U.S. Misses Opportunity for Korean Peace at Olympics

Despite President Moon’s efforts to encourage diplomacy, the childish anti-diplomatic behavior of Vice President Pence undermined an opportunity for peace diplomacy at the opening of the Olympic Games, writes Kevin Zeese.

By Kevin Zeese

The unified Korean team marches in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Photo: James Hill for The New York Times.

President Moon Jae-in said at a carefully planned dinner to honor Kim Yong Nam, the North Korean president’s sister, and Vice President Mike Pence that he hoped the Winter Olympics would be remembered as the “day peace began.” But Vice President Pence did his best to make sure that did not happen, missing the opportunity to further peace on the peninsula created by Moon. Dismissing the historic opening created by North and South Korea, Pence handled the situation instead like a childish teenager.

At a dinner reception where President Moon sought an opportunity for dialogue between U.S. officals and North Koreans, Pence went through great – and somewhat awkward – lengths to avoid talking to them. According to Reuters, when Pence arrived late to the reception he told Moon he planned to leave directly after a photo session but Moon asked him to “come and say hello to friends.” Moon was trying to create a dialogue to advance peace but Pence went around the table and shook hands with everyone except Kim Yong Nam of North Korea.

“There are some who would not want to be in the same room together if it wasn’t for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” Moon said. “But what is more important than anything is that we are together.” Politico described it as a close call for Pence: “Vice President Mike Pence’s Olympic visit to Pyeongchang, South Korea, began Friday with a close call with the North Korean officials, whom the vice president appeared to avoid at a diplomatic reception before the opening ceremonies.”

A historic moment of unity, two women who play on the unified Korean ice hockey team carried the Olympic torch for the last leg of its journey at the opening ceremony for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

Since Pence arrived at the dinner late the seating plan was shuffled, Pence again missing an opportunity created by Moon. Originally, the seating plan showed Pence, with his wife to the left and Moon to his right, seated across the round table from Kim, who was nestled between UN Secretary General António Guterres and International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach’s wife.

Kim’s visit is significant as she is the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to enter South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Who knows what kind of conversation could have occurred that might have furthered the prospects for peace, but Pence avoided the opportunity.

Pence left the event after five minutes. Reuters reports that he skipped the symbolic desert called “A Plate of Hope,” a “dark chocolate tempered in the shape of barbed wire lay over a map of the Korean peninsula rendered in thin blue chocolate, a representation of the heavily militarized border that separates Games host South Korea and its old enemy in the North.”

The Moon administration’s diplomatic response to Pence’s behavior was muted. “A source in the Moon administration said Pence’s absence at the reception was a ‘mere bump’ in an otherwise successful diplomatic event,” Reuters reported.

Vice President Pence just in front of North Korea’s Kim Jong Yo. The two never made eye contact.

At the stadium Pence sat one row in front of the North Koreans, but even with Kim Jong Yo just behind him, he never even turned around to exchange pleasantries – Pence had “no interaction” with her, according to press reports. New York Magazine described it as Pence “avoiding eye contact” with the Korean leader. Another missed opportunity for dialogue.

At the same moment, South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands with Kim Yo Jong, creating a historic moment and a photograph that gave hopes to many for peace between North and South Korea and movement toward unification and an end of hostilities.

Another show of unity was when two members of the Unified Korean Hockey Team, one from the north and one from the south, carried the Olympic torch up the final flight of stairs in the opening ceremonies. They handed the torch over to figure skater Yuna Kim, a South Korean who won the gold medal in 2010 and the silver medal in 2014 who lit the Olympic cauldron.

Of course, it is easy to overestimate the importance of these images of North and South Koreans shaking hands and being friendly toward each other, as well as of South and North Korean athletes walking into the Olympic stadium together. The displays of unity are largely symbolic and on political level may not ultimately lead to a diplomatic breakthrough or ensure peace on the Korean peninsula. It is a long hard road to peace and much needs to be negotiated.

But considering the high level of tensions on the peninsula, the trading of insults that has taken place between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, and the impasse over North Korea’s nuclear program, these gestures should be celebrated as glimmers of hope that could help us avoid the real possibility of all-out war.

Instead, the gestures were rejected by highest levels of the U.S. government. Dialogue was rejected and peace became a more distant prospect. This prospect is made even more difficult with the U.S. threatening to give North Korea a “bloody nose,” bully talk for a military first strike, against North Korea.

At the end of the day, Pence had exemplified the worst of arrogant U.S. foreign policy with his childish behavior.

Kevin Zeese co-directs Popular Resistance. [This article originally appeared at https://popularresistance.org and is republished with author’s permission.]

image_pdfimage_print

78 comments for “U.S. Misses Opportunity for Korean Peace at Olympics

  1. lizzie dw
    February 13, 2018 at 9:17 am

    When I read the article about Mr. Pence’s behaviour at the Olympic dinner, my face got hot, I was so embarrassed. This was a dinner to begin an athletic event, with some countries’ athletes taking part for the first time. These young athletes are the future of the world who have worked very hard to be able to compete in the Olympics. They have an opportunity to meet others from all over the world and possibly make friendships. For this adult, this man who represents a giant country, to snub a representative of a country which is JUST beginnIng to participate in world events – FOR THE SAKE OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY – was, in my opinion, more injurious to our image in the world than he knows. Mr. Pence can go down in history as the man who has no manners.

  2. Gary Hare
    February 13, 2018 at 1:50 am

    Childish? Do not insult children.

  3. Abby
    February 12, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Pence came across as a small, petty man. To arrive to the dinner late and then leave shortly after seems very rude and showed contempt for everyone in the room. Sending him to represent this country just confirms that its government is unqualified for what’s at stake between the countries involved.

  4. Mabel Johnson
    February 11, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Pence is a piece of shit. No class at all.

  5. Mark Stanley
    February 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Ron, I agree. “Why is he even there?” To ensure we make war not peace.
    How much do we pay this guy? Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Those were my initial thoughts.
    The international community is watching.

  6. February 11, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Why was he even there? The govt. does not support the games or the teams (funding), but these various political hacks (POTUS included) want the glory. Same for NFL wins and teams. A majority seems to realize Pence is about 8 years old and his boss is even more childish. US players have stated over and over they do not want to be seen with either of them, but these two keep showing up like the bullies they are.

  7. February 10, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Pence has no capability to be anything but a small minded, petty Christian zealot. His mind is governed by Bible passages.

  8. Lookingglass
    February 10, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Pence has never shown any sense of diplomacy. Shame brought to our door. The Koreans should have gotten the message that the fate of Asia lies in their own hands, i hope they use whatever time they have left.

    Once again, the us creates the very thing that they profess to be against.

    Still, Moon pushed the envelope and took risks diplomatically himself. That said, Pence lost an historic opportunity to create the circumstances for peace. He has never seemed to be his own man.

    • Lisa
      February 11, 2018 at 4:40 am

      The personal attacks on Pence and his rude behaviour are useless. Naturally he was acting according to the detailed instructions from above (Pentagon? Or whoever…). That is certainly how he would act as a President as well. Therefore he is preferred to follow the impeached Trump, as Pence obviously could be controlled more than Trump can be. It would also be easier for any Dem. candidate to win the next elections, if the sitting President is not Trump but Pence.

  9. david
    February 10, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    I would have like to seen the look on Pence’s face if the woman from NK came up to him and tried to introduce herself? I wonder what would have happened?

  10. Clif
    February 10, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you for the write up. I just wanted to add two more people to the list of those disgusted by the ‘Washington Consensus’ on this. Not the behavior of a confident ‘superpower.’

  11. Rael Nidess, M.D.
    February 10, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    As astute as Kevin is on these issues, his title makes him sound quite naive… exactly what ‘opportunity’ does peace hold for the arbiters of American foreign policy; Lockheed-Martin, Northrup-Grumman, General Dynamics, and the rest of the war industry? Couching essays in terms of a ‘misguided’ but well-intentioned government is a diversion. Our government is malign and celebrates the worst aspects of human nature. It cannot be reformed by well-meaning arguments about ‘better behavior’. It must be removed & replaced… both side of the Demopublican duopoly.

  12. Virginia
    February 10, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Here’s an excellent video with Richard Black (Virginia State Senator) on his visit to Syria (which gives perspective on Lybia, North Korea, and other targeted regime-change nations). When you have a moment, take a look. Black depicts Syria as one of the most peaceful countries of religious harmony on earth, targeted for regime change long before there was any civil unrest. See:. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ivZKHE-STk

    • February 10, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      This is a good link! I am betting that this is not the Virginia that posted a link earlier…

    • Gregory Herr
      February 11, 2018 at 6:02 am

      Thanks for that from Senator Black Virginia. Eva Bartlett spoke recently on North Korea and Syria:

      http://youtu.be/tR5hjJzyN1Y

    • February 12, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Virginia, I took your advice and watched the video. His first hand accounts were very persuasive. His pointing at us and Saudi Arabia also on the mark. It was hard not to notice he was giving Israel a pass. However, all in all a very convincing piece about the Syrians–. have to check out this fellow. Always looking for compatriots.

  13. February 10, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Can our leaders look any pettier or smaller. This behavior is symptomatic of American leaders. Recall Obama’s and Clinton’s patronizing behavior toward Putin and now the same now with rougher edges. Our leaders do behave like playground bullies and it is both sad and dangerous.

    As to Pence, does he ever change expression?

  14. mike k
    February 10, 2018 at 9:33 am

    US hate and violence on full display at the Olympics. And North Korea is supposed to trust the US, and lay down it’s weapons??

  15. February 10, 2018 at 7:34 am

    How soooo very anti Christian of the Vice President of the US. They sit in the WH , have prayer meetings and an hour later decide how many to kill next week. I’m glad that the Koreans got to see the -Heart of the Dragon- that they must resist and fight off – Both Koreas- for now.

  16. geeyp
    February 10, 2018 at 5:00 am

    I have to add the omission of the Paralympics Russian team, or as many as the committee can get away with towards the Russian participation, gives the last two sets of games lessor value and worth skipping since all are not allowed to participate. I feel very sorry for these kids. The phony chain of evidence during the cooked up drug testing is, of course, the reason. If not that, some other excuse is dreamed up to affect Russia. We seem to come at the Russians from all angles. Have you noticed?

    • Al Pinto
      February 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Politicizing the the Olympic is one reason why I don’t watch it, the other is this:

      US media companie$ commercialized the Olympic

      The NBC and Discovery Networks, both US companies, own the broadcast rights for the current and future Olympics in the US and Europe. The NBC broadcast is like any other soap-opera and/or reality TV, discussing…

  17. John A
    February 10, 2018 at 4:54 am

    The US neocons do not want peace or unity in Korea. They want a huge base or bases in South Korea to ‘protect’ US interests and project power in the region. Until South Korea, the EU etc., Brazil, Argentina etc., shake off their colonial masters from the US, there will be no real peace in Korea, Eurasia or South America.

  18. exiled off mainstreet
    February 10, 2018 at 3:49 am

    Moon dae Jin should suggest that he is willing to terminate the yankee occupaton of South Korea in order to solve the Korean problem. This would roil the waters a bit, and if it resulted in a coup d’etat, or some sort of attempt, the implications would be obvious. Under Kim Dae Jung the Korean president around 2000, negotiations towards eliminating the Korea diplomatic problem had gone pretty far. The incoming Bush regime scotched them because resolution of that problem would eliminate the rationale for continued yankee military presence in Northeast Asia.

  19. Joe L.
    February 10, 2018 at 1:53 am

    The message of the Olympics of peace is such a good one. I also liked seeing the rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” which is so perfect for these games. But then I hear CBC commenters (here in Canada) speak of Mike Pence saying that North Korea cannot be trusted. Then the commercial comes and it is a commercial to join the Canadian Military. I am just cross-eyed after this… good for the Korea’s and shame on Pence.

    • irina
      February 10, 2018 at 2:25 am

      I noticed the NBC tv cameras slid right past the Pences as they sat there like bumps on a log
      when the unified Korean athletes came in. Could have been a great video moment if they had
      just stood up. But at least they showed their true colors. Clearly the Pences have zero under-
      standing of the importance of protocol in Asian cultures (arriving on time for state dinners, etc.)

      Which just shows that the meme of the ‘Gross American’ is absolutely apt. Unfortunately.

      If I was Karen Pence I would have at least stood up, and made an effort to be sociable.

      • Joe L.
        February 10, 2018 at 3:41 am

        Peace, what a concept huh? I remember watching an excerpt on the Jimmy Dore show from Democracy Now where they were talking to Noam Chomsky. He spoke about North Korea offering to quit their nuclear program “twice”, once to Obama and then to Trump, and it seems what they wanted in return was for the US to stop the war games on their borders, stop threatening them – how insane of them, The media portrays Kim Jung Un as insane but really who is threatening whom?

      • geeyp
        February 10, 2018 at 4:42 am

        Irina, we just do not have statesmen in this country anymore. It makes no difference what country we are supposed to communicate with, just no class or ” understanding of the importance of protocol” as you so wisely phrased it.

        • irina
          February 10, 2018 at 11:58 am

          Not even a sense of humor (something Putin does have, in his own subtle way).
          The Pences only cheered for the American team, which is sort of a violation of the
          spirit of the Olympics, one of the things I really like about the opening ceremony is
          how all participants, even if just one is representing a country, are equally honored.

          Really, how could you sit there stony-faced and not cheer for the Bermuda (Shorts)
          team ? Or the Tonga Dude ? Kudos are also due to the indefatigally smiling lady
          in white who led all the teams out. That took a lot of stamina and composure !

  20. Louie
    February 10, 2018 at 12:33 am

    It’s too bad South Korea is subservient to the US. Moon was brave enough to say there will no was on the peninsula without S. Korea’s approval, and brave enough to welcome the North. But he needs to be more brave and hold direct talks w/o the US since the US does not want to talk.

    • Sam F
      February 10, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Progress toward direct NK-SK talks would put the US in a revealing position. It might threaten before agreement was reached to remove its forces, to weaken the SK negotiating position. Perhaps the US could be promised a base there for some period after reunification, to prevent a coup by NK forces, and satisfy the US desire to project power nearby. The base could be reduced by agreement when the new Korea seems fairly stable.

      The great question is what kind of government would be mutually acceptable. Such a debate might have avoided the Korean war, but is more likely to work now that all can see the disadvantages of both extremes. It is a mark of inadequate democratic institutions that since WWII the US has never broadly debated its weaknesses, and the proper compromises of economic and political systems to meet everyone’s needs.

      • Skip Scott
        February 12, 2018 at 9:34 am

        I am afraid that the Kim dynasty would never cede any power, and that South Korea would never accept communism, so the situation is stalemated. It is a real shame for the Korean people. Maybe if the Kim dynasty would be willing to accept some form of coalition government, reunification would be possible. Possibly expanding the Kaesong Industrial zone would be a good initial step.

  21. David Smith
    February 9, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    The importance of this event should not be underestimated. It was a demonstration that Korea is one people and will be again one nation and therefore South Korea will not allow its territory to be used to attack North Korea. It was an invitation to dialog in a neutral venue to attain peace and reunification that The United States, through the dolt Pence, rudely rejected, therefore the United States has cast itself as the main obstacle to peace, and therefore becomes irrelevant. South Korea has deftly placed itself in a leadership position and its initiative can now offer The United States the only viable solution to the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons: reunification of Korea by Koreans without the need of mediation by outside powers. The United States has only one option to protect its perceived interests on the Korean peninsula, immediate normalization of relations with North Korea. By this means The United States might finesse even more influence in the region, that is by cultivating a unified Korea as it cultivated South Korea. Koreans are very xenophobic, utterly hostile to Japan and not at all keen on China, this gives the United States a potentially strong position if it respects the intense longing of Koreans for a unified Korea.

  22. Free Truth
    February 9, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Israel (the so called ‘US’) can only make peace with Goy people and nations as their subjects. These Jewish Supremacist do not view non-Jews as their equals and it’s been like that for over a century.

  23. February 9, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Pence…what a small small man…

  24. Baccas
    February 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Avoiding eye contact – I always viewed it as a lack of courage. However, exemplifies US approach as the bully, it goes after the militarily weaker countries. Even then, often cannot defeat them. Pence the typical US bully displays his real cowardice.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 10, 2018 at 3:27 am

      You are so right, and the use of eyes in quaint exchanges means a lot, but what Pence did was disgraceful holding none to the standards of being the biggest guy in the room by showing he takes the high road, and be gracious. Pence could also have shown goodwill and humbling leadership had he purschasd Kim Jun un’s sister a beverage, or a symbolic token like a bracelet or something but no nothing. Instead stuck up, and insensitive, hey we’re great again…yippee!

      • Gregory Herr
        February 11, 2018 at 5:48 am

        Being gracious, humble, and showing goodwill–reminds me of what we were taught in Sunday School. Pence is a sanctimonious “Christian” instead…the kind of hypocrite we were also warned about.

    • geeyp
      February 10, 2018 at 4:37 am

      Another example of that is how in all the pix that I have seen of the last president and President Putin together, not once did he look Putin in the eyes. “He’s a child” is what I seem to recall Vladimir Putin saying to someone. I couldn’t agree more.

  25. david
    February 9, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    why am I not surprised at Pence’s behavior. Just what the McDotard ordered?

    • February 9, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      LOL ..was wondering why pence is VP….Ronald McDonald wasnt available?

  26. David G
    February 9, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    If anything, it will probably serve to advance the cause of peace that the people of South Korea have seen U.S. officials as so belligerent and inept as to be incapable of even the barest civility to anybody but their loyal international vassals. A competent, sophisticated performance by Pence that improved the U.S.’s image would only have helped the U.S. cause, which is the cause of division and war.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 9, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      One can only hope David, that the ignorance displayed by VP Pence may further move the S Koreans to break loose of their ties to the Empire. Although, Pence is restricted from showing any niceties to the N Koreans, because that would defy everything Raytheon represents as S Korea’s ever ready guardian and longtime business associate. It’s actually conceivable that the more S Koreans show their independence the closer the peninsula will move towards war. Remember, as if I had to remind you David, that this business of containment is a very profitable business to be in. This edginess between the two Koreas, isn’t so much about fighting back against a repressive N Korean leader, or is it just about surrounding Russia and China with nuclear weapons, but as always there’s lots of money to be made…. & what American corporation, who is addicted to money, can pass that up? Joe

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 10, 2018 at 2:47 am

        Here’s a question; Would the U.S. be statisfied, and do nothing, possibility reduce it’s positions to leave, if the 2 Koreans would make a plan towards peace & unity?

        • nonsense factory
          February 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

          It’s possible that North and South Korea would agree to peace but unity is a stretch. Their economic and political systems are so radically different that unity seems highly unlikely. If they took down the border wall and allowed people to freely travel back and forth, well, what would happen? I’d guess more North Koreans would want to move to South Korea than vice versa. So, practically, economic development in North Korea would have to precede anything else to avoid such a mass migration scenario. It’d be a bit like the reunification of East and West Germany, i.e. it would take some decades most likely.

          Peace is a more plausible goal, for example, the reduction of military forces along the border and some degree of travel privileges for citizens of both regions. However, peace would mean no more US military drills with the South Korean military, and possibly the exodus of US forces from the South Korean peninsula. These military forces are not just about Korea, it’s a key part of the whole ‘pivot to Asia’ that Obama initiated, as wikipedia notes:

          “With 37,500 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in South Korea, U.S. forces in South Korea are a major presence in the region and a key manifestation of the U.S. government’s aim to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific.”

          That’s really why Pence & the neocons are opposed to a peaceful resolution of the problem; it would limit the ability of the US military to project force in the region. What they really don’t want to admit, however, is that this is not about ‘American national security’ – the whole ‘pivot to Asia’ is fundamentally an economic imperial gambit, an effort to ensure that the US can dictate trade policy in the region to gain advantages for Wall Street & friends.

          • Al Pinto
            February 10, 2018 at 11:55 am

            @nonsense_factory…

            The economic impact of the “37,500 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in South Korea” will probably prevent the exodus of US military from the Korean peninsula. That’s not to say that it could not take place, but as noted correctly, it may take decades and will include political system changes in DPRK. As long as the US, Japan, etc., don’t object, that is…

            With Philippine already showing resistance against the US efforts in the region, it’s good to see that both Korean countries at least talking to each other. Should this become a trend in Asia, maybe there’s a chance for peace in the region…

    • Sam F
      February 9, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Yes, the Pence performance shames the US as the tyrannical parent faced with a strengthening and wiser family.

    • Virginia
      February 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      David, Maybe Pence’s behavior will make Dems and complicit Repubs think twice before impeaching Trump. It’s embarrassing, isn’t it, the country that should be known for civility and diplomacy so represented!

  27. Virginia
    February 9, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Here’s a video of NK cheerleaders arriving: Watch “OLY-2018: North Korean cheerleaders arrive in South Korea” on YouTube
    Close to end of video.

    Saw another of NK girl acrobatic swimmers. Wonderful. Many opportunities at these games too improve relations.

  28. mike k
    February 9, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Pence is the ugly American in action. And people want to replace Trump with him?? Those people apparently care nothing for peace.

    • mike k
      February 9, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      Trump and Pence are like evil twins – there are only superficial differences between them. Choose your flavor of evil…….

      • Annie
        February 9, 2018 at 8:47 pm

        mIke K, That is what is so confusing about the so called left trying to oust Trump, when his replacement would mean President Pence. He is one of the most conservative politicians around, and he’s proved that with everything he has said and done, not only as vice president, but as the governor of Indiana. The fact that his father served in the Korean war, and won a bronze star which he holds in very high esteem, and has it on display in his office, doesn’t help in making him an objective player when it comes to our present issues with North Korea.

        • Zachary Smith
          February 9, 2018 at 11:19 pm

          In my opinion you nailed it with that “so called left” description. Lots and lots of people want VP Pence to become President Pence, and the Neocon Democrats would be among them. Recall how Hillary was supposed to extend Obama’s “legacy”? As a warmonger for Israel, President Pence would be just about perfect. Trading the dumbass Trump for the evil Pence is not a smart thing to do!

          This next may appear to be off-topic, but it really isn’t. Headline from a major Israel mil-blog propaganda site. The Zionist swine are gloating about the possibility of dead Russians in the recent US ambush of Syrian forces.

          More on US strike: Russians who laid Euphrates bridge among targets
          Feb 9, 2018 @ 10:11

          Text of first comment:

          The big day of the Lord is getting closer!!!

          That’s something Mike Pence could have posted, and is most assuredly something his End Timer true believers are drooling about.

          Another one on down the page:

          Annihilation of Damascus as outlined in Is. 17:1 and many more seismic events finally leading to the advent of Christ. He’ll destroy all the kingdoms of the earth as prophesied in Dan. 2 but will save the Jews and those believing in him among the Gentile nations, and set up his Father’s Kingdom which will last forever.

          The former right-wing talk radio personality and religious nutcase would immediately begin throwing gasoline on every foreign fire he could locate.

          “President Pence” is the worst of bad ideas.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 9, 2018 at 11:45 pm

            What an unimaginable predicament for a soul to get itself into. So while on their way to get saved by the body and blood of Christ, these God starved souls get behind a Right Wing Christian warmongering religion. Just doesn’t seem fair, but that’s why your dad told you ‘to make sure you always drive at night with your lights on’. Just crazy, and sad, all in one breath.

          • Annie
            February 10, 2018 at 1:52 am

            Joe maybe I missed your point, tell me if I did. In December of 2016 I attended a meeting, which is an ongoing political discussion group held in a library in a fairly well to do area on Long Island, all are democrats, most are Jewish. They were absolutely dismayed that Trump won the presidential election. A member of this group said she believed that someone would assassinate Trump, and there was a resounding, no, they were more anti-Pence then they were Trump. Giving this group a second go round I sat in on one of their more recent weekly sessions and almost all wanted Trump out. All are highly educated people who solely inform themselves by reading mainstream news which means they read the NY Times and the Washington Post. Of course they all believe Russia hacked our elections. It is not the Christian right who want to oust Trump, but those who are affiliated with the democratic party. Good grief even Bill Kristol has backed off Trump, and no longer appears on Fox, but MSNBC, that continuously pushes Russia-gate. I think his main concern is that Trump is giving a bad name to the conservative movement, and nothing else, since Trump and Pence are both doing Israel’s bidding, well both parties do that very well. If anything does us in, it will be our own greed, that is the greed of the corporate world, the military industrial complex and the mainstream media who in their own greed pushes their agenda.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 10, 2018 at 2:39 am

            Annie I get caught up in myself. What I meant was that those who seek and just found religion get sucked in by a right wing oriented Christian movement that gets wrapped up into Zionism, (money loves money) like Rodney said can’t these Christians get a break? Rodney didn’t say that. … I mean these duped souls are getting sold a bad bill of goods, and yes I agree they like a splattering of other demographics of our society the Right Wing Zio-Christian do love America’s ‘Fire & Fury’ President.

            Did I understand your question? Joe

          • Realist
            February 10, 2018 at 6:08 am

            Well, Zachary, the conflict in Syria might be on the brink of escalating massively. In fact, this might be the trigger that starts the long anticipated regional war against Syria, Iran and Lebanon.

            The Syrians finally shot down an Israeli jet fighter that had invaded Syrian airspace to attack some Iranian positions, the “justification” being response to an Iranian drone near the border. The Russians may have finally allowed Syria to use some S-400 missiles, if, in fact, they did suffer casualties from the recent American-led attack on Syrian troops.

            This may be exactly the casus belli that Israel has been licking its chops for. And maybe Washington too. You know that Israel always extracts vengeance at a 10-to-1 or even 100-to-1 ratio. So, expect all hell to break loose in Syria soon.

            Not surprising this once again happened when the world was distracted by the Olympic games. Favorite American MO.

          • mike k
            February 10, 2018 at 9:23 am

            Thanks for the insights into the delusional “religious” fanatics, Zach. There are so many ways to go crazy in these difficult times………

        • tina
          February 10, 2018 at 10:43 pm

          GDR and FRG reunited. I do believe the same could happen to the KOREAS. Okay, it took 30 years, but it can happen. Or not.

        • tina
          February 10, 2018 at 11:47 pm

          Pence junior never served one day, I take my dad to the VA daily , he was army 1958-1962 I see and interact everyday
          Milwaukee VA , the Trump does not give a shit. His face is shown, in every federal building. My dad fought for your rights, and Donnie Bone Spurs wants a Military parade? Sorry, he and pence never served one single day. My dad is military, army to be exact, but we hate Trump because he did not serve one single day in his wealthy, unearned, autocratic, privileged, life. One can dislike DJT. for many reasons, but I especially loathe him when he uses the military and vets. My dad needs help, and he is not getting it . My dad served to keep all of you safe . How about some love?

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm

            Tell your dad I love him. Joe

  29. mike k
    February 9, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    The US has never sought peace with North Korea, or sought a unified Korea. All we want is a military beachhead to harass China, and to hell with what the Koreans might want. The US does not seek peace anywhere in the world. It operates as a threatening, bullying, piratical force all over the world.

    • Sam F
      February 9, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      Exactly so. Korea is a perfect situation in which the US could, with the right leadership, resolve not only the security issues, and exchange admissions and apologies for the past, but find a path between the political and economic systems of East and West.

      In economics, the market economy is more efficient, but the US failure to regulate economic power has corrupted its political system. A compromise of free market and socialist economies in Korea would be a fine experiment to lead the way for the US.

      In political structure, the ostensibly democratic structure of the US is a far better scheme than a one-party state, although requiring some repairs, but the US has in fact lost its democracy to a dictatorship of the rich. A true democracy with institutions protected from aristocracy would reassure NK that its working class will be protected, and would be a good experiment as well for the US.

      Cuba, Korea, Venezuela, and other states do not need the corruption of the former US democracy as a model. They can all find middle paths that combine the efficiency of free markets with the protection of socialism, and provide democracy that cannot be corrupted by money power either domestic or foreign.

      What a shining light that would be for the sadly misgoverned United States! And what better way to improve the dialogue between East and West?

      • Realist
        February 10, 2018 at 5:53 am

        I have always had the impression that, without the United States in the equation, the two Korea’s would have signed a peace treaty decades ago, though perhaps not reintegrated like East and West Germany did. Nearly 70 years ago the two Korea’s were created because Washington wanted its own colony from which to harass “Red China” on the Asian mainland. And we refuse to leave or to allow South Korea to be an independent country to maintain that status quo.

        How many times must it be said: North Korea is not suicidal and therefore has not threatened a first strike against the United States no matter what the rhetoric coming out of Washington. They have straightforwardly said they would fight back against any American aggression against them.

        Over the past 70 years there have been many opportunities for a war to break out between the two sides, but it never has. Why should that change just because the North wants its own nuclear deterrent against Washington, just as Washington uses against North Korea (and the world at large)? Of course, what we really want is to keep those THAAD missiles pointed in the general direction of China. Keeping tensions high facilitates that. ANY logical analysis would not arrive at the conclusion that America should attack the North in any way, full scale invasion or the cutesy “bloody nose.” I hope whatever idiots in Washington call the shots realise that.

        • Sam F
          February 10, 2018 at 12:53 pm

          Given the war casualties, the post-war genocide against NK, and the savage militarization of both sides for generations, I would guess that the US had a peacekeeping role after causing the problem. Perhaps an argument can be made that a US withdrawal would tempt the military of NK (at least) to seek dominance over SK. I do not know whether the remote US nuclear deterrent would be enough to prevent that, but it would be far less provocative. Perhaps a draw-down of the US presence there to contingency bases, coupled with observation of NK military activity, would test that sufficiently.

          If the US maintains forces there just sufficient to augment SK forces to balance NK, and sincerely seeks dialogue without threat displays, coupled with development aid, surely progress can be made.

          • Realist
            February 10, 2018 at 3:55 pm

            The real pity of it is, is that the root of the conflict was not political ideology of the people in the North and the South, any more than that was the basis of the Vietnam conflict. It was essentially the anti-colonial nativists of the northern portions of those country being forced to defend their countries against the colonialist powers, nominally from the UN but spearheaded by Washington. Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il-Sun took their allies where they could find them. The US only stops fighting and cedes victory to the other side when it has thoroughly had its ass kicked, as in Canada during the war of 1812 and in Vietnam. It didn’t stop active shooting in Korea because of US casualties, but because the war was becoming an embarrassing genocide against North Korea. Washington was even using germ warfare against the North (I saw the UN report on my major professor’s shelves when I was a graduate student).

            Otherwise, Washington only takes respites and continues a low grade attack until the other side collapses from attrition (see Syria and Afghanistan right now). It’s other approach is to sit back and allow the chaos it has seeded to take root and destroy the country from within over the long term (see Iraq and Libya). When’s the last time you saw Washington sign a peace treaty, shake hands, proclaim to be amigos of the losers and then LEAVE the country? We are still occupying Europe and Japan after a war fought by most Americans’ grandparents and great-grandparents! In fact, we have expanded our holdings to now include nearly all of Europe…and we still want more.

            (“We” = militarist regime ruling in Washington, not the citizenry.)

          • Sam F
            February 10, 2018 at 7:54 pm

            Yes, I see no path to peace under the present fake democracy of the US, only actions that could be taken otherwise. We can only work for better public information and debate, and hope for the unforeseen development, helping new generations to understand the problems of their society.

      • jean
        February 12, 2018 at 12:28 am

        Cuba, Korea and Venezuela need banks to trust they will repay their loans. This is the situation with Venezuela now. b/c the US does not like their political model, US arranges for a shortage of diapers or toilet paper or whatever, just at a critical time.Rex has a history with Venezuela, they stopped doing business.

        Part of the problem is corruption, of course and over-dependency on oil, but the big problem is one of socialism vs. free-markets.

    • john wilson
      February 10, 2018 at 6:11 am

      This is the first thing I thought of as well, Mike K. The notion the American war machine has “missed” an opportunity is absurd. The last thing they want is any possible excuse not to make war (and lots of lovely war money) and as far as the Olympics goes, the Neocons, the military and the deep state of furious about North Korea taking part in this winter event. They are agitated and seething with rage at the tiny shoots of understanding between the South and North of Korea.

      • Sam F
        February 10, 2018 at 12:09 pm

        Yes, the warmongers oppose peace, and America squanders magnificent opportunity by empowering them.

      • February 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        The war in Afghanistan alone as an example of “lots of lovely war money”:

        https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/09/afghanistan-war-spending-2018-alone-could-end-us-homelessness-twice.html:

        “Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, also criticized the massive 2018 budget for the Afghanistan War, and argued that after 16 years, Afghans still “don’t seem to be able to defend themselves,” and for U.S. taxpayers, billions of dollars are “just being thrown down a hatch in Afghanistan.”

        “I think there’s an argument to be made that our national security is actually made more perilous the more we spend and the longer we stay there. … We’re in an impossible situation,” Paul said. “I just don’t think there is a military solution.”
        Paul has a history of criticizing the amount of money the U.S. government spends in foreign countries, especially on wars in the Middle East. After Trump vowed to continue the longest war in U.S. History in August 2017, Paul criticized the move and asked when the U.S. would start focusing on its own country.

        “We spent billions of dollars—I think it’s over $100 billion—building roads in Afghanistan, blowing up roads in Afghanistan, building schools, blowing up schools, and then rebuilding all of them,” Paul said. “Sometimes we blow them up, sometimes someone else blows them up, but we always go back and rebuild them. What about rebuilding our country?”

        Paul has a point, and the money that is being used to kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan is desparately needed in the United States. According to estimates from Mark Johnston, the acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development, “homelessness could be effectively eradicated in the United States at an annual cost of about $20 billion.”

        If the United States government cut its budget for the Afghanistan War in half, and put half of the money towards ending homeless in America, it could make a difference. If the government gave the entirety of the money it is using for endless proxy wars in the Middle East back to the taxpayers it was originally stolen from so that they could invest it in helping the individuals in need in their own communities, it could work wonders.”

        • Lois Gagnon
          February 10, 2018 at 4:32 pm

          The politicians serve the corporate banker class which has no interest in investing in public concerns in the US as we have witnessed with their trillions stashed away in off shore accounts. We are just one of their colonies that happens to be the headquarters for their military operations.

          I don’t expect to see any real improvement in social conditions in this country or anywhere these ghouls operate in the world as long as they control the levers of government.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm

          Great warning mijkmild. While the U.S. spends whatever borrowed assets it may have, the interior and welfare of the domestic America go to ruin. Empires have a nasty habit of waging their wars, while ignoring what most should be paid attention to, and in this process discontent rises to the point of societal revolution. Thinking along these lines it’s easy to see why our government needs a security apparatus big enough to quiet the downtrodden citizen. Yet, even that escalation of securing the state takes money, and it takes money America doesn’t really have. Where this all may end, is in a financial crash that will be so big, as to bring the mighty empire down. At some point America won’t be able to print the fiat monetary dollars any longer which brought us to this financial crossroads in the first place. The future American is destined to hate our now American generation, for us all having been to greedy as to do the right things. Joe

      • February 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm

        This is a nonsense link. Lots of statements–“Putin banned Rothschilds…” no citations or sources. Say whatever you want without citing anything? Sorry, please up your game.

    • tina
      February 10, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Just like Pence went to that Indiana Colts football game. He was so disgusted , he had to leave. I am beyond words. I am in the world of David Lynch.. I am now going for fantasy, and unreality. I miss you guys on this place, ,I do not know how to keep it going. I miss Robert Parry. Joe tedesky, I am looking at you. Love. tina.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 11, 2018 at 3:04 pm

        Hey tina sit down and take a breath. I understand by your comments you are dealing with a lot having a veteran father who is struggling with the VA system, while he attempts to regain his good health. That is a tough situation, and one where you tina know all to well that you must pace yourself in order to stay within the lines of sanity, and for you to allow yourself the will to press on. Having once been in your position the best I can tell you is, is that these days will past,so just continue to hang in there. When all else fails then come here and blow your gaskets on this comment board. You take care tina. Joe

        Ps is David Lynch the American filmmaker?

    • Paul G.
      February 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      One take away from this is that Pence is as petulant, childish, stubborn and stupid as his boss. Two peas in a rotten pod. I only hope the South Koreans can find the guts to break with the US’ suicidal policy. Pence’s behavior in the face of an historic attempt at reconciliation between the two Koreas spectacularly defines the term “warmonger”.

      • David A Hart
        February 14, 2018 at 10:47 am

        I saw this quote about the behavior of the Vice President, and thought it was spot on:

        “Kim Yo Jong and President Moon use intelligent, quiet diplomacy to begin to resolve a serious international problem. Meanwhile, Vice President Pence sits silently nearby, out of the loop and obsessed with the idea that his cat might be gay.”

Comments are closed.