

First Thoughts On The Kim Trump Photo-Op Summit

The photo-op summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea went well. The visuals show North Korea and the United States as equal partners.


The atmosphere was cordial.


Both sides won.


The signed document is short. The core part:

Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
  1. The United States and the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
  4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

Both sides commit to implement the above "fully and expeditiously". Further talks will be held at the Foreign Minister/Secretary of State level.

This is not a deal, just a declaration. The 'denuclearization' commitment by the DPRK is aspirational. There is no equal commitment from the U.S. side. There is no time frame. As predicted the DPRK will not give up its nukes. It had good reasons to build them and the same reasons will let it keep them.

As long as talks are ongoing the DPRK will likely hold off on further nuclear and long range missile tests. The U.S. will likely stop large scale maneuvers in and around Korea. This is the 'freeze for freeze' which North Korea long wanted and which China and Russia actively supported.

Further talks between the U.S. and North Korea will be slow walked and may not lead to significant progress in nuclear disarmament. Their main purpose is to hold off the U.S. while the real talks that between North and South Korea continue. This is what the "efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula" are really about.

It is disappointing that the terrible human rights record of the United States was not mentioned during the talks.

The North Korean side played its cards exceptionally well. It built its capabilities under enormous pressure and used it to elevate the country to a real player on the international stage. The "maximum pressure" sanction campaign against it is now defused. China, Russia and South Korea will again trade with North Korea.

In pressing for an early summit Trump defused a conflict that otherwise might have ruined his presidency.

The losers, for now, are the hawks in Japan, South Korea and Washington who tried their best to prevent this to happen. The winners are the people of Korea, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. Special prizes go to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and to Dennis Rodman who did their best to make this happen.

Posted by b on June 12, 2018 at 8:58 UTC | Permalink

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Worth mentioning that unless the declaration of 1994, this one is actually signed by both Kim and Trump - and the signature of the doc was shown live on TV.

Also, b, photo-op it might have been, but that abbreviation contains ‘opportunity’. The is now at least some decently serious hope for deescalation for a while.

(maybe I won’t die under a furry of fire after all… living as I do quite close to that theater)

Posted by: Philippe | Jun 12 2018 9:13 utc | 1

Here is an article written by Brandon Smith on May 2nd on his website .
He correctly predicted Brexit and the trump victory and I have little doubt that he is also correct this time.

Posted by: Sammy | Jun 12 2018 9:16 utc | 2

Point 3 on the manifest, does that refer to the US bases and military might or does anyone really believe the Kim Jong Un is gonna give up what weapons he has.

Posted by: Sabine | Jun 12 2018 9:26 utc | 3

There is SORT of a denuclearization stance on US part:
"President Trump committed to provide security [guarantees] to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula"
It is tit-for-tat, commitment for commitment. Of course, each leader can backtrack if the other one doesn't fulfill. Each one can appeal to the spirit the letter of the sentence for interpreting just about anything.

Yet, the "security of DPRK" is a hard to downplay bit, as is the "complete" near "Peninsula".

Posted by: MakkiaRubra | Jun 12 2018 9:39 utc | 4

Not much of substance really. Looks more like a PR exercise by the repub(e)licans to "help" for the current US congressional elections.

Deals with any US administrations, let alone tRump (ask folks in the building game in NYC) not worth the paper they are written on.

Is all quite surreal, after the bullshit over the Iran deal and the recent charade at G6 + 1.

Posted by: Seby | Jun 12 2018 10:16 utc | 5

surreal may not be the right word. More "reality disconnect" that madison avenue advertising is famous for conning the "buyers".

Posted by: Seby | Jun 12 2018 10:18 utc | 6

No brushing dandruff off Kim's shoulder pads I see. Give it the 36-hour diplomatic 'honeymoon' and then they'll be another manufactured 'crisis' to tweet on about, although "End Of Joint War Games" is being mentioned.

[Btw, nice distraction from apparent real progress in Syria -- (ZH - us-backed-kurds-agree-unconditional-talks-syrian-government) ]

Posted by: imo | Jun 12 2018 10:45 utc | 7

Tragic for North Korea to surrender like this, and to Trump of all people.

And this is hilarious

"It is disappointing that the terrible human rights record of the United States was not mentioned during the talks."

Uh for whom? United states human rights record or why just North Korea? Like Human rights have ever been a principle on this blog? Strange.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 10:50 utc | 8

The declaration really is a very short document:

I guess the two leaders spent the rest of the time admiring each other's haircuts, guffawing at all the insults they had earlier traded and going for a ride on the monorail on Sentosa Island.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 12 2018 11:18 utc | 9

This summit is a very positive event, in that it shows some willingness to talk, and let diplomacy do it's work. The previous threats and stonewalling were a dead end. Where it goes from here, no one can predict. But let us all take a deep breath and dare to feel some hope for a change.

Posted by: mike k | Jun 12 2018 11:19 utc | 10

It’s so hard for many of us to give Trump credit for anything at all. Let’s avoid such black and white thinking on this, and give the Orange One some measured applause on this one.

Posted by: mike k | Jun 12 2018 11:22 utc | 11

mike k

What is good though - that US didnt have to bomb North Korea? "Good" would be considered if US giving up its own nukes. This is surrender which rarely produce something good in the long run for the surrendered part.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 11:30 utc | 12

Berhnard, you nailed once more, congratulations for an exceptional mind.

Posted by: Canthama | Jun 12 2018 11:47 utc | 13

The best thing Trump did was talk to Kim alone without the experts (aka hawks) whispering in his ear.

On the plus side, the neocons do not hate N.Korea as viscerally as they do Iran. A sticking point, as it was in 1994, will be issues like, 'freezing ballistic missile program'. The U.S. will insist on peripheral issues like demanding that N. Korea sanction Iran, their strategic partner.

To be in detente with the U.S. means that we expect you to be a vassal state of the U.S.

In this summary, please note that after the 1994 'Agreed Framework' which included normalization of relations with the U.S., the U.S. imposed sanctions on N. Korea multiple times for exporting missiles because it violated 'U.S. law' even though it did not violate any UN resolutions.

There you have it, N. Korea was expected to be subservient to the U.S. They were not allowed to act in their own interests even though they were abiding by international law.

Will the same thing happen this time? Iran might be the anvil that crushes an agreement.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jun 12 2018 12:00 utc | 14

IIf we don't praise Trump when he does a tremendously good thing, we will just ridiculously end up discouraging him to do good things. So then it is a part of our responsibility. And it is no doubt worth doing so for South Korea and Japan rather than spending on worthless military build-up.

Posted by: IBUKI | Jun 12 2018 12:15 utc | 15

In other words, "Welcome to the nuclear club."

Posted by: RenoDino | Jun 12 2018 12:19 utc | 16

Kim got his main desire, security for him and his regime. He will also get real economic growth and legitimization. We might get to remove our forces from South Korea, but those are really aimed at China and might stay.

This is a major benefit for South Korea, too. Now they can proceed with their unification goals unimpeded by US intransigence. The outcome with be some sort of federation between the North and South, which would be a major power in East Asia, on a par with Japan.

Trump will see to it that real progress is made, and everyone will benefit from it, especially him. He wins in a landslide in 2020.

Posted by: bob sykes | Jun 12 2018 12:20 utc | 17


Exactly what is a "good" thing by Trump here? Is the logic that US should be able to threat other nations with war so they (neocons) could reach their goal?
What did Iran gain from a treaty with the US?

Folks, learn!

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 12:21 utc | 18

After the sarcastic verbal 'missiles' Trump and Kim initially launched at each other, and Trump's UN performance piece where the obliteration of N. Korea was threatened, North Korea and South Korea suddenly have better relations by far than at any time over the last more than half century, since the attempted destruction of N. Korea by primarily the US during the so-called Korean War.

Trump, by giving the US military increased foreign policy influence, has also set them up to be 'fired' or demoted from too much influence due to incompetence.

The strategically important rare earth mineral treasures of North Korea are an implicit major consideration in all this.

North Korea is gaining time: their military related technical and scientific/educational capabilities are growing; Russia and China have interests that coincide with reduction of US military posture in S. Korea and area.

South Korea and Japan are US occupied territory still, and while there are interests in both countries that want to keep it that way, a growing majority of the population of S. Korea and Japan want the Americans out.

Whatever Trump's real intent then and now, Trump was elected in part on the implicit basis of reducing the US Empire project. His interests re re=election and US financial problems indicate reduction of overseas involvements, which includes US dominated S. Korea/N. Korea standoff.

Trump's remarks about Russia rejoining the G7 (or 6 +1?) were a signal that the Mueller Trump-Russia BS has lost its threat to Trump. He is now free to get together with Putin.

One of the big questions pertaining to Trump is to what extent he is learning capable.

Note that during the same few days that he says nice things about Kim and Putin/Russia and Italy's new government, he is bad mouthing and jeering the Prime Minister
of Canada, the great friendly neighbour in the great white North, and infuriating the Europeans.

It's political theater of a most unusual kind....

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 12 2018 12:27 utc | 19

Sammy ^^^ ...correctly predicted Brexit...

What Brexit would that be? Nothing has happened yet. Probably nothing will. All that has happened is a non-binding rigged referendum, expressing an aspiration to leave the EU, which increasingly large numbers of people would like disregarded (through some sort of democratic performance art, such as a follow-up ref. (Almost certain to happen and absolutely certain to overturn the original)).

Posted by: Plod | Jun 12 2018 12:28 utc | 20

The US will be negotiating in good faith of course, just as they always do.

Posted by: MarkU | Jun 12 2018 12:29 utc | 21

A positive event. Unfortunately there will now be a barrage of editorials telling Trump he gave away too much and he looks like a loser. Hopefully he has matured somewhat and won't let it get to him.

Posted by: dh | Jun 12 2018 12:48 utc | 22

Well waddayaknow? Maybe he isn't such a bad guy after all. Maybe hes just misunderstood. Maybe he really does want the best for his people, and that is why he is isolating them. Maybe...

Posted by: dan | Jun 12 2018 12:50 utc | 23

Meanwhile back at the ranch... Democrats Use Bipartisan Anti-Diplomacy Playbook, but Moon Has Changed the Game

Posted by: et Al | Jun 12 2018 13:15 utc | 24

@15 -- "On the plus side, the neocons do not hate N.Korea as viscerally as they do Iran."

Well, why would the Israeli lobby spend any money (i.e. recycle American aid donations) to promote 'hatred' of NK by their representative actors-in-charge of the swamp? No business plan there.

Posted by: imo | Jun 12 2018 13:19 utc | 25

Does the suspension of US military exercise have anything to do with the grounding of the entire B1-b fleet last week for safety reasons? Probably not, but when you can't shake your biggest stick..

Posted by: et Al | Jun 12 2018 13:25 utc | 26

@18 -- "Kim got his main desire, security for him and his regime."

Yeh, right, and Bolton was just sitting there like an angel? Rather, a viper ready to strike. Which he will in due course to sour the deal and give Trump the case to go in harder. The only thing Trump and Kim have in common is hand size.

Posted by: imo | Jun 12 2018 13:25 utc | 27

"Establishment media is either unwilling or unable to accurately cover the intricacies of the Trump-Kim summit as well as Pyongyang’s serious diplomatic efforts, says Gareth Porter."

US Public Being Misled on Trump-Kim Summit/A>

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Jun 12 2018 13:28 utc | 28

"Trump's remarks about Russia rejoining the G7 (or 6 +1?) were a signal that the Mueller Trump-Russia BS has lost its threat to Trump. He is now free to get together with Putin."

Good catch! I had overlooked that inference. thanks

Posted by: les7 | Jun 12 2018 14:02 utc | 29

Dennis Rodman, MVP!

Next step: details for the new Trump Tower Pyongyang.

Posted by: elkern | Jun 12 2018 14:16 utc | 30

glad to see that all went well, hopefully.
there's 1 Nobel Peace Prize in the bag for Trump and Kim.
(or perhaps the real credit ought to belong to the South Koreans for making the right moves)

Posted by: chris | Jun 12 2018 14:19 utc | 31


Yes I guess thats what we are seeing now, mold North Korea to a US "friend" and liberalize it with alot of american companies buying up the whole north..

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 14:20 utc | 32

Trump is now established as a man of peace. Any military action he takes (Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Venezuela, etc.) can now be excused.

Obama was also a man of peace (his Nobel Peace Prize proves it!). That's why he instigated a coup in Ukraine, a bombing campaign against Libya, and supported ISIS.

Bush-Cheny loved peace so much that they concocted reasons to go to war. And Reagan and Clinton got their share of "peace" as well.

In fact, nothing says "peace" like a trillion dollar military-spy budget.

American's adore our peace-loving leaders (with a little help from MSM propaganda).

PS It's for the children.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 12 2018 14:21 utc | 33


Trump is now established as a man of peace. Any military action he takes (Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Venezuela, etc.) can now be excused.

Thank you!
This is the main problem of this event, the crazied Trump is suddenly supported, this will open up for more wars, sanctions, threats and so forth and he can say, 'look what I did in Korea - trust me'.

Go figure what Iran now will face after this...

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 14:34 utc | 34

@ et A 27 and Avid Lurker 29

The summit did have one short term positive outcome. President Trump has agreed to suspend war games on the peninsula for the time being. I'm doubtful this will hold, as the MIC was taken by surprise, perhaps until after the fall mid-term elections.

If lasting, the MIC would probably use this as another excuse to overthrow the current American regime, as it is cutting into profits.

Posted by: Michael | Jun 12 2018 14:45 utc | 35

@ Robert Snefjella who ended his comment with: "It's political theater of a most unusual kind...."

I agree. It is really too early to tell what will come of this theatre but it seems to be admittance by empire that it might be projecting from a shell of its former self.

This has been great show by Trump which he is practiced at but it reflects no substance to assess movement on either side that would represent different intention by empire nor submission by NK.

Nice kabuki while who knows what is going on behind the curtain.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 12 2018 14:50 utc | 36

@zanon: N. Korea has not "surrendered". This is a negotiation, not a surrender by either side.

Posted by: mike k | Jun 12 2018 14:55 utc | 37

Perhaps Kim is being persuaded by China and Russia that the OBOR plan will gradually defang the US, and bring greater prosperity to his country. He could not be making the moves with South Korea and the US that he is, without the support of these great powers behind him.

Posted by: mike k | Jun 12 2018 14:57 utc | 38

Dennis rodman?
Is it who I think it is?
Well, very nice that the basket buffoon of so many wildish episodes has undertaken a brave good enterprise for all Greeks and Troyans to applaud.

Posted by: augusto | Jun 12 2018 14:57 utc | 39

mike k

Of course its surrender. Its North Korean denuclearization after prolonged threats by another nuclear power.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 14:59 utc | 40

If in fact, trade is now okie dokie, and that NK is no longer considered a pariah among nations, these are tangible and substantive.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 12 2018 15:12 utc | 41

Even after the "Nukyular Summit", the USA remains the most dangerous and aggressive nation on the planet. This hypothesis is supported by history.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 12 2018 15:18 utc | 42

I'm very much reminded of Nixon's China trip from the pomp and fanfare to the results. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov observed:

"As of now we cannot but welcome the fact that an important step forward has been made," he said. "Devil is in the detail, of course, and it is necessary to understand the specificities. But as we understand the impetus has been provided," deputy minister added.

"According to Ryabkov, Moscow expects the six-lateral negotiating format on settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue to become relevant again, which will help reach concrete results in this area. "We, together with Chinese friends, together with other participants of what used to be called six-lateral talks, are looking forward to getting this format relevant again, and will continue working towards a result," he said." [My emphasis]

What was said and done was about what I expected. Kim's intellectual cred was on display as he certainly used English to talk with Trump as they walked alone. Now that the preliminaries are over the serious work can begin, with meaningful progress almost totally resting on the Outlaw US Empire's behavior. Trump has promised to stop the provocative military exercises as long as negotiations continue--the language Trump used in his announcement's rather important, a point noted by RT's writers:

"Describing the exercises as “war games,” Trump said that the drills were “very expensive” and required US bombers to “fly in from Guam” – a practice that he described as “provocative.” Speaking about the large US military contingent based in South Korea, the president said that he would ideally “like to bring them home, but that’s not part of the equation right now. But we will be stopping the war games.”" [Emphasis in original]

I cannot recall any POTUS saying he'd like to end the Korean occupation. Nor has any previous POTUS criticized the cost of Empire in such a manner. I've yet to read China's official reaction, otherwise I'd have included it too. Now we get to wait and see what happens next!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 12 2018 15:30 utc | 43

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 12, 2018 8:27:56 AM | 20

"Trump's remarks about Russia rejoining the G7 (or 6 +1?) were a signal that the Mueller Trump-Russia BS has lost its threat to Trump. He is now free to get together with Putin."

No. You are just seeing what you want to see. Reality could be a bit different. Trump said that in order to cause internal divisions in the EU before the G-7 negotiations, in order to weaken them with internal squabbles. Merkel admitted that too and she did not like it.

But actually the US remains hostile to Russia and just imposed *new* sanctions on various russian entities and people, Matis said US is staying in Syria for the long term, etc.

Posted by: T | Jun 12 2018 15:38 utc | 44

thanks b and to a number of posters - robert snefjella, karlof1 and etc..

it is difficult to not see this in a positive light.. sure jackrabbit, but i will take what i can from the moment..

it seems like trump is good at mixing things up.. he is not following the typical politician approach either... i still don't think much of the man, but his actions are like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise very stodgy realm - politics..

as for trumps comments on the g7 and russia, etc... i am looking at it more like T myself, but i would happy to be wrong..

i get a kick out of the fact trump is using trudeau as the punching bag at present.. even if trump isn't the consummate politician, it's good theatre! as for what one can count on with trump, i still think - not that much, unless one wants to rely on a jack in the box!

Posted by: james | Jun 12 2018 15:47 utc | 45

With Trump, as he has said, “attitude” is most important, which he recognizes immediately—-it leads his response in any situation--and if attitude is a go then movement can take place.

The problem is all this originality works against the neocon playbook and establishment politics, with representatives of this brand of politics present in his own administration, as with Bolton. Will they scheme against him further? (as with the torturous ongoing Mueller fiasco)? The article referenced at the bottom of this notes thinks so.

Whether Trump is knowledgeable of neocon plans, or simply doesn’t give a damn, or is picking and choosing amongst these for his own purposes is hard to know.

The notion of reconciliation of the Koreas leading on in a few years to further engagement with Russia and China and “the new silk road” being constructed across half the planet, will not sit well with neocon domination plans.

Trump is interesting as the “ham-fisted buffoon” who is shaking things up. If nothing else, he is at least this.

And that’s why his popularity is rising. Demonizing him is too simple.

The following is interesting, reviews Trump’s controversial moves, and focuses on Trump as danger to establishment neo-con thinking.

It's a bit over- blown with its ironical/satirical tendencies.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jun 12 2018 15:49 utc | 46

A noteworthy point?

Trump was asked about trusting a 'vile dictator' like Kim and he replied "Over my lifetime I’ve done a lot of deals with a lot of people, and sometimes the people that you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones. And the people that you do trust they are not the honorable ones ...."

Now if we consider that the System's most habitual, templated, patented, 'normal' of processes pertaining to making direct war on a country is to first demonize the leader (Noriega, Saddam, Milosevic, Ghaddafi, Assad, etc and until very recently Kim) and what do have?

Trump has once again gone 'rogue', off script. And if his statement is noticed widely, and becomes something to remind us of, well the next time the System demonizes a leader as the new Hitler, we can comfort the propagandists with the thought that actually, as Trump has reminded us, sometimes those whom we think very badly of may turn out to be thoroughly honorable.

(And he includes a cryptic message for those close to him 'hmmm, can I trust you, or are you going to be like that damn Justin in Canada, acting all cutesy before knifing me in the back?')

But at any rate, the standard demonization meme/vile tactic prior to a war of aggression has if not been put down the drain as yet, been a bit nicely sullied perhaps....

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 12 2018 15:59 utc | 47

All is nice and well, but I doubt that Trump has understanding that MIA human remains and human rights are not the same issue.
This whole event is really nothing but a stunt where Kim is a clear winner in stopping US military without really firing a bullet, should Trump really commit to halt militay and withdraw from S.Korea.

However he might be forced to do the U-turn on all of it, anyway anytime.

I also think that Russia and China played biggest and most important role in all this be it a stunt or be it a great success.
Time will tell.

Posted by: laserlurk | Jun 12 2018 16:03 utc | 48

@T 45. Remarkable that you have been able to divine Trump's innermost tactics.

Now if Trump and Putin have a friendly meeting and Mueller's ridiculous Deep State shooting-themselves-in-the-foot 'probe' fades away from the headlines, what then?

As far as the US being unfriendly to Russia goes, let us note that there may be discrepancies between Trump's innermost sanctums and real attitudes, and the System's perpetual need for a scary looming enemy.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 12 2018 16:12 utc | 49


The real geopolitical significance of this is that it facilitates the REAL peace negotiations between Kim and Moon, makes it far more difficult (and politically costly) for the MIC to sabotage the real peace negotiations, assist Ru/Cn/NK/SK in sidelining the US from the real peace negotiations, and massively ratcheting down the tensions.

The actual (non-)content of the declaration/deal is totally irrelevant - effectively Trump has kissed the bride and the groom and wished them to live happily ever after.

The US is totally non-agreement-capable. For any specific US-NK deal, the best side for the US will be rigorously enforced, while the worst side for the US will be torn up and thrown away - that is useless for NK and Kim knows that well. Therefore for any US-NK declaration/deal, the more vague, non-committal, insubstantive and unspecified the better, and the more it puts off any substantive negotiations for a later day the better - as long as the general tone is positive and friendly.

Trump also gains something: (1) an escape route from his previous aggressive posturing which had exclusively negative effects (for the US), which failed utterly, which were highly dangerous, and which were politically disastrous both for the US and for Trump personally; (2) a positive foreign policy outcome for the November elections; (3) US budget savings; (4) reducing tensions (if Trump cares - not sure); (5) boost for Trump's international image.

Posted by: bm | Jun 12 2018 16:14 utc | 50

I suggest that the American public,take along hard look at how things are done in North Korea. That is what your future holds for you!
The rest of us well!! Use your imagination. Not good not at all good.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 12 2018 16:16 utc | 51

For Trump in the future to betray the promise he just made to begin a lasting peace, he would have to be one sick son-of-a-bitch, backstabbing truebeliever. I saw a meme of a Trump Hotel standing in Pyongyang's skies. Think about it people: Does Trump really look like a truebeliever? I suppose it is all very possible that Trump eventually rips the mask away to reveal the fourth horseman...but I don't want to live in constant fear of imminent demise. I put my faith in the ol' Dotard's love of the greenback, and my belief that he realizes that MAGA 2.0 is the only chance of bringing the crashing plane down without taking the world with it. I think he just gave the blessing for the east to surmount the west.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 12 2018 16:21 utc | 52

A noteworthy point?
Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 12, 2018 11:59:09 AM | 48

Agreed and duly noted.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 12 2018 16:29 utc | 53

I praise him. I cannot begin to think how it must feel to be in charge of a madhouse, as our government has become. I cannot begin to think what tactics must be constantly in play to affect any sane move forward when one is surrounded by imbeciles and psychopaths who have real power. Many excuses were made for charismatic Obama, who clearly decided early on that not only would he placate his minders, he would join them. Most of Trump's bellicose moves have been verbal ones, and the actual use of weapons was accompanied, as b and other comments here pointed out, by a clear attempt to diminish the affect of the weapons.

"War games" and cost of same - that is a huge admission for an entrepreneur president to make. Can this be the start of sanity, of the soft landing so many of us have hoped for?

We have had bad news for such a long time - we are startled by something really good. It doesn't hurt our jaded world outlook to rejoice that two very important world leaders just smiled and shook hands.

I don't know anything about basketball, but I do know that Dennis Rodman has been a North Korea advocate for many years now. Bravo to him as well. Yes, there's still Yemen, and there is still the recovery of Syria, the Palestinian plight, so many vital causes worldwide. Let all of this take wings from here on out; let it fly!

I have a giant climbing peace rose and another called "Chicago Peace". Let the 1lth day of June become World Peace Day!

Posted by: juliania | Jun 12 2018 16:40 utc | 54

I went to RT first to get the report and then here to get b's great reflections on this event.

What I wonder now is if the Pentagon will allow the US side of the "freeze for freeze". The RT story quotes the SK forces spokesperson as saying they haven't received any orders yet, and nothing changes until they do. It wouldn't be the first time we've seen Trump state his desires and geopolitical take (which have usually been quite sound, in my view), only to have to walk it back once he gets home and the rats corner him.

This event is historic and in terms of diplomacy it's a major instance of groundbreaking. I don't understand the short view of armchair observers sneering at this. The details remain, but the overarching principle of "jaw-jaw, not war-war" has been established.

I continue to admire Kim and his stature as a statesman. He holds responsibility for the future of his people, building on a legacy of horrific disaster. And yet he has brought the situation to one of equal dialog with the very instrument of that horror.

I was amazed to read of Trump's intent to freeze the war games. I never dreamed this meeting would produce such far-reaching results. I underestimated either Trump or Kim. What actually happens seems far less important to me than that these concepts were aired publicly and now form part of the global view of the situation. What Trump didn't say was that the war games in the south work an immense hardship on the North during its prime agricultural period, a form of starvation pressure. Getting them stopped would be a great gain.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 12 2018 16:43 utc | 55

@51 bm

Yes, that's an excellent point - this meeting now allows all the players to move forward on their path. Trump has freed himself from his former adversarial stance, as Bolton and others are free to do what they do best - posture powerlessly - while Kim and Moon are free to move towards the ultimate reunification which is the real goal. This has loosened up the entire regional theater for multiple possibilities now to arise.

Seems like the definition of a game changer to me.

To b for the analysis, and to Robert Snefjella and others who see what a positive event this is, my agreement and gratitude.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 12 2018 16:53 utc | 56

Mark2 @52--

DPRK has a booming economy, free cradle to grave health care, free higher education, and zero impoverished people; we here inside the Outlaw US Empire can make no such claims. I'm pretty certain the million+ homeless would welcome the upgrade represented by living within DPRK. LBJ declared War on Poverty but was defeated by his own elite whereas both China and DPRK are about to win or have already won their wars on poverty.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 12 2018 17:01 utc | 57

I doubt much is going to come of this. Surely Kim was just mouthing words about denuclearizing in the foreseeable future, so long as the berserk US can still project enough power to attack North Korea. And as for the US ending military maneuvers on the peninsula, I'll believe that moratorium when it's lasted a significant time.

Given Trump's mercurial antics, I wouldn't be surprised to see this in the crapper already by next week.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 12 2018 17:12 utc | 58

Lots of optimism this morning for a change. I hope it lasts. Denuclearization remains the objective and it will have to be verifiable. Trump can't settle for anything less. NK can never feel comfortable with the US military presence....with or without exercises

Still if this meeting (can't really call it an agreement) proves popular domestically and Trump's ratings go up it will be hard for the spoilers to operate without looking bad.

Posted by: dh | Jun 12 2018 17:13 utc | 59

Quite a difference between the way Trump treats the leaders of NK, China, Russia compared to the perfumed princes of EU, G7 and NATO.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 12 2018 17:16 utc | 60

The complete Trump presser is here:

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jun 12 2018 17:23 utc | 61

I think it was a very reasonable outcome, the show was rather modest if we compare to the last week-end.

Both partie did sign a Modicum Of Understanding (almost a Memorandum of U ?)

Karlofi 44 had it right in citing Trump about demilitarization, Trump also added that stopping the provocative yearly war game will save a lot of money.

I agree time schedule is not there, but could it be ?
One must remember that the peace talks about VietNam in Paris were stalled for 6 months just on the shape of the meeting table.

The sorry looser of the European Union (sic) will join with the US Democrats (sic) to criticize Donald style of diplomacy.
Preferred the cackles of Hillary ?

Posted by: Charles Michael | Jun 12 2018 17:29 utc | 62

I agree with b. The real action is going to be between North Korea and South Korea. If the U.S. does not seek to interfere with or sabotage a rapprochement, the Korean War may officially come to an end, and the two Koreas will be able to move further down the road to normal relations, which both sides seem to want sincerely. Once that occurs, then it will be very difficult for the U.S. to threaten NK with "fire and fury." Best of all, SK may request that the U.S. remove most or all of its troops from their country.

Posted by: Rob | Jun 12 2018 17:29 utc | 63

I trust U.S. integrity as far as I can throw the Empire State Building. If a peace deal really comes out of this I predict Micheal Mouse will win the 2019 F1 Championship. To quote the first line of Motorhead’s track Bomber. ‘Ain’t a hope in hell!‘

Posted by: Beibdnn. | Jun 12 2018 17:41 utc | 64

Karloff @58
Have a look at Human rights watch-North Korea on Google they'v done a good report. Despots and dictators!
In the west we need to regain our lost democracy. That meens getting a free unbiased press.
I think we're all just desperate for good news!
Me I don't believe a word of it. Sorry.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 12 2018 17:43 utc | 65

I find the hopefulness expressed here to be surprising. Certainly, this is a step in the right direction, but I put the proof is in the pudding. In other words: Watch what they DO not what they SAY.

Have you forgotten:

>> The Trump University scam?

>> Trump's "draining the swamp" rhetoric
As his lawyer Cohen apparently engaged in a pay-to-play scheme and there are unresolved issues regarding Trump's separation from business interests.

>> Trump's campaign promise to exit Middle East?
Trump has occupied bombed Syria; occupied Eastern Syria; danced with the Saudis; moved it's embassy to Jerusalem.

>> Trump just tore up the Iran Agreement
An agreement that I contend was made to be broken as the intent was really to delay conflict with Iran because the Syrian conflict was taking longer than expected?

Then there's the fact that peace negotiations with NK have failed several times before.

These (and more) just scratch the surface and argue for a very skeptical stance toward the show we have just witnessed.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 12 2018 17:46 utc | 66

"It is disappointing that the terrible human rights record of the United States was not mentioned during the talks."
A good one B!

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 12 2018 17:52 utc | 67

The Washington Post's Editorial Board is simply incensed with Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-un:

Posted by: vk | Jun 12 2018 17:57 utc | 68

Trump has been breaking agreements
- Obamacare's breakup ( it failed)
- Nafta breakup (on going)
- Iran nuclear deal breakup
- Clean air agreement breakup
- USA-Canada trades breakup (on going)
- Jerusalem's status breakup
Trump's attempts to make new agreements
- North Korea denuclearization
- Palestine/Israel peace plan
- ...

Trump find it easy to destroy, he will have much hard time building.

Let's see how quickly the North Korea-USA peace fantasy will collapse

Posted by: Virgile | Jun 12 2018 17:57 utc | 69

Criticism and pessimism about damn near everything in our world today is often justified and accurate. I do that a lot. On the other hand negativity can become so habitual that it blinds us to the occasional good news. We may think - that can't be true, because everything is phony and doomed. Not really. Take a break Cassandra, there is such a thing as good news and hope!

Posted by: mike k | Jun 12 2018 18:00 utc | 70

"The "maximum pressure" sanction campaign against it is now defused. China, Russia and South Korea will again trade with North Korea."

But, has not Trump stated that sanctions remain?

Posted by: Sasha | Jun 12 2018 18:08 utc | 71

mike k

Could you explain then what North Korea is benefitting from this deal with denuclearization, could you do that?

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 18:09 utc | 72

Sammy 5:16:33 AM | 3
I do not agree with Smith. The neocons have two objectives in Korea. First reach the Sino-North Korean border, but second lay their hands on 5 trillion u$ worth suspected mineral richness in North Korea, rare earths and more. If they bomb North Korea China will react and make it impossible to reach that goals. If they try the soft way there may be a chance to lure over Kim winning first the mineral goodies and reach the border later.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 12 2018 18:17 utc | 73

Mike k @ 70
I would turn that right around. Don't let your hope blind you to reality.
The reality is what the west is doing to Yemen!
For me i'l be optimistic when the whole world knows, the truth about that.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 12 2018 18:20 utc | 74

@ all with hope for peace coming out of this situation.....which I share

Let me remind you that this is empire in free fall over the cliff of history grasping at old positions of control like they are still relevant.

Yes, it is a positive event but not for the lipstick on the pig of dying empire it is showing as.....lets not get delusional here with the show by a TV game show host.

Let us see where all this is in a me the meat that isn't further projection of empire.

I have wrote before that Korea will unite in spite of the US as part of this path. That show will not get the media/press attention until after the fact that this kabuki has.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 12 2018 18:24 utc | 75

Well, b, while it is certainly true that the US has a problematic record with human rights in the Korean Peninsula, the North Koreans are no Boy Scouts either when it comes to human rights, no?

Sometimes, in order to make nice, you need to bite your tongue. Otherwise you are the mirror image of John Bolton, who never let's anything remain unsaid, and look at how helpful he is.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Jun 12 2018 18:27 utc | 76

Dennis Rodman is a high level international intelligence operative.

Posted by: Robert Browning | Jun 12 2018 18:33 utc | 77

Dennis Rodman was the best defensive player of his era. He won at Detroit and he won at Chicago (Michael Jordan's Bulls). He was selfless, sacrificing his body by taking offensive charges, forcing turnovers, and most importantly, wiping the backboards against the giants of game with rebounding and positioning that was superb, the best ever. His release passes on fast breaks off his turnover work were things of beauty.

Now, for the North Korea events. China and Russia have this under control. They got Kim to tamp down his nuke and missile program and forced the US to stop the military exercises. That was their groundwork. Moon was catalytic and brilliant working with China and Russia. He will be very instrument in moving this forward. He's no US lackey.

The sociopath and psychopath have done what they had to do bvecause China and Russia had warned both the US not to start a war and Kim not to start a war. The two superpowers were ready to change the regime if need be. They were not going to allow the US to create chaos on their border. And they were not going to allow North Korea to be conquered.

Kim knows China will decapitate North Korea if he doesn't follow instructions. The psycho Hegemon (now embodied in Trump's persona) is clearly hoping to maneuver North Korea into the containment camp set against China. A ludicrous plan. Consider that Moon and Kim have their agenda to work out, and both societies on the Peninsula want the US out, gone, far away.

What we have now is the very real potential for Korean Peninsula envelopment with Eurasia, OBOR, BRI, Russian Far East energy projects, and a permanence of the regime if Kim follows the directives from Beijing and Moscow.

Watch for the more normalization of Kim as a regional leader, free to move around and express his views.

Also, a procession of leaders will head to Pyongyang, if only to thumb their nose at the Hegemon.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 12 2018 19:36 utc | 78

b: "It is disappointing that the terrible human rights record of the United States was not mentioned during the talks."

Jimmy Dore sort of accidentally ended up adding his voice to exposing another fake NGO/regime change operation when he brought up the same.

I most agree with karlof1's take. Guarded optimism for a tiny step by our tiny handed Reality Show President.

Grieved is absolutely correct to point out that the permanent state often does the opposite of what a President says. I broaden the observation because Obama's announcements on both Ukraine and Syria were shut down the very next day, too. How much of that is actual conflict inside the Empire's capital compared to political theater, I do not pretend to know.

I did notice that the "liberal" media is not pleased. Goodman's DemocracyNow! actually provided the best Western TV coverage I've seen.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 12 2018 19:40 utc | 79

No matter what comes next, this meeting is already a breakthrough achievement for NK. Between the unprecedented meeting of NK and SK leaders on SK soil and the unprecedented meeting of NK and US leaders, the perception of Kim by Western populations has fundamentally shifted from a pariah to an "okay-to-talk-to" guy. The taboo has been broken. This is the biggest result to date.

Also note that Lavrov on his recent visit to NK has invited Kim to the Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok this fall. Kim hasn't confirmed his presence yet. However, Abe will be there, and just two days ago Putin has personally invited Xi during his visit to Qingdao, so Xi is also very likely to visit. Given these circumstances, I think it's likely that Kim will accept the invitation. Imagine the line-up: Putin, Xi, Abe, and Kim (last year it was Putin, Abe, Moon, and Battulga). Kim visiting an international economic forum will be yet another unprecedented event, and, in view of the partial lifting of sanctions, will allow him to discuss potential investment deals directly with business leaders.

Posted by: S | Jun 12 2018 19:44 utc | 80


It was a Finkelstein interview, I saw that post, I dont have a link though.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 19:44 utc | 81

As others have said, this meeting was a necessity for the United States to get out of the way and allow the real negotiations between N & S Korea to start. Those talks are what matters, but first, the naked king of America had to be feted and treated like he is important. Everyone wants the American out of Asia aside from the corrupt and increasingly disconnected conservative elites in Japan, S Korea and Taiwan. Everyone can see the Eurasian writing on the wall with the rapidly increasing economic power of China, belt and road initiatives everywhere, and Russia re-emerging politically.

What many people fail to see, however, is the battle going on inside the United States between the increasingly irrational and backward looking Atlantacists and the more rational nationlists who can also see where the future is heading in Asia. Both groups are dangerous, and but at least nationalists like Trump can play paint America's withdrawal from Asia as self-imposed. In reality they do not have a choice. Asian's understand saving face though, and this is an opportunity for the American's to start withdrawing from Korea with dignity.

Losing an empire is not easy and is certainly dangerous for all involved. But like Sting once wrote, "confront your enemies, avoid them when you can". A good outcome for a change so I am cautiously optimistic.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jun 12 2018 20:10 utc | 82


The resumption of trade with Russia and China is a win-win for the three sides. Even more important is that the North Korean soldiers who normally are on high alert during the US -South Korea war games can now be released to help with the agricultural sector, especially harvest of crops! This will really help the health and nutrition of the North Korean people....

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 12 2018 20:12 utc | 83

Sad Canuck 82
This division in the US between the Atlantacists, or globalists as I call them and the nationalists is something I believe exists but there is very little info on it. I suspect the nationalists see the writing on the wall for the US as the Empire and are dumping excess baggage, much of which the US has carried since WWII. In some ways this will be better for the rest of the world (depending on how much of their dept they offload onto other countries on their way out), though when it comes to Israel, they will be worse than the Atlantacists.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 12 2018 20:22 utc | 84

"The most likely outcome from the meeting, then, is the maintenance of the balance between North Korea and the United States that existed before the meeting. In all likelihood, the talks will continue through various channels, but as with many diplomatic efforts, an endless amount can unfold while the balance holds."

Posted by: Virgile | Jun 12 2018 20:23 utc | 85

*Kim Jong-un of the "Democratic People's Republic" of Korea (!). I hope b realized the absurdity of North Korea's official name when he included those words without quotation marks.

Would any truly democratic country, where the people, notably the working class, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the population, be 'represented' by an individual or institution such as the Korean and US dictators and ruling elites?

Posted by: Ninel | Jun 12 2018 20:27 utc | 86

Sad Canuck

US withdrawing from Asia? Definately not! US is wholly focused on asia, when NK surrendered its all focusing on China next.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 12 2018 20:36 utc | 87

It was nice theater. Trump may have slightly and temporarily increased his personal standing. Except for total removal of the nuclear deterrent, I don't see what interest the USA has in good relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. On the contrary, it needs an evil villain to justify the 30k imperial soldiers with all sorts of high tech weaponry, THAAD, numerous war games which are in essence directed against its biggest economical competitor China.

Posted by: xor | Jun 12 2018 20:55 utc | 88

Written by an intern.

I mean there's nothing here. Nothing accomplished. Photo op is right.

Nothing to see here other than expensive PR trip to SE Asia.

Posted by: JThomas | Jun 12 2018 21:00 utc | 89

@85 Virgile

Nice quote, and good point from the article, that the balance between NK and US has not changed, but diplomacy has entered. I love this language, " with many diplomatic efforts, an endless amount can unfold while the balance holds."

@80 S

Agreed. I think it's unnecessary to look for any more "results" to proceed from this event. The event itself has already done the work. The heavy lifting was to get diplomacy in place. This is actually a quantum leap for the relationship. The world has changed. No need to quibble or fret over details to come - will the exercises actually end, will the de-nuke ever happen, etc. It's not about moves within the US-NK relationship. It's about the NK-SK reunification, and the withdrawal of the US presence, and the entry of one Korea into the world as a sovereign nation. The US isn't expected to contribute anything to any of this except its gradual acquiescence.

@82 Sad Canuck

That's an interesting picture. Hard to say at this stage who Trump actually is, within the contours of this internal US struggle. It may well be, as Robert Snefjella pointed out @20, that Trump's hand is now stronger against his domestic foes.

I note that VP Pence was quoted in Twitter as saying that the exercises would NOT end. This prompted immediate denial. An official statement hastened to explain that the Vice President was misunderstood, that he was only referring to the routine readiness training of forces stationed in SK, and NOT AT ALL to the exercises: Drills or no drills? Confusion over VP Pence’s Korea comments after Trump promises halt to war games

So this was perhaps the first test, and if so, Trump passed it.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 12 2018 21:06 utc | 90

Oh dear. Apparently Pence has said the military training and preperation won’t stop. The war gaming will. Less than 24 hours after Trump signed the deal, the U.S. renages again. From R.T.

Posted by: Beibdnn. | Jun 12 2018 21:21 utc | 91

Time to be cautiously optimistic. The big take-out from this summit is Kim and North Korea have been brought in from the cold. It's now ok to talk with them. Huge positive with the ball now in South Korea's court to continue with talks aimed at eventual reconciliation and reunification under some sort of federalist system.
I look forward to seeing Kim at international meetings in the future. Clearly he enjoyed playing on the international stage. And so did his sister - let's not forget his sister.
And also not to forget is that Israel does not have a dog in this fight.

Posted by: Hal Duell | Jun 12 2018 21:21 utc | 92

A few more notes. None of what just occurred will help the Republican or Blue Dog Democrat causes in November unless they were already pro-peace and pro-universal healthcare. It's the GOP's and Trump's domestic policies that have them on the run.

One big reason Moon's now RoK president is because of the extremely bad record human rights record of corrupt predecessor Park and all previous dictators to whom she's related politically and by blood. I imagine Kim's post-summit popularity within RoK will rise back over 80% again, on par with Moon's. The hawks on all 3 sides are now in a much deeper hole than 72 hours ago. Popular political momentum both North and South will now become unstoppable as the old, tired demonizers no longer have a pot to piss in--the people South and North share a great hunger to be together once again.

Finally, within Asian culture, gaining the blessing of an involved powerful elder before proceeding further on one's project--Guanxi--is of paramount importance. Kim has done so first with Xi, then Moon, and now with Trump. And not only is Kim pleased, but so are Xi and Moon--possibly more so given how well Kim handled the event with great decorum. Hard to know where Abe stands--pleased, angry, or indifferent--but I'm certain a great many Japanese are very pleased too.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 12 2018 21:47 utc | 93

Nice read all. I can only add, just to cancel the war games, would be a good step forward, but, we'll see..

Posted by: ben | Jun 12 2018 21:57 utc | 94

S @80:

Abe won't be happy to see Kim and Moon talking during Eastern Economic Forum.

Posted by: Ian | Jun 12 2018 22:00 utc | 95

@ 14 Canthama

I would say the same to you and so good to see you posting on here. You and b. share a humility and a grander vision. There is a sense that you both work with the minimum ego, that yours is the struggle for the greater good. I can only express my gratitude for the huge contribution you have made over on Syrian Perspective, and your patience and good nature when dealing with idiots. I write this listening to Schubert's piano concerto d. 960 as played by Richter, a deep piece of work that I am sure you both would like.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 12 2018 22:18 utc | 96

Sorry, I meant sonata.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 12 2018 22:22 utc | 97

Xinhua provides its perspective along with other Asian voices. Garrie provides excellent reasoning why this outcome differs from Trump's breaking JCPOA. Other non-MSM sources are rare at the moment. It would be most enlightening to learn what Kim told his sister.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 12 2018 22:43 utc | 98

Trump manufactured a crisis against NK to have a card to play against China. His decision to deflate the crisis probably means he has got what he wants from China in return in the form of a trade concession or maybe a promise to stand down on Iran when missiles start to fly.

Its a tried and true strategy of the power elite, create a crisis and profit from the resolution. Time will tell what he got. Soon I think.

Posted by: Pft | Jun 12 2018 22:50 utc | 99

@88 -- "... I don't see what interest the USA has in good relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

Apart from slave labor; markets; minerals; and wedging China, it's likely the US strategy is also aimed at isolating Iran from PRNK support (especially nuclear technology).

Posted by: imo | Jun 12 2018 23:02 utc | 100

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