10 March 2018

Why The Rocket Man Offered to Meet The Orange Man

Even to a cynical observer like the resident contrarian of this humble soapbox, the breathless coverage of Kim Jong-un's reported offer to talk to Trump was astonishing.

Pundits stepped over each other to declare it a historic moment similar to Nixon going to China.
"The [significance of this] could almost be compared to President Nixon meeting China's Chairman Mao, to a lesser degree," analyst Michael Madden of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS told the BBC.
The White House seized upon this unexpected development as proof that Trump's unhinged madman approach brought Kim Jong-un to the table.
[Trump] believes his "maximum pressure" strategy and his work to get China on side and help squeeze Pyongyang economically is working. Reporters say he casually mentioned in the White House briefing room that he hoped they would give him credit for Kim Jong-un's offer. His voters certainly will.
What is puzzling to me is the bogus premise of this hullabaloo: I cannot envisage a scenario under which Kim Jong-un would agree to a denuclearization. Something most pundits seem to take at face value.

Think about it, without those nukes North Korea is a joke of a country. It cannot even feed its own people.
Only about 20% of North Korea's mountainous terrain is arable land. Much of the land is only frost-free for six months, allowing only one crop per year. The country has never been self-sufficient in food, and many experts considered it unrealistic to try to be.
It has nothing of value beyond coal and its economy would be unable to compete even with the poorest of nations if it wasn't cut off from the world.

The Rocket Man knows that people take him seriously and are willing to talk to him only because of his nukes. And he knows what happens when autocratic rulers give up their weapons of mass destruction.

Bashar Al-Assad gave up his chemical and biological weapons and next thing you know, he is the president of a failed state held together by Russian intervention. We all know how it ended for Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi.

The minute Kim Jong-un agrees to a comprehensive demilitarization, his fate will be sealed and he knows it.

Some observers believe that his primary goal is the loosening of sanctions.
"By dangling before the US once again 'denuclearization of the Korean peninsula' and 'moratorium on nuclear and missile tests', Kim seeks to weaken sanctions, pre-empt US military pre-emption, and condition the world into accepting North Korea as a legitimate nuclear state," says Prof Lee Sung-yoon from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.
I don't see it.

Unless he capitulates, which he cannot do, there is no clear path to the loosening of sanctions. Dangling promises will not do it. Especially not when the White House claimed he came to the table because of their tough stance. If anything they will tighten the screws.

So why did he do it?

I think it was an unintended consequence of something Trump did for completely unrelated reasons.

In the last couple of months, Trump has been feeling the Mueller noose tightening around his neck and everytime a new revelation hit the Post of the Times or the Wall Street Journal, he announced something outrageous. Predictable the media focused on the outrage du jour and Russia inquiry was pushed to the back burner.

The latest was the tariffs to be imposed on steel and aluminum, followed by a general threat of a global trade war. One that led to the resignation of Gary Cohn.

My guess is that Kim Jong-un grew very concerned that, in a looming trade war, China might throw him under the bus and use him as a bargaining chip to get some concessions from the US.

Without China buying his coal and selling him the basic necessities to keep his impoverished population alive Kim Jong-un would not last long. Or, to put it more morbidly, he might not have enough people to rule upon.

Remember the Great Famine where up to 3,500,000 people died of starvation and famine related illnesses?

So he now hopes to appear reasonable to China. He desperately wants Xi Jinping to think that he is doing all he can to work out a deal. And he counts on Trump to screw the process up.

Trump is not just a "dotard" he is a spoiled idiot with the attention span of a Golden Retriever puppy. He is not a great deal maker as he went bankrupt six times. Which, as you know, is very hard to do in casino business where people come literally to hand over their money to you.

The spoiled obese youngun who live in seclusion is not alone in assuming that Trump would fail badly trying to outmaneuver him.
Prof Robert E Kelly at Busan University in South Korea tweeted: "Trump doesn't study or even read. He tends to fly wildly off script. And May means there's almost no time for all the staff prep necessary."
To me, the likely next step is Trump (or people around him) finding an excuse to cancel the meeting. But in the unlikely event that they meet, The Rocket Man expects The Orange Man to say and do something so blatantly stupid that even people who hate Kim Jong-un will be unable to fault him.

But you would not know any of this from the glowing media coverage. Once again the corporate media acts as Trump's enabler.

In a post entitled "Everything Trump Does Is A Victory", Atrios (Duncan Black) makes this point.
If Obummer had walked into the press room one day and said a big announcement was coming and then the big announcement was that he was going to meet with the North Korean leader with no "preconditions" or no pre-negotiated concessions, NK nukes would have been unnecessary because DC's "foreign policy community" would have imploded the city themselves in a black hole of rage and the Washington Post would not have had this headline ['Trump secures a diplomatic coup with Korea"].
It would have been more like, "Experts say naive Obama is Rocket Man's little bitch."
Indeed, this is how it would have been covered. 

There are different rules for Republicans in our liberal media.

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