Trump, Kim meet in Singapore, sign 4-point document
June 12, 2018 4:24 AM   Subscribe

Here's what it says: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un signed a document Tuesday asserting that the U.S. president would provide unspecified “security guarantees” to Kim in exchange for the North Korean leader’s “unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

The document was not immediately available to the media, and some resorted to enlarging photos of the signed document to read the text.

At a news conference following the meeting, Trump stunned allies and his own military leaders by saying the US would stop "very provocative" and costly military exercises with South Korea: Trump says to stop 'expensive', 'provocative' South Korea war games
posted by oheso (237 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
I take solace in the fact that if, in 6 months, it's clear the Moronchurian Candidate made a mistake, he'll just, as he says, find someone to blame it on.
posted by parki at 4:30 AM on June 12 [10 favorites]


Apparently, the US regaled Kim with a video showing a thriving, prosperous, revitalized North Korea as the result of outside investment and development. Basically, a real estate development promotional video.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:35 AM on June 12 [44 favorites]


I don’t even pretend to know what’s the best course for everyone on the very complicated issue of North Korea. My guess is that somehow someway Trump will personally profit off of it, or at least thinks he will, and that’s the only reason he’s doing this. And it will give him a political win, maybe. Of course, Trump is a fucking moron and if actually given free reign to control this process, he’d fuck it up, so hopefully South Korea knows best and they are completely on top of this...no? And if it leads to actual reunification, then it’s a pretty great thing. But I am of course skeptical of all things Trump because I have at least a few brain cells functioning properly and he is a fucking moron.
posted by zardoz at 4:36 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


[Quick note: This post is fine for discussing the Singapore meeting, if people seriously want to talk about that, and keep it somewhat info-rich and thoughtful, but if it's just going to be jokes and calling Trump an asshole / moron, we should probably just stick to the megathread rather than have exactly the same remarks in different threads.]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:40 AM on June 12 [30 favorites]


What I wonder is what the people of North Korea think about this... (if they know about it at all). If the alleged lifetime of anti-American indoctrination has really taken hold in their minds, how can they reconcile this?

Not to mention, all the North Korean generals and politicians. How much n-dimensional chess was required to get them aligned behind such a dramatic policy shift? Yeah, this could be a ruse, but I'd imagine that the competent intelligence services of the US and other assorted Asian nations would know if it was, and wouldn't let this summit happen.
posted by sixohsix at 4:51 AM on June 12


Zooming in on the document in the Bloomberg article, the only actual, specific thing stated is that POW/MIA remains will be immediately repatriated. Everything else in the 4 bullet points is incredibly vague and could mean just about anything. Sure it says DPRK will work toward denuclearization, but there is zero timeline so they could get rid of the last nuke in 100 years and still technically be following the agreement. Hell, they could replace all the nukes with biological weapons and be within the agreement, for that matter.

I am wondering, did both parties walk away convinced they’d pulled one over on the other guy?
posted by caution live frogs at 4:54 AM on June 12 [23 favorites]


Apparently, the US regaled Kim with a video showing a thriving, prosperous, revitalized North Korea as the result of outside investment and development. Basically, a real estate development promotional video.

Or you know a bribe offer, because they all know any money that goes into NK gets skimmed off for the top brass.
posted by PenDevil at 5:01 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


When thinking about this document and the therein-referenced Panmunjom Declaration, it is worth keeping in mind that historically, North Korea and the U.S. have adopted very different definitions of what it means to have a "denuclearized" Korean peninsula.
posted by solotoro at 5:03 AM on June 12 [25 favorites]


Immediate unilateral denuclearization would be suicide for Kim. I'm sure he's sane enough to know this. This is a detente agreement, nothing more. And that is, generally speaking, good.
posted by talos at 5:23 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]


Yeah, this could be a ruse, but I'd imagine that the competent intelligence services of the US and other assorted Asian nations would know if it was, and wouldn't let this summit happen.

I'd suggest that the last couple of weeks in US diplomacy really gives the lie to the idea that, somewhere, there are grown-ups in charge of the international order. Of course there are plenty of grown-ups around, but the idea that they have the power to protect us and our politicians from blundering idiocy doesn't seem to be supported by the observable facts.

At the moment we've got a nothingburger of a declaration which doesn't really commit anyone to anything much. To the extent that it calms down the region, it's a good thing, to the extent that it legitimises the brutal North Korean regime it's a bad thing. Overall, the US has used up a lot of political capital and leverage to give Trump a decent new cycle. We won't know if there are any actual consequences for good or bad for a while yet.
posted by howfar at 5:24 AM on June 12 [40 favorites]




Apparently, the US regaled Kim with a video showing a thriving, prosperous, revitalized North Korea as the result of outside investment and development. Basically, a real estate development promotional video.

This gives me a little more hope that maybe, just maybe, our huckster in chief can pull off something meaningful in DPRK. If you squint, it *really is* one of the greatest real estate opportunities of all time: one of the richest, most advanced, prosperous cities on Earth (Seoul) just miles from a whole country's worth of undeveloped land and a failing 1950s Soviet-style economy.

The danger, of course, is that we've learned the hard way, in China, that you can have an oppressive one-party state *and* a booming market economy. This is probably what Kim is aiming for, and he may get it.
posted by LiteOpera at 5:45 AM on June 12 [9 favorites]


I am wondering, did both parties walk away convinced they’d pulled one over on the other guy?

Personally, I'm betting that the Kim regime is smarter than Mike Pompeo et al. If they get to drive a wedge between the US and South Korea, even a tiny one, then IMO they won this round.

I'd be very curious to know how the "no more wargames" thing is playing inside SK itself, but I don't know what the reputable news sources there would be.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:46 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]


Trump agreeing to stop military exercises is a big step from the North Korean perspective. You may recall the public speculation during Russia's Zapad military exercises about how it was a cover for the invasion of the Baltic states; or how the Soviets were seriously bracing for nuclear war during Able Archer 83. Basically large scale movements of troops are destabilizing to any security environment because it's very very easy for people to read negative messages into them.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is going to depend on this: "The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-up negotiations, led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit."
posted by Grimgrin at 5:54 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


Everything he is giving away is free to him and none of it is anything he values. Great deals!
posted by Artw at 6:00 AM on June 12 [49 favorites]


I'd be very curious to know how the "no more wargames" thing is playing inside SK itself, but I don't know what the reputable news sources there would be.

Not well.

AP: Trump has stunned the Korean Peninsula by announcing the stoppage of US-South Korean war games. Seoul's presidential office tells the AP that it's trying to discern the exact meaning and intent of Trump's comments.

---

You can also go to Robert Kelly's Twitter timeline. He's a Korea expert and professor at Pusan University.
posted by chris24 at 6:02 AM on June 12 [27 favorites]


Kim just needs to cement in Trump's mind that South Korea is soaking the US by having such a huge military presence there and Trump will decolonize the peninsula unilaterally.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:10 AM on June 12 [13 favorites]


Honestly I think he came out of that meeting sold on that, if he wasn’t already.
posted by Artw at 6:11 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


At a news conference following the meeting, Trump stunned allies and his own military leaders by saying the US would stop "very provocative" and costly military exercises with South Korea: Trump says to stop 'expensive', 'provocative' South Korea war games

Even more than the mere fact of the meeting itself, this move by Trump is a concession to North Korea that gains the US absolutely nothing in return. Great negotiator, my eye.
posted by Gelatin at 6:15 AM on June 12 [25 favorites]


So 30,000-40,000 US troops will no longer be in South Korea, which also won't need all those US missiles and missile-defense systems anymore, so we can remove those, too? Sounds like everybody wins, here.

(And by "everybody", I mean Russia.)
posted by rokusan at 6:15 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


What I wonder is what the people of North Korea think about this...If the alleged lifetime of anti-American indoctrination has really taken hold in their minds, how can they reconcile this?

Given Trump's surprise announcement of cancelling any military war games with SK, I have to think NK's populace is going to be treated to a lot of "Celestial leader orders evil war-mongering US to stop its illegal and provocative actions, and the cowardly US runs away." messaging.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:15 AM on June 12 [30 favorites]


Having participated in those exercises, and seen how important they are to ROK troops...I am angrier than I even know how to be.
posted by corb at 6:17 AM on June 12 [60 favorites]


Surprising literally no one:
BREAKING: Trump says he talked up North Korea's real estate, beachside hotel opportunities in Kim Jong Un meeting.

Kim might as well have just brought a check to the meeting.
posted by Etrigan at 6:17 AM on June 12 [49 favorites]


The South Korean president seems pretty happy with the summit's result.
posted by talos at 6:22 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


I’m having a hard time seeing this as a win for the US. Stopping our military exercises seems like a slap in the face to South Korea. And now we have given legitimacy to a despot who executes political rivals with flamethrowers and anti aircraft guns. (For things as trivial as falling asleep during meetings). In exchange we got vague promises. Compared to this, the Iran deal was the fucking Magna Carta.
posted by TedW at 6:27 AM on June 12 [23 favorites]


So is there any truth to the redditish style rumor that the NK nuclear program basically exploded under that mountain and this is all occurring because NK would essentially need to rebuild from scratch?
posted by sammyo at 6:30 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Honestly anything that slows down the drumbeat of war with NK is probably a good result. NK is not a problem that can be solved with military force so the optimal strategy appears to be engagement and economic development. At this point I'm not sure that China would really care if Korea reunified as they would be able to heavily invest in NK with their spare capital and having a thriving prosperous neighbor makes for a better trade partner than a poor failed state.

China, Japan and SK would all benefit from increased engagement and investment in NK so the major losers would probably be the various arms makers that sell to NK and SK and who might see a major market disappear.

Trump is actually a pretty shitty businessman but like others have said NK represents a massive untapped market and liberalization of their economy would certainly result in massive fortunes being made by people getting in early.
posted by vuron at 6:30 AM on June 12 [10 favorites]


Compared to this, the Iran deal was the fucking Magna Carta.

To be fair, the Iran deal didn't involve any implicit agreements on Trump-branded beach resorts or golf courses.
posted by flabdablet at 6:33 AM on June 12 [14 favorites]


The South Korean president seems pretty happy with the summit's result.

He knows which side his bread is buttered on. If he does anything but applaud the toddler, then the toddler will be mad at him. He'll keep clapping while his people try to salvage something out of this.

This is how Trump has always worked, forever. He helicopters in, declares a great deal has been made, and then leaves, while his employees hack out the "details" (i.e., the entire actual agreement), ignoring the bullshit that he spewed because they know that the building has to get built in the real world. Maybe it actually happens, maybe it doesn't, but it doesn't look much like the thing that Donald promised.
posted by Etrigan at 6:33 AM on June 12 [51 favorites]


The South Korean president seems pretty happy with the summit's result.
---
He knows which side his bread is buttered on.


And the alternative to letting Trump get his photo op is a much higher possibility that Seoul is shelled/nuked into oblivion. So compared to millions dead, sure, good to punt this down the road. You usually don't win MVP for punting though.
posted by chris24 at 6:37 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


China, Japan and SK would all benefit from increased engagement and investment in NK

As it looks like its going, Japan and SK will also benefit from the continued threat of destruction by NK missiles and nukes, and perhaps without even the protection of the US nuclear umbrella. But hey, maybe there will be a McDonalds in NK and some new condos.
posted by localhuman at 6:38 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]


Actually Moon was instrumental in bringing North Korea to the table, arranged to have a unified Korea team in the Olympics, and when the US - North Korea deal seemed to go south, he arranged a historic meeting with Kim at the border, twice. A large majority of South Koreans favor a peace deal with the North.
Polls on this deal in South Korea in the coming days will be interesting
posted by talos at 6:43 AM on June 12 [26 favorites]


Seoul has lived under the threat of total destruction for a long period of time. I'm sure that other people are less than thrilled about the idea of NK having viable nuclear missiles (which is still not entirely clear they have 100% achieved this goal) but while Kim is awful it's also clear that the primary goal for his military program is to secure his regime. However it's also extremely clear that SK is winning the culture war with NK and the ability to hide how prosperous SK is in comparison to NK is going away. At a certain point the elites around Kim will view the opportunities that they would have under a different relationship with their neighbors as significantly better than maintaining a Soviet style central economy.

Yeah it won't be ideal for a variety of reasons but it's not like there haven't been substantive improvements in the West's relationship with other states like Vietnam and China. I'm not sure that similar engagement with NK won't result in improved outcomes for all parties.

That isn't to say Trump actually achieved something notable but rather their seems to be an increasing realization (at least in SK) that moves towards deescalating tensions and engagement with NK would result in improved outcomes and while a result like reunification is still most likely decades away a result that diminishes the chance that millions in SK die because Trump thinks regime change would be a fun adventure is probably a good result. It's not like the US doesn't have a long history of engaging and even supporting horrible dictators if it meets our sociopolitical goals and obviously for Trump that means beach resorts in NK.
posted by vuron at 6:55 AM on June 12 [9 favorites]


I guess Trump forgot to tell our armed forces: @LucasFoxNews: "US Forces Korea: No orders yet to cancel future joint military exercises with South Korea: “We will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense,” spox"

So is there any truth to the redditish style rumor that the NK nuclear program basically exploded under that mountain and this is all occurring because NK would essentially need to rebuild from scratch?

Even if that test-site were all tested-out, NK doesn't seem to lack mountains. They could have backup sites. Also building another one is just a matter of time- they built one, they can probably dig into another mountain and set up again. That, and the last test worked, and they might just not think they need more testing to have a sufficient nuclear deterrent.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:56 AM on June 12 [13 favorites]


Shit, I just realised that this is definitely going to add fuel to the "let's scrap the JSDF and build a real, proper military" nationalist movement in Japan.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:56 AM on June 12 [40 favorites]


What the Trump Doctrine’s inane slogans reveal about the president’s foreign policy
Simply put, the Trump administration views diplomatic trolling as a prestige good.
...
While diplo-trolling has been on the rise in recent years, the true masters of it are those who have been rogue states for decades: North Korea and Iran. Russia since 2013 has also excelled at thumbing its nose at the rest of the international community. Transgressive rhetoric and actions by these countries have led to painful responses, in the form of economic restrictions, hostile rhetoric and other diplomatic actions. Nonetheless, these nations have endured. If one thinks that flouting the rules of the game and living to tell the tale is an enviable quality, then these countries are at the top of that particular prestige hierarchy.

There is evidence that President Trump clearly admires leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte and Kim Jong Un for their ability to thumb their noses at diplomatic society. If this is the status hierarchy that Trump wishes to climb, then he needs to mimic their ability to offend.

At this, Trump has succeeded. His administration’s policies on trade and global governance have generated similar blowback. Group of Seven partners scolded the president last weekend. Multiple countries have promised retaliation in response to Trump’s protectionism. These moves are costly — but not so costly that the world has ended. Indeed, it is the very fact that these moves are costly that allows Trump to claim to be the biggest disrupter of them all. If one thinks that the ability to troll others is a desirable quality, then the Trump administration has made America seem like it is back on top.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:03 AM on June 12 [14 favorites]


To assume that Trump has a foreign policy remotely as coherent as Russia, is quite a stretch. I'm not sure in what sense Iran or Russia were ever "diplo-trolling"?
posted by talos at 7:14 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


What I wonder is what the people of North Korea think about this... (if they know about it at all).

They know exactly what the North Korean government is telling them, and no more. Many may not even be able to conceive of the possibility that what they hear is false or incomplete.

An interview with an American who taught English in North Korea: "They’re born into a world in which this is the only truth they know, and it’s all they ever hear or read or watch. This doesn’t mean the kids are like robots — they laugh and smile like anyone else. But their worlds and imaginations are constrained in ways we can’t really imagine."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:30 AM on June 12 [7 favorites]


I am wondering, did both parties walk away convinced they’d pulled one over on the other guy?

North Korea's prestige on the world stage shot WAY up with this, and confirmed that nuclear threats are a way to get a seat at the table. Kim Jong Un is the real winner here, but if there's a chance that this results in de-escalating threats of war on the Korean peninsula and beyond, and an opening for improving the lives of North Koreans, then it will result in a net benefit.

Trump is still the president who picked a meeting with a dictator over a multinational trade discussion, putting himself before US interests.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:42 AM on June 12 [16 favorites]


I read part of this article from the WaPo to my husband yesterday (didn't watch the video).

"Trump will come away convinced that he has made some deep emotional connection to the North Korean leader,” said Lee. “That he read his soul, that they really understand each other.” And both sides will claim victory – even if the agreement they conclude turns out be utterly devoid of substance.

Yeah, I'd say that's about right.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:43 AM on June 12 [13 favorites]


I don’t know if they’ll disarm the nukes, but Kim got a hell of a deal on that timeshare.
posted by dr_dank at 7:45 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


My brain has fried. I am speechless

this video
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 7:48 AM on June 12 [12 favorites]


Thurther on earlier post: The white house made a fake trailer for this meeting. It is SOMETHING.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 7:51 AM on June 12


[cross-posted from the megathread, because I'm sure the mods will and should delete that one]

A comment on the New York Times is comparing the summit agreement to the fall of the Berlin Wall. I'm pretty sure that's how the coverage will go...

Yeah, it's not like NK's agreed to all this before, at least not reported in the newspaper of record.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:56 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Maybe “peace in our time” is more apposite?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:57 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


"This doesn’t mean the kids are like robots — they laugh and smile like anyone else. But their worlds and imaginations are constrained in ways we can’t really imagine."

The fun thing is this can probably said about Americans, though for different reasons.
posted by Foosnark at 7:58 AM on June 12 [38 favorites]


I wonder how this will end up comparing to Nixon in China. Any thoughts on that?
posted by clawsoon at 7:59 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Only Trump could go to North Korea?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:01 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Thurther on earlier post: The white house made a fake trailer for this meeting. It is SOMETHING.

It lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Trying to compete with the NK propaganda movies is just asking for failure, you know?
posted by BungaDunga at 8:02 AM on June 12


Hunter Walker: (Yahoo News)
In his press conference, Trump used the phrase "Clinton regime" to describe America in the 1990's. He did not use the phrase "regime" to describe North Korea.
posted by chris24 at 8:11 AM on June 12 [29 favorites]


Shit, I just realised that this is definitely going to add fuel to the "let's scrap the JSDF and build a real, proper military" nationalist movement in Japan.

I would imagine that--regardless of their outward stance-- the Japanese are gathering material to assemble their own nukes right now. The entire set of guarantees that Japanese post-war demilitarization has been built upon are just so much toilet paper to Trump, so it becomes a matter of national survival to strike and maintain an Israel-style posture of deliberate nuclear ambiguity going forward.
posted by Chrischris at 8:11 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


I toured the DPRK over a decade ago now, but on the tour there's a ton of propaganda that you are bombarded with. In Pyongyang, amongst the many exhibits glorifying the Leaders, we toured the USS Pueblo with this propaganda film about the capture of the armed spyship of the US imperialists. One overnight was to Kaesong near the border, where amongst other things, we visited a site to view a concrete wall that was recently featured in the last segment of a This American Life. The other overnight was to Mount Myohyang, essentially for the sole purpose of visiting the International Friendship Exhibition.

When diplomats meet, there is usually the exchange of gifts - some more successful than others - it's just part and parcel of the niceties of diplomacy. at Myohyang, there are elaborate bunkerlike buildings that house every single gift given to the leaders of the DPRK; Kim Il Sung had one vault and Kim Jong Il the other. (I assume they are adding a third). These are sites of revenance, no shoes allowed inside, photography strictly limited.

On the tour, you see a few genuinely impressive artifacts such as armoured railroad cars given to KIS by Stalin and Mao. There are a few really weird ones, often from dictators - the most notable is the stuffed crocodile holding a tray of drinks from Daniel Ortega (the Sandinista leader). Gifts from the Western world are few and pretty shoddy; I remember from Canada KJI had gotten some sort of coffee table book, quite possibly from the airport gift store. There were a couple of tchotchkes from Madeline Albright; I remember seeing some from CNN - at some point, presumably, they'd had a meeting asking permission to cover some event or send in a journalist, given an ashtray or something as part of the formal pleasantries, and now it was on display.

My understanding is that North Korean citizens are toured through the vaults on the regular, to show how highly regarded the Dear Leader and Great Leader were around the world. The one thing historically denied to the DPRK regime is global legitimacy; consequently, it's something they propagandize about and it's something they crave.

So it's important to understand that as a baseline for the summit, it's not like any other summit between two world leaders; if Trump meets with the leader of Japan or Australia or whoever, it is just seen as two leaders meeting, and value only comes out of what they can agree to. In this case, the act of having the meeting gives a huge amount of global legitimacy to the DPRK regime and is a huge prize to them, regardless of what they actually get.

To get the US president to call military exercises with the ROK "provocative" and to not condemn - in fact, to almost justify - the human rights abuses of the regime is a huge propaganda coup for them beyond the baseline. To get all this with merely the promise to "work towards" denuclearization -- I mean, when I was 12 I would tell my parents I was working towards cleaning my room, and they weren't dumb enough to fall for that kind of bullshit then.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:14 AM on June 12 [87 favorites]


I don't know how to feel about this. I mean, I'm certainly in favour of "jaw, jaw" over "war, war" in general, but this jawing so far feels a lot like giving a lot away for very little in return. Munich 1938 is overstating it, but I just feel like this is largely a nothingburger except for Trump's apparently unilateral decision to walk away from military exercises which, again, feels like a significant concession in exchange for....?

But I guess the dictator and the wannabe got their photo op and a propaganda victory, which is probably the point of the whole exercise for them; both sides get to declare this a triumph, they have pictures, etc. Both men involved know the value of image, and that sometimes it is the only thing that matters.
posted by nubs at 8:14 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


It's apparent to everyone that Trump's signature on a treaty is as worthless as Kim's. But it amazes me that despite this, and after all the hype, neither side was willing to put anything substantive on paper. The end of "war games", the closure of a DPRK testing facility: it was all in verbal statements after the signing ceremony. No-one was willing to let this be anything more than reality TV. Without receiving any real concessions, America has pulled North Korea up to its rank of respectability in world affairs; a rank that has already plummeted, and continues to plummet.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:16 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


@matthewchampion: (Buzzfeed)
Trump, asked if he has a transcript or notes from his meeting with Kim Jong Un: "I don't need to verify as I have one of the great memories of all time."
posted by chris24 at 8:16 AM on June 12 [36 favorites]




In summary, if you're unwilling to give the media a copy of your newly-announced treaty, it probably isn't a very good treaty.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:17 AM on June 12 [24 favorites]


My takeaway is that we can add "projecting strength" to "deficits" and "keeping government out of your bedroom" on the list of things Republicans Don't Actually Care About.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:18 AM on June 12 [20 favorites]


Reagan: "Trust, but verify."
Trump: "I don't need to verify, as I have one of the great memories of all time."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:19 AM on June 12 [40 favorites]


If U.S.-North Korea Summit Happened Under Obama, Democrats Would Be Cheering

Obama could have handed DPRK this diplomatic coup at any point over eight years. There's a reason he didn't.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:21 AM on June 12 [51 favorites]


Nukes are not on the table for Japan. The bombs that were used on them are still (barely) within living memory. The population is deeply, sincerely opposed to nuclear weapons. A lot of things would have to happen for that to change.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:21 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


Rep. Ro Khanna: If U.S.-North Korea Summit Happened Under Obama, Democrats Would Be Cheering

If U.S.-North Korea Summit Happened Under Obama, The U.S. Wouldn't Have Been Represented By A Functional Toddler
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:21 AM on June 12 [47 favorites]


Rep. Ro Khanna: If U.S.-North Korea Summit Happened Under Obama, Democrats Would Be Cheering

Under Obama, we had actual, real multi-party negotiations with Iran leading to the JCPOA.

I mean. If a North-Korea summit had happened under Obama, Democrats would be cheering because he actually got something fucking done. There's no realistic counterfactual where this particular summit happens under Obama because -- while a photo-op is certainly preferable to war -- it's still essentially a photo-op.

In conclusion, Rep. Ro Khanna is wrong because the framing of that comparison is utter nonsense.
posted by cjelli at 8:25 AM on June 12 [28 favorites]


If Japan, of all countries, pursues a nuclear arsenal, then it will become clear that nobody has learned anything ever and never will, and the best we can hope for is a swift, merciful giant meteor to wipe out this stupid species before it infests the rest of the universe.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:26 AM on June 12 [18 favorites]


@CherylRofer:
I'm seeing a number of commentators just pleased that we're not in a nuclear war.

That's what Trump does: Play up, make possible, an utterly devastating outcome. Then people are pleased when it doesn't happen.

Abuser tactics.
posted by chris24 at 8:28 AM on June 12 [91 favorites]


Apparently, the US regaled Kim with a video showing a thriving, prosperous, revitalized North Korea as the result of outside investment and development. Basically, a real estate development promotional video.

From talking to people who lived in East Berlin, listening to western radio and knowing that just across the minefield there's a better version of your country, was a huge part of 1989.

The problem is it's the people that need to see the contrast, not KJU.
posted by adept256 at 8:32 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


I sometimes like Khanna, but here he just sounds stunningly naive, especially in the context of both the domestic and foreign events of the last week. The bar has been placed several miles underneath the ground, but when Trump barely manages to clear that we're supposed to cheer? Come on.

And yes, Democrats would be cheering if it happened under Obama, because presumably he would have gone into it with conditions that don't encourage a new nuclear arms race with several regional powers, and had some sort of regimen to enforce it. As it stands now, the DPRK gets to continue as it always has, and the rest of the world has even less to show for it than we did 25 years ago under Clinton.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:32 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


@JohnJHarwood: (CNBC)
explaining his trust in Kim, Trump cites the North Korean dictator’s praise of him. “He said openly that no other president could have done this”
posted by chris24 at 8:33 AM on June 12 [12 favorites]


The population is deeply, sincerely opposed to nuclear weapons. A lot of things would have to happen for that to change.

Umm...
posted by Chrischris at 8:34 AM on June 12 [7 favorites]


explaining his trust in Kim, Trump cites the North Korean dictator’s praise of him. “He said openly that no other president could have done this”

He's not wrong.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:35 AM on June 12 [22 favorites]


If the US pulls its military out of Korea not only will the far right in Japan be vastly more energized to repeal Article 9 and go for a full bore honest military, but they might even have enough momentum to overcome the anti-nuclear weapon bias in Japan and start up a nuclear weapons program.

And the ROK would then see both the DPRK **AND** the Japanese arming up and nuking up, and start an atomic weapons program of their own.

Rainbo Vagrant Yeah, but the sudden withdrawal of US protection from Korea would make a lot of Japanese wonder about the likelihood of a sudden withdrawal of US protection from Japan.

And that US "protection" hasn't been without cost to Japan, there's plenty of Japanese who are already unhappy with the US military presence even though Japan pushed it to their last remaining colonial possession so the Okinawans have to deal with most of the problems associated with hosting a US military force.

While the anti-atomic sentiment in Japan runs deep, I can't help but think it might be overcome by (legitimate) concern about the PRC, the DPRK, and Russia, and if the the ROK starts nuking up there'd be worry about that too.
posted by sotonohito at 8:37 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]


Japan pursuing a nuclear arsenal may be the same and reasonable thing to do, god help us all.
posted by Artw at 8:41 AM on June 12 [9 favorites]




This gives me a little more hope that maybe, just maybe, our huckster in chief can pull off something meaningful in DPRK

buddy he can't pull off something meaningful alone in the bathroom
posted by poffin boffin at 8:47 AM on June 12 [33 favorites]


The new Trump hotel in Pyongyang

He'd totally go for it, too.

(context)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:50 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


I think Donald Trump is realizing the same thing that other presidents have realized before, and that is the US president has far more unilateral ability and speed to act in the international sphere as opposed to the domestic sphere. This may be a taste of things to come if the Democrats manage to be the majority of one or both houses of Congress. The president will have even less power and influence to push his domestic agenda, and will probably instead turn even more of his attention overseas.

This most likely means more bullying of traditional allies, while also more attempts at grand gestures like the meeting with North Korea.
posted by FJT at 8:51 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


I would imagine that--regardless of their outward stance-- the Japanese are gathering material to assemble their own nukes right now. The entire set of guarantees that Japanese post-war demilitarization has been built upon are just so much toilet paper to Trump, so it becomes a matter of national survival to strike and maintain an Israel-style posture of deliberate nuclear ambiguity going forward.

I'm pretty sure every nation in the world has this strategy at least contingency planned.
posted by srboisvert at 9:01 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


I'm calling this now. The only substantive thing that will come from this is that it'll become the Trump Ryugyong Hotel.
posted by SansPoint at 9:02 AM on June 12 [7 favorites]


Yeah, that article is Shinzo articulating a constitutional argument. It's like saying "the president could pardon Bin laden if they wanted." It's a stupid hypothetical question that law nerds like to debate, that may, someday, have relevance, and the fact that it's coming from the PM instead of a law professor is a little alarming. But it doesn't say anything about the popular or Democratic opinion. Popular opinion is quite opposed on this point, even as they're slightly in favor of remilitarizing.

Not that that sentiment can't change, we're sort of on the road to that, but NK isn't big enough on its own to do that. China's aggression is what would push them into developing nukes.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:06 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure every nation in the world has this strategy at least contingency planned.

That’ll put most of the nations that are strong democracies and try to be good actors in the international community at a strong disadvantage as they have way less ability to strike such a pose. Pretty sure you can’t be a member of the EU or NATO and play coy about whether you have nukes or not.

Yet again Trumpism favour dictatorships and rogue regimes.
posted by Artw at 9:06 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


At this point, JCPOA would be a go if Iran announced consideration for Western style resorts of a certain calibre.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:17 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


Ryan Struyk (CNN)
President Trump says he got North Korea to commit to destroying a major missile testing site but "we didn't put it in the agreement because we didn't have time."


Ryan Lizza (Esquire)
Retweeted Ryan Struyk
A comment like this from Obama would have defined him on the right for his entire presidency and would have been endlessly repeated as evidence of his naïveté and stupidity. For Trump it’s just Monday.


Sam Stein (MSNBC)
Retweeted Ryan Struyk
Think about this quote for a second.
You’ve scored, what you believe is, a MAJOR disarmament win from a longtime enemy.
The thing is, that enemy has a history of reneging.
You could hold em to it by putting it in writing. But you don’t do it because you... didn’t have time.
posted by chris24 at 9:24 AM on June 12 [68 favorites]


The problem is it's the people that need to see the contrast, not KJU.

They kind of did, courtesy of their state media, even.
posted by aielen at 9:27 AM on June 12


Ryan Struyk (CNN)
President Trump says he got North Korea to commit to destroying a major missile testing site but "we didn't put it in the agreement because we didn't have time."


If I were the Dems, I’d poster that line in every ad from now until November: Trump “didn’t have time” to keep America safe yadda and so forth.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:28 AM on June 12 [32 favorites]


It's really very hard to cope with how astonishingly stupid approximately 70 million americans are. I know it's unhelpful to dehumanize people that are your political opposites but it is almost impossible to see not just no actual humanity but also not even very basic sentience in the people who believe he's doing a good job.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:32 AM on June 12 [36 favorites]


And obviously I know that plenty of them are just venal soulless grifters who are eager to profit from the moronic chaos he causes, and plenty of others don't care if the world burns as long as the people who look, pray, and fuck differently from them burn first. But like. The true believers? How do we live in a society with them in the future. How.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:34 AM on June 12 [22 favorites]


Some rightwing responses, both Trumper, NeverTrump and in between.

Joe Walsh
Trump publicly stating that Kim "loves his own people" may be the most ignorant, most offensive thing Donald Trump has ever said. Kim terrorizes, imprisons & kills his own people. He purposely keeps them impoverished. He purposely denies them basic human freedoms. That's love?

Ari Fleischer
This feels like the Agreed Framework of the 90s all over again. NK gave its word to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. They never intended to keep their word. And then they broke it.

Erick Erickson
If Obama had had the last 24 hours that Trump has had, the GOP would be demanding his impeachment.

Ben Shapiro
Pre-emptive celebration of a Great Victory by the president is sheer partisan hackery. Nothing has been accomplished...yet. Perhaps it will be. Celebrate then.

Mike Murphy
Huge, long wished for and legitimizing win for the NoKor regime. And we got nothing for it. No concessions to earn a bilateral summit. If Obama had done this, GOP heads would have exploded. Now, we’ll see what we get for this big kiss to a mini-Stalin...

Bruce Klingner (fmr Korea CIA head, current NE Asia Senior Fellow at conservative Heritage Foundation)
This is very disappointing. Each of the four main points was in previous documents with NK, some in a stronger, more encompassing way. The denuke bullet is weaker than the Six Party Talks language. And no mention of CVID, verification, human rights.
posted by chris24 at 9:35 AM on June 12 [43 favorites]


If Obama had had the last 24 hours that Trump has had, the GOP would be demanding his impeachment.

Can we carve this into the moon with a fucking laser for all to see? It’s true daily.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:38 AM on June 12 [38 favorites]


So 30,000-40,000 US troops will no longer be in South Korea, which also won't need all those US missiles and missile-defense systems anymore, so we can remove those, too? Sounds like everybody wins, here.

(And by "everybody", I mean Russia.)


Perhaps you mean China? It's China that's been uncomfortable with the idea of a US-allied state directly on its borders, it's China that restricted trade with South Korea after the THAAD system was installed. It's China that seeks the finlandization of the peninsula.
posted by anem0ne at 9:48 AM on June 12 [12 favorites]


I mean, at least Neville Chamberlain showed people the paper.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:50 AM on June 12 [15 favorites]


I went a meeting on Korea just recently, and the most significant thing afaic that came out of it was what I can do. Which is mainly work to reduce and eliminate Australian support for US military operations on this side of the Pacific, ideally shutting down Pine Gap and the base in Darwin.
If there's any opportunity to support the Korean working class, South or North, that's worth looking into. Possibly strike action from dock workers etc if things intensify, and sympathy strikes within relevant multinational companies, could be really effective but the organisation isn't there right now.

Also, it never hurts to improve your country's refugee policy.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 10:02 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


I'd be very curious to know how the "no more wargames" thing is playing inside SK itself, but I don't know what the reputable news sources there would be.

i haven't had time to look at the articles, but you've got a few major papers and networks if you'd like sources.

- YTN/Yonhap (like AP)
- left-leaning Hankyoreh (eng) and OhMyNews
- centrist/center-right JoongAng (eng) and Chosun Ilbo (eng)
- As far as tv, KBS, MBC, and SBS are the big three. They tend to be centrist.
posted by anem0ne at 10:10 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


a result that diminishes the chance that millions in SK die because Trump thinks regime change would be a fun adventure is probably a good result

But what on Earth makes you think that this is a step in the right direction? This only reduces the chances of war if NK actually does something to disarm. If it just fucks about, lies and eventually openly reneges on the agreement (which, let's be honest, is what they've done in the past and seems likely what they will do in the future), what do you think Trump will do then?

The short term reduction of tensions is a good thing, but let's not kid ourselves that this in any way makes it less likely that the US and NK will be in a nuclear war in the next few years.
posted by howfar at 10:12 AM on June 12 [13 favorites]


personally while i'm not super thrilled about the presence of american troops on korean soil, the unilateral desire of the dear leader to stop military exercises and commit to a drawdown makes me deeply uncomfortable.

if this is not paired with a complete renegotiation of the us-rok sofa and undoing the automatic placement of the entire rok military under us command during wartime, this is even worse than i feared--since it means that the dear leader could launch a first strike and then assume command of the rok military.

in case there's any confusion, kim jong un is not the dear leader. he may be the "great successor", but his father is dead.
posted by anem0ne at 10:15 AM on June 12 [7 favorites]


I don't agree completely with its larger context or his other thoughts on the matter, but this is a worthwhile point from Owen Ellickson (a TV writer whose Twitter account I first followed when it mainly consisted of brilliant fake dialogues of the participants in the 2016 election):

if future Dem Presidents pursue diplomacy with this much pomp, charges of “weakness” will fall flat. viewers like active characters, but diplomacy is active too. do stuff in ways that gives outlets content & they’ll praise you!

nothing will stop *the right* from criticizing Dem diplomacy, but that’s (literal!) white noise. “imagine if Obama” scenarios evoke conservative hysteria... they don’t necessarily evoke net political losses. Obama DID do stuff, the right DID shriek, and he won twice, comfortably!

that’s not to say you can just do whatever you want without fear of reprisal... some on the left are too quick to assume any bold progressive policy Obama would’ve been a political winner. but he WAS more cautious than was ideal. let brayers bray


A key thing, I think, is that left-wing leaders can make their actions (diplomatic, economic, etc) into compelling ~narratives~ without having to sacrifice too much substance (as with the mostly substance-free "talk", apart from awful concessions).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:15 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


I've said it before and I've said it again; I never imagined that the end of US hegemony would be the result of a president voluntarily surrendering national hard and soft power in fits of pique or in exchange for trinkets. But that's how it is. The end of the American globe, entirely voluntarily. It's just fucking astonishing.
posted by howfar at 10:19 AM on June 12 [55 favorites]


However it's also extremely clear that SK is winning the culture war with NK and the ability to hide how prosperous SK is in comparison to NK is going away. At a certain point the elites around Kim will view the opportunities that they would have under a different relationship with their neighbors as significantly better than maintaining a Soviet style central economy.

Or they'll actually act like North Korea, and increase their personal wealth by extorting South Korea. "Pay tribute or we'll destroy Seoul."

You're making the same damn mistake the George Bush administration made toward the former Soviet block. "Oh golly gosh, if they just see how wonderful and prosperous our capitalist society is, they'll want to become just like us!"

It didn't work with the former Soviet Union, and it won't work with North Korea, because, oddly enough, they are not simple benighted primitives waiting for our largess, they are different cultures, whose leaders have their own values and goals. And their goals don't include being subsumed into our society.
posted by happyroach at 10:23 AM on June 12 [24 favorites]


Which is mainly work to reduce and eliminate Australian support for US military operations on this side of the Pacific

I’m not a ra ra American nationalist, and I don’t typicallysupport American military or imperial structure. However, as someone said up thread, you can’t do these things by the seat of your pants. The US military, for good or ill (and I’m willing to accept that a lot of people argue for ill) is doing important things (yes, that America very much reaps the reward for) like checking Chinese military growth in the Pacific, Japanese needs/desires for expansion, fulfilling South Korea’s needs for a strong military deterrent, protected sea lanes for shipping, there are plenty more. If you just dismantle this system, what comes next? You very much need to make sure you have some plan in place otherwise the hope that what comes next will simply be some inherent good is naïve and irresponsible, and will cause much more pain and suffering then we have now.

And that’s what galls me about the media coverage and silver liners even thinking this meeting has helped. Trump created the tensions simply because he lacks impulse control. Those tensions don’t go away because he sat down and shook hands with Kim. As the G7 meeting shows, it only takes Trump feeling like he’s been slighted before he ramps up tensions again.
posted by herda05 at 10:25 AM on June 12 [15 favorites]


happyroach, that might be the best contribution Trump can make to diplomacy in the Koreas. "See? you can still use government as a piggybank and throw your people in cages even after you open the door to capitalism!"
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:28 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Until we've achieved worldwide revolution, then yeah, some other capital is going to step up and exploit that gap. That's how international capitalism works.
The goal is to not have Australia be complicit in it, because the fight is always at home. If we can support comrades overseas, we'll try, but by and large we all have to work on ending our own country's involvement in these matters. Pine Gap is key to an awful lot of US strategic operations, including the drone strikes that kill so many civilians, so ending that is valuable.
Not to even get into our own military's crimes, which are many, particularly in the Korean war.
Japanese nationalism is a concern for Japanese workers, not for me right now.
It's not America's job to check Chinese expansion either. It's bad in various ways, sure, but putting your military in its way won't save lives, only end them. Using one imperialist military to stop another does nothing to bring these issues to a real close.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:00 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


It's taken a while to find an American president with as much of a pressing need for legitimacy as NK. Trump needed this summit because it is one of the few things he is comfortable doing, has the power to do, and has the possibility of wide public backing. He was going to do whatever it took.

I think he also sees KJU as a model of at least the style of ruler he would like to be, but with more money, and that's exactly the fantasy he peddled to KJU with his trailer.

But if this allows a breakthrough in peace on the Korean peninsula, especially at a time when Moon is so receptive to it, it would be hard not to see that as a positive (though hardly absolving) consequence of Trump's presidency.

As I said in the other thread, the treatment of immigrants (especially the breaking up families by lying about why they are taking the kids away: "Border Patrol agents ... said they were going to give them a bath. As the hours passed, it dawned on the mothers the kids were not coming back.”) is both one of the most noxious aspects of Trump's presidency and I would hope one of the least popular (which is not to say there isn't a large plurality which is comfortable with this, and I hope for them that they learn to see refugees as human beings). I hope that this doesn't fade from media coverage, as it seems that without it everything disappears down the memory hole, and engenders a real and sustained response among us.
posted by tarshish bound at 11:00 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


Looks like Iran's learning a trick or two from Kim Jong Un:

AP: In a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, [President] Rouhani said the Europeans must find a way to compensate Iran if they want to preserve the landmark agreement, following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal and restore sanctions.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:12 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


If we can support comrades overseas, we'll try, but by and large we all have to work on ending our own country's involvement in these matters.

For some of us the people in those countries are not abstract "comrades", but actual people. They are family and friends.
posted by FJT at 11:14 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]


This only reduces the chances of war if NK actually does something to disarm

Actually this only reduces the chances of war if the US electorate doesn't continue to elect warmongering and narcissistic idiots to the highest office. It is after all way more likely that the Donald will decide to start a nuclear war on a whim, ignoring this deal than Kim. A majority of people around the world are vastly more worried about the US proven addiction to war, its visible devastating aftermath, and how this can destroy their lives, than about the truly minimal chance that a dictatorial wanker like KYU will commit suicide by attacking anyone with nuclear weapons
posted by talos at 11:24 AM on June 12 [20 favorites]


How long would it take Japan to develop a functioning weapon and delivery system? 3 months or less? They have a stockpile of and ongoing plutonium refining, advanced tritium recovery, massive electronics and computational expertise, and heavy lift rockets. I guess they don't have the stolen soviet and American technical documents that NK did, but I doubt it would take long to figure out. Even advanced warheads are 40 year old technology.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:29 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


For some of us the people in those countries are not abstract "comrades", but actual people. They are family and friends.

And some people have family and friends across a de-militarized zone that the US has a huge part in maintaining and U.S. military contractors are freakingout about losing.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:32 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


NK doesn't have to actually fire missiles at somebody in this scenario – if Kim reverts to form and defies what Trump sees as the spirit of the (toothless, entirely apirational) agreement signed today, it's likely to be taken as a personal insult by the short-tempered kumquat that is our president.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:33 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


A key thing, I think, is that left-wing leaders can make their actions (diplomatic, economic, etc) into compelling ~narratives~ without having to sacrifice too much substance (as with the mostly substance-free "talk", apart from awful concessions).

You're acting like there's not a massive double-standard to be overcome here. As if Obama didn't engage in a far, far more substantive version of this type of diplomatic mission, complete with a narrative of bringing peace to a turbulent region, with his Iran deal. And then got skewered for it.

Only Nixon could go to China.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:33 AM on June 12 [10 favorites]


I'm sure this is the time when people can finally trust Trump and he won't turn the entire peninsula into an orange clusterfuck
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:37 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


How long would it take Japan to develop a functioning weapon and delivery system? 3 months or less?

Creating a small warhead is fairly straightforward. Creating a delivery system (i.e., a rocket) is not so easy. Japan was actually considering purchasing "standoff" weapons (at the moment, its armed forces have no strike capability, including even gravity bombs, save for ASW torpedoes etc), but the JASSM-ER may not work.

Creating a miniaturized warhead that will fit on such a delivery system is also not so easy. There are doubts that even North Korea has created a reliable, miniaturized weapon.

Japan has been resistant to creating its own deterrent. This is because of the large US presence in Japan, including the nuclear umbrella. And also because of relatively close cooperation between Japan and the US.

Until yesterday.

As of today, Japan is completely and utterly isolated. Abe's approach of developing a close relationship with the Trump administration has failed. I think it's going to be a lot like Canada -- wait and see, and hope this dark time passes soon.
posted by JamesBay at 11:39 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


For some of us the people in those countries are not abstract "comrades", but actual people. They are family and friends.

Yes. Over the past couple of years, as Kim has launched missiles and so on, it's been painfully obvious that for some prominent Western commentators, the Koreas and Japan are "someplace far away". A lot of the discussion is dehumanizing.
posted by JamesBay at 11:40 AM on June 12 [22 favorites]


Paul Danahar (BBC America Bureau): Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that Trump would suspend US war games with South Korea before Trump announced it himself at the press briefing. That suggests Kim’s people were on the phone to Beijing straight after the meeting cos they recognized how big a concession it was.
posted by PenDevil at 11:45 AM on June 12 [39 favorites]


KJU was educated in the west, he knows the internet and how entire peoples live. He also clearly knew that when he returned to NK he would either but the biggest bad dog or gone. Hopefully he has an utterly secret agenda to begin opening up his country.

Also remember the huge military bases in the middle of the two biggest opponents of the west in WWII (Japan&Germany) are not for the defense of either of those countries. Many do not forget.

Unlikely everyone will just become cuddly buddies but let's get McDonalds franchises into NK soon, they'll need it for all the Trump hotel visitors.
posted by sammyo at 11:54 AM on June 12


Trump, asked if he has a transcript or notes from his meeting with Kim Jong Un: "I don't need to verify as I have one of the great memories of all time."

He's like the little dog in the Gary Larson cartoon -- all he remembers hearing is "blah blah blah Trump blah blah blah Trump."
posted by JackFlash at 11:58 AM on June 12 [35 favorites]


How long would it take Japan to develop a functioning weapon and delivery system? 3 months or less?

They are purchasing air-launched cruise missiles capable of striking most anywhere in NK, so that delivery system is in play.
posted by Chrischris at 12:08 PM on June 12


Kim-Trump summit reactions across my feed, executive summary:

- Communists: "YES"
- American Liberals: "Boo"
- Conservatives: "Uh OK I'm sure there's more to this..."
- Anarchists: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Everyone wins.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:13 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


@LucasFoxNews: US Forces Korea: No orders yet to cancel future joint military exercises with South Korea: “We will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense,” spox

@burgessev: Pence told Senate GOP that military exercises in Korea will continue, per Sen. Gardner

@christinawilkie: Oh my. VP Pence's press secretary now claims Sen. Gardner's account of what Pence told him was false. Here's what Gardner said: "Exercises will continue with South Korea, we look forward to further calm and clarification from the president when he gets here."

@SenCoryGardner: .@VP was very clear: regular readiness training and training exchanges will continue.

Who the hell is in charge here? This could be a semantic debate at this point, but really?

It's also really clear that China (who has been pitching "suspension for suspension" for some time—we suspend military exercises and North Korea suspends nuclear and missile tests) knew Trump was going to say this, while our South Korea allies were caught completely blindsided by this announcement.
posted by zachlipton at 12:15 PM on June 12 [21 favorites]


Who the hell is in charge here? This could be a semantic debate at this point, but really?

This is also probably a preview of the all-but-inevitable debate about what 'denuclearization of the Korean peninsula' means and what various parties understood it to mean at any particular time: to the degree that it is a semantic debate, it's a semantic debate that could and should have been easily avoided by Trump engaging other participants and clarifying this sort of thing in advance of making a decision (whatever the heck has actually been decided, which is either 'not much' or '???' at this point).
posted by cjelli at 12:27 PM on June 12 [10 favorites]


As the time dilation extends, don't let us forget that we only a year has passed since Kim Jong un's elder brother Kim Jong nam was assassinated by VX nerve agent. Just another reason why this giving the regime legitimacy is a bad idea.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 12:36 PM on June 12 [18 favorites]


But I guess the dictator and the wannabe got their photo op and a propaganda victory, which is probably the point of the whole exercise for them; both sides get to declare this a triumph, they have pictures, etc. Both men involved know the value of image, and that sometimes it is the only thing that matters.

I was reading an article that I can't find now after Singapore due to the increase in volume of media, that both Leaders were very aware of the theatrical angles of their meeting, and that alone was of value to each and thus the show would go off well for all concerned.
posted by infini at 12:43 PM on June 12


If we can support comrades overseas, we'll try, but by and large we all have to work on ending our own country's involvement in these matters.

i've never called my mom or my relatives "동무/comrade", but i'm at least 80% sure it wouldn't go over all that well. i'll let you know the results when i finally decide to burn that bridge.

Frankly I don't understand the critique. It feels like you're upset I only support the Korean working class, rather than their militaries.

given that every single able-bodied korean-born korean male is drafted and serves time in the military...

---

to be perfectly honest, i am very uncomfortable with the use of "comrade" when it comes to korea or koreans. i get that you want to show solidarity with the "working class" of korea, but with how a form of communism has ravaged the brothers and sisters in the north, it's... problematic, at best. i don't know what word you want to use, but "comrade" probably shouldn't be it.
posted by anem0ne at 12:43 PM on June 12 [27 favorites]


US presidents give bloodthirsty dictators legitimacy all the damn time, though. Obama and Gaddafi come to mind, as does recent US efforts to form a partnership with Vietnam. Saudi...

It's a long list.
posted by JamesBay at 12:44 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


As best I can tell, the "US terror network" is specifically United States Forces Korea here? That seems to be something the South Korean people broadly want to keep around at the moment ("Most polls suggest the majority of South Koreans support the current numbers of U.S. troops in the country"), although there are absolutely those who want them gone, including those on the left who view US troops as an impediment to peace. There are enormous reasons to have grave problems with the US military, and we should listen to the refreshing voices of the Korean left too, but it's also worth taking a minute to be realistic about what the US military presence is doing in South Korea and why that state of affairs has the support of many actual Korean people right now.

Is it really supporting the South Korean people when the most you're offering them (or just those of the working class anyway) is "we'll try" if we can?
posted by zachlipton at 12:48 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


@LucasFoxNews: US Forces Korea: No orders yet to cancel future joint military exercises with South Korea: “We will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense,” spox

Remember the example of the ban on transgender people in the military. The whole thing started with a tweet. Everyone from the Pentagon on down shrugged and said, "We don't know what the hell that means." There was lots of foot-dragging and litigating behind the scenes, some of it benevolent, some of it just practical, and probably some pressure the other way, too. But inevitably, oh so wonderful Saint Mattis hammered out a way to put the bigotry into policy language because it's what Trump wanted. It's still being fought out and transgender people can still serve, but the whole thing demonstrates a pattern.

Trump wanted to say something big and splashy. There's no real thought toward details or implementation behind it. He's leaving that to other people, at a later date, whatever, he's got another dumpster fire to ignite somewhere. And if it never really comes to pass because some sane person in the bureaucracy or the military or wherever manages to gum up the works, Trump will blame Hillary or Democrats or someone else for it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:48 PM on June 12 [10 favorites]


I would be fascinated to learn whether Pence's claims of continuing joint operations were depicted as representing the decision of the Commander-in-Chief, or were merely what the Republican establishment was expecting the Commander-in-Chief to decide, if the Commander-in-Chief were not a wild and crazy guy
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:50 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


That's a valid consideration anem0ne, and I really should have thought of that. I don't tend to think of North Korea as ever having been communist, but it's certainly true enough that the term comrade would have a different connotation. I used it because that's usually how I'd refer to socialists, union members and activists etc overseas, but context matters. I'll try to be more careful in future.
Also yeah, we'll try & take industrial action and we'll work on disengaging our own country from imperialist operations which directly lead to this state of affairs is the best I can offer. From my perspective, it's a lot more support than continuing to treat Korea as just another testing ground between rival capitals.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 12:56 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


like, fun thing about the korean word for "comrade", 동무 (dongmu, /toŋ mu/).

it used to just mean "friend". but the conflict between north and south, between ideologies, and what was happening north of the dmz? nobody in the south uses that word for "friend" anymore--they use 친구 (chingu, /tɕʰin gu/). 동무 is not verboten, but it's also not... used. at all.

like, before the division, nobody really used 친구. now it's the only word.
posted by anem0ne at 12:58 PM on June 12 [28 favorites]


And if it never really comes to pass because some sane person in the bureaucracy or the military or wherever manages to gum up the works, Trump will blame Hillary or Democrats or someone else for it.

Except this was a promise that goes beyond the internal policies of the US. North Korea could, quite rightly, point out that this breaches the “agreement” made and use it to justify whatever. There are consequences to the President shooting from the hip on things like this.
posted by nubs at 1:01 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


US presidents give bloodthirsty dictators legitimacy all the damn time, though. Obama and Gaddafi come to mind

The United States relationship with Libya changed in 2004, under Bush, after Libya accepted responsibility for supporting terrorism, after Libya agreed to pay billions-with-a-b of dollars in compensation to terror victims, and after Libya agreed to wind down its nuclear program. That was the context to Obama's meeting with Gaddafi: that Libya, as dictatorial as the regime might have been, was also in the process of making amends.

To grant legitimacy as a precondition for disarmament is -- exactly unlike the relationship between Libya and American under the Obama administration.

American support for dictators has usually been predicated on some sort of quid-pro-quo, in which -- rightly or wrongly -- that support has been seen as the preferable alternative: I'm comfortably saying that has often been 'wrongly.' But the Libya example is illustrative because it's such a close parallel to that of both Iran and North Korea -- a state seeking nuclear arms, then trading those arms for recognition. Where Bush and Obama struck deals with Libya and Iran to disarm and offered them recognition in return, Trump is offering North Korea recognition in return for...???

I get that some people see any granting of legitimacy as unwarranted, and I get that some people see it is as fine; but either way, the current situation is really unlike most of American diplomacy -- and it's worse. Trump gave North Korea a lot and not even Congress seems to know exactly what was given or what America got back in return...let alone what Trump, who seemed awfully interested in the idea of North Korean real estate development, gets out of this personally.
posted by cjelli at 1:01 PM on June 12 [26 favorites]


I've said it before and I've said it again; I never imagined that the end of US hegemony would be the result of a president voluntarily surrendering national hard and soft power in fits of pique or in exchange for trinkets. But that's how it is. The end of the American globe, entirely voluntarily. It's just fucking astonishing.

I wouldn't be too sure its the end of the American globe or hegemony. Its more likely that this is [president] is of great short term value as a disposable destruction machine of the rules based old order that had gotten obsolete for the modern world [note the rejection of the phrase in the G7 meeting] and that letting the toddler loose in the kindergarten for half a day provides a clean slate on which to build new, modern and upgraded systems to reboot the globe for the next century. He's useful. And just wants new hotels in suitable locations.
posted by infini at 1:02 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Except this was a promise that goes beyond the internal policies of the US. North Korea could, quite rightly, point out that this breaches the “agreement” made and use it to justify whatever. There are consequences to the President shooting from the hip on things like this.

Yeah. Statistically speaking, squabbles over whose weapons should be where are the leading cause of near nuclear conflicts between the US and hostile Communist states.

Yeah yeah sample size whatever!
posted by howfar at 1:05 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


It didn't work with the former Soviet Union, and it won't work with North Korea, because, oddly enough, they are not simple benighted primitives waiting for our largess, they are different cultures, whose leaders have their own values and goals. And their goals don't include being subsumed into our society.

The difficulty with this piece of common sense is that the whole "projecting American values around the globe" is baked into national policy at the foundation level.
posted by infini at 1:14 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


it used to just mean "friend". but the conflict between north and south, between ideologies, and what was happening north of the dmz? nobody in the south uses that word for "friend" anymore--they use 친구 (chingu, /tɕʰin gu/). it's not verboten, but it's also not... used. at all.

This reminds me of 18 years ago I shared an office with a woman who grew up in the former Czechoslovakia. She often talked on the phone in Czech and while it was common for me to hear English words mixed in they were mainly technology or tech-lingo. One common English word that she used with dramatic frequency, however was "meeting". After I noticed the pattern and I asked her about it. She said roughly, "Of course there is a Czech word for 'meeting' but it has so many overtones of 'Communist Party Meeting' that I never use lest I give a scare to whomever I'm talking to."
posted by mmascolino at 1:14 PM on June 12 [46 favorites]


Question: Any idea how enforcement is supposed to be handled in this case? Both as in auditing compliance and penalties for non-compliance?
posted by Samizdata at 1:19 PM on June 12


Enforcement of what, exactly? There's no binding language in the document. It's just a statement of aspirations.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:20 PM on June 12 [21 favorites]


Jeff Tiedrich
Fun true fact: North Korea previously pledged denuclearization in 1985, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016. Each pledge was a lie. If you believe any promise Kim made to Trump, I have five failed casinos in Atlantic City to sell you.
posted by chris24 at 1:23 PM on June 12 [35 favorites]


As far as Japan and atomic weapons goes, I have no idea how long it'd take them to develop a working nuke, but they have the delivery systems in stock right this second from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The S-520 Sounding Rocket can carry a payload of 140kg to an altitude of 1,000 kilometers. Plenty far to launch into the DPRK or even parts of China.

If they really wanted to they could use an H-IIB (8,000kg payload) or H-IIA rocket (4,000kg payload) which can reach orbit and therefore anywhere on Earth.

Neither would be the most efficient or cheapest way to get a nuke to a target, but they'd work until Japanese engineers could develop a more cost effective system.

Peaceful space exploration and development systems can be switched to carrying atomic weapons simply by swapping out the payload. Developing a miniaturized nuke that could fit into any of their extant rockets would be the only tricky part, and there are plenty of engineers and physicists in Japan, as well as a fully functional atomic power program. Just guessing, but if it took them more than a year or three to develop a nuke I'd be very surprised.
posted by sotonohito at 1:24 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Needs reliable command-and-control, and robust launch facilities. Japan doesn't have any of that. You don't just go buy a mobile missile system off the shelf, and I can't see a missile being armed and launched from the Kagoshima facility.

Japan is theoretically speaking a threshold state, but it would take years to develop an actual capability. Events are moving much too quickly right now to predict where we'll be six months from now.
posted by JamesBay at 1:30 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Enforcement of what, exactly? There's no binding language in the document. It's just a statement of aspirations.

To be fair, once you reach a certain point this is true of every treaty ever broken.
posted by howfar at 1:30 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


I guess, but by treaty standards this is the equivalent of Al Capone taking a plea bargain consisting of him and Elliot Ness expressing their sincere mutual desire for a crime-free Chicago.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:36 PM on June 12 [29 favorites]


Japan has quite a lot of plutonium that they could use. Plutonium is an expensive but pretty easy way to make a bomb. It's Uranium that's a pain to centrifuge into a bomb-grade stuff.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:36 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Wait a second -- is this turning out to be that Trump is the James Franco character in the beginning of The Interview, taken in by the propaganda and the outward niceness of Kim Jong Un, but sadly there's no Seth Rogen to straighten him out?
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:40 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


As of today, Japan is completely and utterly isolated. Abe's approach of developing a close relationship with the Trump administration has failed. I think it's going to be a lot like Canada -- wait and see, and hope this dark time passes soon.

Why not try developing a closer relationship with other countries in the region? The Trump led US has not exactly been a boon for these other countries and not all of them are comfortable with a rising China either.
posted by FJT at 1:44 PM on June 12


Why not try developing a closer relationship with other countries in the region?

Japanese colonialism wasn't sunshine and roses for a lot of them, and it's not like Japan's ever really done anything like what Germany did in terms of atoning.
posted by anem0ne at 1:50 PM on June 12 [26 favorites]


Why not try developing a closer relationship with other countries in the region? The Trump led US has not exactly been a boon for these other countries and not all of them are comfortable with a rising China either.

Because if there's someone who's not attached to Trump it's Duterte? Or they could start WWIII by recognizing Taiwan?
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:52 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Or they could start WWIII by recognizing Taiwan?

Well, the summit did overshadow that shiny new totally-not-an-embassy embassy that the Americans just opened in Taipei.
posted by FJT at 1:55 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Oops, above link doesn't work. Here's the article.
posted by FJT at 2:03 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Fun true fact: North Korea previously pledged denuclearization in 1985, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016. Each pledge was a lie.

"Fun true facts" also turns out to be a lie. The Clinton Agreed Framework signed in 1994 did prevent North Korea from producing nuclear weapon for nearly eight years. However, the agreement was sabotaged by Republicans in Congress who refused to live up to the U.S. obligations regarding sanctions and trade, and finally by GW Bush who completely blew up the agreement with his "Axis of Evil" doctrine.

As a result of Bush's provocations, including the invasion of non-nuclear Iraq, North Korea kicked out the IAEA international inspectors and removed seals and surveillance cameras from nuclear facilities. They resumed weapon production. Shortly after they completed their first nuclear test.
posted by JackFlash at 2:29 PM on June 12 [40 favorites]


Why not try developing a closer relationship with other countries in the region?

yeah, read and re-read what anem0ne said. Japan not only refuses to apologize or atone - they have been consistently trying to rewrite (with, sadly, increasing success) the WWII narrative on a global stage (see: their statements to the UN re WWII over the decades up until now), slowly erasing/remaking their actual role in WWII and casting themselves not as aggressors or perpetrators of genocide in Asia but as victims. In this sense, Japan continues to wage WWII in terms of narrative-making: aggression, abuse and genocide is not a thing of the past when the aggressor/abuser continues to insist on a narrative in which they are the victim and not so much the perpetrator.

In fact, the very island this summit was held on - Sentosa - was one of the main sites for Japan's biggest civilian massacre in Singapore (the Sook Ching massacre). Sentosa was formerly and aptly named "Pulau Blakang Mati" ("death from behind").

Would be a bit ironic if, with all of Singapore's efforts at accomodating, organizing and paying ($20m...) for this summit, and even hosting the summit around that historically-significant massacre site, this somehow leads to Japan re-arming itself significantly.
posted by aielen at 2:29 PM on June 12 [14 favorites]


You can just put plutonium on top of a missile and have a dirty bomb. Or, synthesize some small pox. I read just the other day that some students were able to do this from various online sources. I'm just saying that if creating a WMD is the shortcut to getting what you want the world is going to get a lot more dangerous fast.

In the short term, I expect China will lift its sanctions and Kim's regime will get a lot more stable. Hard to argue that sanctions are needed against a great patriot who negotiates in the best interests of his country while striving for historic peace. Hard to have a coup (a reason Kim was afraid to leave the country) with the boost of support Kim will get from the meeting and Trump's accolades. Kim's regime may very well have been on its last legs. Also, any country that depends on the U.S. militarily will likely be thinking hard about contingency plans. Trump may be anomalous, but it would be irresponsible to bet your country on it.
posted by xammerboy at 2:38 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


At a news conference following the meeting, Trump stunned allies and his own military leaders by saying the US would stop "very provocative" and costly military exercises with South Korea

something something apology tour
posted by duffell at 2:39 PM on June 12 [12 favorites]


Also, I'm thinking the Evangelical leaders who have publicly decried North Korea's persecution of Christians will have something to say about this, no?

*waits for sound of chirping crickets*

Oh that's weird, why is the sun being blotted out OH MY GOD THOSE AREN'T CRICKETS, THAT'S A PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS
posted by duffell at 3:06 PM on June 12 [8 favorites]


Can we carve this into the moon with a fucking laser for all to see?

I know this probably goes without saying, but please, America, don’t laser-etch messages or branding onto the face of the moon.

Warmest regards,
Rest of World
posted by Construction Concern at 3:08 PM on June 12 [24 favorites]


@YonhapNews: N. Korea says Kim and Trump share recognition of step-by-step, simultaneous approach in denuclearization

@markmackinnon: North Korea’s official KCNA newswire is portraying Trump as having given in to Kim Jong-un’s “demand” [to stop military exercises]

This is why these summits normally have immediate readouts and joint statements: so North Korea wake up the next morning and start pumping out stories about what happened. Trump said his memory was so good, a readout was unnecessary.
posted by zachlipton at 3:15 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


I will be glad if all US troops return from South Korea, and I don't really care that much if it comes from as the result of Trump's insincere machinations. I'm not convinced that North Korea intends to proceed with denuclearization, but it certainly doesn't look like that's the policy of the United States either, and I'm not sure why it's more important to get nukes out of Kim Jong Un's hands than it is to get them out of Donald Trump's. I agree with Bernie Sanders' assessment that the meeting was a positive step, and I'm sickened that so many Democrats and liberals have been twisted by their (entirely justified) contempt for Trump into taking imperialistic, jingoistic, and militaristic stances.
posted by layceepee at 3:15 PM on June 12 [8 favorites]


I'm curious as to what is imperialistic, jingoistic, and militaristic about thinking its a bad idea for a head of state to meet and give legitimacy to the most inhumane, cruel, and despotic regime of the last 40 years?
posted by localhuman at 3:23 PM on June 12 [28 favorites]


Trump, or someone, knows exactly what they are doing. They now have a valid excuse to get American GIs out of harms way. Then they are free to attack NK without American lives lost.

Seoul? Do you think Trump would not be willing to sacrifice all of SK for a bigly political win at home?
posted by notreally at 3:40 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


I don't think Trump really had a damn thing to do with any of this, I think he's just the fucking cartoon mascot they sent out to put on a little commemorative show for whatever arrangements China/SK/NK have worked out amongst themselves. But I'm a Democrat so my hot takes are inherently suspect
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:46 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


I'm curious as to what is imperialistic, jingoistic, and militaristic about thinking its a bad idea for a head of state to meet and give legitimacy to the most inhumane, cruel, and despotic regime of the last 40 years?

Somebody already answered this more eloquently than I could: "the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them is ridiculous."
posted by layceepee at 3:48 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


BREAKING: Trump says he talked up North Korea's real estate, beachside hotel opportunities in Kim Jong Un meeting.

@psmith: Trump: "You've got great beaches... I said to him, you could have the greatest hotels in the world."

Namp'o is the largest North Korean city on the ocean (and about 30 miles from Pyongyang). According to weatherspark's database of 10,000 locations, the place with the most similar weather is Stickney, IL, just north of Chicago Midway airport. Here's a comparison of the weather between these two noted beachside hotel destinations -- the summer is muggier and rainier in Namp'o.

Just fractally stupid.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:00 PM on June 12 [7 favorites]


I'm curious as to what is imperialistic, jingoistic, and militaristic about thinking its a bad idea for a head of state to meet and give legitimacy to the most inhumane, cruel, and despotic regime of the last 40 years?
You mean Saudi Arabia? I can't think of a US President who didn't support, let alone meet, a rogues' gallery of heads of inhumane, cruel and despotic regimes.
posted by talos at 4:02 PM on June 12 [11 favorites]


Summers in Chicago are wonderful and I will not hear anything else.
posted by weed donkey at 4:04 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


As I said in the megathread yesterday, I'm pretty strongly in the camp that talking is better than not talking, even when it means handing awful people a PR victory. But have we ever been this unctuous to get so little in return? Talking to Kim is not the same thing as praising him as talented, loving his country, tough, worthy, an honor to meet him, etc... It's not the same thing as reducing concerns about horrific human rights abuses to the whataboutism of "I believe it’s a rough situation over there. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there."

Not talking isn't a punishment, but praise is certainly a reward. I'll take the cringeworthy handshake photos if there's a chance dialog can lead to a better future, but what benefit, whether to future peace to US interests or to the North Korean people, did all this flattery achieve?
posted by zachlipton at 4:04 PM on June 12 [26 favorites]


@martyn_williams, 11:03 PM - 11 Jun 2018
Anyone else spot this? There were two "Donald Trump" signing pens, NK official came in and shined up the one for Kim, then at the last minute Kim Yo Jong pulled out her own per to use instead of the one provided. Kim used that and back it went in her blazer. (Pool video)
Motherfucker wanted both of them to use his personal Donald Trump pens.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:14 PM on June 12 [7 favorites]


Here's a comparison of the weather between these two noted beachside hotel destinations -- the summer is muggier and rainier in Namp'o.

Hah yeah. I've only ever seen M*A*S*H, but my first thought was, "doesn't it...snow a lot?"
posted by rhizome at 4:15 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Why not try developing a closer relationship with other countries in the region?

Which countries? China is a totalitarian state that wishes to make Japan -- a liberal democracy that is certainly more liberal and democratic than the United States -- a client, not a partner.

Taiwan enjoys a good relationship with Japan, but Japan has to be mindful of China's attitude towards recognizing Taiwan as a country.

Japan enjoys a good relationship with Vietnam, notably investing in manufacturing and permitting technology transfer in defense (coast guard vessels).

Japan has enjoyed a good relationship with the Philippines, facilitating technology transfer (once again coast guard vessels) and investing in the country; Cebu is the site of the largest Japanese shipyards outside of Japan.

Japan enjoys a good relationship with Russia, but Russia is ruled by an oligarch; there is no rule of law, which makes relationships difficult. Japan would like its "Northern Territories" (Kuriles) returned, and it looked like that was going to happen, but Russia recently installed anti-ship missiles instead.

North Korea routinely lobs missiles at and over Japan.

With South Korea, I think Japan's biggest mistake has been to rely on the South Korean government to "manage" reconciliation. Japan has signed agreements at least two times with rightist governments in South Korea to "resolve" the comfort women issue. And, at least two times, these governments have been rejected by the South Korean people. More of a grassroots effort is needed.

Unfortunately, for whatever strange reason, Japan's ruling clique is enamored with the far right, and a lot of the Korean rhetoric ("comfort women were contractors" etc etc) is just dog whistle politics aimed at this small, small political rump. It doesn't make any sense, since most Japanese people do not hold these sorts of views.

The only explanation is that the rump of far-right lunatics in Japan have enough votes to be significant. But it could just be ideology. Abe, while a pragmatist, sincerely believes in the revisionist history crap.

But even if he didn't, and tried to build a relationship with South Korea, a country that holds similar liberal views and attitudes, he would still win elections. It doesn't make any sense.

It's always good to remember there are thoughtful, empathetic, influential politicians and public figures in Japan like Shii Kazuo, Edano Yukio, Hosako Nubuto, Renho and even the Emperor and Empress.

These are all people who would like to reconcile with the past.
posted by JamesBay at 5:33 PM on June 12 [10 favorites]


I wonder how this will end up comparing to Nixon in China. Any thoughts on that?
posted by clawsoon at 7:59 AM on June 12 [1 favorite +] [!]


I don't get this comparison at all. Nixon wasn't desperate for the legitimacy on the world stage that a summit would give him, and going to China wasn't a ploy to avoid his impeachment
posted by eustatic at 6:22 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Washington Post's Nicholas Kristof on June 6: "Democrats Childishly Resist Trump's North Korea Efforts"
Washington Post's Nicholas Kristof on June 12: "Trump Was Outfoxed in Singapore"

Cancel your subscription.
posted by JackFlash at 6:40 PM on June 12 [9 favorites]


For a more optimistic perspective: South Koreans Are Still Hopeful After the Trump-Kim Summit
posted by joethefob at 6:45 PM on June 12


I don't get this comparison at all. Nixon wasn't desperate for the legitimacy on the world stage that a summit would give him, and going to China wasn't a ploy to avoid his impeachment

Also Nixon was brilliant, possibly a genius, and prepared extensively and comprehensively and had Kissinger prepare the ground for him, also extensively and comprehensively. Nixon and Kissinger are not exactly moral paragons. One could even go so far as to say that they had ethical blindspots. But they had more intelligence and competence in their toenails than Trump and Bolton have put together.

Apropos of nothing, one thing that gets to me is (not in the quoted comment) the view on TV and online today that, hey, compared to the rhetoric of nuclear brinksmanship a few months ago this is a huge win! Be happy! Why are you poo-pooing a move away from nuclear war?

I get it. Talking is better than nuclear war. But as others more eloquent than I have pointed out this is the dynamic of abusiveness. Yeah, it's a lot better when your SO just pushes you out of the way and ignores you today than if he (or she) beats the shit out of you like last week but expecting us to be grateful about it is messed up. You don't get credit for just being a little shitty instead of an abusive violent monster. Even if its better to be a little shitty than a violent monster.

So no, I won't celebrate that Trump is not being a violent monster at this moment. I hope he continues to not be a violent monster but I won't cede an inch that this is something that should be praised rather than what should be the lowest of low baselines of what we should expect.
posted by Justinian at 6:57 PM on June 12 [17 favorites]


If you need more proof that Trump's brain is anchored in the wrong decade, while discussing the propaganda movie trailer:
The president was more talkative when discussing how Kim had reacted to the video, which Trump had presumably played for him during a brief, private meeting hours earlier.

“We didn’t have a big screen like you have the luxury of having,” Trump said. “We didn’t need it, because we had it on cassette, uh, an iPad.”
posted by peeedro at 7:03 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


“We didn’t need it, because we had it on cassette

If there's anyplace you are likely to find a Betamax machine, it would be North Korea.
posted by JackFlash at 7:05 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


Reports are that NK state media is reporting that Trump has agreed to lift sanctions on NK. I hope the media and our elected representatives check with the transcribers to see if that's true.
posted by Justinian at 7:07 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Washington Post's NYT's Nicholas Kristof on June 6: "Democrats Childishly Resist Trump's North Korea Efforts"
Washington Post's NYT's Nicholas Kristof on June 12: "Trump Was Outfoxed in Singapore"

Cancel your subscription.


Psst. Make sure you cancel the right subscription.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:12 PM on June 12 [29 favorites]


Kristof couldn't read the tea leaves if they actually spelled out "tea leaves."
posted by Max Power at 7:17 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Make sure you cancel the right subscription.

You're right, my mistake. But cancel them both. You can't go wrong.
posted by JackFlash at 7:21 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Actual Tweet from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL):
One more thing about KJU. While I know @potus is trying to butter him up to get a good deal, #KJU is NOT a talented guy. He inherited the family business from his dad & grandfather. He is a total weirdo who would not be elected assistant dog catcher in any democracy.

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:31 PM on June 12 [18 favorites]


Oh Rubio! I so want to believe that’s shade.
posted by sjswitzer at 7:41 PM on June 12 [11 favorites]


North Korea as a theater state
It is very symbolic that Kim Jong Eun is re-enacting his grandfather Kim Il Sung rather than his father Kim Jong Il in appearance and style. The heir to Kim Jong Il, who chose to defend the system with Military-First policy in the face of severe famine, decided to look after Kim Il Sung, who was once called, “a messiah rather than a dictator,” by the Cambridge economist Joan Robinson for North Korea’s social economic development during the 1950s after the Korean War. Kim Jong Eun identifies himself with the charismatic leader of economic prosperity rather than nuclear might. Depending on how the international community, especially the United States, responds to his changes, he will restructure his role. We could be watching Kim Jong Eun, a lean young leader in suits speaking fluent English in the international community in the near future.
posted by unliteral at 7:42 PM on June 12


a lean young leader in suits speaking fluent English in the international community in the near future.

lean?

I'm not mocking him, I just don't understand. What am I missing?
posted by Justinian at 7:45 PM on June 12


I so want to believe that’s shade

I almost believe it’s shade, but that would mean he’s implying that the 2016 election wasn’t functionally democratic, and that Rubio would be morally obligated to denounce the usurper President, and that honestly seems a bit out of character for Lil Marco.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:45 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Reports are that NK state media is reporting that Trump has agreed to lift sanctions on NK. I hope the media and our elected representatives check with the transcribers to see if that's true.

Trump said he didn't need notes because his memory is so good. The reason we have notes and joint statements is precisely so each side can't just say whatever they want like this.
posted by zachlipton at 7:54 PM on June 12 [16 favorites]


You ruined my deadpan sarcasm.
posted by Justinian at 8:01 PM on June 12 [8 favorites]


> Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish:
"I guess, but by treaty standards this is the equivalent of Al Capone taking a plea bargain consisting of him and Elliot Ness expressing their sincere mutual desire for a crime-free Chicago."

Teach me to hope this wasn't a complete pile of crap.
posted by Samizdata at 8:32 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


> weed donkey:
"Summers in Chicago are wonderful and I will not hear anything else."

I live downstate and you are DELUSIONAL!
posted by Samizdata at 8:38 PM on June 12


> JackFlash:
"“We didn’t need it, because we had it on cassette

If there's anyplace you are likely to find a Betamax machine, it would be North Korea."


A Kimimax machine. Since the family also created video players. They also decided the country only needs one. Sony ripped them off with the Betamax.
posted by Samizdata at 8:42 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


I know this probably goes without saying, but please, America, don’t laser-etch messages or branding onto the face of the moon.

TRU
posted by Daily Alice at 8:47 PM on June 12 [14 favorites]


Reports are that NK state media is reporting that Trump has agreed to lift sanctions on NK. I hope the media and our elected representatives check with the transcribers to see if that's true.

Trump said he didn't need notes because his memory is so good. The reason we have notes and joint statements is precisely so each side can't just say whatever they want like this.
posted by zachlipton at 10:54 AM on June 13 [3 favorites +] [!]


Seriously, will this lead to a tweet from 45 denying it was ever agreed? Will he say KJU just made it up. It would be so sad if the new BFFs broke up so soon. One of the two will have to be wrong, or at least some real diplomacy will have to take place... Oh yeah, nah.
posted by michswiss at 9:25 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


I think Trump will just ignore it and make no comment at all. I'm sure someone will ask Sarah Sanders and she'll somehow deflect without saying yes or no.
posted by Justinian at 9:54 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Josh Marshall at TPM: Nothingburger
Trump got nothing. Indeed, what North Korea agreed to here is much less than it has agreed to in other North Korea-United States engagements and agreements over the last 25 years. Getting nothing, he’s already calling for an end to US-South Korea military exercises . . . With all that said though, these arguable downsides are easy to overstate.
Farley at LGM:
So yeah; the DPRK gets most of what it wants. On the upside, Northeast Asia is probably a little bit safer, although the sense of tension that pervaded last year was mostly (but not entirely) a result of Trump’s own rhetoric. The nuclear non-proliferation regime takes a bit of a hit.
I basically agree--this is not good but on its own not that bad. My confidence that it won't lead to anything better or sustained means I am not considering this "on its own". Trump has shown he doesn't have the attention span to see the details hammered out and his personnel (including Bolton!) certainly won't be working to get it done.

In other news I lost count of how many times NPR called this meeting 'historic' during my 20 minute morning commute. This was a meeting with no substance. But NPR likes reporting on pomp and thinks giving airtime airbags from "both sides" counts as substance. MeFites, don't let friends go around thinking NPR news is doing a great job in these times of "fake news". It isn't.
posted by mark k at 9:55 PM on June 12 [7 favorites]


I gave up on NPR when they started parroting the "repeal and replace" line.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:24 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


for now, trumpers are still (albeit weakly) murmuring about human rights and how this "summit" glossed over the attrocities of NK. but wait. a couple more years of trump and human rights will be redefined as yet another recent, possibly postmodern betrayal of the ancient glories of christendom.
posted by wibari at 11:09 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


TPM Nothingburger: “Conferring legitimacy” is a thing but a generally overrated thing.

I like Talking Points Memo, but I really think he's wrong here. Kim's position was very weak in North Korea and internationally. This meeting alone will give him huge credibility at home, will help lift sanctions, will help him stave off a coup. That's not a nothingburger.

Kim was never popularly believed to be a legitimate leader at home. He inherited his leadership where his grandfather and father were seen to have earned it. There was talk within the country at large and within the military of getting rid of him. I know it's not big to us, but inside North Korea meeting with the U.S. president is seen as a huge achievement in and of itself that Kim's father never managed to pull off. The meeting is a much bigger deal for Kim than calling off the military drills.

There's a great documentary named Icarus about Russia's gaming drug testing during the Olympics. It just seems like a ridiculous amount of effort for some gold medals. Then, after the games, when Putin's support surges, he invades the Ukraine. It's a chilling lesson in perception as political power.
posted by xammerboy at 11:27 PM on June 12 [16 favorites]


Then, after the games, when Putin's support surges, he invades the Ukraine. It's a chilling lesson in perception as political power.

The upcoming World Cup in Russia is also considered pretty much to be not so much an exercise to boost Russia internationally but to boost Putin internally.
posted by PenDevil at 11:38 PM on June 12 [7 favorites]




This morning:

@RealDonaldTrump:
Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!
Barely two hours later - @RealDonalTrump:
So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have “begged” for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!
The contrast of 'America's REAL enemy is the media' with 'North Korea has wonderful potential and also MISSION ACCOMPLISHED' is kind of breathtaking: this is the President, declaring that 'the nuclear threat is ended' (a lie, in that North Korea still has all the nuclear weapons and all the missiles is did last week) and then attacking the free press as the enemy of the country for reporting the truth (that the deal doesn't accomplish much). This is hardly the first time that the President has attacked the press, but the contrast in language seems especially notable.
posted by cjelli at 7:22 AM on June 13 [30 favorites]


Probability that the president knows/can spell "promulgated": 0%.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:33 AM on June 13 [12 favorites]


@RealDonaldTrump: Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.

Trump is a reality TV celebrity. He operates as a reality TV celebrity. This whole dust up with Kim was created by Trump complete with name calling and throwing things, right out of a reality TV script. You build up the dramatic tension and weeks later resolve it all with a tribal council. Trump knows exactly what he is doing -- as far as reality TV ratings go. It's all entertainment for the rubes.
posted by JackFlash at 8:21 AM on June 13 [21 favorites]


lean? I'm not mocking him, I just don't understand. What am I missing?

There have been rumours (often sketchily sourced, and sometimes conflicting with other rumours) that Kim Jong Un intentionally gained weight to look more like Kim Il-sung, because the close resemblance would play well in North Korea and help him gain public affection and legitimacy. The logic here is that he'd undertake a similar transformation and alter his presentation for "the international community" (read: embrace a more western aesthetic, to better play to a new and different audience).
posted by halation at 9:21 AM on June 13


I'm curious as to what is imperialistic, jingoistic, and militaristic about thinking its a bad idea for a head of state to meet and give legitimacy to the most inhumane, cruel, and despotic regime of the last 40 years?

Donald Trump hasn't been ruling the US for 40 years, but you're right that the US has committed plenty of atrocities during that time, I'll give you that.

But seriously, US imperialism is the reason why the Korean Peninsula looks the way it does now. Dean Rusk suggested the 38th parallel boundary which demarcated US (South) and USSR (North) areas of occupation. The USSR shortly withdrew after WWII's end, but the US did not, helping run a puppet government and counter-insurgency program which crushed indigenous leftist organizing before the start of what is usually referred to as The Korean War. In that War, the Communists would have overrun the South and united the country if the US had not intervened and pushed them back to the present DMZ.

In the later phases of the war, the US conducted a cruel and murderous (and according to scholar Bruce Cumings, genocidal) bombing campaign that absolutely leveled the North. It is generally recognized today that in WWII and the Vietnam War, the US conducted similarly unjustifiable bombing of civilian areas. To put the bombing of the North in perspective, the scale of urban destruction surpassed that of Germany and Japan in WWII, and North Korea at the time of the Korean War had more populous cities and urban industrial installations than Vietnam did during the Vietnam War. You can hear the afore-mentioned Cumings giving some background on these events here and here.

Now, you may say, yes, these were terrible things for the US to do, but that was a long time ago, and let's let bygones be bygones, eh? Well, there's two problems with that. The first is that the status quo established by the end of the Korean War persists to the present day, which includes a garrison of US forces in the South as well as command over South Korea's armed forces, should a hot war again break out. The second is that the US has been maintaining a super-aggressive posture towards North Korea in recent years, continuously threatening them both in words and in deeds. The Team Spirit / Foal Eagle military exercises (that Trump quite correctly, and with major understatement, called "provocative") are massive military drills that are conducted close to North Korea's borders. Furthermore, these drills are specifically designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea.

So, yes, as long as the status quo remains in place, a situation created and maintained by US imperialism will predominate. Any effort towards lessening these tensions -- tensions which the US continuously contributes to -- is a welcome step towards a more peaceful, and possibly unified, Korean Peninsula. Negotiations with North Korea (who, along with the US and China are parties to the armistice ending the Korean War) will, of course, have to be a part of that effort. The jingoism is acting like the US is the aggrieved party in this conflict, or that the North Korean leadership doesn't have legitimacy (or that the US can confer legitimacy on the North Korean regime).

(By the way, North Korea has plenty of competition for the title of "most inhumane, cruel, and despotic regime of the last 40 years," but many of those states are US allies, so there is no hue and cry raised in the US press about them. Without defending the internal practices of the North Korean regime, which of course provide plenty to object to, the treatment of the country in the US press is often quite misleading.)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:45 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]


Dean Rusk suggested the 38th parallel boundary which demarcated US (South) and USSR (North) areas of occupation.

And it was as well thought-out and professional as most American foreign interventions:
On August 10, 1945 two young officers – Dean Rusk and Charles Bonesteel – were assigned to define an American occupation zone. Working on extremely short notice and completely unprepared, they used a National Geographic map to decide on the 38th parallel. They chose it because it divided the country approximately in half but would place the capital Seoul under American control. No experts on Korea were consulted.
The border is "not a natural division between countries, but an arbitrary line in the middle of Korea drawn by American and Soviet planners."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:58 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


In that War, the Communists would have overrun the South and united the country if the US had not intervened and pushed them back to the present DMZ.

North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, and had taken over most of the south by mid-September (except for the green part on this map). UN forces counterattacked on September 15 and had retaken most of South Korea by the end of September. UN forces crossed the 38th parallel on October 1, 1950.

The UN forces took most of North Korea by mid-October. China had warned that they would intervene against the UN Command in Korea if the UN got too close to China. China's People's Volunteer Army attacked the UN troops and pushed them back into South Korea by the end of December. China made a series of offensives in early 1951 and the front stabilized near the current border around July 1951. The war was a stalemate until the armistice was signed in July 1953.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:42 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]




Without defending the internal practices of the North Korean regime...the treatment of [North Korea] in the US press is often quite misleading

In what manner is US press coverage of North Korea misleading?
posted by cjelli at 11:51 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


While Bruce Cumings is a very charming speaker and a decent professor whose classes I liked, I would also caution that he's quite leftist and so his arguments w/r/t North Korea should be weighed with that consideration.

I also don't think it's necessarily jingoistic to question the legitimacy of the Kim Dynasty, particularly given how they've created a mythology surrounding themselves that traced back to the founding myths of Korea itself.

And I definitely don't think it's imperialist or bad to be concerned at the apparent abrupt cancellation of the joint military exercises precisely because of the US-ROK SOFA. My ambivalence is not because I support that imperialism or that I necessarily support American troops in Korea, but almost entirely because of the capriciousness and instability of the current leadership of the American regime.

Like. I'm super glad if this leads to a drawdown and more calm. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop--I don't trust Kim Jong Un, but that's a known unknown. It's this orange fuck that's the loose cannon. And that's why I'm still cringing, and that's why I don't believe we're anywhere close to out of the woods yet. Because I'm still terrified that this is Trump's way of buttering up someone before just ass-fucking them with big ol' nukes sans lube.

Because this isn't just people over there for me. That's my family who'll die if shit goes wrong.

So like... Maybe don't assume my discomfort over all of this is because I want to continue the American Imperialist state, or that there's some left-right partisan hate for Trump, or that I don't view the NK through any sort of "correct" lens.
posted by anem0ne at 12:25 PM on June 13 [20 favorites]


Like.

I just don't want to be Abramsverse Spock, y'all. I'm just not that strong and I just don't want where I'm from ashed.
posted by anem0ne at 12:27 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Like. I don't want American troops on Korean soil, but I also want them there. Because if American lives are on the line, then some dumbshit American strongman might not necessarily decide to start a war because he's self-conscious about his poor deal-making and tiny penis.

I don't want those frequent joint military exercises, but if the SOFA stands as is, the two need to work together and they need to practice.
posted by anem0ne at 12:49 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Canada gains numerous concessions from Trump after becoming a ruthless dictatorship pursuing WMDs
Canada, now known as The People’s Democratic Republic of Canada, made a quick shift to a hereditary one-party system overnight, which Trump thought was “a strong move.”

The revised history of Canada claims that Supreme Leader Justin Trudeau had inherited the reign from his father in 2015, Supreme Leader Pierre Trudeau.

Reports from inside the large, secretive state indicate that some political opponents were ruthlessly executed with anti-aircraft guns, while Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, and Elizabeth May have been sentenced to 30 years hard labour in a Winnipeg gulag. Upon hearing the horrifying news, Trump immediately called Trudeau “a strong negotiator” on Twitter.
posted by bonehead at 12:49 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


I mean, I think that's why I've had so much trouble with a lot of leftist discourse about this summit, and its aftereffects. It's all about getting rid of Pax Americana and making common cause with workers which is all very nice and well in theory, but I don't live in that world. Neither does my family, nor the rest of the minjok.
posted by anem0ne at 12:52 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


This is also probably a preview of the all-but-inevitable debate about what 'denuclearization of the Korean peninsula' means and what various parties understood it to mean at any particular time

That was yesterday; today, we're already there. Sec. State Pompeo responding to reporters' questions --
Q: You said - the day before, you said [that 'verifiable and irreversible' is] our only objective [but] it's not in the statement. Why is it not in the statement? And the President said it will -
Pompeo: It's in the statement. It's in the statement. You're just wrong about that.
(It is missing from the joint statement.)
Q: How is it in the statement? And I am also --
Pompeo: You're just -- because 'complete' encompasses verifiable and irreversible. It just -- I suppose we -- you could argue semantics, but let me assure you that it's in the document.
Q: And the President [also] said it will be verified.
Pompeo: Of course it will.
...
Q: Can you tell us a little more about...how?
Pompeo: Just so you know, you could ask me this -- I find that question insulting and ridiculous, and, frankly, ludicrous. I just have to be honest with you. It's a game and on ought not play games with serious matters like this.
Q: But how will it be verified? Did you discuss that?
Pompeo: The modalities are beginning to develop.
There'll be a great deal of work to do. There's a long way to go, there's much to think about, but don't say silly things.
I am entirely certain that 'the modalities are beginning to develop' will definitely clear up any remaining semantic ambiguity about whether the word 'complete' 'encompasses' 'verifiable and irreversible' or whether it does not.
posted by cjelli at 12:59 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


In what manner is US press coverage of North Korea misleading?

In just about every way possible! Really, it's astounding how poorly how poorly the US media covers Korea; I would compare it to the quality of US media coverage about Palestine. And this is not just a Trump-related phenomena; the poor coverage well precedes his administration.

One indication of how badly Korea is covered is the near-absence of Korean -- both North and South -- perspectives in the US media. Thus Westerners remain perplexed, for instance, why South Koreans would be applauding Kim Jong-Un's performance in Singapore. Or why North Korea feels the need to maintain a high degree of military mobilization. Or the role of South Korea's recent democratic movement in bringing the current South Korean president to power with a mandate to talk to North Korea. Etc.

Another indication of poor coverage is the false predictions. For example, North Korea is constantly said to be on the verge of collapse. But, of course, this collapse hasn't happened.

Much of the reason for the poor coverage can be laid at the doorstep of the Cold War, which arguably began in Korea and, in some sense, still hasn't ended there. US state attitudes about defeating the Communist menace color all mainstream US news coverage of Korea. This has been true for a while; see this Humphrey Bogart-narrated propaganda film about Communist atrocities in the Korean War (this actually turned out to show a massacre by the anti-Communist forces, knowingly covered up by the US... see the second Cumings video I linked above for background).

Another part of the reason for poor coverage is North Korea's press statements which are, often, quite wacky. But it is easier to focus on sensational trivialities rather than substance, and I think the US media often falls into that trap.

I think another reason for the poor coverage is the US' interest in not discussing the history. It is quite embarrassing for some that peasant armies proved a match for the US armed forces, rather like in Vietnam. And of course the history of US and US-backed atrocities is also something that the US state would rather sweep under the rug.

It's hard to give a really comprehensive answer to your question, and I'm speaking in rather broad strokes here, but just generally when I see coverage of Korea in the US, there is a minimum of actual expertise and almost zero history brought to bear. Perhaps, at the risk of consistently recommending the same person, I can let Cumings address your question (the full essay is worth reading):
In the West, treatment of North Korea is one-sided and ahistorical. No one even gets the names straight. During Abe’s Florida visit, Trump referred to him as ‘Prime Minister Shinzo’. On 29 April, Ana Navarro, a prominent commentator on CNN, said: ‘Little boy Un is a maniac.’ The demonisation of North Korea transcends party lines, drawing on a host of subliminal racist and Orientalist imagery; no one is willing to accept that North Koreans may have valid reasons for not accepting the American definition of reality. Their rejection of the American worldview – generally perceived as indifference, even insolence in the face of overwhelming US power – makes North Korea appear irrational, impossible to control, and therefore fundamentally dangerous.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:39 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Noisy, while you're not wrong in that the Western media often gets Korea wrong, you don't help your argument by saying things like "South Koreans are applauding Kim Jong Un's performance", which I'm not seeing anywhere in the Jacobin (also quite leftist) piece.

Even Hankyoreh, the most left-leaning of the major South Korean news sources, which I linked above, hasn't done that yet.

There is a difference between being cautiously optimistic about the summit and hoping for peace, which, yes is something most, if not all, Koreans want, and doing that. There is a difference between being really supportive of dovish, center-left President Moon and cheering Kim Jong Un on.

Some South Koreans are ambivalent about the North's nuclear programme, viewing it as a something a unified, democratic Korea would inherit. That doesn't mean that South Korea, as a whole, is thrilled with NK nukes...
posted by anem0ne at 1:50 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Not to get into a back and forth here - I generally agree with some of the comment - but:
No one even gets the names straight. During Abe’s Florida visit, Trump referred to him as ‘Prime Minister Shinzo’. On 29 April, Ana Navarro, a prominent commentator on CNN, said: ‘Little boy Un is a maniac.’

Come on, that's not fair.

Yes, Trump gets basic stuff wrong, but he doesn't even understand the difference between health insurance and cheap late night life insurance, or any number of other things. And the fact that a Fox News / CNN commentator is an idiot or got something wrong is not exactly breaking news. I don't recall a single instance of the Obama State Department or the NYT or the WaPo getting these names wrong, for example. So that's very much a nut-picking.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:51 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Even more so, as this English-language explainer gives, I'd be wary of relying on Western leftist publications to really give a good understanding of the actual difference between the left and right in Korea.

I think the Jacobin would be gravely disappointed looking at Moon's economic record, for instance, as would any socialist.

I know as a trans queer Korean-American I find him uncomfortably 90s Clintonesque in his relationship to people like me.
posted by anem0ne at 1:54 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Noisy, while you're not wrong in that the Western media often gets Korea wrong, you don't help your argument by saying things like "South Koreans are applauding Kim Jong Un's performance", which I'm not seeing anywhere in the Jacobin (also quite leftist) piece.

Er, read the first paragraph?
On Tuesday, as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un shook hands for their much-anticipated summit in Singapore, one Korean reporter observed a curious episode. Koreans watching the scene unfold on a TV screen at a railway station in Seoul began applauding. Meanwhile, some nearby Western tourists, perturbed by this development, scratched their heads in confusion.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:55 PM on June 13


If you read the rest of the article, and Korean-language sources, and that paragraph, it does not say they're applauding Kim Jong Un's performance, but rather the fact that perhaps a detente has been reached.
posted by anem0ne at 1:57 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


I mean, it goes back to the way people who aren't minjok seem to approach Korea and Koreans. Remember all that shit about how everyone believed that President Moon said Trump deserved the Nobel?

That's not what he really said. He let it slide because you have to "serve the great" in his position, but he really just said all HE wanted, all that Korea wanted, was peace, and he didn't care who got the Nobel.
posted by anem0ne at 1:59 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


And as far as the names thing goes, I do think it's fair.

Even on MeFi, bastion of reasonable, well-informed online discourse, we have to have regular reminders that there's nobody named Un.
posted by anem0ne at 2:01 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


it does not say they're applauding Kim Jong Un's performance, but rather the fact that perhaps a detente has been reached

... which has a little something to do with Kim Jong-Un's recent actions, yeah?

I am well aware that whatever some South Koreans were doing in that moment, it almost certainly did not signal support for the DPRK. And Jacobin has no sympathy for the DPRK either, by the way.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:14 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


And of course the history of US and US-backed atrocities is also something that the US state would rather sweep under the rug.

From the Cumings piece:
The historian Hun Joon Kim found that at least 300,000 people were detained and executed or simply disappeared by the South Korean government in the first few months after conventional war began. My own work and that of John Merrill indicates that somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people died as a result of political violence before June 1950, at the hands either of the South Korean government or the US occupation forces. In her recent book Korea’s Grievous War, which combines archival research, records of mass graves and interviews with relatives of the dead and escapees who fled to Osaka, Su-kyoung Hwang documents the mass killings in villages around the southern coast.​ In short, the Republic of Korea was one of the bloodiest dictatorships of the early Cold War period; many of the perpetrators of the massacres had served the Japanese in their dirty work – and were then put back into power by the Americans.
We did the same thing in Korea as we did in Vietnam: turned away the indigenous guerilla fighters that had fought--with US help--against the Japanese occupiers and got the occupiers to work for us and the military dictatorships we installed.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:15 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


I didn't say the Jacobin supported the DPRK. But it's interesting that you seemed to think so from my words.

It's almost like the way words and phrases are used can influence how people read and understand what's happened, isn't it?

Saying that South Koreans are applauding Kim Jong Un's performance is a gross mischaracterisation of that paragraph and scene.
posted by anem0ne at 2:18 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


I mean, by that logic, we can say Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

They were both there and agreed to peace.
posted by anem0ne at 2:21 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Lord knows Nobel Peace prizes have been handed out for less.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:23 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Donald Trump Actually Seems to Believe He Denuclearized North Korea
It’s one thing for Trump to declare the summit a victory despite its modest results. But it’s quite another thing to pretend to have solved a threat decades in the making with a few handshakes and a 403-word statement. One has to imagine that, in Pyongyang right now, Kim Jong Un and his advisers are pulling up Trump’s Twitter feed. Fresh off a meeting in which they committed to nothing concrete and the president of the United States implicitly acknowledged North Korea as a nuclear-weapons power by noting their “very powerful nuclear weapons” at a press conference, they might be marveling at Trump’s boasts and asking themselves, “Is that all it took?”
posted by kirkaracha at 4:12 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


I'm no longer confident Trump is just a liar. I'm now concerned he might actually be delusional. Not delusional as in hallucinations and such but as in an inability to perceive the world as it is rather than as you believe it should be. Can narcissism actually make you delusional?
posted by Justinian at 4:15 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]


It sounds like the summit was kind of one of the pre-conditions needed to get started on connections not only between the Koreas, but between Korea and the rest of the continent. The key word in the Trump-Kim show:
This logical sequence of the Sino-Russian roadmap is based on what South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed with Kim Jong-un at the inter-Korean summit last April. And that ties in with what North Korea, South Korea and Russia had already discussed at the Far East summit in Vladivostok last September, as Asia Times reported; economic integration between Russia and the two Koreas, including the crucial connectivity of a future Trans-Korean railway with the Trans-Siberian.

Once again, this is all about Eurasia integration; increased trade between North Korea and Northeast China, concerning mostly Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces; and total, physical connectivity of both Koreas to the Eurasian heartland.

That’s yet another instance of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) meeting the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). And not by accident South Korea wants to connect deeper with both BRI and the EAEU.
posted by FJT at 4:16 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Ask and ye shall receive... President Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian Lawmakers

On a different note, a roundup of recent events and press coverage by Tim Shorrock in the Nation
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:01 PM on June 13


And the part you omitted:
Nominations for the world’s most coveted prize are open to lawmakers, academics and researchers from around the world. The Nobel Committee in Oslo typically receives hundreds of nominations each year, and past candidates have also included Russian President Vladimir Putin and Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. A record 330 people were nominated this year.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:09 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


that nation article seems to also forget a lot of the tensions ratcheted up precisely because of trump's aggressive remarks, so, like.

i'm still not letting my guard down because only one of those parties i sorta trust to have some form of regard for the peninsula, and it's not the american regime.
posted by anem0ne at 6:36 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


I'm no longer confident Trump is just a liar. I'm now concerned he might actually be delusional. Not delusional as in hallucinations and such but as in an inability to perceive the world as it is rather than as you believe it should be. Can narcissism actually make you delusional?

posted by Justinian 13 hours ago [9 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Narcissism is a delusion.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:59 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


oops, wrong thread
posted by kirkaracha at 12:04 PM on June 14




The Vox podcast "Worldly" today had a podcast about this and one thing I learned is that the Korean progressives mostly do not love the relationship with the US. And they are in general happy to see that alliance end. President Moon is ostensibly moderate, but on the progressive side, so for the first time in quite a while, both the American and ROK leadership are ... not very committed to the relationship.

Its been hard to find stories about South Korea's perspective, and it feels like a lot of the West is ignoring the agency that they have in this situation.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:13 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I mean, it's hard to love a foreign military with bases on your soil where soldiers who commit crimes aren't necessarily given over to your jurisdiction.

Among other problems.
posted by anem0ne at 9:46 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]








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