Showing posts with label kim jong un. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kim jong un. Show all posts

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.

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.