Presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are perhaps the two most unpredictable leaders in the world with everyone wondering from day to day what new provocative statement will be ushered from official channels. However, the two most unpredictable leaders appear to have found common ground, perhaps even kindred spirits, during the course of the Singapore Summit when both men came away with an apparent mutually beneficial deal that will see the de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
While there have been no real concrete agreements as a result of the talks, the North Korean side has pledged its commitment to the denuclearization of the peninsula, while the American side has strongly suggested that it will put its military exercises on hold with South Korea.
The first step seems to be an agreement for both sides to work toward recovering the remains of Korean war dead and their immediate repatriation.
Beyond that, the statement agreed to by both parties reads as follows:
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to providing security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump, and Chairman Kim Jong Un, state the following:
The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
Reaffirming April 27, 2018, Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un, commit to implementing the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to holding follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.
DONALD J. TRUMP
President of the United States of America
KIM JONG UN
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
June 12, 2018
The talks have now concluded with the remainder of the negotiating to take place between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his counterpart with some suggesting that the next stage is the freeing of American spies incarcerated in North Korea.
The Reaction From American Political Circles
While Republicans, having never met a war they didn’t like, attempted to keep their rage at the idea of peace under control, many like chicken hawk Lindsey Graham appeared on national media to tone down praise of Trump and warn against showing weakness and removing troops from one of America’s many war zones. Essentially, they are arguing that America should dictate the terms, Kim should agree, and there should be no American concessions of any value.
Democrats, however, have predictably been frothing at the mouth at even the idea of peace, particularly a peace negotiated by “literally Hitler” himself, Donald Trump. These warmongers and psychotics have railed against even talking to Kim Jong Un, claiming that there should be no peace whatsoever with a nation that has such horrible human rights violations, as if the United States has not racked up enough of those same violations of its own. These critics complain that Trump is engaging in “appeasement” of some kind which seems impossible to explain to anyone using logic or who is restrained by reality.
But what is actually happening with this summit? Is it a true and genuine desire for peace or is it just cover for the next war to take shape over the next several years?
The Potential Positive
It is difficult for any genuine anti-war activist to oppose the recent talks between the United States and North Korea. After decades of technical war, threats to “obliterate” North Korea, constant nuclear tests, repeatedly provocative war games, innumerable threats against one another, not to mention the tension between South and North Korea, two countries that have long wanted to talk to one another, the fact that tensions seem to be easing can scarcely be considered a bad thing.
While it is unfair that the United States and its “allies” can maintain nuclear weapons stockpiles as they march across the globe slaughtering innocent people while other countries cannot, an end to nuclear proliferation (across the board) is also desirable. If both countries can come to an agreement to, at the very least, stop provoking one another, America will have taken a greater step toward peace in Singapore than it has in decades.
For all their public appearances, both Trump and Kim have appeared legitimately happy at the results of the meeting and both have expressed high hopes for the future. Trump even went so far as to tweet that the “nuclear threat” from North Korea no longer existed. But is there more to the deal than just a desire for peace?
Despite America’s desire for war or, at least the appearance of potential war, both Koreas have expressed a desire to not only talk but to reunify. In a historic meeting in April, 2018, the presidents of North and South Korea met and agreed to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and begin negotiating an end to the Korean war. Despite the influence of the United States on South Korea and the human rights nightmare of North Korea, it still remains clear that both Koreas have an interest in ending the war, bringing about peace, and perhaps moving forward with integration.
Was The Deal Mutual Or Was It Negotiated From A Position Of Strength/Weakness?
While it may publicly appear that the recent US/NK peace deal was a mutual desire between both parties to de-escalate and move towards peace, some analysts question whether or not that is the case and posit that the deal may have actually been made as a strategy of last resort on the part of the North Koreans.
As Andrew Korybko writes for Eurasia Future in his article, “The Trump-Kim Deal Is The First Example Of The ‘New Washington Consensus’,”
As it currently stands, China has monopolized a large chunk of its neighbor’s economy, not out of any malicious or neo-imperial intentions but simply because it’s been the only lifeline to the “Hermit Kingdom” since the Soviet Union collapsed and Moscow cut off all of its previous aid to the country. For all practical intents and purposes, China controls the North Korean economy, an open secret that’s known to even the most casual observers even if it’s “politically incorrect” to publicly say and is regularly denied by Beijing. The never-ending international sanctions had the effect of scaring off most other investors, and Russia entered the game way too late in the past couple of years to make any tangible difference. Moreover, by the time that Moscow got interested in North Korea’s economic potential as a transit state connecting the investment-hungry but energy-rich Far East region with cash-flush but energy-poor South Korea, international sanctions became tighter, and Russia itself also signed onto them together with China.
The cumulative effect of this latest development, particularly in terms of China’s honest participation in the latest round of sanctions (for reasons related to its unease at having a nuclear-armed neighbor play the “useful idiot” in bringing American anti-missile infrastructure closer to its borders), was that North Korea had little choice other than to negotiate with the US and reconsider its nuclear capabilities. Faced with the real fear of experiencing another nationwide famine such as the one that reportedly struck the country in the 1990s, Chairman Kim’s immediate interests were purely economic, and he painfully came to perceive of his “big brother” in the north as a Great Power who isn’t above playing political games in pursuit of its self-interests. In China’s defense, its global strategy of multipolarity was being endangered by what it considered to be Kim’s recklessness in engaging in so many nuclear and missile tests, but regardless, the bonds of trust were irrevocably broken between these two.
That, however, doesn’t mean that North Korea regards China as an “enemy”, but just that the young Kim had a rude awakening in terms of how the real world works, learning first-hand that slogans of ideological solidarity about a shared “communist struggle” don’t compensate for his country’s disadvantageous position as a pawn on the Hyper-Realist “19th-Century Great Power Chessboard”. Disheartened by this realization and likely feeling some natural resentment towards his former benefactors, Kim decided to enter into unprecedented denuclearization talks with the US, though prudently taking care to involve China in all manner of his consultations so as not to inadvertently make an actual enemy out of it given how easily this very sensitive situation could have turned into a fast-moving security dilemma between Pyongyang and Beijing had he not had the wisdom to do so. Seeking sanctions relief and a “counterbalance” to China, Kim ultimately agreed to the Singapore Summit with Trump.
Having predictably been briefed on the psychological-economic factors that drove Kim to come to the Singapore Summit and in all likelihood agree beforehand on what the outcome of this historic event would be, Trump came to the event with the fullest of confidence but also with a secret ace up his sleeve to sweeten the deal that he was about to publicly clinch with his counterpart. It’s now been revealed that Trump showed Kim a Hollywood-style four-minute video extolling the economic and developmental benefits that North Korea could receive if its Chairman chooses the right path at this once-in-a-lifetime crossroad that the film dramatically hints he was fated to appear at. Evidently, Kim must have really enjoyed the promising message that was conveyed because all of his body language immediately after his private viewing of this film with Trump during their one-on-one meeting was exceptionally positive and radiated happiness, sincerity, and confidence as he agreed to advance his country’s denuclearization.
In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Korybko also stated that
After all, North Korea already blew up its only nuclear testing site, and its leader raced to win back Trump’s approval for the Singapore Summit instead of the reverse. This implies that the US is negotiating from a position of strength while North Korea is doing so from weakness, showing which of the two wants denuclearization to happen more. The lesson that both parties learned is that their highest representatives need to watch their words in order to not provoke either side into responding with anything dramatic as a means of saving their reputations, thereby potentially endangering the forthcoming talks and complicating North Korea’s strategic surrender to the US in exchange for promised aid and investment.
So the question is whether or not the North Korean side felt it had no other option than to move forward with a political deal, much like the Iran deal, in order to save face and survive. After all, it is not reasonable to require North Korea to disarm from its only real deterrent while the its enemy who has been breathing down its neck for the last several decades simply promises not to attack it.
A more important question, however, is whether or not the United States is negotiating in good faith or whether this new “deal” is just another “Iran deal” to feign an effort for peace while preparing for and even initiating war.
The “Libya Model”
Given that the United States has done nothing with its foreign policy but conduct illegal imperialist wars against sovereign countries that provided no threat to it now for decades, the concept that the United States is negotiating in good faith is hard to believe. It is particularly hard to believe when the United States had only recently engaged in epic harassment – politically, diplomatically, and militarily – against North Korea. Even more so, when the National Security Advisor and repeated war criminal John Bolton, stated plainly to FOX News Sunday that “We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004.”
Libya negotiated in good faith with the Bush administration and eliminated its nuclear weapons. Seven years later, the country found itself on the wrong end of a U.S. backed destabilization effort which soon became a proxy war and quickly became a NATO invasion. The result? Libya was left in absolute shambles where it remains to this day. Race slavery was instituted by some of the many Islamic fundamentalist militias supported by the United States to overthrow Ghaddafi who was himself sodomized by a bayonet and executed on camera. Bolton elaborated further on the “Libya Model” reference on CBS’ Face The Nation where he stated,
In the case of Libya, for example—and it’s a different situation in some respects—those negotiations were carried out in private. They were not known publicly. But one thing that Libya did that that led us to overcome our skepticism was that they allowed American and British observers into all their nuclear-related sites. So, it wasn’t a question of relying on international mechanisms. We saw them in ways we have never seen before.
Notably, the North Korea talks are taking place in public even if they aren’t being met with high praise.
Interestingly enough, Kim Jong Un seems to have a clear understanding of why giving up one’s nuclear weapons is a bad idea, particularly when it comes to the United States. In 2011, as Libya sunk under the waves of chaos, Kim stated that Ghaddafi’s decision to give up his nuclear weapons was a mistake. A North Korean Foreign Ministry official also described the “de-nuclearization” process as “an invasion tactic to disarm the country.” The official also stated that the “Libyan model” touted by Bolton was proof that North Korea’s strategy was the right one and that nuclear weapons was the only way to keep peace on the peninsula.
Surely, Kim Jong Un has not forgotten his own wisdom in terms of dealing with the United States. After all, there is little difference between dealing with a Bush, Obama, or Trump administration.
On the other hand, even seasoned leaders like Ghaddafi fell prey to deception and false promises of the U.S. For this reason, it cannot be ignored that one possibility as to why the United States seems so interested in peace at this point is related to removing Kim’s nuclear deterrent.
The Iran Deal Precedent
On Tuesday, May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States will be pulling out of the “Iran Nuclear Deal” which was struck under the Obama administration, a deal that he repeatedly called a “bad deal” and even “the single worst deal I’ve ever seen drawn by anybody.”
“The so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime,” President Trump said. “In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and over time reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.”
He added that “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie.”
Yet there was absolutely no evidence to back Trump up on his claims. Even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats have stated that Iran is living up to its commitments. Still, Trump has argued in the past that, while Iran may be sticking to its commitments, it is violating the “spirit” of the agreement by “fostering discord” in the region.
This is highly ironic considering that the United States is the single biggest fosterer of discord in the Middle East alongside Israel. It’s also false that Iran is “fostering discord” and that it is not living up to its end of the deal. It should also be pointed out that Iran was doing nothing wrong in terms of its nuclear program before the deal and should never have been bullied into signing it to begin with.
Now, a sovereign country who has a right to pursue a nuclear energy program is being told by aggressive nuclear states that it cannot be allowed to be armed in the same manner, develop an adequate energy program, or defend itself against the aggression of the very states marching across the region and repeatedly stating their desire to overthrow, destabilize, or invade Iran.
But while this move may have come as a shock to some, it shouldn’t have. After all, the Iran deal itself was nothing more than the first step in the coming war on Iran. This can be seen clearly in the pages of the corporate-financier think tanks who develop and present US foreign and domestic policy. For instance, the Brookings Institution, as Tony Cartalucci writes, “whose corporate-financier sponsors include arms manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, energy giants Exxon Mobil, BP, Aramco, and Chevron, and financiers including Bank of America, Citi, and numerous advisers and trustees provided by Goldman Sachs,” wrote in 2009 of the plan to use just such a “deal” to then justify military action against Iran.
The Brookings Institution Report – Which Path To Persia?
The plan for a Western or a Western/Israeli attack on Iran, along with the theatre of alleged US-Israeli tensions leading up to a strike and outright war, has been in the works for some time. For instance, in 2009, the Brookings Institution, a major banking, corporate, and military-industrial firm, released a report entitled “Which Path To Persia? Options For A New American Strategy For Iran,” in which the authors mapped out a plan which leaves no doubt as to the ultimate desire from the Western financier, corporate, and governing classes.
The plan involves the description of a number of ways the Western oligarchy would be able to destroy Iran including outright military invasion and occupation. However, the report attempts to outline a number of methods that might possibly be implemented before direct military invasion would be necessary. The plan included attempting to foment destabilization inside Iran via the color revolution apparatus, violent unrest, proxy terrorism, and “limited airstrikes” conducted by the US, Israel or both.Interestingly enough, the report states that any action taken against Iran must be done after the idea that Iran has rejected a fair and generous offer by the West has been disseminated throughout the general public. The report reads,
…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context— both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.
From the writings of Brookings, it is readily apparent for all to see what the latest browbeating over the “terrible” Iran deal and how the Iranians are not living up to their obligations under the agreement coming from the Trump administration are all about. The United States has bullied Iran into accepting a deal it should never have had to agree to in the first place and now the U.S. is attempting to add restrictions and obligations that were never part of the deal to begin with and/or claim that Iran is not living up to its end of the deal. If Iran can be represented as having been uncooperative, Iran will be painted as having refused “a very good deal.”
As the report states, any action taken against Iran must be done after the idea that Iran has rejected a fair and generous offer by the West has been disseminated throughout the general public. For that reason, the idea is being promulgated that Iran was offered a great deal at the disadvantage of the United States but Iran would not abide by even this agreement, continuing to insist on gaining nuclear weapons to destroy the U.S. and poor innocent Israel, forcing America’s hand after diplomacy failed.
Ironically, it is admitted by the authors of the report that the Iranians are not governed by lunatics intent on nuking the world but by entirely rational players. Still, they move forward with a number of options for attacking Iran. It should thus be obvious to anyone reading this report that the US, NATO, and Israel are uninterested in peace with Iran and are entirely focused on war and Iranian destruction.
“The so-called ‘Iran deal,’ introduced during the administration of US President Barack Obama, represents precisely this “superb offer,” with Flynn’s accusations serving as the “turn down” ahead of the “sorrowful” war and attempted regime change the US had always planned to target Tehran with,” writes Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer Report.
The report continues to discuss the citations that could be used for an attack on Iran, clearly stating its intentions to create a plan to goad a non-threatening nation into war. It states,
The truth is that these all would be challenging cases to make. For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)
While steps toward peace should be lauded, we must be sure these steps are actually being taken toward peace and not to another “Libya Model.” North Korea may want to re-enter the world at large but it must not do so if the end result will be the destruction of the country yet again. Since King Jong Un already has nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them, he has significant bargaining power in any negotiation. Upon giving those weapons up, however, he will have placed North Korea in a precarious position. It may be too early to tell as of yet what will be the result of the Trump-Kim agreement but, for now, those who truly desire peace must keep a watchful and skeptical eye open.