Showing posts with label North Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Korea. Show all posts

Monday, June 10, 2019

North Korea: A Permanent Peace Treaty Is Worth Denuclearization

I think North Korea has been clear that it wants a permanent peace treaty with the US with China and Russia as witnesses, and then it will agree to denuclearize. It basically wants an ironclad guarantee that the US will not invade. I don't understand why that offer cannot be taken.

Take the offer, halt the joint military exercises for a halt in North Korean missile tests. China and Russia being witnesses would be great. They are two relevant powers in the region.

And top it off by withdrawing all economic sanctions. Maximize trade and travel between the two Koreas. Offer to blanket the whole country in 5G for free.

It will begin with a trickle. But North Korea will be East Germany sooner rather than later. The two Koreas will unite. Because people will soon enough begin marching with their feet. One just hopes South Korea can integrate North Korea with as few hiccups as possible.

Trump Will Pull A Mexico On China

This is what happens when you elect a reality TV star to the highest office in the land. The guy watches TV all day. He gets his intelligence briefings from the television set.

If you want to understand the China-US trade war, just treat North Korea as a case study. Trump's Mexico stunt was a signal to the Chinese. Look, guys, I need a deal. I can't not have a deal. Give me the cosmetics. I need some headlines.

We are about to enter phase two of the art of the deal. Trump is going to send the most amazing negotiator in the world to the negotiation table. Already a Xi-Trump dinner has been scheduled.

The roller coaster ride will end up in much of the same old, same old. And Trump would like to thank the farmers in Iowa for putting him on TV.

A Bad Scenario For Trump
The Possible Outline Of A Deal Between Xi And Trump In June
Trump And Xi Should Cut A Deal In Japan
Mueller Drops A Bomb
A Sanders-Warren Ticket
Donald Trump Is Messing Up A Good Thing
5G Challenges US Hegemony
Brexit, Aexit, And Trump
Understanding China (2)
Trade War Commentaries
Trade War: Intellectual Property
Trade War Endgame: Other Scenarios
Trade War Endgame Scenarios: Look At Canada, And North Korea For Hints
The US And The Chinese Economies Are Super Well-Connected
Trade War Endgame Scenarios

Trump threatens new tariffs over a deal that Mexico says doesn’t exist According to Mexico, the two countries didn't agree to much of anything new.
AP: Donald Trump’s Deputies ‘Surprised’ by His Win on Mexico and Migration

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Trade War Endgame Scenarios: Look At Canada, And North Korea For Hints

Trump creates a crisis where there was none. The trade deal with Canada costs "us billions and billions of dollars and must be torn apart," or something along those lines. People get worried. Because, I guess, you do need trade. Jobs are at stake. In this day and age, how do you walk away from trade with your neighbor? Step two is he sends the top negotiator in the world to the negotiating table. As per Donald Trump, that would be him. Step three is, you end up with more or less the same deal that you had before, with slight tweaks. He claims victory. And that is the key point. That "victory" is important to him. There was no victory. You negotiated more or less the same deal that was in place before. What victory!

That was also the playbook on North Korea. He creates a crisis. He goes to the UN and threatens to wipe out North Korea from the map of the earth. There are newspaper articles about how long it might take a North Korean missile to hit Los Angeles. Step two is he sends the top negotiator in the world to the negotiating table. As per Donald Trump, that would be him. You get the drama in Hanoi. Nothing happens. He claims victory. And that is the key point. That "victory" is important to him. There was no victory. The whole world could see in real time there was no victory. No, North Korea did not agree to denuclearize. The whole world saw that part on live television. But then the difference between a bullshitter and a liar is a liar knows he is lying.

If this is the playbook also on China, and one is hard pressed to think any other playbook is even available, then we are in the first phase. We are in crisis. There might be a 2008 repeat if this goes too far. We might see a prolonged recession. Prices might shoot up. Entire sectors of the economy might get wiped out. Rember the missile hitting Los Angeles? We are in that territory right now. But do not be surprised if Donald Trump pulls a rabbit out of the hat when he meets Xi Jinping next month in Japan. You never know. We might have a "victory" on our hands.

This is what international relations given the reality TV spin look like. There is drama. There might not be suspense. But there is drama.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Trade War Endgame Scenarios

Looks like the two sides have been talking past each other in the so-called trade talks. Each side has been stating its positions, again and again, basically repeating what they said earlier. Another round of talks might not ameliorate that situation. But by now the fallouts have become serious for the two economies. Widespread damage will soon be seen. Those on the US side will be much more visible.

Donald Trump thinks he is this amazing dealmaker. That is his whole thing. You create a crisis where there was none. Then you negotiate and try and get a better deal. Well, if that is the script, does it work? There are liars, and there are bullshitters. A liar knows he is lying. A bullshitter doesn't. It is hard to negotiate with a bullshitter.

Do I buy that he is doing this for the cause of democracy? Look at the track record. He is the biggest fan of dictators around the world. He loves that dude in the Phillippines, an elected dictator. The guy is a white supremacist. He is not a democrat. He has fascist tendencies. He talks about "the press," the way presidents in the US never did before him. He wants his supporters to get physical. Donald Trump Brown Shirts.

No, I don't believe this trade war is about democracy.

I fear the US economy is going to end up like one of his casinos. Worse, the contagion might be global. Donald Trump is America's Brexit. British hubris decided to take the plunge where British interests might not have.

These trade wars are casino wars. Trump's "negotiations" with the North Korean dude should work as a warning sign. We all know how unprepared Trump was for that. He came back saying he was so charming North Korea agreed to denuclearize. Not true. The Bullshitter-In-Chief did what he does best: he bullshitted. Only now he is talking to China. China finds itself negotiating with vapor.

A fascist fantasizes for a Great Depression.

A trade war has two losing sides. So, of course, China will lose.

US China Trade War: A Meeting Of The Hot And Cold Fronts
New Twist In The Trade War: China Devalues Its Currency
5G And The Trade War
The US China Trade War Escalation Is Primarily Political
The US China Tension: Creative Or Destructive?

Huawei is said to have been stockpiling US components for months in preparation for such a situation and even has an alternative operating system on the shelf.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Could The Two Koreas Go Solo?

The message from Messrs. Moon and Kim .. was: “Why do we need the U.S. doing anything if Trump is going to oscillate between ‘fire and fury’ and sharing a hamburger with Kim? Maybe we should move things forward by ourselves.”

I don't see why not. The Paris Climate Accord is still in place with many US states vying to meet its standards. The Trans Pacific Partnership went on. The Iran nuclear deal is still holding. I think Trump reads his electoral mandate to mean that the US finds it too expensive to continue leading like it has for decades. It would like to step down a little. Others should fill that void together.

The two Korean leaders can make peace and unification happen. They can make the Trump-Kim summit happen.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Trump And Kim Ought To Meet

Trump's attitude can not be that unless North Korea utterly capitulates, he sees no point in meeting. The hot air both have been blowing is not empty bluster. There are more dangerous things than nuclear war. They are called nuclear bluster, nuclear stupidity, and nuclear miscalculation.

This is not about regime change in North Korea. This is about walking away from the nuclear brink.

It is wise to involve third parties like China and Russia, not to say South Korea and Japan. Both the North and the South need that participation. Unless China is on the table American troops can not meaningfully leave the peninsula. And Trump desperately wants to leave. It is costing America too much to stay there.

You tone down the nuclear rhetoric. You formally end the war. You pull out the troops, and open up the border. And then good things start happening.

China is not the Soviet Union. It has a thriving private sector. There is no China collapse in the offing. But a Korean unification will be good for the free, open world.

The American political system is pretty good, but it is not the final word on political systems.

Trump and Kim meeting will be reassuring for the world, even if there is no progress made. But likely some progress will be made, and they will then have a second summit. A botched effort will ring alarm bells in too many of the world's capitals.

Trump says North Korea summit talks continue: 'Could even be the 12th': "We'll see what happens. It could even be the 12th. We're talking to them now," he said. "They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it." ...... Asked whether the North Koreans were playing games, Trump acknowledged they were -- and suggested he was too....... Kim Kye Gwan, a top official at North Korea's Foreign Ministry, said Trump's decision to cancel the talks, which were scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, ran counter to the global community's wishes for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump Says North Korea Summit Still Possible
How Trump Got Outplayed on North Korea: Over the past year, the president has repeatedly underestimated the importance of making real trade-offs in diplomacy. These choices appear to be anathema to his “go big or go home” style of deal-making. The Trump administration has been eager to jettison the “weak,” “terrible” deals negotiated by previous presidents — including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate agreement, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. With North Korea, he was seeking something bigger and better, “a very special moment for World Peace.” ........ While it’s true that deals like the Iran nuclear agreement had inherent shortcomings, they also effectively advanced America’s national security. In fact, their limitations reflect a hard-nosed assessment of the risk of the alternatives, the broader geostrategic interests in play and the constraints on America’s leverage. In diplomacy, every deal is an imperfect deal. The question is, how imperfect? And at what cost? Unless you can produce a better alternative, tossing out a less-than-perfect agreement that does advance some concrete goals is an exercise in peril. “Repeal” is almost always simpler than “replace.” ...... a deal that constrains, even if it does not immediately eliminate, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs without offering unacceptable concessions in return. Whether such a deal is possible depends on Mr. Trump’s ability to embrace the art of the imperfect deal...... The United States has less leverage than it thinks in this negotiation. ...... If the past six weeks of diplomatic speed-dating over North Korea have made one thing clear, it’s that all the other people at this dance have a clear strategy and are playing their limited hands to full effect. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has attitude, swagger, and now a breakup letter for the ages. What it doesn’t yet have is a viable strategy.

Trump's nuclear failures from Iran to North Korea: In just over a year, Donald Trump has managed to nudge the world closer to conflict on both ends of the Asian continent. ....... The Trump administration simply lacks the basic strategic understanding and diplomatic finesse to cope with perplexing foreign policy challenges. When confronted with difficult geopolitical realities, Trump seems to prefer turning things into reality show episodes....... Trump's announcement was met by a melange of puzzlement, outrage and profound anxiety across the world. South Korea responded in total confusion, struggling to find a way out of the latest plot twist in the Trump-Kim saga. ....... Back in April, the South Korean leader held a crucial summit with Kim Jung-un at the Panmunjom demilitarised zone. There, for the first time in history, both sides seriously discussed the prospect of full denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula. ....... Moon staked his presidency on unlocking the Korean conflict. In an event of actual war, Seoul, which lies within the range of North Korean artilleries, would likely be the first and biggest victim. ...... In recent days, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the de facto leader of the "free world", went so far as stating that Europe can no longer rely on the US as a source of protection. ...... One by one, the US' most important allies have openly questioned the Trump administration's capacity for global leadership. For them, Washington is an increasingly unreliable superpower, which is beginning to threaten the existing international order with "Trump-style" leadership....... Interestingly, North Korea responded with uncharacteristic restraint, expressing its continued "willingness to sit at any time, in any way to resolve issues". All of a sudden, Pyongyang looked like the adult in the room....... the Trump administration insisted on unilateral, comprehensive, and immediate nuclear disarmament........ For anyone familiar with North Korea's strategic calculus, however, this was an outrageous non-starter. After all, what Pyongyang prefers is a step-by-step approach, whereby both sides de-escalate their confrontation on a gradual and reciprocal basis over time. ...... More fundamentally, countries around the world, both friends and foes, are wondering whether the US is a country that can be negotiated with at all.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The North Korea Question

Trump’s policy toward North Korea is founded on false assumptions that the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, will give up his nuclear weapons, that China can save the day and that military options are real...... a war here would be not just a regional disaster but a nuclear cataclysm. ....... the American military estimated back in 1994 that another Korean war would cause one million casualties and $1 trillion in damage. Today, with the possibility of an exchange of nuclear weapons, the toll could be far greater: One recent study suggested that if North Korea detonated nuclear weapons over Tokyo and Seoul, deaths in those two cities alone could exceed two million........ both sides are fearful of appearing weak and are trying to intimidate the other with military bluster, but that each would prefer a peaceful resolution — yet doesn’t know how to get there politically.
How about Trump and Kim holding summit talks Reagan Gorbachev style? That is better than the military option that is not even an option. This is not about political ideology. This is about avoiding nuclear catastrophe.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Xi Jinping: Movie Star

Xi Jinping 习近平
Xi Jinping 习近平 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have seen a few pictures of Xi Jinping where he does this subtle body language thing. In one picture Barack Obama is slightly off balance. In another Narendra Modi is caught a little off balance.

Someone analyzed and said he is trying to suggest China is number one. Maybe so.

My analysis is different. This guy is a frustrated movie star. He came into politics because his father was a major communist figure. He is called a prince, for that reason. His father was a comrade of Mao. The family pressure was a bit too much. There was legacy.

He did marry the most famous singer in his country, did he not?

He is really into literature. He is a huge fan of Hemingway, for example. He has sensibilities. You can't become a movie star unless you have deep sensibilities. Al Pacino calls himself an "emotional athlete."

In a freer China, a more comfortable China, Xi Jinping would have been a movie star.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Padmasree Warrior: Indian Female Chinese Asian Elon Musk?

Padmasree Warrior: Indian Female Chinese Asian Elon Musk?

Padmasree Warrior New U.S. CEO of Chinese Firm Challenging Tesla
Indian American Padmasree Warrior, one of Silicon Valley's high-profile women executives, has been appointed as the U.S.-based chief executive officer of a Chinese firm which is building an electric car to compete with American electric car manufacturer Tesla....... Warrior, 55, will be the chief development officer and CEO of the U.S. start-up NextEV.......A technology industry veteran, Warrior was most recently Cisco's chief technology and strategy officer, and had stepped down from the position in June this year....... Warrior's track record as a technology visionary is “undisputed,” and her knowledge of the global markets and business acumen are “surpassed only by her ability to lead distributed teams of engineers and developers toward a common goal,” NextEV's founder and chairman William Li said in a statement...... Warrior has previously been named by Forbes among the world's 100 most powerful women. She is an alumnus of the IIT Delhi and Cornell University ...... In addition to her appointment to the NextEV board, Warrior currently serves on the boards of American clothing giant Gap and Microsoft.

I was blindsided by this when it showed up as a news story on TechCrunch. As in, I did not see it coming. I used to follow Warrior in the news a few years ago. Here was an Indian Female running the tech show at none other than Cisco. Many people think Cisco birthed the Internet. No routers no internet. But unlike Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai, she did not rise to the very top. She had a claim before the other two did. Enter China.

And now, it looks like, just like there is no Facebook or Google or Twitter or Amazon in China, there will be no Tesla. In China they don’t let the “private sector” into space, so I don’t believe they are trying to create a rocket company. They feel like they already have one. It is amazing, the speed at which they have created a Chinese Tesla. Photocopied. Xeroxed. Innovated. Birthed. Masterminded. Downloaded from the Internet. Hustled by cyber spies. However they did it, the deed is done.

I feel for the people in Beijing. I like it that China has lifted more people out of poverty than any power in history, but I wish the air in Beijing were clear. It is a great city. It deserves clean air. Enter the Chinese Tesla. You can’t ask Indians and Chinese to not buy cars. But you can get them to buy electric cars. Perhaps solar powered electric cars. Who needs a sun roof?

China has 5,000 years of recorded, continuous history. There’s a slight blip from British/Japanese colonialism. I mean, you should read the letter the Chinese emperor sent to the British monarch. To him it felt like the President of the United States was talking to the President of Venezuela.

If the Homo Sapiens started in Africa and went to China by way of India, it can’t be that the Indus civilization is more recent than the Chinese one. But the Chinese try to downplay the Indian myths. You talk about the Mahabharata? A Chinese traveler does mention seeing stacks of bones in an open field. But that was only 500 years ago. Not 100,000 years ago like you claim.

Because the Chinese have lifted more people out of poverty than any power in history, I do try to look at them with an open mind. Maybe they are an alternate political system. To them becoming president is like becoming an astronaut. Maybe. As in, NASA. The Chinese Communist Party is like NASA. Running a country is like an astronaut going to the moon, perhaps tougher, and a much bigger responsibility. With NASA, you have to be a top grade engineer before you can get in. But any Chinese may join the Chinese Communist Party. Just like any American can try and become a top class engineer. But once you get in, there is a way to become NASA Director. Xi Jinping rose through the ranks. It is a pretty meritocratic process. You have to pay your dues, do the work, get committee approval, rise up the ranks, things like that. Although, in his particular case, I hear it helped that he was a prince, whatever that is supposed to mean in a decidedly non-feudal, formally atheistic country. In China the party stands above the state apparatus. As in, the Chinese court system is not above the Chinese Communist Party. I guess they fear that is how you make sure class prejudices don’t seep in. The CCP is like NASA, but it is also like the NAACP. As in, the Chinese feel wronged. Just like black folks do. How many NAACPs are there? Until they get their lost glory, until that is regained, they already know what do do, what is there to debate? That is how they feel. The good news is they are almost there. When I say almost, it is a Chinese perspective. 20 years is forever in America but almost in China. Time, like Einstein said, is relative.

At some point I see the Chinese political system relaxing a bit. Maybe the system needs some meditation. I am a big proponent of letting the Dalai Lama go on an all China tour. Let him go wherever he wants to go.

In China the party stands above the state apparatus. As in, the Chinese court system is not above the Chinese Communist Party. But then a lot of people don’t realize how weak the two parties in America are. The state is not weak, but the two parties are almost casual. In America the state stands above the parties, and the private sector stands above everything else. You don’t believe? The American tax code has been written for the express service of entrepreneurs. Warren Buffett pays less in taxes than his secretary. When people like Ralph Nader say the two parties are indistinguishable to the corporations, they have a point. Look at Donald Trump. He came out of nowhere to take over the Republican Party because he is a billionaire. There is no Central Committee he had to go through. He has just had to show up on TV.

How would China relax? Relaxing the India China border would be a good move. Personally I don’t see what the issue is there. It’s just rocks. China is not about to stop being a one party state. But what it could do is offer two party candidates for each major office, like president, governor, mayor, and let the people vote for and pick one. The two would get equal amounts of money to run a campaign. That could be step one. You do that enough and China could willfully become a two party state like America. A China where there are no more poor people and the per capita income is perhaps 25,000 dollars might end up a two party system not because the Chinese Communist Party got overthrown, but because it evolved. There was no upheaval. There were no street demonstrations. There was party decision. Or maybe it will stay a one party state that offers two candidates to the people for all three major positions. It could work. Like it works in America that it is just one state.

My agenda is I want a billion Buddhists in China. I want there to be more Buddhists than CCP members. I am a Madhesi Imperialist. Buddha was born a Madhesi.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Democracy's Contemporary Challenge

What is known as the War On Terror is very real, but a tussle that has not been given a name yet is not any less real. The three biggest wars of the previous century were democracy versus opposing ideologies that all tended towards autocracy. The two contemporary simultaneous tussles are similar. It is democracy versus the rest. America, Europe, India and Japan are hugely diverse cultures. But they all have political structures that are similar and can be described as democracies. That is not true of ISIS territory, that is not true of Russia, China, Pakistan, North Korea.

There is no avoiding the tussle, but it need not be bloody. The cheapest and the least bloody way might be funding Elon Musk's idea of satellite internet. The only way these two tussles conclude is when democracy wins, and the law of political entropy says you need to beam down the internet from the skies into these hostile territories.

Both Russia and Pakistan hold periodic elections. But they are not democracies.

India with its large Muslim population could play a key role for a major spread of democracy across the Arab/Muslim world. That makes India the new Britain, America's number one ally. And it is India that shares a border with China, not Japan or America or Europe, not to say thousands of years of history.

In Pakistan, the Pakistan Army and the ISI (curiously missing one letter S) run like parallel governments. That is not a democracy's structure.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

North Korea In Sight

Kim Jong-ilImage via WikipediaThe winds of democracy have to blow into North Korea too.

The Anatomy Of Revolutions For Democracy
Nicaragua, Ortega On The Radar
The Fuck With Mugabe
China: 2 PM, Sunday
The Atlantic : North Korea’s Digital Underground: the very archetype of a “closed society.” It ranks dead last—196th out of 196 countries—in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press index. Unlike the citizens of, say, Tunisia or Egypt, to name two countries whose populations recently tapped the power of social media to help upend the existing political order, few North Koreans have access to Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. In fact, except for a tiny elite, the DPRK’s 25 million inhabitants are not connected to the Internet. Televisions are set to receive only government stations. International radio signals are routinely jammed, and electricity is unreliable. Freestanding radios are illegal. But every North Korean household and business is outfitted with a government-controlled radio hardwired to a central station. The speaker comes with a volume control, but no off switch. ........ media insurgents have a two-pronged strategy, integrating Cold War methods (Voice of America–like shortwave broadcasts in; samizdat-like info out) and 21st-century hardware: SD chips, thumb drives, CDs, e-books, miniature recording devices, and cell phones. ....... these new media organizations are helping to create something remarkable: a corps of North Korean citizen-journalists practicing real journalism inside the country. ....... This past December, Open Radio North Korea, a broadcast-news organization, broke the story that a train headed for Pyongyang with gifts from China for Kim Jong Un, the heir apparent, was reportedly sabotaged and derailed, in one of several sporadic and mostly unreported acts of resistance that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. ....... in January 2010, a North Korean factory worker was publicly executed by firing squad for phoning news about the price of rice to someone in South Korea ...... Like most of the other independent news organizations, it receives funds from the National Endowment for Democracy, as well as other NGOs and private donors. ...... The footage Ahn brought out was shocking: filthy, barefoot children scavenging for food, picking kernels of corn from cow manure. Glassy-eyed, the children told the interviewer that their parents had died and they were homeless and alone. ...... Once these North Korean defectors made it across the Yalu or Tumen River, they were startled to discover that even the poorest Chinese had higher living standards than they did ....... (A 2009 survey found that 58 percent of North Koreans had regular access to a cassette recorder with radio, and 21 percent watched videos on video-compact-disc players.) The confluence of these developments created a remarkable journalistic opening: just as defectors in unprecedented numbers were bringing more information out of North Korea, the spread of markets and secondhand technology was creating a conduit for getting more information in. ....... Until the late 1990s, all international phone calls were routed through Beijing or Moscow. ..... Cell phones, both legal and illegal, have become a fact of life only during the past five years. ..... NK Reform Radio interviews defectors now living in South Korea. Some are unable to fit into South Korean society ...... The subject that most interests North Koreans is the country’s ruling dynasty: founder Kim Il Sung, his son Kim Jong Il, and his presumed heir, Kim Jong Un. Most of their subjects know little more than the idealized history of the Kims churned out by the state’s propaganda mill. They are shocked to learn that Kim Jong Il was born in Russia, and not on the mythic Mount Paektu; Koreans are quite socially conservative and are aghast that he has fathered several children with women other than his wives. ...... d a clear correlation between the “consumption of foreign media” and “more negative assessments of the regime and its intentions.” ....... One night he heard a South Korean program that contradicted a number of the myths surrounding the Kim family. After a little research, he discovered that the broadcasts were true. Was everything he’d been taught a lie, he wondered? It wasn’t long before he defected. ..... had several e-books, which I got from China. The national security force arrested me for possessing them,” he tells me. The books were pretty innocuous fare, mostly motivational titles like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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