Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 28, 2019

Trump Sticks To Sanctions - U.S., North Korea Summit Fails - Updated

Updated below

The second summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea was held in Hanoi, Vietnam yesterday and today. It failed. The meetings on the last day were cut short. Nothing was agreed upon and signed. No common statement was issued.

Trump held a press conference and gave his side of the talks (transcript). The issue seems to have been the sequencing of abolishing sanctions by the U.S. side versus the destruction of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor complex on the North Korean side.

The U.S. demanded the destruction of Yongbyon and of other complexes before any change in the sanction regime. North Korea insisted on following the sequencing that was agreed upon during the first summit. The joint statement by the two leaders signed in June 2018 defined four clearly sequenced steps:

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and 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 toward complete denuclearization 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.

Eight month later new relations in form of the opening of embassies or a lifting of sanctions were not established. No peace treaty was signed. North Korea destroyed nuclear testing tunnels and a missile test stand. Some POW/MIA remains have been repatriated. But the U.S. side has taken no steps that could be seen as fulfilling its commitments.

Since the first summit Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. media have done their best to ignore the sequencing. North Korea on the other side has insisted on it again and again. It made absolutely clear that it would not budge on the issue. In his New Year speech the chairman emphasized:

If the US responds to our proactive, prior efforts with trustworthy measures and corresponding practical actions, bilateral relations will develop wonderfully at a fast pace through the process of taking more definite and epochal measures.

We have no intention to be obsessed with and keep up the unsavoury past relationship between the two countries, but are ready to fix it as early as possible and work to forge a new relationship in line with the aspirations of the two peoples and the requirements of the developing times.
I am ready to meet the US president again anytime, and will make efforts to obtain without fail results which can be welcomed by the international community.

But if the United States does not keep the promise it made in the eyes of the world, and out of miscalculation of our people’s patience, it attempts to unilaterally enforce something upon us and persists in imposing sanctions and pressure against our Republic, we may be compelled to find a new way for defending the sovereignty of the country and the supreme interests of the state and for achieving peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.

The "corresponding measures" the U.S. promised will have to come first before North Korea gives up more of its nuclear infrastructure.

As Trump tells it the U.S. insisted on nuclear dismantling first:

Trump: Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that, so we’ll continue to work and we’ll see. But we had to walk away from that particular suggestion. We had to walk away from that.

Q: Will all the sanctions that are currently in existence remain, sir?

Trump: They’re in place. I was watching as a lot of you folks over the weeks have said, oh, we’ve given up -- we haven’t given up anything. And I think frankly we’ll be good friends with chairman Kim and North Korea, and I think they have tremendous potential. I’ve been telling everybody they have tremendous potential, unbelievable potential, and we’re going to see. But it was about sanctions. They wanted sanctions lifted but they weren’t willing to do an area we wanted. They were willing to give us areas but not the ones we wanted.

That the sanctions stay in place is a great disappointment for South Korea. Its president Moon Jae-in had hoped to announce new economic agreements with North Korea. The U.S. will not allow him to proceed.

That Trump came to the summit with the delusion that he could get more out of North Korea before lifting sanctions is a failure of the policy process in the State Department and the National Security Council. They held the preparatory talks and knew what North Korea demanded before it was willing to go any further.

Trump says that even as he "walked away" the meeting ended in a friendly way and without bad words. North Korea, Trump says, will stay committed to the freeze of nuclear and missile testing while the U.S. will stay committed to the freeze of large scale maneuvers around North Korea. Both sides are open to further talks but no dates have been set for them.

If Trump hopes that North Korea will come back and offer more he will be disappointed. Neither will North Korea sit just back and do nothing while the U.S. keeps sticking to its sanction regime. The New Year speech quoted above said that North Korea will "be compelled to find a new way for defending the sovereignty of the country" if the U.S. is unwilling to budge.

History shows that North Korea has always gamed out such talks. It is always prepared to let them fail and it is ready to take the next step whenever that happens. The "new way" may well allude to some new weapon that North Korea is ready to test. Cruise missiles are a possible candidate.

We do not know yet the North Korean view of the talks. Their version is usually published in the official  Rodong Sinmun newspaper a day or two after such talks. It will likely contain hints of how North Korea is going to proceed.

Kim Jong-un came to Vietnam by train. He will travel back through China and will likely coordinate the next steps with the Chinese government. When and how he will take his "new way" will probably depend on the trade talks between China and the United States. If those too fail then all bets are again off.

Update Feb 28 13:00 PM

The North Koreans were not happy with the statement that Trump gave of the end of the talks. They improvised a press conference to give their version. Below is the report by the South Korean Yonhap news agency:

N.K. seeks partial lifting of sanctions: foreign minister

HANOI, March 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is seeking partial relief of sanctions from the United States, not complete relief, in exchange for the dismantlement of its main nuclear facility and other actions, Pyongyang's top diplomat said Friday.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho made the remark at an impromptu press conference at his hotel in Hanoi, hours after a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump failed to produce an agreement.

Ri said the North is specifically seeking the lifting of sanctions under five United Nations Security Council resolutions adopted in 2016 and 2017.

He said those measures were particularly damaging to the North Korean people's livelihoods.

At the summit, according to Ri, the North Koreans also offered to permanently halt their testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

But the U.S., he said, insisted that the North go "one more" step beyond the dismantlement of its main nuclear facility in Yongbyon.

Pyongyang's position won't change even if the U.S. seeks further talks, he added.

A Bloomberg correspondent in Hanoi tweeted from the press conference:

Shannon Pettypiece @spettypi - 7:21 utc - 28 Feb 2019
BREAKING: North Koreans in press conference disputed Trump's account that North Korean asked for removal of ALL sanctions. Said they asked for partial removal of sanctions
BREAKING: North Korean official said they asked for 5 of 11 sanctions to be lifted in exchange for partial denuclearization. Trump's comments made it seem like North Koreans had asked for ALL sanctions to be canceled.
BREAKING: In rare press conference, North Korean official says “Chairman Kim got the feeling that he didn't understand the way Americans calculate” says Kim may have "lost the will" for further negotiations.
North Koreans said "it became crystal clear the United States wasn't ready to accept our proposal" during rare press conference

An unofficial translation of the full North Korean statement is here. North Korea again uses the phrase "corresponding measures". Ri also said that "it became crystal clear that the U.S. was not ready to accept our proposal."


  • What was the "one more step" Trump demanded. Did it come from John Bolton?
  • It seems likely that Kim Jong-un, not Trump, was the one who ended the negotiations.
  • Giving the wrong impression about the sanction lifting request will came back to haunt the U.S. when (if?) the negotiations continue.

Trump reportedly asked the South Korean President Moon to mediate with North Korea about step towards a new round of negotiations.


Posted by b on February 28, 2019 at 12:19 UTC | Permalink

next page »

That wasn't much of a surprise to be honest.

Posted by: Heath | Feb 28 2019 12:37 utc | 1

The DPRK will continue developing nuclear-armed submarine launched ballistic missiles.
Maybe some armed with super-EMP warheads.

Posted by: Perimetr | Feb 28 2019 12:59 utc | 2

I was quite disappointed to hear Trump insinuate that US sanctions will remain in place until NK abandons its Nuclear defense safeguards. His base probably won't like it either. Breaking promises makes him sound like an empty suit and will, along with other broken promises, kill his hopes for re-election. Since Trump & Kim both speak the same language, English, my money says that only Trump & Kim know what Kim's next (persuasive) move will be.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 28 2019 13:10 utc | 3

This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. They know the DPRK wasn't gonna give up its nuclear deterrent unilaterally, so the next best thing behind a the dream of a Libya situation is to once again have an aggressive relationship with the North to be able to continue to justify all sorts of "defense" maneuvering around China now that foreign policy has now officially pivoted away from terrorism and towards China(+Russia). Similar to AEGIS Ashore in Eastern Europe in order to "defend" Europe from "Iran".

Posted by: twhstmmwmafilwwwww | Feb 28 2019 13:13 utc | 4

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing

Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up.

We talked to them giving them legitimacy, OMG, as if we have some kind of glorious halo that is worth a billions of $ or even more. This makes me want to puke when I heare this.

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 28 2019 13:22 utc | 5

Believing Trump is or ever was open to breaking with US imperialism is Trumpery. He wants to sweat the subordinates, wants them to spend more on the military, buy more US weapons, do more fighting. But to make things look good he will say anything, and renege.

Some people think Trump etc. are trying to detach the north from a Chinese alliance. There are two problems here. First, there's no sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north. Not wanting to squeeze hard enough to cause a total collapse is not supporting the north. Second, if that's what Trump wanted, he'd actually try offering the north concessions.

The issue in the background is whether Trump will let the south out of the US orbit. It's an easy question to answer: He won't. Empires don't give up their territory until they're made to. The Soviet withdrawal from central Europe is not an exception, as the USSR was not an empire. (Yes, everyone who says "Soviet empire" and means it is a shithead.)

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 28 2019 13:28 utc | 6

Formally, the Korean War was between Chosôn on the one side and The United nations and Hangok (Daehan)on the other. The UN security council is the ones to have instituted tthe sanction regime and thus in practice committed a crime against Humanity by inflictin starvation the people of the North. In practice it was a US & their allie's war against the entire population of Korea. Formally, peace must be signed by Chosôn and the UN and sanctions lifted by the latter. In Practice, the US must be made to abide with agreements.

Posted by: Ts'yew Taw-Loh | Feb 28 2019 13:30 utc | 7

Here is an article that explains why the North Koreans believe that the United States is not trustworthy:

The Korean people have paid a very heavy price simply because of their unfortunate geographic location immediately adjacent to the world’s largest Communist state.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Feb 28 2019 13:35 utc | 8

Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK?

This article helps to explain it:

Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China’s socialist economy to capitalism

Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door.

My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols.

Posted by: vk | Feb 28 2019 13:48 utc | 9

The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen.

Moon would probably like to unite the two Koreas and kick US out. But then, the US mil/fp would sanction him and all Korea.

Posted by: David Wooten | Feb 28 2019 13:58 utc | 10

This was yet another photo op on the road to nowhere with our reality show presidency. As Conway Twitty sang, "it's only make believe."

The path to "normalisation" with NK winds through SK.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 28 2019 14:07 utc | 11

An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures:

American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die.

Time to grow up, it's not the 1990's. You're just another country, and we're not so frightened any more.

Posted by: Ant | Feb 28 2019 14:09 utc | 12

This is quite possible ...

Kevin Gray @DrKevinGray Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean

Posted by: b | Feb 28 2019 14:34 utc | 13

Mission accomplished, again. Well, it looks like back to Venezuela then for the weekend!

Posted by: Taffyboy | Feb 28 2019 14:43 utc | 14

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing

Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want .. follow up question {answered} as in, 'like what?'

What has the U.S.[A given up. [please note that unless you are a member of the 527 persons that make up the USA, you the "WE does not include you. Americans get to elect by a vary strained highly polarized (Republican vs Democrat) process, 525 persons under Article I, but not the two persons who are the CEOs that govern the USA ? Americans cannot elected the CEOs that make all of the decisions. The CEOs of the USA are elected by persons who many or may not be Americans, have a look PLEASE!

Citizen voting designed by Oligarchs to give control of 540,000,000 Americans to the USA method

vote for vote for Populations in general elections
Article/Section of USA two from one from have no vote for either the
100/ 340,000,000/ President or the V-President
Article I a. now by amendment XVII
for Senators 2 from )
(each state, total 100) 2 votes/voter

Article I < USA constitution)
b. now by amendment XVIV
House member (1/district)
1 /district= 800,000 governed
Americans = 450 districts; 1 vote/voter

Article II < USA constitution) Allows no vote to
amended almost ASAE USA Americans who vote
met under the constitution Only members of the
to Amendment XII electoral college c/vote.

basically voting allows each American to cast a vote to appoint by majority of the votes 1 member of the house and 2 senators, but nothing in the constitutional process for selecting a President or Vice President allows the voters to vote
for the President or the Vice President. (<==that explains a lot?)

So could a member of the electoral college -- whom you've helped elect by casting your fake vote for president or your fake vote for vice president, cast his or her electoral vote in direct opposition to your intention? Could the electoral college appoint to the office of President/Vice President some who was not even on the ballot? Answer = yes?
Does that electoral voter (not you the citizen voter) vote to fill the two Article II offices (President and Vice President) even need to be a citizen of the USA? Seems not? Nowhere do I find USA citizenship as a requirement to be an electoral voter, the only requirement seems to be a member of either the Republican or the Democratic party
Take the North Carolina General Statute § 163-209, for example: "A vote for the candidates for President and Vice-President named on the ballot is a vote for the electors..." [source: North Carolina General Assembly].

We talked to them giving them legitimacy, OMG, as if we have some kind of glorious halo that is worth a billions of $ or even more. This makes me want to puke when I heare this. <= once again I remind you that the "WE d/n include you..

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.<= once again I remind you that the "WE d/n include you..

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | 5

Posted by: snake | Feb 28 2019 15:06 utc | 15

Comment 12 is a good attack on the comment 13 Bolton, the anachronism whose coups and intimidation don't work anymore.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 28 2019 15:19 utc | 16

Trump apologists spinning the failed summit

Once again, I remind everyone that we saw THE EXACT SAME THING with Obama. Failures were NEVER attributed to Obama despite the fact that Obama kept "failing" over and over again.

What is "failure" to us is success for the establishment.

That's how the faux populist leader psyop works. I've been writing about Trump as a faux populist like Obama for about 18 months. But those who hope that Trump is their hero refuse to see what they don't want to see. And then there are those that deliberately want to push the pretense that hero Trump is repeatedly confounded by his advisors.

steven t johnson @6 has it right: Believing Trump is or ever was open to breaking with US imperialism is Trumpery.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Anyone trying to excuse Trump is a fool or worse. Trump is not hero, he's a member of the team. He is is part and parcel of the anti-democratic scam. He is the Empire's spokesperson, and a tool of the Deep State.

Is he a puppet? No. He is a member of the team.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 28 2019 15:29 utc | 17

So we give up nothing, not even a temporary ease in sanctions and they give up their nuclear weapons program in whole, what a deal. Its obvious that even if Trump went there with the intention of making a realistic two sided deal the permanent war state would just scuttle it anyway by refusing to follow the plan or staging some new provocation like some war games or bomber fly over. DPRK has to see that after Iran complied with the inspections regime and abandoned its civilian nuclear program the goal post was moved to not even being allowed to have ballistic missiles. What I don't understand is how long before South Korea demands we respect its sovereignty in it's own military affairs and asks us to remove a sizable chunk of our war machine so a lasting peace can be made. Can South Korea not forge its own tit-for-tat peace plan with the North that makes sense to both sides and tell the US not to interfere, sabotage or ask it to leave? It seems the opportunity is ripe to exclude the empty suit Trump and his group of Neo-con madmen and forge ahead with opening up trade and mutual thawing of feeling in Koreas, but is there political will to do so in South Korea?

Posted by: Jason | Feb 28 2019 15:54 utc | 18

Washington has 'requested' Abe the lapdog to
nominate Trump the charlatan for a Nobel piss

Trump might gets his trophy after all.
Be patient.

They'r having fun getting us all agape with these
reality shows, they wanna milk it for all its
worth, before they finally deliver the PRIZE/

Posted by: denk | Feb 28 2019 16:00 utc | 19

No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'.
It thinks it is 'uber alles'.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Feb 28 2019 16:02 utc | 20

fairleft @16

The link @12 is another form of apology for Trump. Essentially, an insanity defense:

All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president — think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one — but an increasingly unhinged country. You can feel so much of this in Trump’s confused and confusing attempts to both end American wars and ratchet them up . . .

[So] ... think of this piece as an obituary of sorts ... not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who ... was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear[but of a nation] . . . whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon.

It's not Trump's fault - it's the neocons! They constructed a system that allowed for the election of this "loopy" President and are using him for their own ends.

Sure, the neocons deserve much blame but the Deep State and their US President compatriots (Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump) are also guilty just as the driver of the getaway car is just as guilty as the bank robbers.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 28 2019 16:06 utc | 21

Where is QAnon when needed?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 28 2019 16:06 utc | 22

@Ant | Feb 28, 2019 9:09:01 AM

Outstanding comment under Tom Engelhardt's article Ant linked to:

F. G. Sanford
February 22, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Rome didn’t fall in a day. Those plutocrat Romans held sway.
Building Hadrian’s wall didn’t quite end it all,
Waging wars helped to lead them astray!

They plundered and stole prime resources. They had chariots, soldiers and horses.
They engaged in some trade, easy money was made,
All their taxes would pay for those forces!

The forum was full of those cronies. They solemnly held ceremonies.
Their ships plied the waves, they imported more slaves,
They fooled Plebs with their false testimonies!

Gladiators the stadiums filled. It was fun watching people get killed.
While somewhat sadistic, perhaps narcissistic,
It kept all the poor people thrilled!

The empire’s borders got broader. The spectacles got even odder.
When the legions got thin, they let foreigners in-
There was need for more battlefield fodder!

Foreign wars kept the rabble impressed. Bread and circus would keep them repressed.
A TV show host could be Cicero’s ghost,
An apprentice by Nero possessed!

Just denounce any real criticism, and instead propagate populism.
Take free trade nihilism, neocon cronyism,
If it fails he could blame socialism!

They’d claim real democracy fails. We’d steal Christ and come back for the nails.
We’d want more free stuff and it’s never enough,
Without war they can’t balance the scales!

But the Empire always succeeds. It provides for the rich and their needs.
A petroleum gala awaits Venezuela,
Even Nancy Pelosi concedes!

The emperor got some new clothes. He’s got Democrats hooked by the nose-
They’ll go right along so the dollar stays strong,
There’s never a war they oppose!

Nero was just a dictator. Caligula’s evil was greater.
They killed Julius Caesar, that much loved crowd pleaser
To the plutocrats, he was a traitor!

For the moment the Empire’s stable. The emperor seems strong and able.
Maxine Waters will screech that it’s time to impeach,
But Nancy says that’s off the table!

As long as the profits boost war firms, the emperor still could get two terms.
Kamala may scheme and Warren can dream,
But both parties are neo-conned worms.

Bernie and Tulsi raise hopes. But Beto and Booker are dopes.
Those flyover regions have loyalist legions,
And they cater to Biblical tropes!

The emperor said he’d tell all. He’d explain how those towers could fall.
In the end he would blink when he got to the brink,
Ever since he’s continued to stall.

He’s in bed with those evil deep staters. He’ll install some more Latin dictators.
Venezuela will boil with regime change turmoil-
And Abrams will bribe perpetrators!

The Democrats know they will profit. They won’t lift a finger to stop it!
They’ll bank on Guaido for regime overthrow,
Both parties will make money off it!

We’re just like the Roman Empire. We believe that we’ll never expire.
We’ve got ruins galore, check downtown Baltimore,
Or Detroit if it’s proof you require!

Posted by: ex-SA | Feb 28 2019 16:10 utc | 23

mEANWHILE,poor dear !
Trump wanna withdraw from Syria but he's
betrayed by the deep state.

We must support Trump,
see, he's fighting against the deep state,
hampered by his advisors, opposed by the
media blah blah blah.

He needs all our support, in-spite of all
his failures, cuz its not his fault.

He's our best hope yet,
Dont forget, had been Clinton......!


Posted by: denk | Feb 28 2019 16:12 utc | 24

reply to b- 13
Thank you b- now it all makes some sense.
I had some hope (I suffer from that) that this meeting might inch things along, and to support that hope I searched among the photos of the meetup to see if Bolton was there. Figuring if he was it would turn the event into a dog's breakfast.
I didn't see him so I was perplexed when the meeting collapsed, NOW I see he was indeed there and was his usual self. On to Venezuela.

Posted by: frances | Feb 28 2019 16:34 utc | 25

I still believe that Korea will reunite without US involvement.

And as part of that reunion Korea will demand that US troops leave their soil

Korea will also align with the China/Russia majority and get involved in BRI

The smell of empire defeat is glorious in the morning

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 28 2019 16:57 utc | 26

My question. What will South Korea do now?

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Feb 28 2019 17:13 utc | 27

IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump:

"Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that." [My Emphasis]

Wouldn't or couldn't? Using "couldn't" tells me that possibility was zero to begin with and Bolton's appearance had nothing to do with anything other than the fact that the impasse was pre-determined. Kim knew it would happen; I was 99% sure it would happen; and of course Trump knew. And that's where it will likely remain until 2021, although there's a slight possibility that the UNSC sanctions will be modified and lessened.

Escobar's recap of recent events seems rather bland, although between the lines I think he's saying that solving Kashmir is more important than solving Afghanistan, an important point overlooked too long.

So, Koreans are left to their own devices and will continue their unification drive, while the quadrangular relations between China, Russia, and the two Koreas will grow tighter; all of which serve to increase pressure on Abe and Japan to drop the Empire's line.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28 2019 17:17 utc | 28

It would be easy to be put off by the failure of the summit under the Americans' blatent treachery, but it is probably better that way.

Consider what would happen if the US and NK were to have a "fantastically successful" summit with agreements signed - what are the chances that the US would subsequently honour their commitments? NILL. What would be the effect on NK if NK does not honour it's commitments? Devastating at best.

Because of the US' well-established behaviour patterns, it is hard to imagine how NK could benefit from signing an agreement with the US - any concrete agreement - the US will ignore it's commitments, while forcing NK to abide by its commitments.

Therefore a situation in which the US clearly shows itself to be the treacherous partner while the NK side is beyond reproach is the perfect outcome for NK, allowing her to establish a good reputation in world public opinion and - hopefully - together with SK find their own way to achieve peaceful reunification without the US.

Peaceful reunification with US blessing was never on the cards and never will be.

Fortunately Kim Jong-Un has thus far been truly masterful in playing his cards, getting the geostrategic benefits at each throw, while the US only succeed in clearly establishing their treachery and progressively undermining their geostrategic hand.

With support from China and Russia, may the two Koreas eventually successfully achieve their own peaceful reunification without the US!

Posted by: BM | Feb 28 2019 17:24 utc | 29

thanks b... aside from liking what @26 psychohistorian said, i wonder who really benefits from these sanctions the usa is so quick to use as a tool against others impose or maintain? the usa appears to be built on this system of financial sanctions and can't function without it.. is it that the thought of north and south korea working together means the usa gets cut out of the action? is that a big part of it?? at some point it is going to happen anyway... same deal russia and the rest of europe and same deal iran and the rest of the world... it seems to me the usa is squandering all the promise they might have had at one time by catering to whoever profits from these financial sanction routines..

so yeah.. it is back to rome didn't fall in a day, and the usa's time is coming soon enough..

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2019 17:31 utc | 30

A large impediment to North Korea achieving a lifting of sanctions is the long list of UNSC resolutions establishing global unanimity for a sanctions regime.

The US has managed to corral China and Russia to join these sanctions.

However, a case can be made that since no nuke testing has transpired, no missile tests have continued, and the threat to neighbors and the region is now flat-lined, North Korea should be acting, not with the US alone, but with all the UNSC and other nations, in a way that demonstrates it is walking from nuclear development and ICBM achievement.

We shall see if Russia and China can press this argument in order to pursue economic development as a reward for international inspection and IAEA control of the NK nuclear program.

What the US wants is to get Moon out of the picture and retain fanatical South Korean leadership that would be against North Korea development. Trump may see the potential in North Korea, but the MIC and Deep State absolutely do not want to have to leave South Korea as a base.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 28 2019 17:35 utc | 31

To the posters who think Russia should intervene everywhere---

Just reading on Orlov's blog and he pointed to an article he wrote about Russia and Putin in 2014 from a Valdai meeting---Putin--

"5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America's ever-expanding “empire of chaos,” and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia's challenges lie in developing her already vast territory). _

Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past."

Posted by: arby | Feb 28 2019 17:52 utc | 32

Just lime Reagan Trump Walked Away from a Bad Deal. In doing so he dispelled another myth that he went to Korea for headlines. The President could’ve easily had accepted Kim’s counter offer and tried to spin the summit as a partial victory. Luckily for Americans he reminded us what a true leader looks like.

President Reagan was sharply criticized for doing just that. Inevitably, his successor is receiving the same criticisms from the press core. Often reading about Reykjavic summit, The articles often referenced the intense pressure Reagan was under, to accept whatever accord was offered. It takes guts and a highly commendable determination to put America first to refuse to go along for temporary political advantage and that’s what Trump did.

As written by NR; During the final presidential debate in October 2012, the president outlined his necessary condition for a deal, declaring: “The deal we’ll accept is they end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.”

However, once at the negotiating table, it was clear that President Obama wasn’t motivated to strike the best deal possible to end Iran’s nuclear program. Instead, he was intent on striking any deal — even a bad one.

Throughout the process, President Obama’s chief negotiators ignored nearly 40 years of open Iranian hostility toward America and our allies. They also chose to ignore the fact that Iran has repeatedly broken the terms of its previous international agreements — breaches that prove Tehran’s word is worth only as much as the paper it’s written on.

This is evident from the endless list of concessions the administration gave Iran, a sharp reversal of the president’s own words and his repeated assurances to the America people:

*The administration conceded by forcing no limits on Iran’s ballistic-missile force, the means for deploying nuclear weapons.

*The administration abandoned its position that effective verification required full access to Iran’s facilities. Iran was instead given up to 24 days to prepare for inspections, including the statutory flexibility to stonewall inspectors and drag out the inspection process for months.

*The administration completely backed away from the previous goal of “zero enrichment” and “zero centrifuges,” which President Obama later declared “unrealistic.” Instead, he allowed Iran to continue operating 6,000 centrifuges.

*The administration reversed the longstanding policy of previous administrations to make restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities permanent. Instead, the restrictions in the deal will phase out entirely after ten years. President Obama himself admitted that this ten-year timeframe gives Iran virtually zero breakout time to develop a nuclear weapon.

The end result is a disastrous deal that not only fails to stop Iran’s nuclear weapon capability — it also paves the path for Iran to become a nuclear state.

The deal frees tens of billions of dollars in assets to the ayatollahs that they use to advance their nuclear-weapons program and fund their global terror network. The lifting of sanctions opens up the floodgates to new foreign investment and economic development in Iran, a rush of money that will undoubtedly tighten the fundamentalist regime’s grip on power. The deals poses a direct danger to Israel and our other longstanding allies in the Middle East. It forever alters the global geopolitical landscape and will spark the beginning of a regional nuclear-arms race.

And now, President Obama and the media confidently boasts that there was no alternative to this bad deal.

However, there was a very good alternative: Walk away, sustain the sanctions, and force Iran back to the negotiating table to get a better deal. The standard was set in 1986, when President Reagan met with the Soviet Union’s Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavík to negotiate the elimination of all ballistic missiles owned by the U.S. and Soviet Union.

Negotiators made much progress during the summit, but Gorbachev demanded late in the process that the U.S. limit its Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) missile-defense system. Such a concession would’ve violated President Reagan’s core principles, so — to the shock of even some in his own administration — he turned down the chance to sign a historic agreement and instead walked away.

‘Our approach is not to seek agreement for agreement’s sake but to settle only for agreements that truly enhance our national security and that of our allies.’

The media were quick to label Reagan’s decision a failure, but they were proven wrong shortly thereafter. Within a year, Gorbachev was forced back to the negotiating table, having dropped his demands on SDI. This led to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which significantly limited the superpowers’ nuclear arsenals; this treaty is now regarded as one of America’s top diplomatic victories during the Cold War.”

Yesterday President Trump channeled his inner Reagan. Just as the Gipper in 1986 walked away from a disarmament negotiation at Reykjavic rather than accede to Mikhail Gorbachev’s unacceptable demands, Mr. Trump yesterday shortened his summit with North Korea’s despot, Kim Jong-un.

Evidently, Kim thought the President was so anxious to secure some deal because of the press clippings from the never Trump media. Kim assumes he had the upper hand and believed that Trump would end all economic sanctions on North Korea in exchange for considerably less than its denuclearization. Instead, just as Reagan had, President Trump too has said, “Sometimes you just have to walk away.”

Posted by: Otto B | Feb 28 2019 17:52 utc | 33

It's worth remembering that US-UK developed a terminal case of Penis Envy during WWII. For quite a while everything Hitler did was bigger and better than anything the Brits or Yanks could dream up or anticipate.
Way back then it was only Germany that inspired their Penis envy, but 80 years of believing their own bullshit has seen their steadily decaying standards surpassed by all manner of 'inferior' countries in a wide variety of Human Endeavors.

This observation was inspired by watching dozens of Nazi Mega-whatsit docos about WWII Germany's Bigger & Better-ism. In some cases Hitler took B & B-ism to ridiculous extremes (such as battle tanks) but, by and large, when the Germans built something bigger it was usually superior to the Junior Burgers the 'allies' were churning out.

One particular doco exposes all the Penis Envy in one fell swoop. It's called Hitler's World - The Postwar Plan. (for Germania, the Capital of the World) and focuses on the 'insanely huge' monumental buildings Hitler was planning to build when Germany won WWII.

However, at no time in the history of monumentally huge buildings has anyone ever been criticised for building, or aspiring to build, the biggest example of a particular type of building - except Hitler's Germany. One need only recall the scale of Christianity's cathedrals compared to the scale of every other type of building of the 12th Century onward. Most of them collapsed at least once during construction, but they weren't deterred and it was normal for a cathedral to take circa 100 years to complete.
The unintended humour in the doco is reinforced by putting a Whingeing Pom in charge of making up reasons to be pointlessly indignant and vacuous.

And it's pretty obvious that the Penis Envying Brits and Yanks are more Nazi than Hitler's Nazis when it comes to destroying 'inferior' people and cultures.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 28 2019 17:56 utc | 34

@Red Ryder #31: Long URLs that don't have "?" and "-" symbols in them will break the page formatting. If you need to post a long URL, do it like this:

<A HREF="long non-breaking URL goes here">short description goes here</A>

Always click "Preview" to check that your comment does not break the page, then click "Post".

Posted by: S | Feb 28 2019 18:15 utc | 35


For james and other Canadians. Trudeau appears to have committed a High Crime:

"Trudeau was detonated today by his former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first Aboriginal A-G. She just testified in Parliament, in meticulous detail, how Trudeau and his staff tried to get her to drop criminal charges against a corrupt company that he liked."

Much more at link. Is it as bad as portrayed, or will he be able to wriggle out?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28 2019 18:15 utc | 36

as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks.

i know it's based in "realism" or "realpolitik" or whatever euphemism for "do what we say or be murdered" people prefer, but south korea not telling the west to kiss the tastiest part of its ass and siding with the dprk and china to settle things is just absurd. other than financial punishment, what are they afraid of? no more disgusting tainted beef? no more deliveries of WWIII-level military gear without permission? a drop in sex tourism among pasty white anglos?

at least this does away with all pretense of trump being a "peace president" in the slightest. that was always a fantasy of the MAGA/"we liek him cuz hes xtian lol" crowd to begin with but now even the suggestion of such is laughable.

Posted by: the pair | Feb 28 2019 18:21 utc | 37

The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi.

I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.

Posted by: b | Feb 28 2019 18:23 utc | 38

The bi-partisan War Party wins again, the world loses.

Posted by: worldblee | Feb 28 2019 18:28 utc | 39


i despise trudeau and all, but this oddly timed "scandal" is based on nothing but one woman's testimony (as believable as she is) and the screeching of the scumbag conservatives along with their bootlickers in the media. global and CTV have always been conservative party infomercials but lately it's just ridiculous.

saying "a canadian politician did a corrupt thing" is like saying "we caught water being wet". odd how canada has a reputation as being "smarter" than the US yet its citizens have already forgotten the ten years of dripping, oily sleaze under harper and his coterie of fat doughy apes (the fattest and oiliest of which - jason kenney - has been oozing from the telly screen on a constant basis on said channels).

with his repulsive bootlicking on the huawei affair and venezuela, it's easy to want justin out yesterday. but any conservative taking his place will be harper 2.0 and therefore trump's maple mini-me.

apologies for off topicness.

Posted by: the pair | Feb 28 2019 18:29 utc | 40

ot - @36 karlof1... next election is oct 2019... it probably doesn't matter as i doubt very much he gets elected in october.. it is kinda true what the pair is saying @40 too... we will get getting our version of trump, as we are one cycle behind the usa... some conservative jackass will be running canada towards the end of the year to make matters even worse.. canucks are not all that bright, lol..

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2019 18:52 utc | 41

South Koreans, where are you? You should be camping 24/7 in front of the U.S. embassy, demanding the immediate removal of sanctions. The unification will never happen if you don't take a more active stance. The international community wants it, North Koreans want it, it all comes down to you. Kick the American troops out, break up your chaebols, and start the unification process. Any sanctions the U.S might impose on you will be more than offset by cheap Russian pipeline gas, a rail link to Europe, and an economic boom due to integration with the North. What are you waiting for? You may never have another chance like this.

Posted by: S | Feb 28 2019 19:04 utc | 42

The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi.
I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.
Posted by: b | Feb 28, 2019 1:23:41 PM | 38

It'll eventually dawn on the Yanks that it was NK's Nukes which brought AmeriKKKa to the negotiating table; NOT US sanctions which brought NK to the table. The ability to "Manhattan" Manhattan is too strong a negotiating position to swap for some insulting threats and vague non-binding promises. The biggest problem for the US now will be the impossibility of "proving" that it can be trusted.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 28 2019 19:20 utc | 43

Trump's 11 dimensional chess is a lot like Obama's 11 dimensional chess. Neither could figure out a way to keep warmongers and hateful pricks out of their cabinets, or curtail the war machine in any way, or to stop handing out tax giveaways to people who don't need them.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Feb 28 2019 19:49 utc | 44

@Otto B #33 - Thanks, but if we wanted the State Department take on the matter, we'd just visit their Twitter page.

How's the weather in Haifa, BTW?

Posted by: Mark Warner | Feb 28 2019 20:05 utc | 45

@38 b:
Thank you very much for the update, b. I am pleased that the DPRK called the press conference. It is a pity the video has been viewed only 1179 times.

Here is video footage of the DPRK news conference.

The 1st part is the prepared statement read out by foreign minister Ri Yong Ho with english translation following. The 2nd part of the interview consists of Q&A (sound quality v bad). It mainly reiterates the 1st part, but from 10:25 on, she says that (an) American Inspector(s) visited a factory called "Yun Soo" within the Yong Byon. She wanted to emphasise that that factory was put on the table for closure as well by DPRK.

Given that the sanctions the DPRK was seeking to be lifted were not US imposed sanctions, but UN sanctions, can the UN Sec Gen intervene (kind of like what happened in Yemen)?

It does make one wonder why POTUS said that DPRK was seeking the removal of ALL sanctions. Was he expecting something like this? It is so easy to refute that the fact it was said at all is intriguing.

Posted by: one off poster | Feb 28 2019 21:04 utc | 46

Will NK simply wait for the new president, thinking they could hardly do worse than a lying sack of shit?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Feb 28 2019 21:06 utc | 47

Otto B@33 - I suppose I can't argue with your logic - especially if this was part of an 'Art of the Deal' seminar. I will simply point out that your premise completely ignores what US citizens think is in THEIR best interests.

Pulling out all of our forces from South Korea permanently and ending sanctions on North Korea would be more than enough for them to denuclearize (and probably unify with the South). THAT is in US citizens' best interests, period. Chickenhawks within the US government are the only ones demanding an eternal occupation of South Korea and an eternal standoff with North Korea. They sell this as a necessary price to pay for 'security', except we're damn tired of hearing about our psychopathic leaders' manufactured enemy and we don't need protection from it.

Same goes for Iran, despite their nuclear capabilities, or lack thereof. 'Protecting US interests' is not 'protecting the US'. No amount of marketing or propaganda is going to make Iran a credible threat to the US or its citizens EVER. We don't need protection from a manufactured enemy. Three million people (give or take a million) were slaughtered in Southeast Asia to protect us against the last manufactured enemy: those homicidal CHICOMs. I don't recall seeing any fresh, bloody human heads mounted on pikes in downtown Hanoi during the talks this weekend. How is that possible?

I don't need a better Iranian 'deal'. I need my psychopathic leaders to stop antagonizing the hell out of Iran and stop punishing the Iranian people. Israel's psychopathic obsession with destroying Iran or somehow containing its regional influence has NOTHING to do with the security of US citizens - despite the incessant narrative. Are you honestly expecting the little people in the US to believe the DC chickenhawks or the MSM again?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 28 2019 21:06 utc | 48

RT editorial savages BigLie Media for the usual reasons--but--in choosing to highlight Susan Rice's NY Times op/ed in an attempt to discredit her, she actually suggests the very sort of incremental moves agreed to in the initial summit's Declaration:

"To move the needle, the United States and North Korea will need to agree on a series of incremental, reciprocal steps that would build mutual confidence as part of a road map to full denuclearization."

Oops!! All in all, the editorialist misrepresents Rice, which is what he accuses BigLie Media of doing--OUCH!

Rice's conclusion will surprise a few here:

"In Hanoi, Mr. Trump has an opportunity to achieve incremental progress toward denuclearization. Unfortunately, history suggests that Mr. Trump will be content with another colorful photo opportunity and more diplomatic shadow boxing that perpetuates the illusion of success, while running down the clock on a nearly intractable challenge."

And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28 2019 21:12 utc | 49

@27 Jose Garcia: "My question. What will South Korea do now?"

Well, they only have two choices:
Option 1: Continue to be the USA's loyal lapdog, in which case several million of them are doomed to die in the (increasingly inevitable) replay of the 1950-2 war.
Option 2: Hold secret talks with North Korea that lead to the surprise signing of a peace treaty that contains a clause that says "Both Koreas agree that no foreign forces shall be stationed on the Korean Peninsular". Then brace themselves to be sanctioned within an inch of their lives.

They'll go hungry under Option 2, and it will be inevitable that they flip into the "Chinese orbit". But they'll still be alive, which is not nothin'.

They'll make a stab at Option 2, because under Option 1 they'll all end up dead.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 28 2019 21:35 utc | 50

@fairleft (16) When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache.

Posted by: Rob | Feb 28 2019 22:03 utc | 51

Actually there is one sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north: a Shengyang rail link to Seoul via Pyongyang. This could be constructed in less than 3 years and will take some pressure off congestion in the Bohai Sea-Yellow Sea shipping lanes. And provide efficient transport of materials, goods & people in new & expanded markets.
I'm sure there are others.

Thank you b for the timely update on the latest theatrical entertainment, Nobel Peace Prize episode

Posted by: TDeL | Feb 28 2019 22:17 utc | 52

Sorry, *Shenyang not Shengyang, in Liaoning province

Posted by: TDeL | Feb 28 2019 22:26 utc | 53

It is typical for former leaders (Susan Rice, in this case) to "armchair quarterback" sensible propositions. They do this often. It's like polishing a turd. They believe that such pontificating helps people to forget what bloodthirsty monsters they were when they were in power.

Posted by: fast freddy | Feb 28 2019 22:27 utc | 54

@paveway 48
I do not know where you are going with this: "Are you honestly expecting the little people in the US to believe the DC chickenhawks or the MSM again?"
Trump received massive support for firing missiles into Syria after the purported gas attacks including from ~ 50% in public opinion polls, so IMO there is no doubt that the "little people" will buy into the next war hook, line and sinker with 65% approval if there is a long lead-up. The Iran / 9-11 trial balloon is being floated in some rightwing media outlets.

Posted by: Schmoe | Feb 28 2019 22:28 utc | 55

fastfreddy # 44

Agreed ff but regarding the Trump timeline from afar he has deliberately and methodically filled the white house staff with more and more extreme people. Slowly boiling the frog comes to mind. We are supposed to be acclimatised to this huckster being surrounded by hawks whereas he and his entire family are predators more deadly than hawks.

S #42

Thank you, you nailed it. Perhaps the assembled mass of South Koreans in front of the US embassy could wear a vest symbolising healing or unity. Perhaps they could assemble around a UN flag demanding that it back off from being a USA puppet. I don't recall having seen a UN flag burned yet but it would be an appropriate symbol from South Korea, or Haiti, or Libya, or......

Thank you again b and all the comrade writers, it has been a great read.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 28 2019 22:36 utc | 56

@Paveway IV #48

'Protecting US interests' is not 'protecting the US'.'s code for "protecting Israel."

Posted by: Mark Warner | Feb 28 2019 22:37 utc | 57

What I can't understand is why NK would give up its nuclear capability without requiring the empire to do the same. It isn't equitable for NK to give up its nukes for the mere promise of the empire to not place nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. The empire could still strike Nk from outside the peninsula. What's good for one country is good for the other.

Posted by: Chas | Feb 28 2019 22:50 utc | 58

"...Ri said the North is specifically seeking the lifting of sanctions under five United Nations Security Council resolutions adopted in 2016 and 2017."
None of which resolutions would have passed if either China or Russia had vetoed them. Those who, like me, are hoping that the South and North can work things out for themselves have to bear in mind the sheer weight and strength of South Korean Military/US interests, which go all the way back to the Korean collaborators who sided with Japan until its defeat and then, seamlessly, transitioned into being puppets of the Pentagon.

Regarding Canada.
1/ Jody Wilson-Raybould's testimony was unequivocal: Trudeau had put pressure on her to order the Director of Public Prosecutions to drop plans to prosecute LNC Lavelin for breaking the law. That is Tony Blair like behaviour. Trudeau will, in my opinion, have to go. If he goes now the Liberal party has almost a year to re-build its image under a new leader. If it were to select Jody it might even win the election.

2/ The revelation, that Trudeau et al regard the 'rule of law' as a nice sounding concept under which infinite numbers of corrupt deals can be hidden, has a direct bearing on the coming extradition hearing for the COO of Huawei who was arrested to please the US government. The Liberals have been hiding behind the plea that justice in Canada is blind. The Chinese Embassy must be laughing at them, now.

3/ If Trudeau goes, and he ought to, he will be the first of the Lima group leaders to be outlasted by Maduro. There might be another 'curse of Assad' thing happening here- of those political leaders who demanded his removal how many are still around? Hillary has gone, So has Cameron, Merkel is on the way out. Hollande retired in disgrace. Even the Italian PM at the time was defeated. Rajoy in Spain, ditto.
As to the Lima group- there is hardly one of them who is not in real political difficulty. And if Trudeau goes Freeland will (or ought to) go too.
For those who enjoy horror scenarios, there is a chance that Trudeau will be succeeded by the, card carrying, fascist Freeland.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 28 2019 22:53 utc | 59

Yeah, Right @50--

For your Option #2 to fly, the existing treaty with Outlaw US Empire must be negated along with the entire arrangement with UN that's existed since 1950. Given Imperial intransigence combined with ever escalating political will within RoK, such a happening may occur before 2020 begins.

The most recent article on reunification I was able to find in English is 3 months old and provides grounds for optimism given the concept's positive direction. IMO, Moon and Kim need to continue down the path they've made for each other,, while the diplomatic action moves into the UNSC which is where most of the sanctions were born and the only venue where they can be rescinded.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28 2019 22:59 utc | 60

Many thanks to the pair, james and bevin for their replies to my OT item!

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28 2019 23:09 utc | 61

@ ex-SA #23

Thanks for reposting the Sanford poem here. He is very, very good.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 28 2019 23:48 utc | 62

@59 bevin.. freeland has wanted trudeaus job since day one... some powerful and corrupt forces have been pushing for her all along..

Posted by: james | Mar 1 2019 0:18 utc | 63

@35, S,

I always check my comments in preview, often many times. The URL seemed to be fine. It works.
However, I'll be more cognizant in the future with any long URLs.


Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 1 2019 0:49 utc | 64

S @ 42:

For South Korea to do as you suggest, Japan must do exactly the same.

The South Koreans are more afraid of what Japan would do if they (SK, that is) were to throw out the Americans, downsize their own military and start a reunification or a "one-state-two-systems" process, and Japan does not follow suit with demilitarisation.

Incidentally the current Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's grandfather Nobusuke Kishi served as Munitions Minister under PM Hideki Tojo in the early 1940s. Under his watch, thousands of Chinese and Koreans were employed as slave labour in factories and mines. Kishi also ran the puppet state Manchukuo during the 1930s as his personal technocratic industrial slave state.

Much later Kishi also got a turn as Japanese PM but his legacy as PM may have been to design a political system in which the Liberal Democratic Party (a conservative party in Japan) was always the main political party in government from 1955 to 1993.

Needless to say, Abe hero-worships Kishi.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 1 2019 1:29 utc | 65

Trump is building an anti-US coallition.
Looks like he was told to torpedo the deal.

Posted by: jared | Mar 1 2019 1:30 utc | 66

@ Jen who wrote
For South Korea to do as you suggest, Japan must do exactly the same.
Are you suggesting that if Korea were to reunite and demilitarize that Japan would try to conquer them?

I don't think we live in that world anymore but I guess if we see the US successfully invade Venezuela then maybe you have a point

I would also add that I agree with both events you write of happening but they don't need to happen in parallel, IMO

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 1 2019 2:02 utc | 67

I want to add some more thought to those I shared with Jen

What about the Philippines?

I think that at this time in history all of the outposts of empire are at risk.

I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together."

I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue

Are we going to see the dominoes of empire fall? I damn well hope so!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 1 2019 2:29 utc | 68

Is it not funny how the boss Bolton shows up at negotiations and El Presidente falls into (his unrealistic) line? El Presidente de la republica bananera is just a low level employee of his own staff BullbyTon and Pompous Maximus.

Nobody asked this here yet, but how did we get to US negotiating against NK on behalf of UN Security Council? Who did China and Russia on the Security Council serve, did they get anything for their service to the republica bananera? One can recognise how ruthless US is, but one also has to recognise how worthless China and Russia are. US ignores UN Resolutions it does not like and uses UN Resolutions it initiated as a head-club for achieving its goals whilst China and Russia go along. This is exactly why the things are as they are - the Selfish Human Condition.

Oh, we are all so happy when someone does not do like the majority of the worthless humanity does (Russia out of own interest in Syria). Otherwise, back to being the usual shitbags.

Posted by: Kiza | Mar 1 2019 2:31 utc | 69

@60 Karlof1 As ever, it is instructive to read the text of a treaty.

In this particular case the treaty between South Korea and the USA contains within it the answers to your concerns.

1) either party can end the treaty with 12 month notice.
2) the stationing of US troops is by mutual agreement I.e. if South Korea "No longer agrees" to US troops stationed on its soil then those troops have to leave.

Uncle Sam would have no grounds to refuse, as the treaty itself says that both signatories have to agree. And, no, the treaty doesn't have to be "renegotiated" to produce that outcome: the South Koreans need only say "we don't agree any more".

That's what the treaty says, so that's what the treaty means.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 1 2019 2:36 utc | 70

@31 Red Ryder

Nothing will change until S Korea decides to be an independent country instead of a low vassal. Watching a foreign country negotiate peace in your own civil war without being at the table must be deeply humiliating to at least some S Koreans surely?

As for the sanctions, if the Koreas re-united as ROK and the DPRK disappeared as an entity, I assume the UN sanctions on extinct entity would be void.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Mar 1 2019 2:45 utc | 71

test of remembering personal info that I am having trouble with....move on, nothing to see here.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 1 2019 2:47 utc | 72

Jrabbit @ 17 said in part;"Trump is not hero, he's a member of the team. He is is part and parcel of the anti-democratic scam. He is the Empire's spokesperson, and a tool of the Deep State."

"Is he a puppet? No. He is a member of the team."

IMO,right on target.

ex-SA @ 23; Good prose, and relevant.

I think it's time for all to realize that until global monetary policies change, the empire will continue to economically
terrorize the globe.

Until that happens, doesn't matter who sits in the POTUS, they will do the bidding of those trans-national elites who really make the decisions.

As always b, thanks for the therapy, and the relevant info....

Posted by: ben | Mar 1 2019 3:28 utc | 73

Psychohistorian @ 67:

It's significant that the current PM of Japan is a grandson of a politician with a very dark past, and moreover idolises his grandfather and believes the policies he followed were right.

"Formed in childhood, roots of Abe's conservatism go deep"

You and I live in the year 2019 but the issue is whether Shinzo Abe does.

For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.

The two countries also continue to dispute the ownership of a set of islands called the Liancourt islands in the Sea of Japan, midway between the two nations.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 1 2019 3:54 utc | 74

Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 1 2019 4:12 utc | 75

South Korea is a puppet government of the US. Its constitution was written by the US and its early leaders were those who worked with the Japanese during the occupation. Anyone against the government and continued occupation by foreign forces was labelled Commmunist and shot. Up until the late 80’s South Korea was under martial law

While much of the population is aware of this being humiliated by foreign powers has been a way of life for over a century. Reunification is a pipe dream unless the North is under the Empires control and the US will not pull out even then because its conveniently located at Russia and Chinas borders

I can imagine Trump talking to Kim and asking him how he would like to live like him and the global elite. It worked with Gorbachev and Deng. Just need to adopt the neoliberal religion and loot the resources of your own people (bottom 95%) for eventual handover to the Empire (privatization or sending cash back to buy Treasuries and other investments). My guess is Kim and NK elite live pretty well already, but who knows. In any event he knows he cant trust them.

Posted by: Pft | Mar 1 2019 4:14 utc | 76

Yeah, Right @70--

Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 1 2019 5:12 utc | 77

Sorry, b ...didn't see your 13..

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 1 2019 5:31 utc | 78

@mark warner.. stick around.. i liked your line the best of all the comments so far and directed at a poster who will go un-named..

"How's the weather in Haifa, BTW?" lolol!

Posted by: james | Mar 1 2019 6:14 utc | 79

Schmoe@55 - [sigh...] Yes, you're right. I suppose I got kind of got carried away there. But I can't believe the polls '50% approval rating' for the Syrian retaliatory strike, at least in my little world. Most people I encounter throught the day, especially college kids and millennial debt slaves, don't care about Syria or Israel and never will. Zero expectations of their government and can't understand why some old people are concerned about distant wars. They feel absolutely no responsibility for the actions of the US government any more than they feel responsible for the actions of their next door neighbors. Society is slwoly devolving itself in toa freak showl

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 1 2019 6:53 utc | 80

Just more grist for the bullshit mill that is US foreign policy, i.e. the US government can never be trusted at the negotiating table. Ridiculous to demand N. Korea dismantle their nuclear reactor before sanctions are lifted. Fucking ridiculous demand, why in the hell would N. Korea do that? They need it to produce energy, and to make plutonium to defend themselves from total asshole country USA which, as everybody knows has been on a 25 year sanctioning/bombing/country destroying rampage, leaving entire countries laid to waste. Rest assured, that if N. Korea gets rid of all its nukes as USA wants–before the drop of a hat USA will totally, completely wipe N. Korea off the map with its own nukes and massive military buildup surrounding N. Korea. As usual, the USA is the biggest problem for the entire world's progress towards peace and prosperity :-(((

Posted by: Deschutes | Mar 1 2019 7:55 utc | 81

Deschutes | Mar 1, 2019 2:55:06 AM | 81

I posted this over at TAE. It might resonate with some few.
Any one who has held on to their sanity, surely sees the fantastical reality created by twisted people and their twisted ideals.
If that acurrate vision is the context from which the U.S. is framed; then its true health is obvious.
A sick society ruled by equally sick fascisti…
Record numbers of U.S. citizens are leaving for distant places they view as an improvement.
If in fact they find respite; it will likely not last, until and unless the U.S. is brought to ground.

Posted by: V | Mar 1 2019 8:55 utc | 82

Chas # 58

May I suggest there is a small matter of war reparations owed by the USA that needs immediate resolution well prior to any yak yak about denuclear strategies. Ms Susan Rice's piece also blithely ignores that question. And so do all the yankees as they are fully liable for an unwarranted assault on Korea - both north and south - and reparations are immediately owed to the north.

Pay up yankees.

Will someone tell that to John Bolt-on. I would love see his mustache quiver.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 1 2019 9:16 utc | 83

One of these days I am going to write a piece on what the World would look like one month after the Second US Civil War starts.

Posted by: Kiza | Mar 1 2019 10:19 utc | 84

Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed.

Posted by: Steve | Mar 1 2019 11:03 utc | 85

@77 Karlof1 "Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much."

It's not difficult to dig out the source text, and most international treaties relating to Int'l Humanitarian Law are not exactly dense reads.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact is a mere three articles long, with the first two being single sentences. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the USA and South Korea consists of only six articles.

The NATO Charter is but fourteen articles long. The Hague Regulations are a comparatively hefty fifty-six articles, but even the UN Charter - an outlier if ever there was one - contains only 111 Articles.

The Geneva Conventions are much longer but, boy, do the Swiss like to talk.

But none are like slogging through some Hemingway or Melville. Simple prose, as unambiguous as possible while still satisfying all the negotiators.

In fact you can find all the treaties in one place:

A one-stop-shop for all things relating to treaties, highly recommended.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 1 2019 11:49 utc | 86

I've just read two articles that in one fell swoop can explain a large part of Trump's behaviour, together with policies to eliminate nuclear arms control, first strike policies, apocalyptic policies towards Iran and North Korea, policies towards Israel, policies aimed at blowing up the Middle East, willingness and eagerness to precipitate destruction and chaos on a global scale, precipitate policies towards Russia and China, support for Islamic jihadism, anti-environmentalism, and climate denial:

The Right May Finally Get Its War on Iran
Trump’s foreign policy looks a lot like Rapture Christians’ plan to welcome the apocalypse

The key are the so-called "Rapture Christians" nuts - of whom there are 12 in Trump's cabinet [out of how many?]. I've never looked into this obscure sect of insane nutcases before, but people urgently need to understand this phenomenon - they are an obscure sect, but they hold the keys to political power in the US, and have determined the key political events of the last several decades! These nutters are a million times more dangerous than Islamic jihadists - they have no fear of all-out nuclear war, global destruction, climate change, environmental devastation or all the things that wise people with foresight advise against - on the contrary they are eager to bring all these things on as soon as possible, because they associate these things with the return of Jesus, and ascent to heaven for all the sect's believers. A key fact in understanding this phenomenon is that they deny evolution, and a scientific basis for reality in its entirety, and therefore are completely closed to rational argument.

Quote from the second article: 'In an April 2 Bible study, Drollinger focused on the “huge and dire error” of “radical environmentalism”. He argues that humans are incapable of destroying the earth on their own, because it is up to God to “continually renew the face of the earth until He forms a new heaven and a new earth in the end times.”'

They support Trump because they believe he is the "tool of God".

Posted by: BM | Mar 1 2019 12:13 utc | 87

For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.
Posted by: Jen | Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | 74

That seems like a strange argument to me. The US is not in Korea to protect Korea from Japan, nor are they in Japan either to protect Japan from Korea nor to protect Korea from Japan. In both cases the true target is China.

If the two Korea's unite it will necessarily be under the military protection of Russia and China - there is no other possibility, because they need protection from the US. Both Koreas are obviously much safer under Russian and Chinese protection than under US "protection" - the latter being no more than mafia style "protection".

In this case Japan would clearly oppose such an arrangement - in allignment with the US - therefore the last thing [imperialist] Japan would want would be the pull-out of the US (what ordinary Japanese people might want is another matter - unfortunately they have no say).

Posted by: BM | Mar 1 2019 12:28 utc | 88

N.K. should just ask Russia to buy 1000 warehoused MIGs 21 refurbished for year 2023 and thats it!
Kim should go for a No deal with the US.
Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.
Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.
Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations.

Posted by: Mig-21-Block 70-2022 | Mar 1 2019 12:34 utc | 89

manufactured controversy to get the top of the news cycle and take focus off the cohen testimony so it dies quickly

Posted by: b real | Mar 1 2019 12:47 utc | 90

The trio of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton, quite frankly spells failure. The leader has zero capacity to learn and understand the motivation behind North Korea and their very exacting understanding of the English language. Every single word written has a clear and precise meaning tied into complete sentences. The fact that is written on paper and executed by both parties memorizes the document. Trump literally has not read the first agreement as executed. To place any faith in this trio of clowns to negotiate with the North Koreas is laughable. The basic fact is that North Koreans will never trust the US as we literally tried to bomb all their cities out of existence during the Korean intervention. Trump's trio does not understand the lasting impact that those actions burned into North Korean souls. Trump is completely out his league on the world stage he has made a fool of the US.

Posted by: rattlemullet | Mar 1 2019 13:05 utc | 91

b real @ 90--

That was my thoughts as well. The real reason Trump handlers sent him to Viet Nam was to not be around for a damning testimony.

Posted by: arby | Mar 1 2019 13:22 utc | 92

Tom Luongo claims that Bolton's spoke in Trump's wheel was to add chemical & biological weapons to US demands (Link). There, just like that. Pretty clever actually. Bolton may be the king of scumbags, but he sure is resourceful. The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Mar 1 2019 14:42 utc | 93

"Trudeau was detonated today by his former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first Aboriginal A-G. She just testified in Parliament, in meticulous detail, how Trudeau and his staff tried to get her to drop criminal charges against a corrupt company that he liked."
Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28, 2019 1:15:41 PM | 36

I've just finished reading the article on the testimony in the National Post, linked in Karlof1's link:

Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s statement to the House of Commons justice committee
(That's the title of the article; actually it is not the full text it is important extracts, but generous extracts).

Wow! Everybody should read this! This lady is someone who deserves a lot of respect! This text is fascinating in how it details the arm-twisting that goes on in power - nothing that would surprise us that it happens, but here it is described in black and white by a former government witness - including even such titbits as:

“if Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write OpEds saying that what she is doing is proper.”

Hey, James, you have some good Ministers over there in Canada, despite the more famous ones. Erm, well, one. Erm, well, had.

I am interested in some of the things she is declining to speak about (due to confidentiality of counsel issues), and am wondering if that might include the Huawei CFO issues, for which she was in a pertinent position. Any connections to the dates 11th February, and 19th February? (Actually I was travelling at that time so was out of the loop). Then there is the meeting with the PM on 17th September, requested 2 weeks earlier, which seems to have been intended primarily about something other than the SNC affair. The Huawei CFO was arrested in early December, I think, so that should be something else.

Posted by: BM | Mar 1 2019 15:20 utc | 94

reply to Mig-21-Block 70-2022 89

"...Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations."

Maybe laughing but maybe not, this fellow seems to feel they are evenly matched depending on their respective upgrades and concludes by saying it comes down to pilot expertise. BTW he considers Pak as having superior pilots.

Posted by: frances | Mar 1 2019 17:19 utc | 95

reply to Scotch Bingeington 93
"....The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling."

Yes, I am inclined to think Bolton was foisted upon him. I do think he chose Pompeo though.

Another very telling photo is that of Trump at Bush Sr.'s funeral, in the row behind him was Chaney, the look on Chaney's face as he stared at Trump's back was very interesting to me, he looked almost afraid.

Posted by: frances | Mar 1 2019 17:25 utc | 96

President Moon's confidence remains strong despite summit outcome. He tweeted this [machine translation] earlier today:

"Independence of spirit and national integration based on the ‘faith based system’considerably.
Please gather all the power of the people.
Peace on the Korean peninsula will drive new economic growth across the North and South, encompassing Northeast Asia, ASEAN and Eurasia."

Today marks then 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Korean Independence, and Moon makes clear in his speech that there was and is only one Korea and one Korean people:

"One hundred years ago today, there was no South and North Korea.

"From Seoul and Pyeongyang to Jinnampo, Anju, Seoncheon, Uiju and Wonsan, loud chants of [the masses] erupted on the same day, and these calls for independence spread like a wildfire to every corner of the country.

"For two months from March 1, [mass] protests took place in 211 out of the total 220 cities and counties across the country regardless of the region – whether they belonged to what is now a part of South or North Korea."

Gotta love Moon's optimism in his closing remarks:

"The history of the past 100 years proves that we can achieve changes and innovation if we do not lose hope no matter how difficult our present reality is.

"Over the next 100 years, the growth of the people will directly lead to the growth of the nation. When unity is achieved from within by moving beyond ideological confrontations, and when peace and prosperity are accomplished from outside, genuine independence will be completed."

I'd be very interested in discovering what Kim did today. Hopefully, he, too, gave an address similar to Moon's.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 1 2019 19:14 utc | 97

@94 BM - maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould can run for the prime ministers job if she can get on the top of the heap of the liberal party.. chances of this are slim!

Posted by: james | Mar 1 2019 20:49 utc | 98

frances @96:

Yes, I am inclined to think Bolton was foisted upon him. I do think he chose Pompeo though.

Trump apologists new angle: Trump was forced to appoint bad actors.

TWO AND A HALF YEARS before Trump appointed Bolton (March 2018), candidate Trump cited Bolton as one of only two people that he admired in military affairs - despite Bolton's lack of a military background (he's a foreign policy wonk).

Meet The Press, August 16, 2015 transcript:

Who do you talk to for military advice right now?


Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great-- you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals and--


So you do the--


And you have certain people that you like--


But is there a go-to for you? You know--


Probably there are--


--every presidential--


--two or three--


--candidate has a go-to--


Yeah, probably there are two or three. I mean, I like Bolton. I think he's, you know, a tough cookie, knows what he's talking about. Jacobs is a good guy--


Do you mean Ambassador John Bolton--


Yes. I think he's terrific--


You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs?


Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy. And I see him on occasion.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 1 2019 22:06 utc | 99

Where is QAnon when needed?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 28, 2019 11:06:54 AM | 22

IDF server that hosted its A.I and analytics at Tel Aviv uni crashed unrecoverably because a cat pissed on the power cables.

Posted by: boot error | Mar 1 2019 22:36 utc | 100

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