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June 12, 2018


The Singapore meeting between Trump and Kim is history ending in a preliminary agreement to negotiate which will hopefully lead to a later substantive agreement to be signed. As of now, nothing of substance is in black and white and we may be years away from such an agreement, if ever it comes to pass. Neither signatory to the preliminary and non-binding agreement to negotiate can be trusted; one is a murderous dictator and the other is a wannabe dictator full of himself in his quest for a Nobel. Both are demonstrable liars.

The foregoing is hard fact, not Pollyanna fancy. Trump is using his usual superlatives in describing his exploits by telling us that the North Korean leadership can be trusted, that he would “love” to have Kim visit the White House, and that peace in our time is on hand. The undercurrent we are led to consider is that North Korea is a good nation-state the victim of American saber-rattling and sanctions and had to go the nuclear route as an expression of its sovereignty in securing its borders. Now, presumably, due to the diplomatic prowess of these two leaders, we are to start anew (as though the Korean War did not happen and as though North Korea is not a hard left communist country led by a murderous cabal) and “promise to be good from now on.” The past is to be thrown down an Orwellian “memory hole.” Anybody conversant with real politic who swallows that line and that the moon is made of green cheese, well, I have this bridge. . .

Trump lost the battle of Singapore in the first instance when he agreed to meet with Kim, thus validating Kim’s importance as a world leader, a leader who more than once has bragged about nuclear-tipped missiles he could land on Guam or Hawaii or anywhere in the continental United States. Instead of basking in his narcissistic limelight, Trump should have quietly dispatched his secretary of state and diplomatic experts to handle the preliminary chore of agreeing to talk agreement, but his narcissistic desire for headlines and the Nobel intervened and he took it upon himself to gobble up the TV cameras for an agreement to talk about an agreement.

Trump now says that Kim is interested in denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and that monitoring will assure the world that his regime does in fact denuclearize, that in return he has told Kim that he will end the “war games” played by American troops in South Korea and overflights from Guam. He specifically and repeatedly stated in such connection that such war games and overflights were “very expensive,” as though that has anything to do with saving the planet from nuclear catastrophe, and as though he is concerned with enormous expense in view of his signature on a recent catastrophic tax bill that gave some two trillion dollars to the rich and corporate class – speaking of “very expensive.”

So what happened in Singapore beyond the photo-ops, reversible promises, and pledges to negotiate further down the line? I hope, a lot, but the proof of the pudding is in the pudding, and I have little faith in the pudding chefs in Singapore’s kitchen. However, sometimes miracles happen, even with bumbling amateurs, so let’s hope this is one such time.     GERALD        E


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