Category Archives: Kim Jong-un

US Negotiations: Masters of Defeats

The US is currently engaged in negotiations with at least a dozen countries — which involve fundamental political, military and economic issues.

The US has adopted diplomatic strategies in the face of its ‘inability’ to secure military victories. The purpose of adopting a diplomatic approach is to secure through negotiations, in part or fully, goals and advantages unattainable through military means.

While diplomacy is less subject to military and economic losses it does require making concessions. Negotiations are only successful if there are reciprocal benefits to both parties.

Those regimes which demand maximum advantages and minimum concessions, usually fail or succeed because they are based on very unequal power relations.

We will proceed to evaluate Washington’s success or failure in recent negotiations and analyze the reasons and consequences for the outcome.

US-North Korea Negotiations

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have been engaged in negotiations, for nearly a year. The White House has prioritized the ‘de-nuclearization’ of the peninsula which includes dismantling nuclear weapons, missiles, test sites and other strategic military objectives.

North Korea seeks the end of economic sanctions, the signing of a US-Korean peace treaty and diplomatic recognition. A decisive meeting between the two took place Feb. 26-27, 2019 in Hanoi.

The negotiations were a total failure. Washington failed to secure any gains, nor did they advance the peace process; and there are no future prospects.

North Korea offered three significant concessions which were not reciprocated. President Kim Jong-Un proposed to (1) dismantle nuclear testing sites, (2) announced a moratorium on nuclear tests and inter-continental range ballistic missiles tests, and (3) agreed to partially dismantle missile engine test sites.

Washington offered nothing in return. Instead it demanded total disarmament, no lifting of sanctions, no signing of the end of the US-Korea war.

Washington’s asymmetrical ‘negotiations’ were pre-determined to fail. The US underestimated the capacity of the North Koreans to insist on reciprocity; they believed that future verbal promises would entice the North Koreans to disarm. The Koreans were fully aware of the recent US record of reneging on signed agreements with Iran, China and its partners in the Belt and Road agreement.

Moreover, North Korea has powerful allies in China and Russia and nuclear weapons to resist added US pressure.

US-Iran Negotiations

US and Iran negotiated an agreement to terminate economic sanctions in exchange for ending nuclear weapons development. It temporarily succeeded but was quickly reversed by the Trump regime. The White House demanded Iran dismantle its missile defense program and threatened a military attack. Washington did not bargain, it sought to impose a one-sided ‘solution’. The UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, co-signers of the agreement, rejected the Trump dictate, but a number of major EU multi-national corporations capitulated to the White House demand to tighten sanctions.

As a consequence, the US deliberate sabotage of negotiations pushed Iran closer to Russia, China and alternative markets while the US remained wedded to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The former is engaged in a losing war with Yemen, the latter has remained an international pariah receiving billions of US dollars in handouts.

US-China Negotiations

The US has engaged in negotiations with China to downgrade its economy and retain US global supremacy. Beijing has agreed to increase its imports from Washington and tighten controls over Chinese use of US technology, but the US has not offered any concessions. Instead, Washington has demanded that China end the state’s role in financing its cutting-edge technology, artificial intelligence, and communication innovations.

In other words, China is expected to surrender its structural advantages in order to avoid harsh White House tariffs which would reduce Chinese exports.

There is no reciprocity. The Trump regime operates by threats to China which will have negative effects: on US farmers dependent on Chinese markets; on US importers, especially the retail sector which imports Chinese products; consumers who will suffer higher prices for goods purchased from China.

In addition, China will deepen its links with alternative markets in Asia, Africa, Russia, Latin America and elsewhere.

As of the most recent year (2018) China’s positive trade balance with the US rose to $419 billion dollars while the US was forced to increase its subsidies to US agro-exporters to compensate for loss of sales to China.

After several months of negotiations US representatives have secured trade concessions but failed to impose a breakdown of China’s economic model.

By the middle of 2019, while negotiations continue, the likelihood of a ‘grand bargain’ is dismal. In large part this is because Washington fails to recognize that its weakened global position requires that the US engage in ‘structural changes’, which means that the Treasury invests in technology; labor upgrades and education. The US should practice reciprocal relations with dynamic trading partners; to do so, Washington needs to invest billions to upgrade its domestic infrastructure; and reallocate federal spending from military spending and wars to domestic priorities and productive overseas agreements. US diplomatic relations with China based on threats and tariffs are failing and economic negotiations are deteriorating.

US-Venezuela: Non-Negotiations a Formula for Defeat

Over the past half-decade (2015-2019) Washington has succeeded in restoring client regimes in Latin America, by military coups, political intervention and economic pressure. As a consequence, the White House has successfully ‘negotiated’ one-sided political, economic, social and diplomatic outcomes in the region … with the exception of Cuba and Venezuela.

President Trump has broken negotiated agreements with Cuba to no advantage; US threats have led to Cuba securing greater ties with Europe, China, Russia and elsewhere without affecting Cuba’s tourism business.

The Trump regime has escalated its political and economic propaganda and social war against Venezuela. Multiple overt coup efforts have backfired beginning in April 2002 and continuing to February 2019.

While the US succeeded in the rest of Latin America in consolidating hemispheric hegemony, in the case of Venezuela, Washington has suffered diplomatic defeats and the growth of greater popular resistance.

US interventionist and sanctions policies have sharply reduced the presence of its middle- and lower-middle-class supporters who have fled abroad. US propaganda has failed to secure the support of the Venezuelan military which has become more ‘nationalist’ with very few desertions.

The White House appointment of the convicted felon Elliott Abrams, known as the ‘butcher of Central America’, has certainly undermined any prospect of a favorable diplomatic settlement.

US sanction of political and military leaders precludes efforts to co-opt and recruit leaders. The US appointed as its ‘interim ruler’ one Juan Guaidó who has little domestic support – widely seen domestically as an imperial stooge.

The US non-negotiated successes in Latin America have blinded Washington to the different conditions in Venezuela; where structural socio-economic reforms and nationalist military training consolidated political support.

In the case of Venezuela, the US refusal to enter into negotiations has led to greater polarization and multiple defeats, including the failed coup of February 23/24 2019.

US-Russia: Colluding with Failed Diplomacy

Washington successfully ‘negotiated’ the surrender and break-up of the Soviet Union and the subsequent pillage of Russia. It was the US’ most successful ‘negotiations’ of the century. The US ‘negotiations’ allowed it to expand NATO to the Russian frontier, incorporated most of East Europeans into the EU and NATO and led the US to boast of creating a ‘unipolar world’.

Excess hubris led the US to launch prolonged (and losing) wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and elsewhere.

With the election of President Putin, Russia made a comeback, which led to the Kremlin reconstituting its military, economic and geopolitical power.

The White House reacted by attempting to ‘negotiate’ Russia’s military encirclement and to undermine Moscow’s economic growth.

When Russia refused to submit to US dictates, Washington resorted to economic sanctions and power grabs in the Ukraine, Central Asia and the Middle East (Iraq and Syria).

Washington rejected a diplomatic approach in favor of economic intimidation — especially as some US-backed oligarchs were arrested or fled with their wealth to the UK and Israel.

The US refused to recognize the opportunities which still existed in Russia – a neo-liberal economic elite, a mainly mineral export economy, and Moscow’s conciliatory approach toward US military engagement in Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iran.

US ‘negotiations’ were non-starters. The White House defined Russia as an enemy to be undermined. Sanctions became the weapon to deal with Russia’s attempt to regain its world standing. Washington’s aggressive posture included its refusal to recognize that the world had become multi-polar; that Russia had allies in China, partners in Germany, military bases in Syria, and has loyal and advanced scientific elite.

The US, operating from a past image of Russia from the Yeltsin era, failed to adapt to the new realities – a resurgent Russia willing to bargain and secure reciprocal advantages.

The US failed to recognize potential allies and economic advantages in open negotiations with Russia. Many Russian economists close to the Kremlin were neo-liberals, ready and willing to open the economy to US penetration. Russia was willing to concede the US a major role in the Middle East and offered to negotiate their oil export policies.

Instead the US refused to negotiate power sharing .US sanctions forced Russia to embrace China; Washington’s drive for global dominance encouraged Russia to build ties with Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria and other independent nations.

Washington’s unipolar policies turned a potentially lucrative and long-term strategic relation into costly confrontations and failed diplomacy.

US and the European Union: Dead End Deals

Bullying Europe has been a successful endeavor, which the US has put on display on innumerable occasions in recent times. Washington negotiates agreements with the French, English and German to end economic sanction on Iran and then reneges and turns around to apply sanctions on European firms which comply with the US and disobey their own government.

The US negotiates with Europe on trade policies and then abruptly threatens to impose sanctions on its crucial auto exports.

Europe negotiates with Washington on NATO security issues and then the White House threatens them in order to raise their military spending.

The US claims that the EU is a strategic ally but treats it as a junior partner.

Negotiations between the two have been a one-sided partnership: the US sells arms and names adversaries, while Europe argues and dissents, eventually submitting and sending troops to fight US wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

The US dictates sanctions against Russia, increasing the price of EU imports of gas and oil. Germany debates, discusses, hems and haws while avoiding an outright rejection.

The US has steadily encroached on EU prerogatives to the point where it claims if the EU fails to comply with the White House’s “America First” agenda, it would cause the US to withdraw from NATO.

Despite a longstanding alliance, the White House no longer negotiates policies – it threatens and expects compliance. Despite a history of EU submission and pro forma debates, as Washington has hardened its opposition to Russia, China and Iran it no longer considers EU trade relations a point of negotiations. While Europe might consider the US as an ally, it will not be allowed to be treated as such, because it is viewed as a trade adversary.

Conclusion

Washington has succeeded in securing non-reciprocal agreements with weak countries. This was the case in post-war Europe, post-Gorbachev Russia and among Latin America’s current colonized regimes.

In contrast, Washington’s rejection of reciprocal agreements with Russia, China, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela has been a failure. US trade wars with China have led to the loss of markets and allowed China to pursue global agreements through its massive billion-dollar ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure projects.

US one-sided hostile policies toward Russia have increased ties between the Kremlin and Beijing.

Washington has lost opportunities to work with neo-liberal oligarchs in Russia in order to undermine President Putin. Washington has failed to negotiate reciprocal ties with North Korea which would ‘de-nuclearize’ the peninsula in exchange for lifting economic sanctions and opening the door for a capitalist restoration.

Demanding unilateral concession and submission has led to uniform failures; whereas negotiated compromises could have led to greater market opportunities and long-term political advances.

President Trump and his top policy makers and negotiators have failed to secure any agreements.

The Democratic Congress has been as ineffective and even more bellicose – demanding greater military pressures on Russia, expanded trade wars with China and fewer negotiations with North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

In a word, failed negotiations and non-reciprocal diplomacy has become the hallmark of US foreign policy.

The Libya Model is a Distraction

On Fox News Sunday, United States national security advisor John Bolton brought up the Libya model as a template for the denuclearization of North Korea.

Following up, president Donald Trump noted, “In Libya, we decimated that country. That country was decimated.” However, Trump did assure North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un that he’d remain in power after denuclearization.

Then came US vice-president Michael Pence on Fox News:

There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.

When told that such a comparison could be viewed as a threat, Pence instead considered: “Well, I think it’s more of a fact.”

History tells a tale. After Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi gave up Libya’s nuclear weapons program, he was eventually deposed by NATO bombing in support of rebels who brutally murdered Gaddafi in cold blood. Hillary Clinton gleefully cackled about it on CBS News afterwards.

What kind of dunderhead would Kim have to be not to realize the behind-the-curtain machinations Washington has planned for him and his government. The US simply should not be believed or trusted.

But there seems to be an apparent wrench in the works of Washington’s scheming. Kim, after all, has a nuclear bomb. It makes one wonder: what do Donald Trump and the US military establishment not understand about nuclear deterrence? There are no winners in a nuclear war.

All the blather about a Libya model merely reinforces the correctness of the North Korean decision and the necessity to develop a nuclear deterrence. It must be emphasized that — despite wild proclamations from Washington1 — what North Korea possesses is a nuclear deterrence and not a nuclear threat. Obviously, to initiate a nuclear attack would be sheer folly and a suicidal act for Kim Jong-un and his government. However, North Korea is on record as asserting a no-first-use policy for nukes.2 This is a rational stance.

Contrariwise, the US does not reject its first use of nukes. Thus, the US nukes exist as other than a deterrence factor.

Is the US an irrational actor?

The bigwigs in the Trump administration are not dunderheads either. There is a method to their madness — a desired outcome. The US, despite administration declamations to the contrary, is quite aware that North Korea would not start a nuclear war. The North Koreans are known to be rational.

Yet the strategizing of the military-industrial complex is also based in rationality when its capitalistic motivations are considered. When it comes to warmongering, the greater the number of enemies the US is faced with, the more opportunities for weapons deals to replenish homeland armories and supplying fearful allied countries. Moreover, there are the opportunities created for morally challenged investors to seek profit from war.

The military-industrial complex’s lust for war profiteering motivates it to maintain a hostile posture to designated enemies like North Korea. This is rational in the pecuniary sense. It is rational for the military-industrial complex to assume a hostile posture to Iran. It is logical to support war crimes by the Jewish State against the civilian population of Gaza and also to support the siege of Gaza in hopes of fomenting a violent uprising. It’s rational to keep Syria in conflagration.

It is even rational to poke the Russian bear and prod the Chinese dragon. The more formidable the designated enemy, the greater the potential for evoking fear among home populations and crank over the wheels of the military-industrial ever more.

In this manner arms sales are stimulated, share prices for armaments are sent rising, and thus it happens that the undiplomatic bombast and war crimes committed by military industrialists is rewarded with ensanguined lucre.

Nonetheless, all the money in the world means nothing come a nuclear winter.

  1. Michael Pence in his recent interview stated that the US “is not going to tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies…”
  2. A translation of the North Korean news agency KCNA quotes Kim saying, “As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes.”

The Koreas Unified and at Peace?

Peace in the Koreas is what the world expects; and Peace in the world is what humanity expects, the vast majority. 99.9% of the world population wants peace, but it’s the 0.1% that commands war and destruction, since war and destruction is what runs the western economy. Literally. If peace would break out what we in the west still call economy — though it’s a fraud, every day more visible — would collapse. In the US the war industry with all the associated production and service industries, including the Silicon Valley and banking, contributes more than 50% to GDP. Nobody notices and nobody says so. Naturally. Everything that might be revealing and thought-provoking, is lied about or hidden from the public.

This enormous Korean Peace Initiative is a flare of hope. The two Presidents, Moon Jae-in from the South and Kim Jong-un from the North have met last Friday, 27 April 2018, at the Peace House at Panmunjeom, near the 38th Parallel North, or the so-called Military Demarcation Line. It is the first time in more than 60 years that leaders of both Koreas have crossed the line — Mr. Moon to the North, and Mr. Kim to the South. They have declared their willingness to establish Peace, to sign a real Peace Agreement before the end of this year. At present, technically the two nations are still at war, a war sustained by the United States. The DPRK survives from day to day on a shaky armistice agreement from 1953. The American ferocious military forces and those of their NATO allies have totally destroyed, bombed to rubble and ashes North Korea at will, killing one third of her population, between 1950 and 1953. US-NATO did this despite North Korea’s offer to surrender long before the country was but a heap of ruins. Killing for spite, indulging in and enjoying the causing of horrendous suffering and death, is the sadistic and satanic way of the west.

This must be said and never forgotten. Although we look forward now, we, the world at large, want Peace, a live peace experience of Korea which could be replicated. The two leaders promise a number of joint actions and undertakings, including ridding the Peninsula of nuclear weapons – a very ambitious plan. Not because the two are not genuine in their endeavor but will Washington with more than 30,000 troops stationed in the South and a fleet of navy vessels and aircraft carriers as well as fighter jets and bombers, and a nuclear arsenal, withdraw their murderous toys? South Korea is a sovereign nation, she could request the departure of foreign occupiers, what the US is – but will the occupiers leave? – Or will the Pentagon, CIA or the White House invent a false flag event to nullify this peace effort?  Nothing is beyond Washington’s evil intention to hegemonize the world.

And for DPRK’s President Kim Jong-un to recall – John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor, said just a couple of days ago, referring to North Korea’s denuclearization – “Libya should serve as a model”. You may remember in 2003/2004 Gaddafi was accused of hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMD); i.e., a nuclear arms development program. The west blackmailed him to get rid of it, against some ‘economic aid and favors’, of course. Gaddafi accepted. The western sicko leaders all became friends with him, the French then President Nicolas Sarkozy on top, who is now accused in French Courts of receiving up to €50 million ‘illegal money’ (what is legal money by western standards?) from Muammar Gaddafi for Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign. Well, we also remember how in 2011 he was miserably tortured and slaughtered anyway, despite his concessions to the west on his alleged WMDs, by NATO forces led by France and viciously supported by Hillary Clinton, then Obama’s Secretary of State. Had Gaddafi kept his weapons, he may be still be alive and Libya and Libya’s people may still be prospering as they did before the US-NATO onslaught in 2011.

For now, the US of A seems to go passively along with the Peace Initiative. There’s more — the Donald is actually claiming credit for it. It is unbelievable but true. There is even a group of Trump supporters who will propose Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Imagine! But why not? After all, Obama got the prize before he really started his Presidency, and then he bombed more countries and killed more people than any other US President in recent history. Yes, all is possible. We are living in a world where war is peace, where you are made believe that bombing a country to rubble will bring peace. Seriously. And the western people, brainwashed to the core, believe it.

However, despite Trump the “peacemaker”, be on your guard. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Bahram Qassemi, so pointedly said, never trust any agreement or promise made by Washington. He referred, of course, to the 5+1 (Permanent Security Council Members, plus Germany, and, of course, Iran) Nuclear Deal that Trump wants to abolish, or at best renegotiate, for which he engaged his new friend, Macron, to call Mr. Rouhani to please agree to re-discuss the Nuclear Deal and the issue of Iran’s long-range missiles. Of course, Mr. Rouhani turned him off.

And, as I’m writing these lines, Netanyahu comes to the fore with the most flagrant of lies — but he knows with enough propaganda the west will buy them — accusing with a bland PowerPoint presentation of Iran not adhering to the nuclear agreement and of running a secret nuclear program; he has allegedly ‘tons’ of documents to prove it. And he comes out with this absolute blatant falsehood 12 days before the deadline Trump set to decide whether or not to scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal. As the west, especially Europe and, of course, Master Trump, are all submissively on their knees in front of Israel’s guru, his message, repeated at nauseatum since the 2015 deal was signed, may catch on — and this, despite Europe’s (commercially inspired) adamant wish to adhere to the 5+1 Accord.

Iran is on her guard, and North Korea should be too.

Peace in the Koreas, and in the future a unified Korea, unified families after more than 65 years; certainly, a dream for almost all Koreans. Yet, have the US motives to keep the DPRK under constant threat of war, under permanent fear, to keep the small country as an eastern entry point to Asia – to China and Russia – the same motive that started the war in 1950, has that motive gone?

What does that mean for Syria, Iraq, Iran and Venezuela? Trump at one point within the last weeks has said that the US is going to withdraw her troops from Syria. Really? Or is this a well-orchestrated but little veiled game to give people hope for peace and then let them drop back into the ruins? Remember this little ‘schmoozer’ guy, Macron, went to Washington with one of his priority requests:  Donald, please do not leave Syria, we need you there.

Can you imagine? This little Rothschild implanted ‘call-me-president’ rascal has the nerve to say “we need you there”. Who in heaven does he think he is? Let him militarize ‘his own’ (sic) country. France is already militarized and police patrolled like no other European nation, with the State of Emergency – effectively Martial Law – engraved in the French Constitution. Let the French people deal with Washington’s new baby poodle.

France and the UK, of course, along with Washington, are also following Israel’s cue – destroy and partition Syria and Iran – to create a Greater Israel, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. And the EU, miserable vassals of Washington, will keep their stranglehold with sanctions on Venezuela — Venezuela that has arguably, together with Cuba, the best democratic system in the world, has never done any harm to anyone, let alone to those sanctioning countries. Even Switzerland had the audacity to join the EU’s sanction regime against Venezuela, a country that has been among the most pleasant partners of Switzerland in the past. One can only wonder how low do these countries pull down their pants to please their ruthless Atlantists neofascist masters.

Will this noble Korean peace spirit stretch through the world and bring about a higher consciousness, one that strives for peace instead of war?

France is engaged in strikes, after strikes, after strikes against the Macron-imposed new labor reform laws that would literally strip French workers of most of the social and labor rights and benefits they have achieved since WWII.  For what?  To make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. That’s what austerity is all about, has always been. The west calls it “structural adjustment”. What a euphemism! And the people haven’t caught-on yet. Or is it the corrupt politicians that go along with it against the will of the people?

Peace in Korea, uniting again a historically peaceful and absolutely non-violent people, may be way more than a political act. It is a social compact of people; a vision to enshrine the non-violent nature of their culture upon Mother Earth, on a tiny fleck of land in eastern Asia, on the Continent where the future lays; the East that brings human values back to the world, the OBI (One Belt Initiative) of China, the broad economic and cultural cooperation enhanced by the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) led by China and Russia, and is already encompassing about half the world’s population, producing about a third of the globe’s economic output.  Could Korea be just that spark that ignites the engine to turning the massive ocean liner around, slowly but steadily, and foremost, peacefully?

The Korean Promise: The Meeting in Panmunjom

It seems, and certainly feels, like a distant number of months since a panel of experts noshed and chatted over how best to overcome the nuclear impasse that pitted North Korea against its southern neighbour and allies.  Held in Seoul last December, the project of attendees hosted by the Korean National Diplomatic Academy was ambitious and lofty: the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The US angle was one of continued military presence on the peninsula while acknowledging that Pyongyang would not relinquish their top option for empty guarantees.  Parties from Thailand and China felt that area should not become a security buffer zone favourable to the United States and its allies.  Good will entailed true neutrality.  The Russian and Chinese angle was an immediate push to calm the nerves: insist on a “freeze-for-freeze” (a halt to military drills and missile testing), a cold storage metaphor suggesting a seizing up on the road before catastrophe.

Across the parties was a general admission that nothing could be done, or advanced, without genuine measures to seek a state of affairs that would entrench peace even as measures to remove North Korea’s nuclear capability gathered pace.  A peace treaty, in other words, festooned with various security guarantees, would be indispensable.

Now, at the end of April, we have the leaders of Pyongyang and Seoul embracing and emitting tones of rosy confidence, promising steps of reconciliation that would have seemed as eye popping as any Trump tweet.  For the first time since 1953, one of the Kim dynasty found himself on the southern side of the demilitarised zone, chatting at the truce village of Panmunjom.

On Saturday, happy snaps were released of the previous day’s meeting between the DPRK’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in.  Such gestures were bound to tease the driest tear ducts, causing a necessary trickle.  Summaries on the summit points were cobbled together for press circulation.  The Seoul Shinmun was not holding back: “No war on Korean Peninsula, complete denuclearisation, formal end to Korean War this year.”

The agreement, known as the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula itself promises the machinery for “a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”  The “current unnatural state of armistice” was to be ended. “Blood relations” between the states would be reconnected; “practical steps towards the connection and modernisation of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor” would be adopted.

The occasion conjures up, in terms of historical pressings, the initial stages of Ostpolitik, when East and West Germany began a warming process that eventually culminated in re-unification, even if the last stages were induced by the shock of the Iron Curtain’s retreat.  “We are living next door to each other,” claimed Kim, “there is no reason we should fight each other.”

It was impossible to expect certain big mouths to stay silent. “Please do not forget,” came President Donald Trump, “the great help that my good friend, President Xi of China, has given to the United States, particularly at the Border of North Korea.  Without him it would have been a much longer, tougher process!”  All charming, given the berating the man in the White House was giving Beijing’s leadership over previous mouths for not doing enough.

Such events are bound to leave certain parties unmoved.  The minstrel’s song will be falling on deaf ears, notably those hardened by decades of realpolitik cynicism.  Political boffins, notably in the West, continue to obsess with the utterance of the terms “complete denuclearisation”, and wonder whether this will, in fact, happen.

Former US national security advisor H. R. McMaster ran with the line that the DPRK was using its nuclear weapons capability “for nuclear blackmail, and then, to quote, ‘reunify’ the peninsula under the red banner.”  It never occurred to McMaster that pure survival is as good a reason as any, and nuclear weapons supply comforting insurance rather than offensive means.

The Washington Post was ready to throw some cold water on the cosy gathering, reminding readers of 1992, when Pyongyang signed a denuclearisation agreement with Seoul, then 1994, when the DPRK concluded one with the United States.  In April 2005, the gesture was repeated with North Korea’s four neighbours and Washington.  In 2012 came another agreement between Pyongyang and Washington.

Rather than considering the totality of these agreements, and the deeper reasons for their failures, the paper suggested one, inglorious culprit: “North Korea has never stuck to any of its agreements.” Conservative figures such as the Liberty Korea Party’s head, Hong Joon-pyo, find little room to trust, seeing a manipulative dictator highly skilled in stage management. “The inter-Korean summit was a show of fake peace,” he fumed on Facebook.

Still others, such as Michael E. O’Hanlon, are claiming that the recent moves have little to do with the wily Kim or accommodating Moon, but the brutal sanctions regime that brought suitable pressure to bear on the northern regime.  Kim’s moves suggested “that the world’s collective economic sanctions against his regime are starting to bite”.

Again, these old fictions circulate like counterfeit currency, suggesting that the DPRK’s nuclear regime – the supposed object of such measures – would be impaired.  As with all sanctions regimes, citizens tend to head the queue of punishment. Those in power are rarely scarred.

The Korean peninsula has rarely been entitled to prosper and develop on its own accord, ever at the mercy of ruthless powers and case jottings about security and self-interest.  An arbitrary border, drawn at the 38th parallel by two US colonels, one of them the future Secretary of State Dean Rusk, brought Washington and Moscow into potential conflict.

This random division of political mismanagement precipitated a neurosis between Pyongyang and Seoul, as much a product of inward enmity as it was an external inspiration, poked and prodded by those too afraid to let go.  Perhaps that time is now.

Ending the Park Era for Good

Park Geun-hye, the former South Korean president, just got sentenced to 24 years in prison for corruption. This is good.

Some perspective. Following the imposition of the U.S. Occupation on (southern) Korea in September 1945, the U.S. handpicked the Korean nationalist Syngman Rhee (Lee Seungman) to head the emerging South Korean colony. (The Koreans were still viewed by the U.S. forces as hostile, if only because Korea had been part of the Japanese Empire and Koreans had fought in the Japanese Army.  Lt. Gen. John R. Hodge, who headed the occupation administration, explicitly described the Koreans as “enemies,” refused to recognized the newly-formed Korean People’s Republic—which had been recognized by the defeated Japanese—actively suppressed its “people’s committees” throughout the south, and initially ordered Japanese colonial administrators to remain in their posts to serve the U.S. in its occupation goals.)

Rhee had been living in the U.S. since 1904, receiving degrees from George Washington University, Harvard and Princeton and making a name for himself as an advocate for Korean independence. A Christian convert from his youth, married to an Austrian woman, Rhee was little known in Korea. (Kim Gu, who had been based in China, had the greater revolutionary nationalist credentials.) He had spent two years (1910-12) in China and Korea, but otherwise lived in Hawaiian exile. As it was the U.S. imposed him as dictator in the south, while actively preventing national reunification.

Syngman Rhee brutalized his people. An ardent anti-communist, of course, he arrested thousands of opponents, killing some (including his rival Kim Gu). He jailed some 30,000 accused communists, many of whom were tortured in prison. He crushed uprisings with brutal force; in the communist-led revolt on Cheju Island (which is as far removed from the North Korean border as one can be and still be in Korea; that is, the revolt was not directed by Pyongyang) state forces killed about 14,000 rebels. Park’s repeated provocations along the 38th parallel worried some Congressmen who felt Rhee might drag the U.S. into war.

When Kim Il-sung’s forces stormed over the border on June 25, 1950, in order to reunite the artificially divided peninsula, inaugurating the Korean War, they met with general support from the southern population. (This is the key point about the Korean War that is inadequately known or discussed. The fact is, the people wanted reunification, Rhee was unpopular, there was little incentive to resist the “invasion” by patriotic brothers. Had the U.S. not intervened to maintain the division, Korea would be one today.)

Within six weeks, the northern forces gained control of almost the entire peninsula; only the region around Puson remained under the control of the south Korean state. The U.S. summoned the Security Council to approve an international mission to repel North Korean “aggression” Had the Soviet ambassador been in attendance he would have vetoed the resolution approving the mission. But he was absent protesting the failure of the UNSC to confer the China seat on the UNSC to the Beijing government, leaving it instead in the hands of the U.S. puppet regime of Chiang Kaishek on Taiwan. (The PRC did indeed acquire the UNSC seat, twenty-one years later in 1971.)

Posing as UN-approved forces defending international law etc., U.S.-led forces pushed the Northern forces back to the 38th parallel and beyond, threatening to reunite the peninsula on U.S.-dictated terms. As U.S. troops approached the Yalu River, the Chinese felt obliged to intervene big-time. The U.S. forces were defeated in the north, and driven back, despite unprecedentedly savage bombing and Gen. MacArthur’s threat to use nuclear weapons.

The war that took about four million lives ended in a stalemate after thirty-seven months. Nothing had been accomplished, except for massive death and the leveling of the country. The 38th parallel border was reaffirmed; Rhee remained in power. (He attempted to derail the armistice agreement by releasing from prison 25,000 North Korean “anti-communist” prisoners in the south, instead of repatriating them by agreement to their homes.) In 1960 student protests against his manifest corruption and the rigging of a recent election drove him out of the country. The U.S. realizing he was too discredited by now for further use skirted him away to a comfortable Hawai’i retirement in exile (as Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were later to enjoy.)

After a brief politically tumultuous interim, Park Chung-hee (Geun-hye’s father) rose to the helm in a military coup in 1963, remaining president up to his assassination in 1979. Another murderous scoundrel—a career officer in the Japanese Imperial Army, by the way, right up to 1945 (Thus while Kim Il-sung was fighting Japanese in Manchuria, Park Chung-hee was fighting with them against the Allies.)

Among Park’s crimes: the abduction of political opponent Kim Dae-jung from his Tokyo hotel, with the intent to murder him, in 1973; the Kwangju Massacre of 1980, in which South Korean military forces deployed with U.S. consent to suppress demonstrations, resulting in over 200 dead; his comment to his KCIA chief that he didn’t care if it cost 30,000 lives to suppress riots in the country. His secret nuclear weapons program from 1972 to 1978 (aborted by Jimmy Carter, who considered withdrawing U.S. troops from South Korea but was blocked in his plans to do so by the brass).

Revisionist scholars in South Korea are rediscovering Park as a wise economic planner responsible for South Korea’s rise in the world. But he was a swine and it’s not surprising his own intelligence chief shot him to death in 1979, complaining he’d surrounded himself with insects.

Park was followed by Chun Doo-hwan (1980-88) who was sentenced to a long prison term for corruption.  Then Roh Tae-woo, a general implicated in the Kwangju Massacre, was president 1988-93. After leaving office he was sentenced to 17 years in prison for corruption but the sentence suspended.

We can say that from 1945 to 1988 (43 years) South Korea was ruled by a dictator, and that a kind of bourgeois democracy has pertained since.

Kim Yong-sam (1993-98)—finally—was a civilian, liberal reformer who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform. Kim Dae-jung (president 1998-2003) is the more noteworthy figure; Park Chung-hee had so feared him that he wanted him dead. But he embarked on a “sunshine policy” towards Pyongyang that Washington during the Bush/Cheney era actively sabotaged.

After him came Roh Moon-hyun (president 2003-08), a human rights activist who performed badly on the economy, taking responsibility with his suicide in 2009. Then Hyundai CEO and anti-north hardliner Kim Myung-bak governed from 2008-2013. Then this clown Park Geun-hye.

Thirty-four years after her father’s death, Park became the South Korean president. This itself seemed to represent a validation of her father’s dictatorship. In 2013 and 2014 Forbes declared her the most powerful woman in Asia. She’s the one who was disgraced and removed last year, and just got sentenced to 24 years in prison for corruption. In particular she lavished favors on Choi Tae-min, the ex-wife of her onetime Chief of Staff who’s the daughter of a religious cult leader and seems to have wielded inordinate psychological influence over Kim. The South Korean press has compared her to Rasputin. The two extorted some $72 million from Samsung and seventeen other conglomerates to, among other things, finance Choi’s daughter’s equestrian lessons. Her anti-labor policies, a new law requiring schools to use only government-approved history texts, and imposition of censorship produced large-scale protests.

(She does have her supporters. About 1000 protestors with U.S. and South Korean flags and posters reading “Rule of Law is Dead, Stop Deadly Trials Against President Park Geun-hye” rallied outside the courtroom when she was sentenced. But her popularity had been down to 4% when she was removed from office.)  Considered a hard-liner on North Korea, she had support in Washington, whereas current President Moon Jae-in, who favors rapprochement and will meet with Kim Jong-un soon, can be less assured of that.

Park, while not as bad as her dad, was bad enough. She earned the contempt of her people and instant karma got her. Good riddance.

South Korea has been very poorly served by its leaders for 73 years. For 48 of them dictators ruled, naturally with U.S. support. For 25 bourgeois democracy has prevailed—alongside ongoing chaebol-related corruption, ongoing tensions with Japan and the DPRK, occasional crises such as the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis that caused the closure of one-third of South Korean banks. Geun-hye’s embarrassing presidency was the appropriate footnote to her father’s savage, ill-fated one. Her disgrace in a society where family identity is key, disgraces again her vicious father and the whole post-war South Korean polity—marked as it is from birth by Cold War confusion and submission to imperialists’ sadistic infliction of violence on its subjects.

Moon is the anti-Park. A former student activist, human rights campaigner, and secretary to Roh Moon-hyun, he has responded to the DPRK’s expanding nuclear weapons program (and Trump’s irresponsible sabre-rattling) by outreach, friendship and negotiation. He’s done so no thanks to Trump (unless he’s to be thanked for terrifying them both). The Koreas jointly participated in the PyeongChang Olympics, renewed cultural exchanges after many years, and planned a summit in the near future; a revival of Kim Dae-jung’s Sunshine Policy that was sabotaged by Dick Cheney and his minions in 2001.

Quite likely the two sides are exchanging notes about mutual concern that the U.S. will visit “fire and fury” on their peninsula (again). Moon and the Supreme Leader in Pyongyang may regard one another as more reliable and sane than the U.S. president; they know his former Secretary of State called him a “moron” (which is highly unusual in the modern world). There are reasons for everyone to worry. On the other hand, it is possible that Trump actually understands that an attack on the north to force it to dismantle its nuclear program on John Bolton’s terms, with no U.S. concessions, in order to show abject deference to the U.S. and power of its terrorist threats, is untenable. (Lindsey Graham was saying last December that Trump could very well attack North Korea, and anyway, all the fighting afterwards would be “over there.”) He may agree to diplomatic and trade relations, and a reduction in U.S.-ROK military drills, in response to a schedule for denuclearization, in coordination with the south. This would be a joint Korean victory, both in a general sense (over the U.S. which has driven Seoul’s relations with the north since 1945 and actively opposed reunification), and in the particular sense of  victory over Trump’s unstable personality.

He went from saying he’d be honored to meet Kim Jong-un (May 2017) to calling him “Little Rocketman” (November 2017). In August he tweeted a warning to rain down “fire and fury”  on North Korea if they make more threats to the U.S.  In September he actually spoke before the United Nations General Assembly, declaring to the astonished assemblage of “world leaders”: “If the United States] is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” Imagine how Korea, both Koreas, responded to this savage, racist, idiotic rant from an obviously unbalanced old fool knowing nothing about history and not interested in learning.

Fast forward. On March 28 the president opined that there’s a good chance the North Korean leader “will do what’s right.” In the interim, on March 8, a South Korean delegation had come to Washington to brief the White House on recent talks between Seoul and Pyongyang. They delivered to Trump an invitation from Kim Jong-un for a summit by May, and Trump accepted immediately, without even consulting with advisors. Linger on this point.

The South Koreans had held (very cordial) talks with the North Koreans. The North Koreans (while conducting “secret” negotiations with the U.S. in New York and Sweden and maybe elsewhere) decided to make the invitation through their southern compatriots to indicate that everybody involved supports this. The delegation publicly and privately praised Trump for his leadership in helping to relax tensions on the peninsula.

(I suspect the point was not, in fact, to say, “Thank you for your help” as to say, “We’re talking now and would like to solve our own problems. No Korean wants you to conduct a missile strike on the Yongbyong nuclear complex, whatever Bolton has to say about it. We are all concerned about the wild rhetoric and apparent unconcern about the Korean people. Please accept this face-saving alternative of a summit with Kim to more threats.”)

Two days later (March 30) in a speech in Ohio about something or other Trump strangely stated the following, concerning a new trade agreement with Seoul: “I may hold it up until after a deal is made with North Korea, does everybody understand that? You know why? Because it’s a very strong card. South Korea has been wonderful, but we’ll probably hold that deal up for a little while, see how it plays out.”

Who knows what this means? Is Trump telling Moon that he’s going to use the prospect of a peace agreement on the peninsula, and his ability to approve or prevent it, to beat Seoul into restricting steel exports? Can he possibly be hinting, “We might treat you the way we’re treating China, provoking a trade war, while investing in the north?”

Trump’s popularity rating in South Korea was according to Gallup 24% in March. Kim Jong-un’s figure was 10%. There have been points over the last year when Trump was at 9%. As mentioned, Park Geun-hye was at 4% when she fell from power. The era of fascist repression and Cold War bloc contention seems past. North Korea rose from the ashes of the Korean war (in which it lost one-third of its civilian population to U.S. bombing) to a greater height of prosperity by the 1970s than the south. Things went very badly thereafter, as we know. But the state survived and now has obtained a new degree of international respect, having so dramatically augmented its defenses.

Seoul, I think, understands this. Moon may secretly admire how deftly the Dear Leader has played his hand. The Kim-Trump summit itself, if it happens, is a coup for DPRK diplomacy, but also South Korean diplomacy. The offer was made from Pyongyang via Seoul. It’s appropriate that these developments unfold as Park Geun-hye begins her jail term. Let the sun shine in.

Trump’s Intelligence Circus: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel

It takes much to make a figure like Rex Tillerson seem not merely sane but competent.  The Trump administration, with its almost paranormal sense of revisionism and fantasy, has managed to make old Rex seem mildly credible. His sacking, inflicted with adolescent petulance, was bound to happen.

At stages, Tillerson came across with clues and cues about what would happen, for instance, with the North Korean nuclear imbroglio.  In December 2017, he suggested the possibility of talking, without conditions, to North Korean leaders, quipping that they could even talk about the shape of the table they might wish to sit at.

It was a stance adjusted within days: Trump had obviously had a word in his ear that such a position did not tally with the “maximum pressure” program being exerted by Washington.  Nor did it match the mania of insisting that, as a precondition, Pyongyang would agree to denuclearisation.

Little wonder, then, that Tillerson found himself out in the arctic cold with a surprise announcement last week that an invitation to speak directly with Kim Jong-un had been accepted.  “Rex wasn’t, as you know, in this country,” mused Trump.  “I made that decision by myself.”

At stages, both men seemed not merely at odds with each other but openly skirmishing.  When Trump insisted on jettisoning the Iran nuclear deal, a point he has reiterated at several points during the 2016 presidential campaign, Tillerson growled.  Decertification, which did take place in October, was delayed.

While hardly being a friend of Teheran, the former Exxon Mobil CEO did at least realise one thing: sinking the deal would signal to Iran that all bets were off.  In Trump’s school boy styled confession, “We disagreed on things.  When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or to do something, and he felt a little bit differently.”

At stages, Tillerson came across as distantly arrogant in the face of a boss he called a moron. (That remark was occasioned by Trump’s enthusiasm last July that he wished to increase the inventory of US nuclear warheads from 4,000 to a previous total of 32,000.)  His boss, in turn, felt that there was no chemistry between them.

The muck infested ponds that feature the latest round of appointments sees Mike Pompeo move from his gun slinging role at the Central Intelligence Agency to the position of Secretary of State.  “We’re always on the save wavelength,” claimed Trump.  “We have a very similar thought process.”  Deputy Director Gina Haspel has been moved up.

Pompeo’s Trumpist wavelength has been decidedly erratic, elevating various figures and entities of the world to the level of demon status.  Iran, for instance, is apparently “intent on destroying America.”  Foremost in his targeting obsessions has been WikiLeaks, an organisation he views as venal and mercenary.  Caring not one jot for the First Amendment, Pompeo was keen to find some aggressive redress to neutralise the activities of that small but industrious outfit.

As Tillerson’s successor, hammered out agreements are bound to be revised, if not overturned.  A clue can be gathered from his stance on Iran, one which he took in Congress.  In 2015, he voted against the Obama administration’s decision to remove various economic sanctions on Iran, a decision premised on Teheran’s pulling back on its nuclear program and accepting a verification regime.

Towards China, Pompeo has already promised dedicated confrontation. On Fox News Sunday, he thought it “clear what the Chinese are doing, whether that’d be on trade or the theft of intellectual property or their continued advancement in East and South China Seas”.  To “have a good relationship with China in the way the world desperately needs”, it was necessary to engage “in pushing back against the Chinese threats”.

The CIA shuffle – putting the sketchy Haspel in the top position – is interesting for its various impediments.  She is, for instance, a veteran of those dark days when torture was euphemised by means of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

Haspel’s involvement there was not merely philosophical but practical: she physically presided over torture at a CIA black site located in Thailand, then subsequently attempted to smudge the record.  She was ably assisted by the destruction of 92 videotapes documenting the interrogation methods used on al-Qaeda suspects at the Cat’s Eye.  The defiant 2005 order came from that not-so-good angel in disguise, Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s counterterrorism chief.  The confirmation hearings promise to be fascinatingly lurid.

Should she, in fact, wish to venture out of the United States, tribes of lawyers and engaged activists preoccupied with such unfashionable topics as the dignity of the subject will be watching.  The European Centre for Constitutional Human Rights has made Haspel a person of fascinating interest in filing a legal intervention with the German Federal Public Prosecutor (Generalbundesanwalt – GBA) hoping to secure an arrest warrant.

Universal jurisdiction can be such a confounding thing, especially for officials keen on conducting activities with impunity.  Given time and circumstance, Trump may shortly be scouring for another replacement in his ever busy schedule of appointments.

Tillerson Fired by Twitter but What’s Next?

Hilarious! Fired by Twitter. Apparently, that’s how Rex Tillerson learned about his dismissal, while he was talking to Chinese diplomats about a possible rapprochement between Pyongyang and Washington. Frankly, Tillerson is no loss to humanity. The only point in his favor is that he disagreed with Trump on the Iran Nuclear Deal. Trump wants to abolish it (following like a poodle Netanyahu’s orders), but Tillerson doesn’t. As former Exxon CEO and oil mogul, he may have personal and corporate interests in Iran, and especially in not destroying Iran. But these have nothing to do with a human approach; this is sheer interest proper, egocentricity as it is a staunch western characteristic. The “Me” and Lie society syndrome through and through.

Plus, somebody who smiles and expresses satisfaction when told how North Koreans are suffering and possibly dying in the thousands from famine, thanks to US imposed sanctions does not even deserve to be called human.

Of course, he is not alone. The current Trump Administration is full of either halfwits or criminals. Take Mike Pompeo, the up-to-now CIA Director; he is an ultra-conservative southern Tea Party member, many of whom are still segregationists (wanting to separate the US south from the north) – racists, sexists – and yes, they hate everything that comes from the east, especially from Russia or is Russian. The latter applies to Pompeo for sure.

So, we can expect more Russophobia, more (totally worthless, sheer propaganda) sanctions, and more belligerent saber-rattling towards the east, mostly Russia, then China. Pompeo is also a loyal buddy of Trump’s, a yes-man, something apparently Tillerson never was, but Trump seems to need. So why did Trump hire Tillerson in the first place? It was an odd appointment from the get-go. Tillerson felt lost in his role as a ‘diplomate’.  Instead he was an aggressive wolf in sheep skin.

Let’s not be fooled. Much of the chaos being played out for more than a year now in the White House – and an end is not in sight – is, of course, a planned strategy, a strategy to confuse. It makes straight thinking difficult. That’s the plan anyway. Trump looks like a loose cannon, maybe he is, but he plays his role well. Take the new tariffs on steel and aluminum for starters.

Everyone screams and hollers – China, the EU, Japan, Canada, South Korea, even Africa. Yet in the end Trump will prevail in one way or another. There are already a number of fallback positions in case these neoliberal ‘partners’ go to complain to WTO, the mother of neoliberal globalization. Alternatives include import quotas, or even higher tariffs for some countries and exemptions for others.

The point is “Make America Great Again” – meaning bring back jobs and a real hard-core industrial growth element into the US faltering economy. Trump, in fact, is applying what everyone around the globe should apply – a sort of ‘resistance economy’, de-globalization, working for the national economy, not for transnational, mostly US globalized corporations which is the case today (see also.

The trade fiasco may be just another one of the typical deviation maneuvers, so people will not look what’s going on in the back, namely in the more compelling course of foreign US policy. The Deep State pulling the strings on Trump wants blood, Russian blood, and then Chinese blood, and they also want to dominate the Middle East, Full Spectrum Dominance; i.e., bombing Damascus into rubble and abrogating Iran’s Nuclear Deal – and provoking a pretext to start a war with Iran – the one Netanyahu is lusting for. But all of this has to be softened with some trade chaos. And it seems to work.

Let’s see what next month’s Trump-Kim – or shall I say, Kim-Trump? – Summit will bring, if it will indeed take place. Someone, for some reason must have convinced Trump that for now an “arrangement” with Pyongyang is better than a potential all destructive nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula. That ‘someone’ – shall we call it again ‘Deep State’ – has a more vital interest in the full dominance of the Middle East. So, Iran, Syria and Russia beware. The new Axis of Evil. It keeps shifting according to Washington’s priorities.

President Kim Jong-un’s Administration, or those who worked already under Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il, may remember the 1994 ‘Framework Agreement’, initiated by President Clinton, under which Pyongyang agreed to freeze its embryonic nuclear program at Yongbyon and in return would receive economic aid and diplomatic concessions from Washington. The thawing of relations between Pyongyang and Washington prospered until 2000, shortly before President Bush took over.

With his hawkish, neocon entourage, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bolton, exerting pressure, Bush declined to reaffirm the backbone of the Agreed Framework, “no-hostile-intent”, and he pulled out of the Clinton made deal. Not unlike Trump, who wants to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Shortly after reneging on the Agreed Framework, Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses and declared Iraq-Iran-North Korea the axis of evil; launching the endless war on terror. Kim Jong knows that Washington cannot be trusted.

Why would Washington be trustworthy now?  Of course, it is not. Pompeo, the new hawkish chief diplomate, is certainly not a friend of Kim Jong’s, or of communist DPRK. For now, he has to go along with the propaganda summit next month. But once that’s over, however it may play out – anything is possible.  He may default on the deal, just like Bush did in 2000, on a peace-favorable agreement and return to square one. By then DPRK may have denuclearized again.

And who will succeed Pompeo at the CIA? Gina Haspel, the first women ever to head the CIA, a perfect candidate for this criminal agency. Haspel herself earned the not-so-cute nickname “Godmother of Torture”, as she directed and oversaw a secret US torture prison in Thailand. Her appointment bodes well for what’s to come – more aggression, more torture around the globe. The typical last-ditch tools of a faltering empire. Haspel belongs before a Nuremberg-type tribunal not to be seen again forever.

But that won’t happen, as all the beautiful people of the exceptional nation get away with murder. Literally. Most of them with mass murder, some even with genocide. And zilch happens. Again, the world just gawks and says nothing, accepting crime in biblical dimensions has become the western new normal.

What a world we are living in: White collar criminals with blood stains all over their elite-white shirts. And the western masses just stare and say nothing – but they become warriors, as the presstitute tells them lies after bloody lies; they become complicit in the war machine that is killing millions of people on behalf of their silence.

Fortunately, there is Russia coming to the rescue. Despite the rambling bulldozer of western lie-propaganda, Russian voices, especially Mr. Putin’s voice and that of his Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov, are increasingly heard and listened to. But the western propaganda machine, knowing of its crumbling Master-empire, knows no limits of sowing Russophobia.

Take the latest case of senseless Russia bashing – the case of Russian double agent Skripal and his daughter’s nerve gas poisoning on a London park bench. Theresa May, receiving orders from Washington, is accusing Russia of the crime – why would Russia be so stupid and commit such a crime on a spy who has been released from a Russian prison years ago – and that in a prisoner swap with the US?  And why just before Russian elections? Not one single proof is presented. Yet, the accusations are loud and ludicrous.

Does anybody still have just a few neurons in their shrinking brains left? Threatening Russia with more sanctions for a crime most likely committed by the British MI6, MI5 or even Mossad, at Washington’s behest, and so that the entire western world could slam down on Putin and Russia again is sheer insanity. This lunacy is topped off by a Joint Statement, by Trump, May, Macron and Merkel blaming Russia for the poisoning. Such strong lie publicity is certainly taking hold in the western brainwashed armchair population.

Is anybody asking cui bono? Who benefits? And to make the Zion-UK-Washington argument even stronger, UK PM May expells 23 Russian diplomats. Is Russia going to be responding in a tit-for-tat manner? Or will Russia just lay back, enjoying the fake news and insane, hysterical behavior of the West?

Tillerson Fired by Twitter but What’s Next?

Hilarious! Fired by Twitter. Apparently, that’s how Rex Tillerson learned about his dismissal, while he was talking to Chinese diplomats about a possible rapprochement between Pyongyang and Washington. Frankly, Tillerson is no loss to humanity. The only point in his favor is that he disagreed with Trump on the Iran Nuclear Deal. Trump wants to abolish it (following like a poodle Netanyahu’s orders), but Tillerson doesn’t. As former Exxon CEO and oil mogul, he may have personal and corporate interests in Iran, and especially in not destroying Iran. But these have nothing to do with a human approach; this is sheer interest proper, egocentricity as it is a staunch western characteristic. The “Me” and Lie society syndrome through and through.

Plus, somebody who smiles and expresses satisfaction when told how North Koreans are suffering and possibly dying in the thousands from famine, thanks to US imposed sanctions does not even deserve to be called human.

Of course, he is not alone. The current Trump Administration is full of either halfwits or criminals. Take Mike Pompeo, the up-to-now CIA Director; he is an ultra-conservative southern Tea Party member, many of whom are still segregationists (wanting to separate the US south from the north) – racists, sexists – and yes, they hate everything that comes from the east, especially from Russia or is Russian. The latter applies to Pompeo for sure.

So, we can expect more Russophobia, more (totally worthless, sheer propaganda) sanctions, and more belligerent saber-rattling towards the east, mostly Russia, then China. Pompeo is also a loyal buddy of Trump’s, a yes-man, something apparently Tillerson never was, but Trump seems to need. So why did Trump hire Tillerson in the first place? It was an odd appointment from the get-go. Tillerson felt lost in his role as a ‘diplomate’.  Instead he was an aggressive wolf in sheep skin.

Let’s not be fooled. Much of the chaos being played out for more than a year now in the White House – and an end is not in sight – is, of course, a planned strategy, a strategy to confuse. It makes straight thinking difficult. That’s the plan anyway. Trump looks like a loose cannon, maybe he is, but he plays his role well. Take the new tariffs on steel and aluminum for starters.

Everyone screams and hollers – China, the EU, Japan, Canada, South Korea, even Africa. Yet in the end Trump will prevail in one way or another. There are already a number of fallback positions in case these neoliberal ‘partners’ go to complain to WTO, the mother of neoliberal globalization. Alternatives include import quotas, or even higher tariffs for some countries and exemptions for others.

The point is “Make America Great Again” – meaning bring back jobs and a real hard-core industrial growth element into the US faltering economy. Trump, in fact, is applying what everyone around the globe should apply – a sort of ‘resistance economy’, de-globalization, working for the national economy, not for transnational, mostly US globalized corporations which is the case today (see also.

The trade fiasco may be just another one of the typical deviation maneuvers, so people will not look what’s going on in the back, namely in the more compelling course of foreign US policy. The Deep State pulling the strings on Trump wants blood, Russian blood, and then Chinese blood, and they also want to dominate the Middle East, Full Spectrum Dominance; i.e., bombing Damascus into rubble and abrogating Iran’s Nuclear Deal – and provoking a pretext to start a war with Iran – the one Netanyahu is lusting for. But all of this has to be softened with some trade chaos. And it seems to work.

Let’s see what next month’s Trump-Kim – or shall I say, Kim-Trump? – Summit will bring, if it will indeed take place. Someone, for some reason must have convinced Trump that for now an “arrangement” with Pyongyang is better than a potential all destructive nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula. That ‘someone’ – shall we call it again ‘Deep State’ – has a more vital interest in the full dominance of the Middle East. So, Iran, Syria and Russia beware. The new Axis of Evil. It keeps shifting according to Washington’s priorities.

President Kim Jong-un’s Administration, or those who worked already under Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il, may remember the 1994 ‘Framework Agreement’, initiated by President Clinton, under which Pyongyang agreed to freeze its embryonic nuclear program at Yongbyon and in return would receive economic aid and diplomatic concessions from Washington. The thawing of relations between Pyongyang and Washington prospered until 2000, shortly before President Bush took over.

With his hawkish, neocon entourage, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bolton, exerting pressure, Bush declined to reaffirm the backbone of the Agreed Framework, “no-hostile-intent”, and he pulled out of the Clinton made deal. Not unlike Trump, who wants to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Shortly after reneging on the Agreed Framework, Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses and declared Iraq-Iran-North Korea the axis of evil; launching the endless war on terror. Kim Jong knows that Washington cannot be trusted.

Why would Washington be trustworthy now?  Of course, it is not. Pompeo, the new hawkish chief diplomate, is certainly not a friend of Kim Jong’s, or of communist DPRK. For now, he has to go along with the propaganda summit next month. But once that’s over, however it may play out – anything is possible.  He may default on the deal, just like Bush did in 2000, on a peace-favorable agreement and return to square one. By then DPRK may have denuclearized again.

And who will succeed Pompeo at the CIA? Gina Haspel, the first women ever to head the CIA, a perfect candidate for this criminal agency. Haspel herself earned the not-so-cute nickname “Godmother of Torture”, as she directed and oversaw a secret US torture prison in Thailand. Her appointment bodes well for what’s to come – more aggression, more torture around the globe. The typical last-ditch tools of a faltering empire. Haspel belongs before a Nuremberg-type tribunal not to be seen again forever.

But that won’t happen, as all the beautiful people of the exceptional nation get away with murder. Literally. Most of them with mass murder, some even with genocide. And zilch happens. Again, the world just gawks and says nothing, accepting crime in biblical dimensions has become the western new normal.

What a world we are living in: White collar criminals with blood stains all over their elite-white shirts. And the western masses just stare and say nothing – but they become warriors, as the presstitute tells them lies after bloody lies; they become complicit in the war machine that is killing millions of people on behalf of their silence.

Fortunately, there is Russia coming to the rescue. Despite the rambling bulldozer of western lie-propaganda, Russian voices, especially Mr. Putin’s voice and that of his Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov, are increasingly heard and listened to. But the western propaganda machine, knowing of its crumbling Master-empire, knows no limits of sowing Russophobia.

Take the latest case of senseless Russia bashing – the case of Russian double agent Skripal and his daughter’s nerve gas poisoning on a London park bench. Theresa May, receiving orders from Washington, is accusing Russia of the crime – why would Russia be so stupid and commit such a crime on a spy who has been released from a Russian prison years ago – and that in a prisoner swap with the US?  And why just before Russian elections? Not one single proof is presented. Yet, the accusations are loud and ludicrous.

Does anybody still have just a few neurons in their shrinking brains left? Threatening Russia with more sanctions for a crime most likely committed by the British MI6, MI5 or even Mossad, at Washington’s behest, and so that the entire western world could slam down on Putin and Russia again is sheer insanity. This lunacy is topped off by a Joint Statement, by Trump, May, Macron and Merkel blaming Russia for the poisoning. Such strong lie publicity is certainly taking hold in the western brainwashed armchair population.

Is anybody asking cui bono? Who benefits? And to make the Zion-UK-Washington argument even stronger, UK PM May expells 23 Russian diplomats. Is Russia going to be responding in a tit-for-tat manner? Or will Russia just lay back, enjoying the fake news and insane, hysterical behavior of the West?

Trump’s Trade War: Or De-Globalization?

President Trump’s bold ‘protectionist’ move of introducing import duties of 25% and 10% for steel and aluminum, respectively – and possibly more to come – may be more than just ‘populism’ and fulfilling a campaign promise. And why is the term ‘populism’ always used with a derogative slant? As if it was way below the intellect of those who deride it as addressing the thoughtless and primitive behavior by the people? Aren’t politicians supposed to work for the people? Educate them with the truth instead of ridiculing them; giving them real news instead of ‘fake news’ – and giving them jobs and decent livelihood? Is that addressing “populism”?

President Trump, or whoever directs him, may have noticed the steady decline of the American economy into a hollow war and service machine, with rising unemployment at the tune of more than 20% (though the fake statistics pretend otherwise, putting it below 5%); a country gradually choking on junk consumption, anti-Russia propaganda and a rapidly deteriorating physical infrastructure and civil society.

This unexpected protectionist decision may also be a genuine move against globalization – which, as we know, is controlled by neoliberal economics and has, in fact, nothing to do with real economics. It is sheer criminalizing of economics. It has done enormous harm to the 99.9 % and benefitted only the 0.1% (or less). “Make America Great Again” is supposed to address this fallacy. Bring production and jobs back, primarily for the domestic market and second only, for international trade, for trade that doesn’t harm the local economy. This is a recipe which would also suit many European countries – Greece is a case in point, but Spain, Italy, Ireland and even France would fall into the same category. “Local production for local markets” is indeed the model that helped rescue the US from the depression of the 30’s and Europe, in particular Germany, after WWII.

The so-called Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and multi country Trade Agreements like, NAFTA, TTIP, and TPP – the former being renegotiated and the latter two suspended – are quite different from “local production for local markets”. They all, without fault, favor US corporations’ maximizing profit objective, but not the United States local economy. Insofar Trump is right, when he says that all these trade deals have been bad for his country. They were and are a bonanza for US corporations, but indeed bad for the US national economy, because they are incentives for more and more outsourcing of production and services into low labor cost countries.

By granting corporations tax breaks and incentives to invest at home rather than in low-wage countries, and by levying import duties, President Trump is taking a decisive step – maybe willy-nilly – to rehabilitate a faltering US economy. Will it work? It might. It’s too early to say. Economy is no precise science, but rather the result of the dynamic interaction between different, at times unpredictable, elements. True economics are certainly not based on a set of blueprints; they are not black and white, as neoliberal theories would like us to believe. Real economics do not fit today’s most popular teachings of ‘modelling’ – a complex linear approach of algorithm which produces desired results for propagating neoliberal ideas – that depart from reality by a long shot. The fact of reestablishing trust in local labor may have power way beyond that of capital investments.

Trump capitalizes on this momentum and, simultaneously, may set a signal for the rest of the world to follow – and for the end of globalization. Interestingly, he said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January this year, that all the American partner countries should think, “Make my country great again”. Isn’t this a slap in the face of globalization?

Of course, there will be noises of ‘retaliation’ by Europe, China, Japan – so what?  Steps of retaliation may actually trigger a political rethinking of globalized WTO propagated trade. It may reveal who are the winners and losers. It may have taken 30 years to realize that the winners are an ever-smaller corporate elite, while the bedrock of national economies, local labor, is the big loser. That is precisely the direction into which the neofascist West is moving – towards selling the national economy out to corporate profits. The people are understandably unhappy.

Today’s economists are in shock whenever somebody dares to question the mainstream globalized economic models, depicting a linear right or wrong vision of the world. Remember George Bush – “you are either for us or against us”; the phrase that set the eternal war on terror in motion; the war that brought death to millions, intimidation to hundreds of millions and billions of profits to the war industry.

Yet, we were and are still indoctrinated with the neoliberal norm, which consists of open-border trade, limitless cross-border transfer of capital but very restricted transfer of labor. And worst of all, today and for the last 100 years, is our (western) dollar-based monetary system (born from the Federal Reserve Act of 1913) that shapes and manipulates the western boom–bust economy. Logic would rather dictate a reverse monetary system, where a nation’s economic output is the basis for its monetary system, not the other way around.

This monetary anomality has been driven to extremes with the US-dollar’s offspring, the euro, which has zero connection with the European economy, let alone with the economy of each member country. The western monetary system on which international trade is based is a fraud, a mere house of cards, a Ponzi scheme, the collapse of which is inevitable.

The Donald is a largely unpredictable character. As a war monger, he screams “fire and fury” at North Korea, threatening to wipe out the entire country; yet is willing to sit down to negotiate with Kim Jong-un – under certain conditions – debating whose Red Button is bigger, Kim’s or the Donald’s. At the same time, driven by Netanyahu, the same Donald has only slander and insults left for Iran, threatening the country with annihilating war and imposing more sanctions, knowing quite well that Europe, mainly France and Germany, has established billion euros worth of trade relations since the lifting of the original sanctions after the signing of the ‘nuclear deal’ in July 2015.

So, let’s not get this wrong. Trump is no panacea for the good of the world. By a very long shot. He is a loose cannon, shooting from the hips, he may have hit the target by declaring unilateral import tariffs on steel and aluminum. This may be just the beginning, a trial balloon so to speak, for more protection measures to follow. His neocolonial trained chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, can’t see the logic and quit. Trump is unmoved and stays the course. He knows these tariffs won’t affect consumer prices at home, but they may be a boost for the US rust-belt – reviving investments, including the local car industry, a key economic indicator, creating thousands of much needed jobs and reestablishing labor’s trust in Washington’s leadership – to “Make America Great Again.”

Trump, North Korea and Post-Olympic Angst

With the icicles still glinting with the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic games, US President Donald Trump, like any disgruntled child, wanted to reassert his relevance.  Little Rocket Man had assumed diplomatic pose, or at the very least adopted a stance of considered caution towards his South Korean counterparts.  While the US seemed stubborn and sulky, South Korea seemed encouraged, taking Pyongyang’s gestures to heart.

This could hardly have been easy for a playtime president. He had been, to some extent, shaded by the spectacle of two Koreas marching and competing together, and murmurings of a possible summit between Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in.

The sentiment had been conveyed via an invitation from Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, that the two leaders meet.  “I hope President Moon will,” claimed Kim’s sibling envoy with historical purpose, “take the leading role to open a new chapter for unification and accomplish a legacy that will be remembered for long.”

During the Olympics, US Vice-President Mike Pence decided to damn such efforts with faint praise.

For all that President Moon has done in outreach and discussions around the Olympics and inter-Korean talks, there is no daylight between the United States and the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Pence affirmed the stance by insisting that, whatever openness might be felt for talks between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea remained, essentially, a power to be isolated in its refusal to take steps towards nuclear dismantlement.  Sanctions, for instance, would continue their biting way.  What Pence was essentially pushing for was a diplomatic option – at least for Pyongyang – with fewer bargaining chips and a less crowded deck.

This fumbling has become a policy that resists clarity with stubborn conviction.  Sanctions must be used, because they are supposedly eating into the nuclear weapons program.  This point is hard to ascertain with any certainty, given that the North Korean Army will always have first dibs at any rationed pie. “There’s no guarantee,” advances former deputy assistant secretary of State for sanctions and counter threat finance Andrew Keller, “that [Friday’s] action will ultimately be effective in preventing the illicit trade in coal and fuel with Pyongyang. As ever, showmanship is Trump’s boastful bread and butter.

On Friday, another round made their dreary appearance.  Trump deemed these the “heaviest sanctions ever” delved by a US administration.  Debate naturally ensued about the accuracy of the term, though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was pleased to note that the United States had some 450 sanctions against the DPRK.  The Friday bonanza featured some 27 shipping and trade companies, 28 vessels and an individual, all supposedly engaged in illicit trade with Pyongyang.

Whatever the effect of such muscling, it is certainly one that the President wishes to own as his own, even if it risks impairing the roads to diplomatic engagement.  On Monday, Trump assailed, in customary fashion, his predecessors on the broader issue of North Korea.  Such is the nature of a period he has come to identify as singular, unprecedented, remarkable.

“The Bush administration did nothing.  The Obama administration wanted to do something.  He told me it’s the single biggest problem.  They didn’t do anything.  It would have been much easier in those days than it is now.”

Such are the travails of an aggressive superpower’s ill-considered actions.  Maximum pressure on the North remains both dulling mantra and dirty deed, and Trump’s insistence on holding this line in public has a damp lettuce feel to it.

Wearily, he keeps insisting that talks are certainly possible with Pyongyang, only to then frame it as a matter of strict conditionality.  For good measure, he also suggests that North Korea’s refusal to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs will lead to massive “loss of lives, numbers that nobody’s ever contemplated, never thought of”.

North Korea, in turn, wants South Korea and the US to halt massive military drills that can be only construed as having one purpose: a rehearsed invasion of the North.  But military exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are scheduled to go ahead, though after the Winter Paralympics. As the Korean Central News Agency ill-temperedly retorted, “The Trump group’s racket for resuming the war exercises is a wild act of ruthlessly tramping even a small sprout of peace that has been now seen on the Korean Peninsula.”

In the meantime, the stalemate between the powers will continue to yield room for the Kim nuclear option, while also adding thrills to the sanctions lobby.  It seems that little else gets done on the Hill these days on foreign policy other than pushing the next sanctions agenda.  Ultimately, Washington is asking the impossible at first instance: a North Korea which promises, in advance, to remove its most sacred pillar in favour of talks it has yet to experience.  Sensibility may well have to come from the South Korean side in what promises to be a continuing scrap.