Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Very Special Bond

Tar Babies,

There is a lot of visceral rage and resentment against Donald Trump. Why? Bad manners. 
Yep. Specifically, Donald Trump is impetuous, like a 3 year old, who was never forced to comply with order, but instead humored by his nanny, and in private schools, and in the elite New York business world. 
"Enabled" is the current catch phrase. Most people, the great majority, were forced to accept order and authority at the age of 3. They may have had younger siblings, or seen neighbor kids, who broke rules and got away with it, while they, themselves had to comply. 
There was a burning resentment, a deep and righteous sense of wrongness, and a wholehearted surge to restore order. All of this is so early in development, and so core to even a 5 year old, that it is almost impossible to look at within oneself.
We may speculate that this is the characteristic of the absolute monarchs of old, the kings that used to enjoy "divine right". 
"Don't try to figure it out; God works in mysterious ways."
Almost all of us, and certainly Angela Merkel (German), have gotten to whatever station we enjoy by internalizing rules and order, and navigating within that regimented context. We excel within the rules, using the rules to our advantage. We are masters of the set order, in that way, and we are rewarded.
Donald Trump has an adult intellect, and the impetuous nature of an untamed 3 year old, and most of the world is flummoxed. 
It's not that difficult. The analysts that see it and work with it, do not have trouble navigating these particular rules of engagement. You catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.
Those who actually own our global financial system prefer to remain invisible, and to change the rules when it serves to advance their power. We gripe and follow them, and our resentment is unfocused and diffused into bureaucracy. Trump even seems to offend Soros, or maybe Soros is playing that role for us.

Trump and Kim have developed "a very special bond". They "will meet many times", Kim "is a very talented man", who "loves his country very much". "The world will see an important change."  
Donald Trump applies media impact to force the neoliberal-neoconservative establishment into a strategic change of direction. The non-binding memorandum of understanding dedicates the US and North Korea to work towards a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, without defining the term. the only definition which can actually work for all parties in the long term is the absolutely correct one, excluding all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. It is early for the US to declare this much.
Trump makes an important show of goodwill, renouncing joint war-games between the US and South Korean forces. South Korea will clearly appreciate this, as will Russia and China. Following suit, Kim declared as his sweetener that North Korea would shut down a testing facility for ICBM rocket motors. 
The mindset expressed in American media is that this is a big win for China and North Korea, but I think they will have to stop talking mean about Kim, and by later this year, the meme of Korean reunification will be playing. That meme can only play positively. Trump is directing expectations into a big positive payoff, for all interested parties, except the neocons. Even the global financial neoliberals get to lick their chops over another fresh market to exploit, with resources and cheap labor to grab.
Trump praised the country's beaches. "I said to [Kim], you could have the greatest hotels in the world," Trump told reporters.
American media is starting with the line that Trump got duped, but they won't be able to hold that stance, and will start having to mention the very obvious long term benefits of normalization of US-North Korea relations, followed by reunification of a pacifist Korea. (Al Jazeera has the news without the insults today)

"President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

"Dennis Rodman weeps with joy."  Rodman has gotten death threats for his visits to North Korea, but his stock is very much improved today. 

American small business sentiment is sharply more optimistic on North Korean diplomacy.

The Guardian UK quotes a lot of American skeptics here.

Moon of Alabama has an even handed and more concise interpretation of the "Photo-op Summit":
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 prices go to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and to Dennis Rodman who did their best to make this happen.

Sticking Around

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