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

« previous page

@88 "Trump may have slightly and temporarily increased his personal standing."

He's very concerned about ratings. Indeed he may have increased his standing temporarily. His ratings have gone up recently mainly because the economy is doing well.

Now the question is will the Singapore show effect be permanent or temporary. And is he popular because Americans are happy with a peaceful outcome or do they like him for the tough talk.

Posted by: dh | Jun 12 2018 23:19 utc | 101

Zanon @ 72, 87 and elsewhere: If you read Bernhard's post carefully and the transcript of the document that Trump and Kim signed carefully, you will see that NK has not committed itself to starting denuclearisation in the near future. No time has been set for denuclearisation to start. It is only a long-term goal.

I suppose though you will ignore this comment and continue trolling. For what result? You will only fall further in the estimation of MoA commenters here.

The significant thing is that the US has been forced to come to negotiation by both North Korea and South Korea through their April 27, 2018, meeting.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 12 2018 23:22 utc | 102

It is all very simple. Trump is negotiating with North Korea because they have nukes and ICBMs that can deliver them across the ocean. The US is negotiating because there is nothing else it can do. Trump or no Trump makes no difference.

I do worry though, that part of the what the US will ask would be that North Korea "snitch" on Iran and say they have been building a nuclear weapons program along with North Korea. It doesn't have to be credible. They only have to say it.

Posted by: lysander | Jun 12 2018 23:22 utc | 103

@101 -- "And is he popular because Americans are happy with a peaceful outcome or do they like him for the tough talk."

It's a win-win. Tough talk attracts one demographic; peaceful outcomes attract another. All equals votes in the midterms.

Posted by: imo | Jun 12 2018 23:24 utc | 104

The amazing thing about this is the screaming double standard vis a vis Trump's relentless persecution of Iran.

North Korea actually built nukes and ICBM's and threatened the US!
Kim's reward is to be feted as a jolly good fellow.

Iran painstakingly obeyed the agreement to stop enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, and never even came close to building an atom bomb.
Iran's reward is to have the sanctions noose tightened around its neck even during the JCPOA.

What does this tell you? What you already knew. The DPRK is not in Israel's neighborhood. And US foreign policy is an extension of Israel's foreign policy.

Posted by: John-Paul Leonard | Jun 12 2018 23:33 utc | 105

the iran-north korea dynamic is interesting here.. it is hard to know how that plays into trumps role here.. i mostly think people think too much and there's not as much calculation as we can speculate on, but i could be wrong..

and then there's the usa-china relationship and what trum-usa are hoping to get in here as well..

i think the usa is floundering under trump, so it's hard for me to read too much into the above dynamics and what it might mean.. it's always possible something comes out that impacts iran and china, but mostly i see it as trump being a crazy jack in the box that pops his head up to everyone's distraction or dismay as the case may be, while not having some master chess player moves he is hoping to make on the world... i really think he is more suited to making high rises in the sky, then leading the usa, but he is providing entertainment and really going off the grid politically - both of which i like..

i was going to post 'castles made of sand' - hendrix tune in honour of trump, but there is no youtube video of the original..

Posted by: james | Jun 12 2018 23:47 utc | 106

Brilliant analysis B.

Kim was escorted to Singapore by the Chinese Air Force meaning that China is playing a big role here.

Denuking the peninsula means the US has to give up its nukes in South Korea and stop the nuclear bombing practice every year timed to force NK to divert badly needed manpower from harvest season.

Of course, neither NK nor the US will ever give up nukes.

NK is the winner if this deal holds forth.

Observe that there is no comparable lobby forcing the US to renege on this deal as AIPAC forced Trump to quit the Iran deal.

Posted by: Daniel Bruno | Jun 12 2018 23:49 utc | 107

I give Trump some credit, but more to Kim. He and his inner circle played their cards well. B you are right. Looking at the msm, all the hawks are complaining.

Posted by: Toxik | Jun 12 2018 23:54 utc | 108

@104 He's obviously gaining popularity with Republicans. Could he be attracting some disaffected Democrats? Hard to say.

It will be interesting to see what kind of candidates the Democrats come up with for the mid-terms. A lot of women apparently....whatever that means. Has the Obama/Hillary magic worn off?

Posted by: dh | Jun 13 2018 0:35 utc | 109

"This product is only for consumption in the United states. Inhaling or imbibing this produce elsewhere may led to convulsions or diarrhea. "
A fitting label, since nothing in reality was agreed upon, other than they actually met, compared ill-fitting jackets and hair-do's and agreed they should each have a medal for participating. Kim jong wins on good will in the world at large and Trump wins at home, his base will see him as a "statesman" and he did what Obama did not do. Propaganda bonanza.
We will see what NK and SK can achieve together, that is the interesting part, and here especially China will have to be the shadow broker. SK and China have good relations, and SK wants in on OBOR.
The US by this move put itself further from the table of grown- ups, which is cool. The neo-cons in Washington must be fuming, it seem as if Trump in an awkward, irrational is isolating the US more and more, as he promised.
Any way, the rest of us mortals may breathe a little lighter, because it DID defuse the tensions on the peninsula, and as China pragmatically remarked " it is progress when you start talking".... We have to watch the Chinese, they aint no beginners... ;)

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jun 13 2018 0:55 utc | 110

Zerohedge has an article showing Trumps fine art of diplomacy. Mr. Trump nave fails to impress me.

Posted by: ken | Jun 13 2018 0:56 utc | 111

James @ 105: Maybe this is some consolation.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 13 2018 1:18 utc | 112

@87 Zanon

The USA has little choice and what influence they do have left in Asia is dribbling away daily. They have zero soft power and their abundant hard power is very much countered by the other nuclear countries in the region. What are they going to do? Start a nuclear war over bases in Asia? Game, set, and another 10 years of OBOR development will result in Asia not really needing the American market. That's match. The final result (America pushed out of Asia) is not in doubt. The tricky part will be figuring out how to get them out with their dignity intact, and in this area, Trump and the nationalists will probably be more willing to declare "peace with honor" and high tail it back stateside as their economy implodes. The Clintons and their Anglozionist globalization mob....not so much. Those folks want war.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jun 13 2018 1:53 utc | 113

Shutting down NK's missile development and nuke development harms Iran's programs. Trump gets a win from that alone.

China is to be contained, Russia is to be ruined, Iran is to be destroyed (set back several decades).
Those are the hegemonic goals.

Now, the Hegemon has to keep the Peninsula from forming as a Eurasia Belts and Roads project. Very difficult. Russia and China and South Korea all want development.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 13 2018 2:08 utc | 114

Posted by: ken | Jun 12, 2018 8:56:40 PM | 110
Actually, his remark was quite funny.
Alas, lost in translation I guess.

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 13 2018 2:14 utc | 115

My sense is that Trump wants to calm things down with NK because he wants to focus on Iran.

Posted by: paul | Jun 13 2018 2:18 utc | 116

@113 Red Ryder

America has spent 10-12 trillion USD over the past 20 years on overseas war and achieved almost nothing. America's infrastructure and competitiveness have decayed as a result of this non-productive spending while China/Russia and the rest of Asia has rebuilt/developed their economies. This level of militarism and misdirected investment is hollowing out the American economy. Another 5 years of the craziness will complete the destruction.

Trump is a vile little creature but his MAGA policies actually make sense in that it allows for a dignified end to America's unsustainable overseas engagements. America will leave Asia this decade and they still have a choice about how that departure will happen. Either with a parade and send-off by a crowd wearing fake smiles, or in a chaotic retreat leaving behind a lot of expensive smoking toys. Intelligent people, of which America still has in decent numbers, will obviously prefer the former. But that does not mean the latter scenario is impossible when you are dealing with psychopaths like Bolton.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jun 13 2018 2:29 utc | 117

"Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula"

Denuclearisation implies the removal of nuclear weapons from south Korea. That will be the big change, the North's nuclear weapons are marginal and of little account, not least because both Russia and China-and for the first time they are acting as one-have been offering more or less of a nuclear umbrella to the north since 1950. They have had to do so because both, China particularly, had vital interests in ensuring the peninsula was not united as a US client.
Denuclearisation means the winding up of the US bases in the south and re-opens the option in Japan of future governments making similar moves.
For the first time since the 1880s the US is retreating. Bases are far less important today than they were in the past but the people who run the Pentagon pretend that they are very important militarily, while, in fact, they are largely excuses for bigger forces, more contracts, more money and the 'foreign postings' beloved of officers.

The neo-cons are losing the ideological battle because their ideas are old fashioned and destructive: in their place a new school of neo-liberal strategists is rising. Unlike the neo-cons they feel no desire to avenge the ghost of Trotsky by smashing Russia; unlike the liberals they have no commitment to 'rescuing nations' from 'the communist yoke' or 'tyrants' with bad records on human rights. The hypocrisy of both Cold War themes has simply become unbearable- the new 'realists' like nothing better than authoritarian governments, and they have ceased pretending otherwise.
The neocons continue to have influence on Middle Eastern policy because Zionism is their thing and it is a useful glue electorally in the US, but not even the most shameless Zionist will seriously pretend that Israel is actually a democracy with any kind of commitment to human or civil rights.
The implosion of the G-7 was an indication that in a new era the old Cold War struggles no longer matter. The enemy now is democracy, that is what the neo-liberals fear, the possibility of property being subjected to popular control in an era in which either rich or poor will have to pay the price of the massive adjustments that the environmental crises coming will necessitate.

What the US oligarchy wants is to protect itself by making pre-emptive strikes against the masses. (That is what is behind Trump's policies.) It realises that it can no longer rely upon duopoly politics(Republican/Democrat; Labour/Tory; SPD/Christian; etc etc) to prevent popular radicalism from finding political expression- authoritarianism is coming and those bringing it in are not going to criticise governments which have already, for all kinds of historical reasons, fallen into it.
We are getting back to where it all started: the class war, the struggle of the masses against the 1%.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 13 2018 2:47 utc | 118

Oh dear, James and Jen. May I interest you in a rather unconventional cover of Jimi's brilliant VooDoo Child?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 13 2018 3:57 utc | 119

Daniel Bruno @106:

That article is confusing. Did the PLA-AF provide escort all the way to Singapore? If so, that military analyst isn't too bright, as escorts should be flying armed.

paul @115:

I agree. I've always said it's about Iran. Would supporting peace in the Korean peninsula be the price of isolating Iran?

Posted by: Ian | Jun 13 2018 4:07 utc | 120

Sad Canuck @116:
“This level of militarism and misdirected investment is hollowing out the American economy. Another 5 years of the craziness will complete the destruction.”

Quite likely. And as long as one sees the world from the nation-state perspective, it makes no sense (well, not if the nation in question is the U.S. If the nation meant to be supported at any cost to the U.S. is the JSIL, then perhaps it does make sense).

But either way, it makes complete sense from a supra-national perspective. The 0.01% have their greedy, psychopathic fingers in every pie.

And isn’t the earth allegedly collapsing under the weight of overpopulation anyway? Why do we always assume they mean that people in “underdeveloped” countries are the targets of these population reduction schemes?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 13 2018 4:10 utc | 121

Apart from the z troll who is most likely a particularly stupid zionist cowering in his grandparents' NJ basement and who struggles to tell shit from clay so doesn't count, just about everyone else has missed the point of the move to put DRPK on the bckburner for a few years, maybe decades.
This isn't a move counter to JCPOA destruction, it is a move allied to it.

As much as the citizens of DRPK loathe amerikan imperialism, needs must, so they have agreed to sit quiet and take a sanctions relaxation and an amerikan promise to cease their practice invasions in return for not cutting a nuke tech deal with Iran.

That was what Dr Assad was doing in Pyongyang last week. He was the middle-man/broker in a deal to get DRPK assistance for the only move Iranians have to counter the fukusi siege. Virtually all of the major euro corps have turned their back on Iran and now the only way they can hope to get in the game is if they can secure sufficient outside assistance to have their own nuke program up and running before the zionists can wreak their usual havoc.

When Iran looks at DRPK it sees an independent nation state that stands free of the problems of agent penetration which has ensured its own secret decisions inevitably leak out.
There is nowhere else Iran can go for assistance.
Russia is nearly as racist towards islam as fukusi and won't help.
China has no intention of getting involved even if the plan could be completed before the rest of the world knew about it which is highly unlikely.
amerika has hold of Pakistan's nuke keys thanks to a succession of corrupt and greedy political 'leaders'.
India is under the thumb of a mob of fanatically anti-islam fascists.
Brazil is returning to a corrupt right wing dictatorship.

There was only North Korea and Bolton's presence at Trump's side for deliberations his sponsors would never normally countenance suggests a larger agenda.
The entire Libya taunting episode would have been about trying to lean on DRPK with a dose of ambit to pressure a rejection of Iran's overture as part of the 'unwritten' section of the deal.

Bolton will be consoling himself with the belief that patience is all they require to arse rape korea eventually. Still maybe not, if the Kims can keep materialism at bay along with the concomitant greed and corruption which destroys national integrity.

So now Iran will be forced to go it alone once more and it ain't gonna be easy since Russia will work out something is going on once the plutonium byproduct out of Iran's nuke stations ceases being delivered to it.
It will be mildly diverting watching the amerikans and europeans whine about Iran not keeping a deal which they all broke, and surely this time the fuckwit 'moderates' in Iran will accept what has been blatantly obvious for the last few centuries, that is; as pretty as their baubles appear, whitefellas' words don't mean sh1t.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 13 2018 4:12 utc | 122

Your statement: Russia is nearly as racist towards islam as fukusi and won't help.

This may be the most ignorant comment since little paul's drivel.

Facts often escape people trying to make a large statement.

Keep it focused.

You might want to learn more. Russia and China want to squelch all nuclear proliferation. That has been their policy for decades.
They work together on it.

They also move in to offer "protection" to nations that are under pressure to give up WMDs.

Write whatever you want. But this comment, #122, is ladened with baloney.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 13 2018 4:41 utc | 123

And also not to forget is that Israel does not have a dog in this fight.
Posted by: Hal Duell | Jun 12, 2018 5:21:31 PM | 92

With due respect, have you forgotten that "Israel" is the tail that wags the AmeriKKKan dog?

"Israel's" influence in Congress was reinforced rather crudely 2 or 3 years ago when Bibi by-passed Obama and invited himself to address Congress to deliver some insultingly convoluted drivel and bullshit. When he'd finished he was rewarded with an almost unanimous standing ovation from his Congressional lap dogs.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 13 2018 4:56 utc | 124

bevin @117, et al. I’m no fan of grammar nazism, as I’ve noted here before. But there is one frequently stated misunderstanding that I find important.

“Neoliberalism” is an economic ideology. “Neoconism” is a foreign policy ideology.

Neoliberalism is distinguished by an adherence to “free markets,” the privatization of public property, deregulation and reduced taxes. It’s the “new” version of laissez-faire economics.

From 1997:

Recent from: Investopedia

Neoconism is the policy of hegemonic military power, especially as exercised through “preemptive” war. And for the most part, militancy in support of right-wing Israel goals.

The American Conservative passes over the Israel/Zionism part, but I'm sure if you think about the founders and leaders of the Neocon movement, you'll find Zionists most everywhere.

So, it is quite common for a “conservative” politician to be a neoliberal (Reagan, Bush and Romney). Also, many politicians are both (HRC, Bush II and I would say Trump, though his Tweetstorms have a lot of people confused about his actual foreign policy actions in MENA).

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 13 2018 5:01 utc | 125
"Religion in Russia Today
With nearly 5,000 religious associations the Russian Orthodox Church accounts for over a half of the total number registered in Russia. Next in numbers come Moslem associations, about 3,000,"

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 13 2018 5:14 utc | 126

I am cautiously optimistic about this.
I find all the 'experts' coming out to give advice and doses of realism amusing. They are more invested in having an ongoing problem they can be an expert on rather than actually finding a solution. They have brought us to this point - not Trump. If Trump is willing to look foolish down the road and is willing to try, then more power to him.

Posted by: ian | Jun 13 2018 5:22 utc | 127

@ Red Ryder
The Double Helix piece you wrote a few years back was very good, you could see in the Russia/China relationship what most did not, much of what you wrote about is now easy to see.
Iran? What is your set against Iran?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 13 2018 5:39 utc | 128


The whole meeting was about denuclearization, people like yourself have yet to descibe what North Korea
benefit from a coming deal. What exactly are they gaining vs losing in a deal with the US?

Sad Canuck

Totally wrong.
US have tremenouds soft power in the region, most nations in east asia are pro-US and is going nowhere,
you need to read about US focus on China, for the past 10 years, already Obama sought to focus more and more
on this area and Trump is the very part of this movement, he's not against it as you claim.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 13 2018 5:43 utc | 129

From what I have read, Iran stopped looking into nukes when the US destroyed Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The only writer that came close to the Russia China relationship at the time was Pepe Escobar, but even Pepe was behind in what you wrote in the double helix.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 13 2018 6:24 utc | 130

So, Kim has invited Trump for a sleep over (I guess without the Pacific Fleet!). Sizing up some good real estate for the hotel and casino complex no doubt.

Posted by: imo | Jun 13 2018 6:54 utc | 131

Zanon @129

My last reply as you are obviously a troll or never spent a day in the region. America is ham-fisted and largely despised in the region aside from corrupt elites, NGOs that have been bought and paid for by USAID or Soros-linked groups, and a minority of useful idiots in universities. It has zero soft power and governments who are not totally owned (eg Taksin regimes in Thailand or Abe in Japan) tread carefully only because of the mayhem American policies can still produce. Any soft power influence America has left will disappear like a puddles in the dry season as soon as the money stops being delivered.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jun 13 2018 7:13 utc | 132

I believe that in in the coming decade, China and S Korea will start turning N Korea into something resembling what China was in the 90's, a burgeoning controlled capitalist state with super cheap labor producing consumer goods for the world market.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 13 2018 7:24 utc | 133

Russia-China cooperation/friendship goes back more than twenty years and was easy to see more than "a few years ago"...

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, that de facto US-China alliance ended, and a China-Russia rapprochement began. In 1992, the two countries declared that they were pursuing a “constructive partnership”; in 1996, they progressed toward a “strategic partnership”; and in 2001, they signed a treaty of “friendship and cooperation.

Source: Wikipedia - Sino-Russia Relations Since 1991.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 13 2018 7:30 utc | 134

Hoarsewhisperer 134

I take it you have not read The Double Helix?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 13 2018 7:50 utc | 135

Hoarsewhisperer 134
Seated in an Australian bush school ten years back I would cruise youtubes of the trans- Siberian railway.
Noted pointedly that many station notice boards signaled to travelers in both Cyrillic and then Chinese characters below.
I thought ' where are we !Ah ! - we are in the 'future'.

As the song says ' the future is plain to see !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jun 13 2018 7:56 utc | 136

I can't say, re Debs 122, that the future for Iran looks too bad. Israel has pulled back on the renewed threat to attack Iran, and now mumbles on about internal subversion - which the US has been trying to do ever since 1980, without much visible success, so why a renewed attempt will do better, is not obvious to me.

Just to recall, the problem both Israel and the US face over Iran is that they have the exiles from the old aristocratic class whispering in their ears telling them all sorts of porkies about how the religious regime is about to fall. That class which believes in its god-given right to rule, and that the lower classes have been getting too uppity. They hate the religion of Islam and don't understand that the lower classes joined Islam in the first place in the three centuries after Muhammad, precisely to get away from the overbearing aristocracy, and having to pay all the taxes the aristos themselves didn't pay. And that's repeated today, but no Iranian exile in the US will ever say that in Washington, only that the regime is on the point of falling, with just a little more effort (meaning they themselves will get their god-given position in Tehran back: there are lots with their tickets ready booked).

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 13 2018 7:58 utc | 137

Sad Canuck

Wrong again. US allies include Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, you could also include Malaysia, Vietnam. US see China as their biggest threat and have done that since atleast last Obama term.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 13 2018 8:28 utc | 138

Hoarsewhisperer 134
I take it you have not read The Double Helix?
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 13, 2018 3:50:44 AM | 135

I haven't read the Double Helix, but if you think it's good then that's a point in its favour (based on your assessment of The Art Of The Deal).
My quibble wasn't with the pros or cons of the DH essay, it was with your praise of a 3.5-year old potted history lesson as being in some way prophetic when the (predictable & public) course of the Russia-China relationship was set in motion almost 30 years ago.
i.e. when Double Helix was written there was nothing left to predict.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 13 2018 9:16 utc | 139

I've not much to say about the whole summit. PR points all round? Yes. The rest? Wait and see. Pictures of Un & Trump smiling at the same time? Disturbing.

I do agree with the general trend of some commenters that the US is over-extended and is focusing its aging & depleting resources, probably on I-ran. Far too little too late in my opinion and I think it will fail, but this also makes it highly dangerous. I'm an optimist at heart but there's a weight in the pit of my stomach. It would be nice to wake up regularly without hearing bellicose nuttery emanating from Washington.

P.S. Some of us remember the early flame wars so we are familiar with the rather tired tactics by those who seek to undermine b's fine site, thus I urge MoA commenters to not feed the (circle jerk) trolls.

Posted by: et Al | Jun 13 2018 12:17 utc | 140

re: Posted by: T | Jun 12, 2018 11:38:50 AM | 45

I think Trump views the G-7 members as a room full of rabbits. He must know that May's Salisbury poisoning is a farce, that the EU economy is controlled by Germany and that the rest of the EU are financial basket cases of one weave or another. As for the rest of the G-7 the US controls them anyway; he could care less what any of them think about anything. He wants to redo trade agreements and will pummel them all until they agree.
As for Russia, I believe he envisions a G-3; Russia, China and the US as the way to a secure future for all. I wish him all the luck in the world.
Lastly, re the new Russian sanctions, keep in mind that they were put in place when he was out of town, DC is an untidy, unruly place and mice will play when the cat is gone.

Posted by: frances | Jun 13 2018 14:02 utc | 141

Kim Jong-Un is no dope. Nothing like the mentally challenged (I mean that seriously) Turdeau (hey funniest typo in 5 years) or the by-turns sycophantic and mini blustering Manu (Macron), not to mention Bojo. karlof1 in the previous thread pointed out that Fox News called both Trump and Kim dictators, which goes to show they have things in common! Ha ha. As I said, they would get on, and this ‘deal’ (what it amounts to is to be seen…) would go thru, got tired of saying so.

So NK and SK want to renunite (Vietnam and Germany did!) Russia and China are fine with this. To accomplish it, Kim had to reposition NK as…I can’t find the right expression… A proper place? A country that counts, has a leader who is respected? So that is what he did. (With the help of SK, negotiations have been going on for a long time.. As have negotiations under the radar about ‘nukulear instatllations’ etc.) So now he is all over the media, etc. Bravo.

The public is made to believe it is all about ‘nukes’ which is a smokescreen - it is about intl. geopolitics, alliances, and under Trump, trade or more broadly ‘development’ in the frame of ‘America First’ as Trump sees it (with a particular role for the US military.)

I think Trump views the G-7 members as a room full of rabbits. frances 141.

Yes. And vassals like that are of no use.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 13 2018 14:19 utc | 142

@ Daniel 118

Great essay on Bourdain. Thoroughly enjoyed the read. I immediately assumed, after his death, that he couldn't face himself in the mirror anymore.

Self-marketer turned state department asset, he probably did feel let down, thinking that he'd be going to MENA hotspots like Libya and Lebanon, and Iran as well, but to be flanked by handlers and individuals from oppositional parties all in an effort to tailor the politicized message.

The Punk-chef was a punked tool.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 13 2018 15:12 utc | 143

First class post by b !
From start to finish very thought provoking stuff. I'm left with burning questions Do we want trump USA to rule/goven the world ? If we do well, the meeting made a lot of sense. But if not it's all just another step down a road I really wish we were not traveling! Where will the road end ? Who will gain ? Who will lose? To me it seems comparable to a very powerfully forest fire consuming all in it's path with no Benefit to the world. Feel free to tell me where I'm wrong.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 13 2018 15:55 utc | 144

The average US American MSM consumer seems to believe that the Summit is all about Kim de-nuking and little else. IDK, I don't watch tv news. But that's the thing I see on facebook. Other viewpoints from anti-Trumpsters indicate that nothing of consequence was accomplished. Not true.

An interesting dichotomy. The Trumpsters (whom under normal circumstances would rather see bombs dropping than diplomacy aka appeasement) are excited about this diplomacy (not appeasement). Certainly if a Blue Team player were involved this would be maligned as an act of limp-noodle appeasement.

And the fake left, they cannot give credit where credit is due. Trump did a diplomacy act instead of bombastic idiot theatre. A lefty should be glad whenever hateful rhetoric and acts of war are avoided.

Bourdain was obviously a CIA asset, a limited hangout like the other fake leftists who populate the MSM mix among right-wing nut jobs.

We do not know, with any certainty, what were the circumstances of his "suicide" death.

We do know that one cannot have much of a conscience to be a bullshit dispenser for the PTB. It takes a sociopath. The dude was obviously sufficiently intelligent enough to know what he was doing - pimping war for the man.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 13 2018 16:14 utc | 145

@111 jen.. lol! thanks!! i never thought to look on vimeo.. i haven't heard the track for a long time.. i think i have the cd sitting around here somewhere.. maybe i'm being too generous.. the whole world seems to be caught up in making castles made of sand..

@117 bevin.. thanks for that... it looks similar to me, but i can't articulate it all as you do..

@118 daniel... in answer to your first question.. yes, i do..

@119 daniel.. good stuff! the guy has a drum machine running on it too, but that's okay i guess..

@125 daniel.. it is interesting what you picked up off bevins post @117 - neo con and neo liberal... i was wondering about that myself when i read bevin... the term neoliberal is very different in meaning and scope.. thanks for articulating that..

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2018 16:58 utc | 146

MOA quoted (among others) on Naked Capitalism re Korea summit:

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 13 2018 17:10 utc | 147

Trump's agreements are as worthless as the man, in this case doing the right thing is also politically expedient. Maybe peace breaks out. Stranger things have happened.

The fulminating hawks are right about one thing, as pointed out in the NakedCapitalism story: the summit only occurred because of the USA's present weakness. DPRK has joined the "we can shoot back" club, and so can't be reliably bullied anymore. This also leads me to believe that denuclearization will never ever happen anywhere under the current world order. Every nation that gave up its nuclear program (except maybe South Africa) has been crushed from outside... Libya, Ukraine, Iraq. Every nation that maintained its arsenal has had some measure of stability. Where would modern Russia be without its nuclear arms? And actually, all of the Asian nuclear powers (including the Soviet Union) developed their capabilities under duress and at times when they experienced massive poverty and suffering. The nuclear Sword of Damocles sure is intimidating, but it's also the great equalizer.

The American president does have a real affinity for dealing with authoritarians and dictators, and a real contempt for dealing with "democratic leaders". Why? Putin, Xi, Kim (maybe Bibi if he beats the rap) will be in office until death or senility takes them, whereas the outcome of Canada or UK elections can be changed with a well timed campaign contribution or salacious "fake news" story (something Mr. Trump knows a lot about) swings victory to the next mediocre pole-climber. Why waste time stroking the egos of the rotating B-team when he needs a strong working relationship with the (competent) Russians and the Chinese? Russia and China may be closer to one man rule than The Enlightened Democracies (tm) of the west, but I don't think you can win less votes and claim victory in either of those nations like Trump did.

Posted by: Almand | Jun 13 2018 18:50 utc | 148

@128, Peter AU1,

Iran? Ideological fanaticism is, for the regime, like burning your bridges before crossing them.
They insist on calling out loud when it is unnecessary. No subtly. No strategy.
And now, a lousy economy that is riddled with corruption.

We have two theocratic nations in the ME, both are ruinous and they need to drag everyone around them into the mess.

With a huge opportunity ahead of them in 2015, they have worked their way into the crosshairs of the Empire.

They should be quiet, improve things domestically, align with Russia and China (they are starting to, but late and slow to do it). Joining with EAEU and wanting to get into SCO are good. It should have been three years ago.

All their problems are self-inflicted.

As for the Persian people, the Iranians are a huge potential for greatness. I have many Iranian-American friends, worked with and for them, and they are marvelous talents and intellects.

But that regime in Teheran is a mess. Who is the leader of the nation? Who really runs the place?
The only Shiite that makes sense is Nasrallah and he's in Lebanon.

They talk a good game. But if Russia had not acted in Sept 2015, Syria would have been lost.
Imagine what would be the situation in the ME today if that had happened.

Iran? Look at the Yemen mess and the catastrophe we are about to see in the port city. That's their baby, too.

I think the theocrats are way overrated.

I'd rather see some technocrat or military leader than a Imam or Ayatollah run a nation.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 13 2018 20:02 utc | 149

James @146. No drum machine. He explains how he does percussion on the ukulele in this cover of Billie Jean.

Check out another ukulele virtuoso doing Bohemian Rhapsody. This is done without any of the amplifier tech James uses.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 13 2018 20:24 utc | 150

@ Daniel with the links to works by Jake Shimabukuro

Thanks! I hear him occasionally on KNKS/JAZZ24 that I stream and am happy you exposed me to more of his amazing talent.

To the posting.......
There sure are a variety of first thoughts about the Trump/Kim meeting. It will be interesting to see what develops because of or in spite of it occurring.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 13 2018 20:47 utc | 151

Excellent Pepe Escobar recap. Pepe patiently reminds his readers of the two most important aspects of the Statement as there was no deal consummated. First:

"Away from the TV, the former “Rocket Man”, now respectfully recast in Trump terminology as “Chairman Kim”, did strike a formidable coup by completely erasing the dreaded acronym CVID – or “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” – from the final text of the Singapore joint statement." [My Emphasis]

Second: "The Singapore joint statement is not a deal; it’s a statement. The absolutely key item is number 3: “Reaffirming the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula....” [My Emphasis]

"Much more than “…the DPRK commits to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”, the keywords are in fact “reaffirming the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration…” [My Emphasis]

And most importantly:

"By signing the Singapore joint statement, Washington has been put on notice of the Panmunjom Declaration. In law, when you take notice of a fact, you can’t ignore it later. The DPRK’s commitment to denuclearize in the Singapore statement is a reaffirmation of its commitment to denuclearize in the Panmunjom Declaration, with all of the conditions attached to it. And Trump acknowledged that by signing the Singapore statement." [My Emphasis]

Naysayers are sure to point out the Outlaw US Empire consistently ignores all sorts of law when it suits its interests. But in the world of diplomatic negotiations, such points of fact are of paramount importance. Ignore this newly established fact and negotiations involving the Outlaw US Empire will go nowhere, but such behavior is sure to generate massive ire within the Korean public, North and South, and within both governments. Oh, and there's more substance to Pepe's article than the excerpts I provided.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2018 21:03 utc | 152

Thanks b, did not read this thread however, here in Norway where I am traveling the one-person survey of the woman on the street (my wife's uncle's girlfriend) says that Kim has won the negotiation.

If an apolitical regular person says so, it must be true :)

Posted by: jonku | Jun 13 2018 21:40 utc | 153

@150 daniel... okay, thanks.. much of that is true the amplification process as my ear hears it... i enjoyed the other fellow more..

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2018 22:30 utc | 154

true - thru..

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2018 22:30 utc | 155

84;this nationalist wants no part of israel.Bank on it.The msm zionists want no part of the NK talks going on.

Posted by: dahoit | Jun 13 2018 22:32 utc | 156

psychohistorian. I'm thrilled that you knew about Jake, and appreciated another performance of his amazing virtuosity.

James, I prefer Jake, too. But Hill seems to have 3 or 4 different nervous systems all running at once, and in beat. :-)

Are you a Beatles fan? Check out Jake's ukulele version of "While my Guitar Gently Weeps."

There's a British ukulele/singing group called UkeBox that has a lovely Beatles medley online, too.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 13 2018 23:55 utc | 157

karlof1 @152

FYI Pompeo has said that the word "complete" was substituted for CVID.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 14 2018 0:03 utc | 158

Red Ryder 149

I have no argument with what you say in that post about Iran.
I often wonder what many countries would be like if they had not been under attack from the US, often for a long period of time. Of the smaller countries that have resisted or kicked out the US, it is often ideology or religion that gives them the strength/will to do so. Corruption and so forth often increases when countries are under financial blockade from the US. For this reason, I do not judge countries that have resisted the US empire or have been constantly interfered in by the US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 14 2018 2:53 utc | 159

@157 daniel.. thanks - we are really ot here, but - i love all kinds of music.. i wonder what north korean music sounds like? cheers james

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2018 3:36 utc | 160

I am cautiously optimistic regarding two moves Trump made lately: prison reform (although he's refusing to reform sentencing guidelines), the commutation of Alice Marie Johnson (although there are thousands many more like her, victims of unjust/inhumane sentencing) and the surprisingly measured and pragmatic approach he's using with North Korea SO FAR.

However, it boggles the mind that Trump thinks Iran is the greater threat to the U.S. even greatest threat when Iran doesn't have the nuclear weapons capability that NK has achieved. Trump's obsession with Iran, his duplicity, his ignorance and his kissing of the Zionist and Wahhabi rings completely obliterates whatever little good he did in the past 2 weeks.

Makes me suspect he'll totally blow up the small positive steps he's taken on the issue of NK.

The person who really deserves the Nobel Prize in this is Dennis Rodman who forged on despite the threats against him, the attacks on his character, and the ridicule. He, more than Trump understands the foundation needed to achieve peace. His heart is in the right place; but Trump's ego is more invested in this endeavour than his heart. I don't think he deserves a prize that will only inflate his ego more especially when peace may never be achieved, since he and Pompeo seem to be speaking with forked tongue when it comes to the issue of NKs nukes.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 14 2018 5:28 utc | 161

What Pompeo says is irrelevant. What the April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration says is what matters most of all. Pompeo clearly dislikes that fact.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2018 5:33 utc | 162

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 13, 2018 12:41:32 AM | 123
The people of the Caucasus whether they live under the oppressive puppet of Russia in Chechnya or the daily institutional racism that Chechens living in Moscow face, would beg to differ.
Imperialism is imperialism no matter which nation does it and since about 1816 when Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov led his troops into Grozny after a war with Iran for control of the Caucasus. Russia has continued to oppress the islamic people of that region long after the 1990 never completed Caucasus devolution.
The Shah was the son of a Russian Army Officer who played the Soviets and the englanders (who had used Iran as a base for counter-revolution) off against each other, taking over the Shah gig after the demise of the 250 year old (in Iran) Qajar dynasty.
Apart from the need to ensure control of pipeline routes into Europe, Russia's interest in the ME has always been tied to the need to keep nationalism particularly islamic nationalism under the heel of the motherland's jackboot.
Yep it is great they intervened in Syria but that doesn't make Russianfellas heroes, it just makes em a nation with a shared interest and the balls to protect their interests.
People are forever bleating about why it took Russia until after the rape of Libya to stand up to the fukusi machine.
That is simple, before Libya, Russia leadership had been labouring under the misconception that they were all whitefellas together unitited against the Islamists. Libya revealed the ugly underbelly, that profits were considered more important than 'euro values' to the motherland's new allies. Why else create the crazy dangerous anarchy that is post Qaddafi Libya?

The average Russian appears no less a screwed up white supremacist to a Chechen than a Georgian, Ukrainian, Hungarian or Pole does. Remember how Russia kicked off the re-invasion of Chechnya and installation of notorious arshole Ramzan Kadyrov after an explosion in Moscow? First of all the government claimed the apartment building was blown up by Chechen terrorists, when that didn't stack up and Moscow crims were judged to be the guilty parties, the government kept up its mobilization of troops to invade Chechenya with the ludicrous claim that 'yes this was an act by gangsters all right, Chechen gangsters.
My point stands, there is no way in the world Russia wants to see Iran armed with nukes and it will do nothing that could assist with that.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 14 2018 7:36 utc | 163

I'm the biggest critic of Trump for many reasons. His ego, his greatest weakness being one; his problem with the truth and then a host of issues he promotes that I am diametrically opposed to, but, let me state here and everywhere I can, Democrats are on the wrong side of history and Trump is rightly, but more likely unintentionally exposing them as the Party of WAR. He is exposing them for the hypocrites they are. Democrats are starting to descend in the polls and are losing ground because they're clinging to their Neo-Liberal ways and if they continue on this route they will sink their party into the abyss of no return. The mid-terms are no longer a sure thing for Democrats.

My advise to them: Don't take the opposite side of Trump on North Korea just to spite him. Stop criticizing Trump for not taking a stricter path with NK. Trump is leading anti-war liberals away from the Democrats on the issue of NK.

Obama was a spineless coward on foreign policy. Yes, he would have been excoriated had he gone where Trump went this week with North Korea, but it's better that a man lose everything than lose his integrity and that's why Trump has been able to reverse and trounce everything Obama accomplished. Obama was a fraud on foreign policy, and although he took a few positive steps with Iran; he failed miserably on other foreign policy issues only because he was too politically spineless to confront the political and media status quo.

The media is also on the wrong side of history regarding NK AND of course, Iran and it is also paying a credibility price. Trump is dead wrong on Iran, but his pragmatism regarding NK is puzzling yet encouraging.

Whatever progress Trump makes in shattering fear taboos and prejudices regarding North Korea should hopefully rub off on what happens with Iran. Trump cannot use a double standard when dealing with Iran vs NK, but no doubt he'll try; fool that he is on so many issue, to please his Zionist financiers.

The Democrats have moved beyond the right on foreign policy to spite Trump, and I'm nauseous witnessing it, and they're going to pay a big deserved price. If Trump is moving left on foreign policy and his poll numbers are rising, then the so-called left party has gone totally tone deaf moving further right in the opposite direction.

My advice to them is: Don't cut off your nose; to spite your face (Trump); it will be a fatal mistake.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 14 2018 8:19 utc | 164

An enlightening POV on Korea:

"For much of the foreign policy community, corporate media pundits and leaders of the two imperialist parties, the issue is North Korean de-nuclearization. But for the people in Korea and throughout the global South, the real issue has always been the unfinished business of ending the war and beginning the de-colonization of the Korean peninsula." [My Emphasis]

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2018 15:23 utc | 165

Another interpretation of the Kim Trump summit.
The US has artificially maintained the DPRK as an enemy for decades in order to justify its imperialist stance and military spending.
Their resounding success creating the jihadist phenomenon as a pseudo enemy, plus the rise of Russia and China, means they just don't need the North Korea punching bag any more. They have their hands full with real rivals plus Israel's enemies in the Middle East.
They actually need allies, although Trump doesn't always realize it.

Posted by: John-Paul Leonard | Jun 14 2018 16:48 utc | 166

China's post-summit view on DPRK's economic development potential. China's Global Times is an unofficial voice of the CPC and provides this hint to Trump on what to do next:

"Instead of putting pressure on Pyongyang by imposing financial sanctions, the focus should now gradually shift to economic assistance, at a time when Pyongyang is changing its attitude toward nuclear tests and giving priority to economic development."

It's readily apparent that South Korea is very bullish to get the tying together of the two Koreas started and will insist on Trump taking China's advice. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Russia use its current Presidency of the UNSC to put forth a resolution aimed at reducing the lawful, UNSC sanctions, which would then provide the required motivation to further advance the reunification and decolonization process.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2018 18:52 utc | 167

@167 "I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Russia use its current Presidency of the UNSC to put forth a resolution aimed at reducing the lawful, UNSC sanctions..."

Sure. I can see the headlines already "Putin Meddles In Trump/Kim Summit."...aiming to undermine Trump's successful meeting with Kim in Singapore, Russia today introduced a resolution at the UN intended to ease sanctions on the hermetic North Korean regime. Will Trump listen?...etc. etc...

Posted by: dh | Jun 14 2018 19:10 utc | 168

Debsisdead @163:
"Yep it is great they intervened in Syria but that doesn't make Russianfellas heroes, it just makes em a nation with a shared interest and the balls to protect their interests."

Bingo as I see it. Russia may or may not have higher humanitarian interests in foreign policy than the AZW Empire (a pretty low bar to best), but they are clearly acting in their own self-interest as much as nation-states in bed with the IMF/WTO can.

And regarding Syria, why would Russia want to see either the Saudi or Iranian pipeline plan to transport natural gas from the Pars fields (largest known resources on earth of Russia's greatest profit-generator)?

Circe @164, up until the Democratic Primaries of 2016, I too felt some frustration at the Democratic Party's failures to act in the interests of the people. Though I'd long known they're the place that progressive ideas go to die, my youthful partisanship still influenced my emotional reaction to their actions.

Now I have no doubt that their number one priority is to crush progressive/socialist policies and leaders. And that of course means anti-imperialism and anti-war stands. Their number two priority is to please their "donor class" (and how disgusting that such a phrase is even acceptable, let alone promoted as legitimate). Their lowest priority is to try to win games against the other team that plays in the same league.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 14 2018 20:03 utc | 169

Daniel says: "And regarding Syria, why would Russia want to see either the Saudi or Iranian pipeline plan to transport natural gas from the Pars fields (largest known resources on earth of Russia's greatest profit-generator)?"

Did you get an opportunity to see the Chairman of Rosneft's presentation in Italy last year? At page bottom are two links, one to CEO Sechin's speech and the other to his Powerpoint slide presentation. Clearly there's more than enough future market demand for additional energy supplies beyond Russia's capability to supply. Also lurking between the lines is the need to keep pace with the global depletion rate or global depletion allowance which is currently between 8-9%--this is the amount of hydrocarbons depleted annually from reserves that must be made up for through additional discoveries and extraction: If 100mmbbl/yr get extracted, then 8mmbbl/yr must be discovered and put into production just to keep the 100mmbbl/yr amount level.

Currently, it appears that Iranian gas will flow East to Pakistan and India which will gobble up all Iran can fit into the pipes. It's also likely that Iran and Qatar will mingle the gas they extract from their shared South Pars fields for shipment to Europe and Africa--Africa being the forgotten market as is clearly seen from the slides. Much hay's been made about this supposed conflict of interest between Iran and Russia, all of which is Machiavellian propaganda.

There're a number of interesting facts presented I haven't mentioned, particularly the manipulation of the oil futures market to drop its price which is clearly displayed, remarked upon and noted how harmful it is to the entire energy industry--even renewables. Enjoy the read!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2018 21:07 utc | 170

dh @168--

Or: "Russia's proposed UNSC Korean sanctions reversal will help Trump realize his goal of a denuclearized Korea. Moon, Abe, Xi all agree on the need to move forward."

Later: "Trump fires Nikki Haley for her refusal to vote for Korean sanctions relief."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2018 21:19 utc | 171

@171 Later still: "Haley accuses Trump of appeasement and runs for President with John Bolton for running mate."

Seriously.....I don't have a clue....just naturally cynical I guess.

Posted by: dh | Jun 14 2018 21:31 utc | 172

karlof1. To be sure we're on the same page: For years, (CIA cited it in the 1980s), the Saud Royals have wanted a pipeline to run through KSA to supply Europe. Iran wants one through Iran. Both main plans terminated in, or passed through Syria.

The gas fields are in between Iran and Qatar. I've proposed that the conflict between KSA and Qatar is at least partly over control of those fields. Qatar being driven into Iran's sphere by this conflict could suggest they're warming to a pipeline through Iran and continuing to share the bounty rather than let KSA steal it.

Some have argued that one reason Russia is helping Syria is to help them and Iran get that pipeline. I see no reason why Russia would want any pipeline to take that gas to Europe, where Russia is the #1 supplier.

Do your sources explain why they would, or simply say that the gas will not be going to Europe (which would be an answer to my question)?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 14 2018 21:59 utc | 173

dh @172--

Yes, I understand cynicism being a default position as I'm that way on certain topics. Where I get my optimism on Korea is from the Korean people, South and North. In reality, the zeal is theirs and both Kim and Moon are leading from behind. Effectively colonized since the mid 1800s, occupied since 1910, and divided since 1945, the Korean people badly yearn to become whole and free again--Moon and Kim are merely riding atop and reflecting that reality (much in the way Okinawans yearn to become decolonized and free). Koreans also know both China and Russia support their efforts and want nothing but happiness and success for them as that serves their interests. Of all the possible Win-Win scenarios that might have been imagined, Korea outshines most. And although the entire process will take several decades, very important and visible economic results will quickly be accomplished that will likely shove the Outlaw US Empire out of the picture as the main actors really just need it to behave, withdraw, and sign the Treaty while they do the important work.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2018 22:06 utc | 174

@174 Message received and understood. I agree if the Korean people were left alone they could sort out their differences. Communism v. Capitalism doesn't mean much these days of global economics and fluid transfer of wealth. China and Russia would certainly be helpful but that would make some in the US more paranoid. Unless the US chooses to join the process.

And I can foresee a time when the US gets sidelined. Already the massive military is becoming an empty threat which may be why Trump has switched to economic bait. My doubts stem from Korean/Americans.....not unlike Cuban/Americans. And the MIC....people who have the power to stymie any agreement. It's hard to imagine them just fading away.

Posted by: dh | Jun 14 2018 23:13 utc | 175

Daniel @173--

KSA has very little NatGas other than condensate from its wells. The economics of the late 70s-early 80s didn't support building a massive crude line; and of course, there were all the wars. Current plans have Iranian NatGas flowing East to Pakistan and India, perhaps beyond. Southern Europe in particular would greatly benefit from more than Russia's TurkStream, thus the expectation of a future joint Iran/Qatar pipe to further supply that market. Furthermore, North Sea reserves are rapidly depleting--UK's already very dependent on Russian gas, thus the Conservative's pique--and we just saw Sweden grudgingly vote to allow NordStreamII because they need the gas too. (NordStreamII's purpose is to make up for the depletion of the North Sea, thus the overall net supply to Northern Europe will remain roughly constant for @ 20 years.)

As I said above, there's plenty of market demand to satisfy all players, so Russia's not concerned with what's being spun as additional competition that threatens its market position. The very real problem exists in the longrun when the wells finally do begin to run dry, 2030-2050, which is why the great push to build out infrastructure now as the energy to do so won't be available later.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2018 23:39 utc | 176

karlof1, I was only referring to the natural gas pipelines. Sorry if I wasn't clear. According to the reports I'd seen, KSA wanted the pipeline so they could charge a percentage, like Ukraine did/does. A separate issue I mentioned is that KSA may be trying to take over those gas fields, which at least partly explains their recent increase in hostility towards Qatar and Iran.

So seeing that Russia's natural gas supplies will run out at some future date, you're saying Russia has no concern about completion in the near future (not to mention recent past when the war against Syria ignited in part over those pipeline plans)?

To me, it would make sense for Russia to delay that pipeline north to European markets. Sending that gas eastward would not significantly impact Russia's dominance of European gas supplies, but would compete with the US push to sell more fracked gas/LPG on the global market.

As the Godfather would say, "it's not personal. it's just business."

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 15 2018 2:05 utc | 177

Daniel @177--

The #1 impediment to increasing LNG exports from USA is price--3x that of NordStreamI--and volume--the amount demanded cannot be supplied via the current number of LNG tankers, liquification and deliquification plants--so that even if EU had the money they wouldn't be able to get the amount they require.

Logistics likely killed the KSA dream.

At some point, everybody's hydrocarbon resources will cease to be extractible economically, and the wells will be shut down via cost/benefit. Look at depletion rates versus proven reserves for a clue--IEA and EIA both publish such data. The big inflection point will come when global supply no longer meets global demand--crude oil will hit peak about 2 decades before Natgas. The idea is to make money and pay for development now while it can still be done for a lesser cast than later.

Competition isn't feared as there's enough demand to satisfy all providers--at least until mid-century for NatGas, 2035 for oil.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2018 4:22 utc | 178

karlof1. I do appreciate your historian perspective... but you sure don't sound like a businessman ;-)

Cheap access to the largest known natural gas reserves on earth would be a game changer for Europe, and severely cut into Russia's domination. Russia even bought into the Golan Heights/Israeli coast gas production and export, and that's insignificant in comparison. You're hip to Genie Energy I presume?

And ever since HRC was our Secretary of Resource Confiscation and Sales, the US has been trying to peddle our (more expensive) gas to Europe and the rest of the world. That's likely part of the reasons for the Russia sanctions, as it is something I read European politicians complaining about.

Yes, the hydrocarbon burning business is likely to more or less end within the lifetimes of many people now in the business. Good news for many reasons. About 10 years ago I came across a Shell Oil brochure produced for big stock holders that said they expected gasoline sales to be basically zero by 2040 or 2050, and other petroleum burning to end not long after. The point of the brochure was to reassure stock holders that Shell was diversifying and their stocks would continue to rise.

The brochure was taken offline, but I kept a PDF and car magazine article about it.

Some European car makers have already committed to stoping production of petroleum burning vehicles before the end of this decade!

"Logistics likely killed the KSA dream."

Dream for the pipeline? Have you read that plans to build that pipeline through KSA have been abandoned? What "logistics" would kill that?

If KSA gave up, it could be a signal that they don't expect Syria to fall, or Qatar to surrender.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 15 2018 5:52 utc | 179

Good Day Daniel--

I happened upon an outstanding interview by Serbian TV with Pepe Escobar in English as I stopped by the Saker's bar on by way here. Pepe provides an answer to the Saudi pipeline question and a host of others--it took place on 11 June, so it's very current. It's just under an hour, very insightful and informative. Enjoy!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2018 16:03 utc | 180

Karlof1. Thanks for the link to Pepe’s interview. I have a lot of respect for him. That was sure posted at the perfect time for our discussion!

I took some exception with his opening comments about Trump being an “outsider,” but then he goes on to say that Trump had to be an insider to even get into the election. And he says KSA was one of the 7 countries on the Rumsfeld memo to destroy in 5 years. It was not, nor would it need to conquered since KSA has always been controlled by first Great Britain and then the US, and since the creation of Israel, by what I call the AZW Empire. Odd for Pepe to say that, especially since near the end he says KSA “follows blindly what the USA tells them.”

But as regards our pipeline discussion, he states as a matter of fact that Syria has “won the war.” As I noted above, if KSA believes that, and has given up on taking over Qatar, then that could mean they’ve given up their “dream” of a pipeline. He also confirms my speculation that the gas field/pipeline is the reason for the KSA/Qatar feud, and this is driving Qatar and closer to Iran.

He also says that Russia’s Gazprom may buy into the Qatar/Iran/Iraq/Syria pipeline. That could well be part of Russia’s “reward” for helping to save sovereign Syria. As I noted, Russia’s already cut such a deal with Israel.

But, he warns that his prognostications hinge on what the AZW Empire does next, including “hybrid war” to conquer Syria. And he voices some skepticism for Russia’s loyalty to Syria.

Except for the strangeness at the start, I am in complete concurrence with Pepe.

And again, the US, France and now Italy have thousands of troops in Syria, and thousands more in Jordan and Israel. The US has plainly stated it has no plan to ever pull out of Syria. Today we learn the US is back to funding the White Helmets, and despite officially voicing “concern,” is still responsible for KSA’s newly escalated war against Yemen.

So, in the end, it’s still clear that the AZW Empire is not done in Syria. A lot depends on what Russia does. I sure hope Putin sees Syrian and Iranian sovereignty as in Russia’s interest.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 16 2018 1:03 utc | 181

Here's my third thought on "first thoughts."
Trump / USA want Korea as an ally to offset Russia and China in the region.
So they may push for Korean reunification, for a strong Korea, in some way beholden to the US, and with the same shared interest - to offset the Russo-Chinese alliance.

Posted by: John-Paul Leonard | Jun 16 2018 5:50 utc | 182

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