Why Americans (and Koreans) Can Sleep Better After the Summit

The summit has already relaxed tensions but the reason is not because of a lessened threat from Pyongyang, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

By Jonathan Marshall Special to Consortium News

Scads of analysts and pundits have weighed in on the Trump-Kim summit talks in Singapore, parsing the brief agreement and presidential tweets for signs of just how strongly it actually commits North Korea to total, verifiable “denuclearization.”

Most of them are missing the point. The real threat to U.S., Korean, and Japanese security of late has come not from North Korean nukes, but from threats by President Donald Trump and his closest advisers to launch a regional war to preempt any further North Korean progress on warhead and missile technology. Some experts were giving even odds of a U.S.-initiated war as recently as a few months ago.

So even if the spectacle in Singapore was more theater than substance, even if the president’s effusive praise for a totalitarian leader was hard to swallow, we should applaud Trump for belatedly making good on his 2016 campaign promise to sit down with Kim Jong-un over a hamburger in search of peace.

Throughout most of 2017, the Trump administration instead issued a steady stream of pronouncements warning that it was ready to go to war to stop Pyongyang from perfecting long-range missiles capable of hitting the United States with nuclear weapons.

Strolling in Singapore. (Official white House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Our president has been really clear about this,” said then National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster. “He is willing to do anything necessary to prevent that from happening . . . and so, all of our armed forces are getting to really a high, high degree of readiness for this mission.” U.S.-South Korean war games reportedly included “rehearsals of surgical strikes on North Korea’s main nuclear and missile facilities and ‘decapitation raids’ by special forces targeting the North’s leadership.”

Trump himself warned last summer that he would meet any further North Korean nuclear advances “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” He added in a tweet that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”

Trump’s close foreign policy adviser (and golfing partner), Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, strongly advised the president to launch a preemptive war sooner rather than later, before North Korea could put the U.S. homeland at risk. He also insisted that Trump wasn’t bluffing about preparing an all-out first strike. “He has told me that. I believe him,” Graham said. “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And he has told me that to my face.”

Graham predicted that if North Korea conducted another nuclear bomb test, the odds that “we use the military option” would rise to “70 percent.” Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, put the odds as high as 50/50. Trump’s selection of John Bolton, an outspoken advocate of regime change in North Korea, as his national security adviser further stacked the odds in favor of war.

Trump’s Path to War

Trump’s path toward war—with almost no push-back from Congress—promised unimaginable destruction. “There easily could be a million deaths on the first day,” said Stanford University international security expert Scott Sagan. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry advised that a war with North Korea would be “catastrophic, possibly destroying the societies of both Koreas as well as causing large casualties in the U.S. military.”

Signing in Singapore. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

It would certainly kill a substantial fraction of North Korea’s 25 million people. Before then, however, Pyongyang’s hair-trigger military would likely annihilate millions in Seoul, Tokyo, and other major cities with massed artillery, chemical weapons, and atomic bombs many times the size of those that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. 

And that’s not even counting what might happen if China or Russia entered the fray—or if North Korea smuggled an atomic bomb into one of our major port cities aboard a freighter.

This threat of war originated almost entirely from the U.S. side. As the CIA’s own analysts reported, North Korea’s leadership has never shown any inclination to commit collective suicide by using its nuclear weapons offensively. Like every other nuclear power—aside from the United States in 1945—it developed nuclear weapons as a deterrent.

After decades of insecurity, North Korea’s new status as a nuclear power with long-range missiles means “The United States can never fight a war against me and our state,” Kim said in a New Year’s Day broadcast. “This is just a reality, not a threat. . . . These weapons will be used only if our security is threatened.”

Kim added, “The North and the South should no longer do anything that would aggravate the situation, and must exert efforts to ease military tensions and create a peaceful environment.” Starting with the Winter Olympics, Seoul and ultimately Washington accepted his olive branch, setting the stage for a breakthrough in relations. 

Much of what the critics say is true. The 397-word Singapore agreement is mostly platitudes, not the “very, very comprehensive document” Trump claimed. It doesn’t specify when or how North Korea will get rid of its nuclear weapons. It doesn’t specify a timetable for easing economic sanctions. It doesn’t address human rights in North Korea. Raised expectations could lead to disappointments, recriminations, and renewed political conflict.

But by addressing the cycle of provocations (including missile tests and military exercises) that were accelerating our countries to the brink of war, and setting the stage for a peace treaty ending the Korean War, the summit talks have at least temporarily made every American, and every resident of North Asia, a good bit more secure.

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international relations and history. His articles on Korea include “Who’s Afraid of Talking With Kim Jong Un,” “No Time for Complacency over Korea War Threat,” “America Isn’t on the Brink of Nuclear War—It Just Looks That Way,” “What’s Wrong with Talking to North Korea?,” “Trump’s North Korea Delusions,” “The New Trump: War President,” “Hurtling Toward Fire and Fury,” “Risk to US from War on North Korea,” “North Korea Fears ‘Regime Change’ Strike,” “The Negotiation Option With North Korea,” and “Behind the North Korean Nuke Crisis.”

If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.

 

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69 comments for “Why Americans (and Koreans) Can Sleep Better After the Summit

  1. Bill
    June 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    I totally agree with you. The danger was never Kim. He’s far too intelligent to use his nukes but we can’t say the same for Trump. Kim completely neutered Trump in that summit. Kim just completely outplayed Trump.

  2. RickD
    June 18, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Much ado about nothing. North Korean leadership has a long history of promises unkept and Trump an eq2ually long history of braggadocio reflecting unreality.
    Desperate for good press Trump trumped up this meeting, in which not one solid proposal was agreed upon in writing, as far more than what reality shows it to be.

  3. June 16, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    I’m a progressive liberal and the reflex of a progressive liberal is not to go to Korea and sign a piece of paper that has little meaning. Kim will never give up his nuclear weapons because look what he has gained from them already!

    Rachael Maddow, once a rational person,raves on about Russia as the driver of this signing event and everything else known to mankind. I think because she believes Putin called Trump and told him to sign with Kim.

    But I do have some logic and critical thinking abilities and I see that Mr. Marshall (author of this article) does also.Kim may be a scary, crack-pot kid, murderer and dangerous person, but he knows we could, as pointed out, do a preemptive strike in about an hour and one half in length that would wipe his country off the map. Hundreds of thousand if not millions of his countrymen would die along with him. Trump told him that.
    Kim wanted recognition and wants us to back off and leave him alone. That’s all he wants. He thinks that is all he needs although it is more complicated than that.
    So let’s leave him alone and maybe start trade with him and like most nuclear countries in the world, they will soon realize the broad danger of those weapons and with trade and a greater quality of life for North Koreans, (we hope and should promote), North Korea will become just another nuclear power. There is the danger that he will become too aggressive, perfect his weapons and be able to annihilate us or anyone else. But isn’t that what is true of all 9 nuclear nations with their 16,300 nuclear weapons?
    What other choice do we have but a constant plan to talk with nuclear nations, give them what they want in the recognition and safety area and then we all take our chances.
    As stated here, angry confrontation is worse.

    This is the human condition we are stuck with so thanks for this article.
    +

  4. susan sunflower
    June 16, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Korea as failure of nuclear nonproliferation has its roots (which are quite old) in the decades of harassment of Saddam Hussein (even as he complied — by many accounts — with UN inspectors and various rules under increasingly restrictive US sanctions that crippled the economy anyway … before invasion, capture, trial and execution …. Gadaffi had handed over Libya efforts at nuclear arms and that did not protect him …. before NATO assault, capture, and humiliating public execution (Libya, like Syria being a country where CIA involvement early Arab spring is suspected)
    There’s more… but the point has been that “only” likely holders of nuclear weapons have been free of the threat of US/NATO/UN regime change efforts …
    The secret “proliferation” of Israel getting the bomb is still secret. (and I have often wondered, after the Pakistan nuclear expert for hire — who was thought to have gifted the technology to Korea, what other countries also have secret nuclear or near-nuclear capacity
    – some assembly required or the acquisition of suitable rocket systems for launching, there being little that money can’t buy and hteh proliferation of “rouge” arms dealers associated with anti-American / western consensus actors.) American actions have had a paradoxical effect of making nuclear arsenals the only / best insurance against all too common American aggression.
    Yes, proliferation is scary. I remember the dire predictions wrt India and Pakistan … but that horse may well have already left the barn.

    • susan sunflower
      June 16, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      note, old enough to remember participating in “Ban the Bomb” marches in the 1950s and to know the origins of the ND peace symbol, I still wear and display … Peace on Earth …. May it begin with me.

  5. RICHARD A FEIBEL
    June 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

    OF COARSE THIS SUMMIT DELIVERED NOTHING SUBSTANTIAL. IT WAS NOT INTENDED TO. THERE REAL TARGET OF THIS NEOCON ADM IS IRAN .SINCE THE TEARING UP OF THE JCPOA AND ISRAELIS BRAZENLY ATTACKING IRANIAN CO-BASES IN SYRIA. TRUMP HAD TO GET THE PROBLEM OF N KOREA OFF THE TABLE FOR NOW TO KEEP THE PUBLIC MIRED DOWN ON IRAN. AFTER ALL 60M CHRISTIAN ZIONIST IN THE U.S WILL BE ECSTATIC IF TRUMP STARTS A WAR TO”””””PROTECT”””” ISRAEL!!!!!!

  6. mike k
    June 16, 2018 at 8:03 am

    The article by Tony Cartalucci linked below, puts the phony demonization of North Korea in proper perspective:

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/06/tales-of-north-korean-abuses-no-facts.html#more

  7. June 15, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Back, that is true that globalization and the multinationals are at fault. Then why is Trump addressing this in a trade war way? The onus clearly falls on American corporations so why not state it as it is instead of a trade war? And farmers will be suffering consequences also because of trade crops also involved. The IT products may be a large part of it but this will affect all of society.

  8. June 15, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Well now, Trump’s latest gambit on the grand chessboard is to slap 25% tarifs on $50bn of China’s goods! That’ll really help the American people, won’t it? Nice move with North Korea, on to the next with a bigger chess player, China, the king.

    I agree with you, Joe, that Moon Jae-in deserves the credit for the Kim-Trump summit. He seems to be the best thing to happen in Korean politics for awhile.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Hi, Jessika – 60% of all exports out of China are owned by U.S. multinationals who took the jobs overseas to begin with and who have been making outsized profits because of this move. Prices DON’T have to go up with these tariffs. The U.S. multinationals COULD give back some of their gross profits, or they could bring the jobs back home again. This is what Trump wants. Either bring the jobs back, or pay the price.

      If prices go up appreciably, the American people just won’t buy that new iPhone. The U.S. multinationals will be forced to reduce their prices, losing some of their profits, OR they can suffer reduced sales, in which case people in China get laid off.

      I was reading an article yesterday that stated the Chinese people, without their government saying anything about not buying “American”, just stop buying from whoever goes against the Chinese people. It doesn’t matter that the jobs should never have gone there to begin with. It doesn’t matter that they gained the jobs while the Americans lost their’s. They don’t care. They take it as a personal affront that anyone would do anything against China. In their minds, their totally unfair trade arrangement is somehow just owed to them!

      Bull. The American people can either demand a fair trade agreement or start decorating the cardboard box they’re going to be living in.

      The Chinese have taken great advantage. They have tariffs on just about everything coming into their country. If not now, when is this supposed to end? Ten years? Twenty years? When?

      China would not be in the position they’re in right now without American know-how and technology. If anyone is to blame, it’s the politicians and U.S. multinationals who sold their country out.

      • Edwin L. McClannan
        June 16, 2018 at 7:29 am

        China is rearming and unlawfully claiming parts of the Ocean around them. Imagine them building another military fortification just off of San Francisco, as they have done in the PI? There are more components to trade than simply the transfer of technology and money, and it is what is done with the money that is of more concern than the objections raised in the comments above.

        • Skip Scott
          June 16, 2018 at 8:40 pm

          I have often wanted Americans to imagine a foreign power installing a military base near our home soil, as we have done to all our so-called adversaries around the world. After all, what’s good for the goose…

        • Skip Scott
          June 17, 2018 at 8:09 am

          Darn. There I go with my “whataboutisms” and “false equivalency”. We’re the “exceptional” Nation, dontcha know.

      • RICHARD A FEIBEL
        June 16, 2018 at 9:32 am

        AND WHO ARE YOU BLAMING HERE THE CHINESE PEOPLE??? GET REAL PAL!! ITS THE WALL STREET/ POLITICIAN /INVESTOR CABAL IS THE CULPRIT. ASK OLD HENRY HOW MUCH HE HAS MADE SINCE HE AND DICKIE MADE THE DEAL TO OFF SHORE. BETTER PULL THE CURTAIN BACK AND SEE WHO THESE CRIMINALS ARE .THEY AIN’T PATRIOTIC AMERICANS !!

  9. umbertosaba
    June 15, 2018 at 3:05 am

    Of course we are happy that the nuclear crisis has seemingly been kept away or delayed. The true problem is how NK has built up the financial and technological capability to construct the missiles. Did the strangely-looking guy orchestrate all the logistics? Reasonably, someone, who has a big influential network and abundant funds, has been diligently working for the nuclear project. NK has been extremely strange and unique position since Korea War to create permanent fear to communism and balkanize Korean and Japanese peoples through psychological manipulation of war victim/offenser and kidnapping. We need an overall and consistent explanation and supporting evidence.

    • christina garcia
      June 15, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      Personally, I never ever in my life felt threatened by Cuba, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, The former USSR, now Russia, Columbia, Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Yemen, Somalia, Botswana . I do fear the bogeyman. Would that bogeyman be rampant capitalism, nepotism, ? I learned how to deal with my fears. Vote. All of you here on CN, C’mon man, You think DJT is your savior?

  10. susan sunflower
    June 15, 2018 at 1:14 am

    It occurs to me to remember that Trump played the “experts” like a pro … particularly in his “don’t need to prepare” and “I’ll know by feel/touch in the first minute” … it was, afaict, always primarily to formal signing ceremony as-agreed-up and an very important photo-op for Kim Yung-Un … not much else …. and the press went into apocalyptic panic before the Singapore and haven’t yet snapped out of it. …. Look how Trump played them … Look at the dragons and disasters they anticipated … Won’t be fooled again is also most too much to ask

  11. June 14, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Kiwi, i love your comments, but why do you use a question mark for a period to end a sentence?

    I speculate that Trump’s move with North Korea is a way to work on a pivot to Asia, not in the way of Obama/Clinton militarism but in wanting to do business there. I could be wrong, but the rise of China and BRI certainly can’t be unknown even to Fox-only Trump.

    As for better sleep, there are too many other jarring realities, like KSA and Israel. Which brings me to the neocons and their wars. A comment on Unz Review today couldn’t be better said:
    “The neocons are a collection of sick, murderous, fanatical supremacist ideologues who have turned the US into the most despicable criminal regime on earth. Because of their control and influence over the US military/political assets, combined with their psychopathic mentality and ideology, these scumbags pose a clear threat to the entire world. The irony in all of this is that, although these sickos like to smear any foreign leader they’d like to demonize as ‘the new Hitler’, etc, they themselves are more dangerous to the planet than Hitler was. Nothing will change until the major members of the neocon collective start getting individually singled out to receive the harsh punishment they deserve.”

    The neocons have infested and infected the corrupt Beltway and the whole USG, they are cancerous to Earth. Bolton is one of them. I read he earned $2.2 million last year, just by talking up war. He kept his mouth shut in Singapore, apparently, but i’m sure his jaws are flapping again.

    • LarcoMarco
      June 14, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      FWIW:

      1. I suspect KiwiAntz has his keyboard set to kiwi software fonts

      2. “World Cup 2018: Russia thrash substandard Saudi Arabia in opener” 5 to NIL (– UK Telegraph)

      • Skip Scott
        June 15, 2018 at 8:09 am

        What are kiwi software fonts?

      • vinnieoh
        June 15, 2018 at 10:28 am

        Over on The Real News Network they carry a regular column by James Dorsey – “Mid-East Soccer.” Very interesting stuff which is more about the politics of this world sport that the game itself. Several excellent installments this week concerning the political machinations of SA and Turkey “soccer.” Didn’t get to watch it, but glad to see SA get shut out 5-nil. Hope they get clobbered by their next opponent and sent home early. I know that’s a callous thing to say wrt to athletes themselves, but the crown prince has perverted the sport there, just like everything else he touches. The ptb’s there seem to believe they can buy a stairway to heaven.

    • KiwiAntz
      June 15, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Sorry Jessica, kinda overdo the ???? at times? Must be a NZ thing I guess, just bad English prose? There just did it again damnit. In other words, when I pose a question mark I’m attempting to put emphasis on the original question raised by either the writer of the article or the person who comments. And love your comments too as well as Joe T & Mike K? You guys give me hope for the future?

      • Skip Scott
        June 15, 2018 at 3:09 pm

        I have noticed that a lot of the younger generation, and especially women (hope that doesn’t come off as sexist) speak declarative statements with an upward inflection at the end of them, as if they were questions. I guess I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, but it drives me nuts. I think in their mind they are asking the listener if they follow, understand and/or agree with them. For me it is also reminiscent of the valley girls of southern California interspersing “like” liberally throughout their conversation as some kind of pause filler.

        Anyway Kiwi, keep the comments coming. Yours are certainly valuable, with or without the question marks.

  12. mike k
    June 14, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I don’t think anyone who comes to CN often is foolish enough to believe that the recent US/N. Korea Summit means that the US has decided to relinquish it’s passion for ruling the world by means of threat and force. But it still buys our world a little more time free from nuclear war, which is the most important game in town now.

  13. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 14, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Five previous Topic Headings lauding Trumps successful summit meeting in Singapore.
    Next five are subject to involve Inspector General’s tantamount extirpation of Trump from “Russia Gate.”

    Whom, among the pundits here will express outrage over the excruciating separation of children from their parent asylum seekers whom are in flight from the Repressive Governments propped up by the Government & Corporations of the United States of America, who’s coordinated desire is to Drive the Indigenous Peoples Off their lands in the name of Corporate Profit.

    These indigenous occupiers of “Profitable Making Lands and Waterways” – are summarily denied their HUMAN Rights and are being deemed WORTHY OF DEATH by reason of their demands for Land and Water rights that have been theirs for past centuries and are their Traditional Way of Life.

    Progress should not be weighed in scales of Profit over People.

    Why are these Central Americans seeking life saving havens in America?

    Because American Corporations Are Driving Them Off Their Historic Land Base of Survival. ! ! !

    And now we’ve taken the Nazi-est goose-step into separating children from their parents / locking them up into Detention Centers /
    where we have clear space to indoctrinate them, inculcate them into brainwashed footstools against their own people.

    Imagine the ‘Detention Centers’ into which we dispatch them as, the terrorizing, browbeating, intimidating, brainwashing confides of a Huxley-esq Brave New World — where line-ups for food and showers and rote training are drilled and drilled and practiced until a near -Auto-Maton State-of-Mind is produced —- where the Indigenous Mind is Reshaped into a Mind obedient to his/her Instructor.

    This is the (a) way to bring peace to Central America — thru Native obeisance to the oligarchic government that bows down to Corporate Power in America (“landofthefree&homeofthe’brave’.)

    • Mild -ly Facetious
      June 14, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      ‘Sleep Dealer’ is a Sundance award-winning sci-fi thriller packed with stunning visuals and strong social and political themes.

      Memo Cruz (Luis Fernando Peña) is a young man in near-future Mexico. When his family is victim of a misguided drone attack he finds himself with no option but to head north, towards the U.S./Mexico border. But migrant workers cannot cross this new world border – it’s been sealed off. Instead, Memo ends up in a strange digital factory in Mexico where he connects his body to a robot in America.

      _=_=

      This film is worth finding vis-a-vis the separating of Hispanic children from their parents
      Into the doctrine of personal survival within the horrifying realm of “Me Against The World.”

      It is worth investigating the physical & mental training they’re already inculcated into
      as a process of acculturation and the “TURNING” of family loyalites into personal survival.

      Survival – of – the – Fittest. Love of Family. or. Love of Self —-
      This is the Real for those separated children/ Brave-New-World —

      Introduced to America by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (God have mercy on his soul)
      And Donald J.Trump,express Image of Narcissus which flower he wears in Yellow Hair.

      • Mild -ly Facetious
        June 14, 2018 at 5:45 pm

        TORN FROM FAMILY AFTER A GRUELING

        1000 MILE TREK — THIRSTY AND HUNGRY AND TATTERED!!!!

        WALKING INTO DETENTION CENTERS

        / SEPARATED FROM THE SECURE LOVE OF FAMILY

        INTO THE HUMILIATION OF TRAINING, AS STRAY DOGS

        ARE BROWBEATEN INTO SUBMISSION TO A MASTER.

        YOU! HISPANIC DOG !!!
        LEARN AND OBEY
        THE VOICE OF YOUR
        WHITE MASTER/ or DIE!!!

        (Huxley saw this from afar… .)

    • Nick Peace
      June 14, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      or
      US drug policy has created a criminal economy (to satisfy US demand) in much of Central America that results in unstable, corrupt, and violent countries. See Mexico and Honduras.

  14. vinnieoh
    June 14, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    “Why Americans (and Koreans) Can Sleep Better After the Summit”

    Well, ahem, we’ll all at least awake tomorrow.

    Not so for many in Yemen as they will know the permanent sleep of death, with bits and pieces of their physical remains scattered here, there, and everywhere. Of all the things we learned this week the most disgusting, vile, and hateful news is that the scum of the earth Saudi coalition (that of course includes the US) purposely launched their attack on Yemen’s southern port while the world was distracted by this dog and pony show.

    I suppose it would be too much to ask of the sports-crazed to boycott or stage a massive protest of the Saudi match(es) (at the World Cup). I feel sorry for Mohammad Saleh (Egypt,) a true champion and an apparent decent human being, for he will be sucked into the maelstrom of what is sure to be one of the most politicized sporting spectacles in history. When his team-mates call out “man on!” he should look over his shoulder.

    Nighty-nite. Sleep tight.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 14, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      Where’s the humanitarian out cry over what the Saudi’s are doing to the Yemeni people? Can you hear me Samantha Powers? And then the pundits criticize Trump for not laying heavy all over Kim Jung un, over N Korea’s treatment of Kim’s people. Oh while we are at it, don’t forget the huge massive war crime being committed every day in Gaza. I know you all know this, but I just had to say something, because the hypocrisy among our nation’s pundit’s and leader’s is so unbecoming, that it’s embarrassing to say they are fellow Americans.

      Enjoy reading your comments vinnieoh. Joe

      • vinnieoh
        June 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm

        Thanks Joe, that’s very kind. This is as good a place as any to wonder aloud about something. I’m new here, but not to regular participation in an online forum. I learned what is acceptable behavior from participating on CD’s forum since its inception, often through hard knocks of posting comments that were unsubstantiated, poorly reasoned, or self-blind. The one thing I really like about this forum is the absence of “likes” and “un-likes,” which is an unnecessary distraction from robust discussion. I quit doing it there fairly early on which no doubt alienated some other participants. If you say something or read something that is worthy of thought or a response, that is what should propel the conversation.

        I have the probably unfortunate habit of mixing seriousness with sardonic humor and nail-screeching sarcasm, often from comma to comma, within the same sentence. Probably often makes me seem unserious, obtuse, or just shallow. I’ll try to behave myself because, like so many of us, I just have to have a place where I can put my two cents in.

    • mike k
      June 14, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      It’s true that most Americans are actually asleep when they seem to be awake. Kinda like zombies. Tuned out to reality, just sleep walking through their lives. They become angry if you should try to shake them a little to wake them up. They avoid sites like CN that interfere with their sleep. Is that what Plato meant when he said that the unexamined life was not worth living? Or Gurdjieff who said people were more like machines than truly sentient beings?

  15. mike k
    June 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    When the (often justified) paranoia in the world reaches a really high level, it becomes almost impossible to feel any hope or positive quality in anything, even things that may be quite benign. This is a dangerous point at which trust dissolves totally and any kind of deal becomes impossible. We must work against this dead end state that our world is approaching.

    “To venture is to risk defeat, but not to venture is to lose one’s soul.” ~ Kierkegaard

  16. susan sunflower
    June 14, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Pepe Escobar’s take on the Korean Summit as expected emphasizes points rather ignored by most coverage …

    http://www.atimes.com/article/the-key-word-in-the-trump-kim-show/

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

    The Panmunjom Declaration stresses that: “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

    That’s the commitment. “International community”, as everyone knows, is code for the US as The Great Decider. If Washington does not bring back its military from South Korea, there will be no denuclearization. Essentially, that’s the deal discussed between Kim and President Xi Jinping in their two crucial, pre-Singapore meetings. Get the US out of the peninsula, and we have your back. “”

    I saw and then saw again that Trump admitted to speaking with, I think all parties, prior to the summit and that the summit was in fact merely a photo-op for this reaffirmation of Panmunjom Declaration, again raising the still rather shocking specter that most of the breathless coverage and media opinion-sharing is kabuki theatre …

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 14, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Susan, Pepe confirmed what I’ve been saying, that the U.S. is only part of the equation of bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula. Now I don’t mean to discredit Trump’s efforts, so please don’t read into my comments that I do. I only see this attempt at crafting a peace, as it being a Korean problem, and a negotiation only to be remedied by the 2 Korea’s themselves. It would seem a much easier task with a modernized defensive China, and Russia, watching Kim’s back. What I believe we are watching, is the beginning of the end of the American Empire, as we know it. If the U.S. is smart it will join Russia and China, and develop a multipolar global world order. A order that would encourage national sovereignty along with cooperating with other nations to build a better world, as the New World Order spins down the drain. Joe

      • susan sunflower
        June 14, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        Imagine that some day (soon hopefully, after this first-ever EID ceasefire), “we” will let the Taliban and the Afghan government sit down to negotiate … or even recognize, acknowledge and respect the Syrian peace talks and even the Minsk accord wrt the Ukraine (acknowledging that it is the Ukraine who are in violation of those) … we have largely ignored the Syrian boycotters / non-attendees for a decade, which is at least as long as the Taliban and the Afghan government have been “somehow” prevented from meetings.

        We not only start the wars, we impede (and our media ignores) the peace negotiation process which is often time consuming and contentious.

        The USAsian military is fit to be tied that they will need to stand-down and reduce their belligerent martial display — from bbc:
        ”There are usually two sets of exercises every year, in spring and autumn, involving a massive number of troops and military hardware.

        Both involve land, sea and air military drills and computer simulations. In recent years, they have also involved practice drills for terror and chemical attacks.

        North Korea has condemned the drills as an unacceptable act of aggression, provocation and threat.””

        (The EU’s tepid to hostile response to Trump’s outrage over their not paying enough for NATO gives me some small window of hope … particularly as insult piles on insult …. Like the South Koreans, I suspect many NATO countries are tired of pointless but ongoing “increased tensions”

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 14, 2018 at 9:33 pm

          Here is a link to an article where it describes the reaction of the investor class, over Trump & Kim’s denuclearization detente.

          https://www.globalresearch.ca/peace-is-bad-for-business-defence-stocks-plummet-after-trump-kim-summit/5644153

          Susan, this may possibly be the best result of any from the summit. Joe

          • susan sunflower
            June 14, 2018 at 9:51 pm

            interesting, tangible, fungable … In These Times also has an interesting article on the South Korean Peace Movement.

            I’ve learned more about the Korean war in the last 2 years (I’m 65) than ever before…. It alarms me that Japan is so very much “America’s Darling” … I recall being stunned to discover that the Japan’s War in the Pacific began in 1937 or 1931 (see below fromWiki — (while we waited until Pearl Harbor in 1941 to officially enter the war … and how horrific those 3 years or 10 years, and the preceding history hostilities) were.

            For American’s WWI in the Pacific began in 1941 and was brave and costly … but “once subdued” the Japanese became …. “our reliable partner” … which leaves out the feelings toward Japan by the countries it attacked and invaded

            “”The Second Sino-Japanese War between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China had been in progress since 7 July 1937, with hostilities dating back as far as 19 September 1931 with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.[36] However, it is more widely accepted[j][38] that the Pacific War itself began on 7/8 December 1941, when Japan invaded Thailand and attacked the British possessions of Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong as well as the United States military and naval bases in Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines.[39][40][41]

            The Pacific War saw the Allies pitted against Japan, the latter briefly aided by Thailand and to a much lesser extent by the Axis allied Germany and Italy. The war culminated in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and other large aerial bomb attacks by the Allies, accompanied by the Soviet declaration of war and invasion of Manchuria on 9 August 1945, resulting in the Japanese announcement of intent to surrender on 15 August 1945. The formal surrender of Japan ceremony took place aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. Japan’s Shinto Emperor was forced to relinquish much of his authority and his divine status through the Shinto Directive in order to pave the way for extensive cultural and political reforms.[42]””

            I thought it was all about John Wayne types fighting horrible battles of attrition on remote atolls after Pearl Harbor.. USA versus Japan …. again, not. so. much.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_War

            Our soldiers were fit and fed and well equipped … but Japan had been at war brutally for almost a decade when we entered … different story entirely.

          • June 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm

            As far as Korea goes and WWII, it was conquered by Japan in 1910 and occupied until liberation at the end of the war. Thus it makes perfect sense that the US setting up the collaborators with Japan as the new government in the south did not sit well with the people after 35 years of Japanese oppression.

    • KiwiAntz
      June 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      Your absolutely correct Susan & Joe & Mike back this up with their great comments, as always? What I find fascinating & it’s going to be interesting how the next days, weeks & years pan out, & you hinted at it?? What does America do when the Peace Treaty & a step by step denuclearisation process begins? Once the official end of the War is announced & confirmed in writing, the US then has no legal reason or legitimate justification for having it’s Military Bases & Military personal presence in Sth Korea & by that justification, they must leave Sth Korea & go home?? But will they? That’s when the real motive of the US being in Korea will be revealed? Are they in Korea to counter the nuclear threat of Nth Korea, or are they there to contain China & Russia by maintaining a permanent presence on the Korean Peninsula? Somehow when I see the World Map of the number of US bases ring fencing & surrounding China & Russia, unfortunately you must come to the latter conclusion?

      • susan sunflower
        June 14, 2018 at 7:12 pm

        you’re not supposed to notice that … or think that Japan and Australia and the Philippines (and the rest of those mostly poor ((shit-hole)) countries) are all (like Europe) “depending on American military power to keep them safe” … They won’t be sleeping if America’s not patrolling … and it’s damn near impossible to find out what anyone in those countries “think” … We know that our bases and military personnel are not very popular in some places… but it’s usually one-bad-apple incident that’s cited, no mention of pollution and noise and traffic and no-go-zone or soldiers with guns everywhere.

        Basically in the USA, we’ve all be sold a world view where allegedly there are many countries that — but for the United States — would be invading or destroying … except … except we were never designated world protector … Reminds me of globalization and the loss of sovereign power … most folks didn’t know that “sovereignty” had been given away and still think that their government is supposed to represent, protect and benefit THEM … even in the EU where the mandate was pretty clear … and yet, no other recourse for the vulnerable has been suggested.

        • susan sunflower
          June 14, 2018 at 7:24 pm

          That should be “you are supposed to think that Japan/Australia and everyone else in the region is “depending” on America to keep them safe. ..

          I don’t know the size of the military or capacity for self-defense or who would attack them or why … except Japan … and I’ve seen some voiced enthusiasm to giving Japan the bomb (“we can trust them”) so they can deter China and we can stand down …. (all about the money… ours …. part of why South Korea’s initiative in these moves is so inspiring … people said fix it.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 14, 2018 at 9:51 pm

        I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that before 2020 the nation’s of the world will give America a backlashing with sanctions imposed upon the U.S. to end it’s supremacy over the 3rd planet from the sun. While more UN nation’s cast their vote against Israel committing war crimes in Gaza, Europeans are starting to take a different look at Flight MH17,and to who, or what, brought that ill fated passenger plane down back in 2014. Europe being over flooded with immigrants from the Middle East due to our U.S,/Israeli inspired wars, is turning the average European away from the U.S. in troves. Trump’s disregard for the G7 leaders, adds another layer of discontent to an already strained relationship between the G7 Nation’s and the U.S.. Not to mention to if anybody really knows if this global imperialistic war machine can even work probably in an all out global war, but none the less the empire stomps mud holds in other countries lands making more future jihadist enemies a long the way, as we Americans claim the right to exceptionalism…. and for what? A terrible time of it going forward into the 21st Century. My poor grandchildren.

        At the rate America is going this is the future I see a coming, KiwiAntz. Joe

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 14, 2018 at 10:24 pm

        Here’s that article concerning the UN & Israel.

        https://www.juancole.com/2018/06/shootings-including-european.html

  17. LarcoMarco
    June 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    “New York files suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’ In the suit, Atty. Gen. Barbara Underwood asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation.” — LA Times

    Donald Dumpsterfire may have to “fast track” Korea accords, before he is consumed by sideshows.

    • susan sunflower
      June 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      so embarassing …. and all the other world leaders still need to be polite and the media is ever reminding us about “benefit of the doubt” (ironic to consider how that applies to known con-men and grifters …. leaving the racism and insane conspiracy mongering out of the equation)

  18. anastasia
    June 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Sounds like the lunatics are in this country, and not theirs. Who would even threaten such a thing…………..and for no justifiable reason. There are too many lunatics in Washington who say things like. “why have nuclear weapons if you are not going to use them.” How do you get people like that to leave the halls of our government.

    • vinnieoh
      June 14, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Put them in a uniform, give them the title of “Political Officer” and send them to advise our ISIS proxies in Syria?

  19. mike k
    June 14, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Check out Pepe’s take on this historic Summit:

    http://thesaker.is/the-key-word-in-the-trump-kim-show/?inmoderation

    • susan sunflower
      June 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      how funny, just posted that link above … sorry for the duplication but I thought it was very interesting… his article on the G7 debacle which was held concurrently with (as usual ignored by the American press) Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is not just a study in “contrasts” particularly with regard to vitality, the west appearing rather sadly trying to hold onto past glory and “empire” (as we keep seeing wrt MENA) … while most people alive today consider the “post-colonial struggles” of my youth over-and-done ancient (and largely irrelevant (except to the American ancien regime “first world” west) history ))

      Must resume reading about post-WWI and post-the fall of the empire wrangling of the versaille treaty sausage making.

  20. mike k
    June 14, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    The movie that Trump showed seems like a neat way to make your pitch in a negotiation. I stand in awe of the skillful approach of Team Trump on this one. This was the opposite of Bolton’s Libya model or else, threatening. Who would have guessed that Trump would show such skill in buttering up his opposite partner in a negotiation?

    Now we need to get busy on a similar film presentation to accompany a Summit Negotiation with Iran! Please…….

  21. Ol' Hippy
    June 14, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Any action by the US that will ease tensions has to be a good thing. Next up, Iran. Then Russia and China. The US would be so much better off if they stopped all the Empire building adventures especially the destruction of the ME which grows more terrorists and causes instability everywhere. e.g. Stop fighting Israel’s wars.

    • Jose
      June 14, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Amigo you are 100% correct. It would truly be a better world to live in. I am no fan of Trump but on his summit with North Korea he scored big. Credit due where credit is due. I am amaze how much heat and ingratitud Trump has received from both political parties.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 14, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      Hey Ol’ Hippy nothing like keeping it simple, huh? I agree wholeheartedly that America should walk to the tune of peace. Joe

      Ps F.G. could write the lyrics. I’ll be on the drums.

  22. Mild - ly Facetious
    June 14, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Reporters thought this video was North Korea propaganda. It came from the White House.
    By Avi Selk
    June 12

    Reporters crowded into a Singapore auditorium Tuesday, expecting President Trump to walk out and announce the results of his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    Suddenly, two huge screens on either side of the empty podium came to life. Soaring music boomed over the speakers, and the reporters were bombarded with a montage portraying North Korea as some sort of paradise.

    Golden sunrises, gleaming skylines and high-speed trains. Children skipping through Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang. North Korean flags fluttering between images of Egyptian pyramids, the Taj Mahal and the Lincoln Memorial.

    In a split-screen shot, Kim Jong Un waved to an adoring crowd while President Trump stood beside him with his thumb in the air. The pair appeared over and over again, like running mates in a campaign video.

    The film went on like this for more than four minutes, with brief interludes of missiles, soldiers and warships interrupting the pageantry. Some journalists, unable to understand the Korean-language narration, assumed they were watching one of Pyongyang’s infamous propaganda films. “What country are we in?” asked a reporter from the filing center.

    But then the video looped, playing this time in English. And then Trump walked onto the stage and confirmed what some had already realized.

    The film was not North Korean propaganda. It had been made in America, by or on the orders of his White House, for the benefit of Kim.

    “I hope you liked it,” Trump told the reporters. “I thought it was good. I thought it was interesting enough to show. … And I think he loved it.”

    The crowd sounded skeptical. Some wondered if Trump had not, in fact, just provided U.S.-sanctioned propaganda to one of the country’s oldest adversaries.

    But as the president explained it, the video was more like an elevator pitch. It was the type of glitzy production that Trump might have once used to persuade investors to finance his hotels, and now hoped could persuade one of the most repressive regimes in the world to disarm its nuclear weapons and end nearly 70 years of international isolation and militant hostility to the United States.

    On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted a link to the video, for all to see.

    The nearly five-minute movie even has its own Hollywood-style vanity logo: “A Destiny Pictures Production,” though a film company by the same name in Los Angeles denied any involvement in making it, and the White House has not yet responded to questions about it.

    “Of those alive today, only a small number will leave a lasting impact,” the narrator said near the beginning, as alternating shots of Trump, Kim and North Korean pageantry flashed on the screen. “And only a very few will make decisions or take actions to renew their homeland, or change the course of history.”

    The message was clear: Kim had a decision to make. Then the film progressed from grim black-and-white shots of the United States’s 1950s-era war with North Korea into a montage of rose-colored parades and gold-tinted clouds.

    “The past doesn’t have to be the future,” the narrator said. “What if a people that share a common and rich heritage can find a common future?”

    The same technique repeated even more dramatically a minute later in the film, when the footage seemed to melt into a horror montage of war planes and missiles bearing down on North Korean cities — much like the apocalyptic propaganda videos Pyongyang had produced just a few months ago, when Kim and Trump sounded as if they were on the brink of nuclear war.

    But in Trump’s film, the destruction rewound itself. The missiles flew back into to their launchers, and a science fiction-like version of North Korea took its place — one of crane-dotted skylines, crowded highways, computerized factories and drones, all presided over by a waving, grinning Kim, accompanied always by Trump. “Two men; two leaders; one destiny.”

    “You can have medical breakthroughs, an abundance of resources, innovative technology and new discoveries,” the narrator said, the footage more and more resembling a Hollywood movie trailer as it built to its finale:

    “Featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un in a meeting to remake history,” the narrator concluded, as Korean words flashed on a black background: “It is going to become a reality?”

    The reporters had many questions.

    “Do you now see Kim Jong Un as an equal?” asked a Time magazine correspondent.

    “In what way?” Trump asked.

    “You just showed a video that showed you and Kim Jong Un on equal footing, and discussing the future of the country.”

    The president may have misunderstood the question, as he referred in his answer to his closed-door talks and a few carefully negotiated photo ops with Kim — not the U.S.-made video that presented the totalitarian autocrat as a hero.

    “If I have to say I’m sitting on a stage with Chairman Kim and that gets us to save 30 million lives — it could be more than that — I’m willing to sit on a stage, I’m willing to travel to Singapore, very proudly,” Trump said.

    “Are you concerned the video you just showed could be used by Kim as propaganda, to show him as … ”

    Trump cut the question off. “No, I’m not concerned at all. We can use that video for other countries.”

    The president was more talkative when discussing how Kim had reacted to the video, which Trump had presumably played for him during a brief, private meeting hours earlier.

    “We didn’t have a big screen like you have the luxury of having,” Trump said. “We didn’t need it, because we had it on cassette, uh, an iPad.

    “And they played it. About eight of their representatives were watching it, and I thought they were fascinated by it. I thought it was well done. I showed it to you because that’s the future. I mean, that could very well be the future. And the other alternative is just not a very good alternative. It’s just not good.”

    “The text reads like some godawful martial-arts movie trailer crossed with a corporate advertisement for an ambitious construction project,” Freddy Gray wrote for the British newspaper. “But clearly, in some peculiar way, it works.”

    The president acknowledged that some of the film’s imagery may seem far-fetched. North Korea is mired in poverty, internationally isolated, and has been mismanaged for decades by a family of dictators — Kim, his father and grandfather.

    “That was done at the highest level of future development,” Trump told the reporters in Singapore, as if he had just offered Kim a multitiered vacation package. “I told him, you may not want this. You may want to do a much smaller version. … You may not want that, with the trains and everything.”

    He waved his hands. “You know, with super everything, to the top. It’s going to be up to them.”

    And then, in his usual style, Trump was thinking out loud about the “great condos” that might one day be built on the “great beaches” of North Korea.

    “I explained it,” he said. “You could have the best hotels in the world. Think of it from the real estate perspective.”

    As the screens above Trump emphasized, he certainly had.

  23. Paul McDonnell
    June 13, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    You are missing the wider point here – this is a huge failure in non-proliferation. Other US hating countries will see the path to ‘security’ – gain a nuclear weapon and the US will crumble. Iran will be next followed by Saudi Arabia, possibly Syria. If the US withdraws its influence from SE Asia then Japan and possibly S Korea will acquire nukes. Try sleeping well then…

    • Jeff Harrison
      June 14, 2018 at 1:15 am

      Pfui. The failure occurred when the US did not live up to its obligations under the NNPT and helped Israel get the bomb. If you doubt me, I worked for McDonnell Douglas for 30 years and USAF F-15’s (two seaters) have something in the cockpit called a nuclear consent switch. When the Israelis got their F-15s that switch was not removed as it was for everybody else’s aircraft. When I questioned that, I was told to shut up and sign off on the drawing.

      Other countries don’t feel a need for security because they hate the US. They feel a need for security because the US is constantly threatening countries that WE hate reminding them that “all options are on the table”. Other countries wouldn’t be looking for a “great equalizer” (what they used to call the Colt .45) if we weren’t constantly threatening and invading them.

      • Brad Owen
        June 14, 2018 at 3:50 am

        Yes, and for the first time in a long time, we have a president who thinks instinctively like a pre-WWII American: foreign policy was “how are Canada and Mexico doing? What’s going on in the Caribeans? What are the fruit corporations up to in Central America? Same old problems in the Old World; all gaudy uniforms and saber-rattling shenanigans, glad we’re over here.”

      • Tom F
        June 14, 2018 at 6:43 am

        You sum it up clearly and concisely.

        It’s amazing that people, like Paul McDonnell, still don’t understand that the US and its Middle-East chums are actually the cause of virtually all of today’s major geopolitical problems.

      • mike k
        June 14, 2018 at 8:03 am

        Good comment!

      • Greg Driscoll
        June 14, 2018 at 9:49 am

        Thanks, Jeff, for the bit of personal history and the spot-on commentary. To paraphrase MLK jr. : ‘the US government is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.’ That was true in 1967 when MLK gave his Riverside Church speech, and is confirmably NOT less accurate now as 7 wars rage in the Middle East, Africa & the Afghan-Pakistan area and US secret ops are underway in over a hundred countries around the world.

    • john wilson
      June 14, 2018 at 5:03 am

      Saudi Arabia Paul? The US already has Saudi Arabia well under control and has absolutely no need to attack this country.

    • mike k
      June 14, 2018 at 8:00 am

      Do you think a preemptive first strike on North Korea will make the world safer? Did you read what would occur in such a scenario?

      • mike k
        June 14, 2018 at 8:02 am

        The above comment was intended as a reply to Paul McDonnell.

    • KiwiAntz
      June 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Paul, your reasoning that thw World must have America’s nuclear deterrent hanging over our heads like a atomic “Sword of Damocles” is a frightening thought? And that other Countries are going to rush to acquire nuclear weapons to use as a bargaining chip might be seem logical to you but its only despot Countries who are afraid of the US threat of invasion that seek this nuclear advantage as a defensive weapon? Most civilized Countries would much rather spend money on looking after their own people’s happiness & welfare FIRST, rather than wasting money on stupid Weapons of mass destruction such as nukes?

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