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Kim Jong-un’s Nukes and ICBMs Finally Got Him Real Respect from USA

As many regular readers know, I have written more than a few posts about the nuclear and ballistic missile programs of DPRK in the past(link 1, link 2, link 3). I have also written about how grandiose delusions, anti-Asian racism and a general disconnect from reality by policy makers in USA still prevents them from addressing the issue of normalizing relations with DPRK in anything approaching a rational manner (link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7). The main thread running through all those posts can be summarized as the following: DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile program is a highly rational response to american foreign policy in the post-1991 era. In that respect, it is no different from the recent announcement by Putin of Russia developing multiple next-generation nuclear missile systems.

It should be obvious to any rational observer that american foreign policy since 1991 towards the rest of the world can be largely summed as “my way or no way”. Unfortunately for the deep state in USA, developments in the rest of the world within the last two decades have slowly but irreversibly reduced their ability to enforce their writ outside their borders. The epic and costly military failures suffered by USA in Afghanistan and Iraq have sped along this process to the point where the USA cannot even enforce its writ in regions as troubled and historically divided as Syria. The economic crash of 2008, and its aftermath, have also contributed to this permanent reduction in american ability to enforce its rules outside its borders.

But what does any of this have to do with the recent announcement that Kim Jong-un is ready to meet Trump later this year? And what does it really mean, now that Trump has accepted the offer to meet Kim Jong-un in person?

The very short answer to both those questions is that Kim Jong-un has got what he wanted in the manner he wanted. Some of you might think that this is not case based on the ravings of some idiots on right-wing cable TV or a snarky article in an allegedly “mainstream” newspaper. Those charlatans and idiots want you to believe that it has something to do with economic sanctions and Trump acting crazy. However, even a brief overview of DPRK history would show you that its government has repeatedly demonstrated incredible resistance in the face of severe economic sanctions. Moreover, Trump is not the first american president to threaten them with nuclear annihilation.

So why has Kim Jong-un now expressed an interest in talks with South Korea and USA? Also, why was he so resistant to starting talks with either country even a few months ago? What changed? The simple answer to that question is within the last 12 months, DPRK has demonstrated that it has thermonuclear weapons and mobile ICBMs which can reach any part of mainland USA. The government of DPRK rightly figured out that any talks started by them before those successful demonstrations would be from a position of weakness as their bargaining power would be rather limited under those circumstances. Any treaty or agreement reached under those conditions would be very one-sided and against their best interests.

They, therefore, decided to first develop their thermonuclear weapons and mobile ICBMs to the point where they possessed a credible capability to nuke cities in USA. The development of such a deterrent greatly restricts the military options available to USA on the Korean peninsula. It also creates a wedge between South Korea and USA, since the former is no longer certain about whether the later will always support it or alternatively make things worse. So far, the overall scheme appears to have worked and South Korea now seems to be interested in reaching some sort of deal to stabilize the situation with them. But that is not the biggest PR triumph achieved by Kim Jong-un under this new strategy..

Since 1991, DPRK has tried to ‘normalize’ diplomatic relations with USA in a way that would not destabilize the current regime. Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather did try, on multiple occasions, to arrange public meetings with serving presidents of USA (Clinton 42, Bush 43 and Obama 44). While Clinton and Carter did visit DPRK after finishing their presidential terms, DPRK has not yet been able to get a serving american president to publicly meet their leader or even obtain such a commitment. Well.. yesterday, Trump accepted Kim Jong-un’s invitation to meet him sometime in the next few months. Some of you might say that Trump makes lots of promises which he does not, or cannot, keep.. and this may be one of them.

But make no mistake, Kim Jong-un has achieved within a few years what his predecessors could not, over many decades.

To be clear, I am not implying that this meeting will occur within the next few months or that it will result in denuclearization of DPRK. In fact, it is highly unlikely that DPRK will make any concessions beyond temporary and conditional freezes on future nuclear and missile tests. Countries which have spent so much effort and resources on developing nuclear weapons and ICBMs will never give them away, especially when it was their acquisition which led others to treat them with respect. It is more likely that such a meeting, if it were to occur, would be a major PR coup for Kim Jong-un and perhaps a starting point for realistic negotiations between DPRK, South Korea and USA.. though the later outcome is still unlikely.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. MikeCA
    March 9, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    I agree that if Trump goes through with meeting Kim jong-un, Trump is giving Kim jong-un exactly what he wants. I’m not sure Trump realizes that. I think he accepted this invitation before anyone had a chance to explain this to Trump. As long as Fox & Friends doesn’t explain this to Trump, he will probably go through with the meeting.

    I do not expect much to come out of this meeting. The Kim family can only keep their control of North Korea if they keep people totally isolated and ignorant of the rest of the world. Kim needs the USA as an enemy to justify his treatment of his own people.

    Kim knows that the isolation is breaking down. Western movies and TV shows are being smuggled into North Korean on USB sticks. The North Korean people cannot be kept in ignorance of how poor they are compared to the rest of the world now. Kim needs to show some results, but better relations with the rest of the world will undermine Kim’s rule. I assume Kim must know this, so I don’t expect any good results.

    Kim just wants Trump to come to him and respect him as the leader of a great country. He will get that and probably not make any real concessions in return. My guess is he probably needed a break in missile and nuclear testing to develop the next generation, so he is probably not giving anything to get respect from Trump.

    • botterd
      March 10, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Kim is not getting anything. NKorea has always said it wants direct talks, but the US has always insisted on concessions in advance. That is a little like telling your date you will only go out with her if she promises in advance to spread her legs. It’s a rather self-defeating tactic.
      Trump is working from instinct and common-sense, and thinks like anybody who has not been conditioned by so-called “experts”: It is better to talk this thing through than keep the world at the precipice of misunderstandings and nuclear confrontation, and besides, the SKoreans cannot afford to just keep siding with American bellicose intransigence — their survival and the future of the Korean nation is at stake.
      This isn’t a boxing match in which you psych out your opponent in advance. This isn’t a contest in which one side will “beat” the other. It is a life/death survival crisis in which two parties are condemned to each other.
      Yes Kim knows that the population must see economic progress and more freedoms and that the possibilities to keep the population under control are waning. He also knows that he can only achieve that through more cooperation with SKorea and other nations, but he can get nowhere if the US is isolating him. The idea that he deliberately wants to keep NKorea backward and suffering to consolidate his regime’s power is not a realistic goal and therefore unlikely to be how he wants to be remembered historically — he wants to be remembered as the great leader who finally managed to put Korea back as a great and prosperous nation.
      As for denuclearization, would America ever consider giving up its nukes, or even consider attending a congress about global denuclearization? Many such events have been suggested, but America (along with Israel) is always the odd man out, unwilling to even meet with the rest of the nations.

  2. (((They))) Live
    March 9, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Kim can open up North Korea a little now, the economy can grow and he could in theory allow his people a little more freedom, if this then leads to an uprising of sorts he can then crack down hard knowing that his nukes mean nobody can stop him

    Well played Kim, you little fat weirdo

  3. MikeCA
    March 9, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    One day after Trump announced this the White House is scrambling to walk the story back. As I speculated above, it seems Trump did not consult with any of his foreign policy advisers, but it is apparently not clear that Kim even offered to meet with Trump in the next few months.

    A South Korean official who met Kim came to the White House to talk with lower level officials. Trump found out and called him into the oval office. Trump asked him about his meeting with Kim. He told Trump that Kim would like to meet with Trump and Trump immediately accepted.

    It is not clear that Kim even really offered to meet with Trump in the next few months. He only expressed a general desire to meet with Trump.

    Normally you would never set up a meeting like this between heads of state unless there was a worked out agreement that they were going to sign or something similar. Now the White House is busy trying to come up with a list of preconditions before Trump will meet Kim.

    • botterd
      March 10, 2018 at 9:08 am

      It is South Korea that is driving developments. Their interest is not have war or escalation. NKoreans do not want to commit genocide against other Koreans, they would rather commit genocide against 1. Japanese 2. Americans 3. Chinese.
      If Trump/America does not go along with SKoreans initiatives, they will find themselves more and more on the opposite side of the see-saw with all Koreans on the other hand. In the end, Koreans have far more uniting them as families and as a cultural/ethnic group than superficial stuff like ideology (socialism, Korean-style “capitalism”, or whatever). Try to imagine how Korea would have developed if America had never imposed a regime there in the first place in Sept 1946.

  4. Gouv
    March 10, 2018 at 5:36 am

    We shouldn’t even care about North Korea to begin with. NK will never nuke us without being provoked because they know if they do that they will be nuked into oblivion by the kazillion nukes that we have.

    So who gives a shit?

  5. Shiningtime
    March 11, 2018 at 5:32 am

    As Steve Bannon made clear after leaving the white house, negotiating is the only real option. The military barked a lot but that was never a realistic option. We’ve already fought north Korea, and couldn’t beat them. Two faced China would never allow a US puppet regime to be installed in N.Korea.

    I commend Trump for accepting the offer to meet. Diplomacy is always better than bombs and bullets. Really, we we’re essentially out of options. No country with nukes can be invaded without severe global consequences. Trump took the only real option left.

    • P Ray
      March 11, 2018 at 7:42 am

      That also makes it very clear that for any country to avoid “liberation and freedom” by the US, they’d better have their own (preferably indigenous) nukes because that’s the only language that the “World’s Policeman” understands.

  1. April 20, 2018 at 7:40 am
  2. May 26, 2019 at 1:33 pm

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