The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

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Trump the Peacemaker?

So, Trump recently said the US would be withdrawing from Syria. Now, we have news that Trump has ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans for leaving Afghanistan.

During the 2016 election, I refused to endorse either candidate; I considered Clinton a war-mongerer, with a non-zero chance of starting a war with Russia over Syria. Trump, was, of course, beyond the pale in so many ways.

However, as I told an American friend, by 2016 I was done prioritizing American lives and well-being over those of other nationalities. Before then, I had, slightly, because I believed that if the US could be turned around, as the hegemonic power, that would help everyone else.

But by 2016 it was clear that the US was basically hopeless. Everyone’s blood is the same color, everyone suffers the same. Bad things happening domestically in the US do not trump American mass-murder and terrible policy to other nations.

Now I don’t know if Trump will actually withdraw from Syria or Afghanistan; just as I don’t know how real the North Korean negotiations will turn out to be. (I just want a peace treaty out of that mess.)

But Trump has a chance to come out of this looking a lot better than Obama. All he has to do is stop a couple wars, and not start a war.

Something Obama (Libya) was unable to do.

Non-American lives matter.

Oh, and withdrawing will save some American lives, too, though a trivial number compared to how many foreigners’ lives it will save.

Plus it will correct a monumental geopolitical error. Bin Laden’s entire plan was to get US boots on the ground, prove the US military could be be beaten, and bleed the US dry. Americans, in their hubris, walked right into his trap.

Maybe time to step out of it.

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The North Korea Summit

So, again, this is good. The US and North Korea have never signed a peace treaty to end the Korean war, and they should. It is unclear what, exactly, hawkish critics are scared Trump is going to “give away” to Kim.

China has tightened sanctions (not sure I like this, but if it lead to the talks, fine). North Korea has suspended its tests and released prisoners.

As for all the hand-wringers whining about human rights, what can be said about North Korea is that it is not aiding a multimillion person genocide in Yemen, and the US is. Shut up, you flaming hypocrites.

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Peace in Korea and the Trump Paradox

So, North Korea and South Korea are discussing an official peace treaty to end the Korean war; the two countries have only been under an armistice. Kim Jong Un has met with his South Korean counterpart and has made noises about ending North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for guarantees of peace.

It appears that the move to meet with Trump is still on and will probably happen.

When I wrote about this previously, a lot of people thought it was impossible because Trump is incompetent.

But it’s steaming ahead, though not yet guaranteed.

Which leads us to the Trump paradox: He won the primary and the election, yet he’s incompetent? He lived like a very rich man, even if his business is deeply dubious. He got most of what he wanted from life.

And he may get a Korean peace deal, something no President since the Korean war has been able to achieve (or perhaps didn’t want to achieve–in which they were wrong).

So what is competence? If you crush all your primary opponents and win the Presidency are you incompetent?

Well, yeah, about some things. Clearly Trump is incompetent in a lot of ways. But I recall an interview I read with Bannon (behind a paywall I can’t get past right now) in which the interviewer said to Bannon: “If you could get even Trump elected, could you get me elected,” and Bannon said (paraphrased): “No dude. Trump was a blunt instrument. He was able to do rally after rally, speech after speech, like a machine, far more than Clinton could do. For that sort of thing he had endless energy.”

In other words, at rallies and in whipping up crowds, Trump was the amazing energizer bunny of presidential candidates.

People keep underestimating Trump. The Clinton campaign went so far as to do their best to help him win the primary, assuming that he’d be easy to crush in the general.


If a Korean peace treaty is signed while Trump is President, let alone if Kim gives up his nukes, that will be a great accomplishment.

Of course it could well be bullshit. It could fall apart. But we’re now closer than we have been in almost 70 years.

We could use a little more incompetence like this.

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Trump Is Right to Talk to Kim

“Only Nixon could go to China.”

North Korea and America never made peace after the Korean war. It’s just an armistice.

The North Koreans have repeatedly said they want a peace, Americans have repeatedly said no–long before it was about nukes.

Bill Clinton had a nuclear deal, Bush Jr. tore it up. Then he invaded a country that had no nukes: Iraq after the UN made damn sure there weren’t any.

Then Qaddafi gave up his nuke program. His reward for that was death, but only after being sodomized by a knife. Hillary Clinton and Obama get the nod for that one. (Clinton convinced Obama, who was initially inclined not to support “regime change” in Libya.)

So, frankly, I’m not sure that, if I were Kim, there’s any way I could be convinced to give up my nukes. It looks dangerous. Still, perhaps a deal can be made, and North Korea is armed to the teeth conventionally, with huge amounts of conventional artillery pointed at Seoul.

But the bottom line is this: Whether you like Trump or not, trying to make peace with North Korea is the right thing to do. Another president should have done it long ago. I have my doubts that Trump will manage it, but he’s right to try, and if he succeeds he will deserve praise.

Now if he’d just grow up about Iran and stop talking about tearing up that nuke deal.

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Korea Claims to Test a Hydrogen Bomb

Meant for ICBMs. AKA: Metropolis killers capable of reaching the US.

North Korea is a nuclear armed state now, and must be dealt with as such.

Note that this mess is George W. Bush’s fault. There was a deal in place, under Clinton, which gave North Korea what it wanted in exchange for not further developing nukes, and Bush cancelled it. It wasn’t the greatest deal, but it was better than this.

Right, so there are two choices here. Go to war with North Korea in a sneak attack. To reliably take out their nukes, the US would have to use nukes itself. China has said that it would defend North Korea if the US attacks it, however, and if they do, we’re talking WWIII. The US would probably “win,” but it’s quite likely it would be a nuclear war.

AKA: No winners. And even if China doesn’t get involved, much of Seoul goes up in flames and if the North Koreans do get off a nuke, well, Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolis, could get hit.

Alternatively, perhaps it is time to sign a peace treaty with North Korea and integrate it into the world economy, in exchange for no further development of nukes. I mean, strictly speaking, North Korea is still at war with the US and other nations, because no peace treaty was ever signed.

They might be, well, nervous about that. Totally crazy, I know, since the US never attacks other countries that… uhh, wait, where was I?

Yeah, so, negotiate a real peace treaty, or go to war, or… ummm, just let them keep getting more and more weapons till they really can destroy the US and pretty much anyone else.

In a sane world, only one of those three options would look good.

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Ending North Korea Fear

So, Trump and Korea have everyone in a tizzy about the possibility of nuclear war. The international community has another set of sanctions going forward, which look like they will close off much of the remaining North Korean trade, and North Korea is saying nasty things and testing nasty weapons.

Perhaps it’s time to regularize relationships?

It seems to be forgotten that no peace treaty ever ended the Korean war. The North Koreans are scared spitless of the West, and, let us be frank, not without reason. The fates of Libya and Iraq bear heavy on their minds, to mention two recent events.

People without nukes, whom the West/US doesn’t like, tend to do badly.

The North Koreans have long said that they want a peace treaty. Perhaps one could be arranged for serious agreements to scrap or limit long-range nuclear weapons? Scrapping would be a hard sell, because after Qaddafi scrapped his, he got invaded, but some serious limits ought to be possible.

I know this flies against the current mood, but sanctions have been tried now for 60 years and haven’t worked, and the threat keeps getting worse and worse.

Perhaps try something else?

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Relations with Russia Sour Further

So, we have an anti-Russia sanctions bill moving through Congress, which will increase sanctions on Russia and include fines on non-American companies who do business with Russia in specific ways. It will remove Trump’s ability to remove sanctions. While Trump could veto it, the two versions (House and Senate) both passed with super-super-majorities (the Senate version is 98-2).

The White House has indicated that Trump will likely pass it, and if he doesn’t, will seek a “harsher” bill.

Meanwhile Russia has expelled 755 diplomats and seized two US diplomatic buildings in Russia, a move which brings American diplomatic numbers in Russia to the exact same number as Russian diplomats in America. This is in retaliation for Obama’s seizure of two buildings and removal of Russia diplomats just before he left office.

Russia had put off retaliation in hopes that Trump would reverse Obama’s action.

One of the few good things one hoped for with respect to the Trump administration was an improvement in US-Russia relations.

But Russia hysteria is in full swing in the US; red-scare reborn, based on accusations that Russia put Trump in the White House. A lot of people believe this, there were certainly plenty of contacts between various Russians and the Trump campaign, and heck, Russia probably did prefer Trump, hoping he’d undo sanctions and be less hostile.

(Meanwhile, the US appears to be working to overthrow the Venezuelan government.)

Proof of significant action by Russia is lacking. It may be that some minor help was given, but I have yet to see any proof that hacking was ordered by the Russian government, only repeatedly asserted by a variety of intelligence agencies, all of whom have a long record of lying when convenient.

If interference did occur, it appears to have amounted to “release of true information that was harmful to Clinton.”

If this is worthy of sanctions, then the rest of the world should lock up America and throw away the key given America’s actions; repeatedly not just interfering in elections, but overthrowing governments–including democratically elected ones.

It is worth remembering, again, that Russia has enough nukes to destroy the world, and so does America. Good relations are in the interest of world survival.

It is perhaps also worth looking, with a cold eye, at whether America or Russia, over the last 20 years or so, has done more harm to other countries and their citizens? If you are honest in the exercise, you might begin to wonder who is the greater threat.

Meanwhile, we also have more sanctions against Iran and North Korea coming down the pipe.

North Korea is, by the way, still at war: The Korean war was never ended with a peace treaty, only with a truce. North Korea is under perhaps the most extensive sanctions in world history, but somehow those sanctions haven’t stopped it from getting nukes, and it’s possible they may even wind up with missiles able to strike the US.

There is a rumor that the current leader of North Korea was left a note by his father, which said, “Don’t give up your nukes. Saddam gave up his program, and that’s when the US went for him.” It has also been noted that Qaddafi gave up his nuclear program, played nice with the West, and as a reward, got sodomized with a knife and killed. (Clinton was very happy about this: “We came, we saw, he died.”)

I don’t know if the rumor is true, but I do know that North Korea would be insane to give up their nukes as anything but part of a comprehensive peace deal which removed sanctions, and maybe not even then. This is simply as a matter of survival. You don’t have to like the North Korean regime (I don’t) to not realize that people aren’t going to cut their own throats for your convenience.

As for Iran sanctions… bah, fill it in yourself. This is vile stupidity, and I hate any form of theocratic government.

I blame Democrats and the media for a ton of this. The hysterics have been never-ending. Better relations with Russia are a good thing under most circumstances. Instead, the US is ratcheting up tensions and giving Russia every reason to see the United States as its enemy. (Lets’ be frank, the US is Russia’s enemy, and, save for a brief period when they were allied against Germany, has never been anything else.)

So, the world gets stupider, more propaganda ridden, and more dangerous. The sanctions won’t “work” (and appear to be about forcing Europeans to buy American oil instead of Russian), not in the sense of making Russia do what the US wants or not do anything they can to undo damage done to their country.

If you don’t want someone to treat you as a threat, perhaps don’t act as a threat. (Insert long essay here about how, actually, the US is far more of a threat to Russia than Russia is to the US.)

This is all pathetic, and everyone involved in it should be ashamed, but is, instead, proud.


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Trump Is Not Wrong to Be Willing to Talk to North Korea’s Leader

Oh my, the wringing of hands over Trump saying he’d be willing to talk to Kim Jong Un.

Let’s get the disclaimers for idiots out of the way: Kim Jon Un appears to be a very bad man and Trump often does bad things, or rather, tries to do bad things that are then blocked.

This is not one of those things–even after one stops laughing at people pretending that the White House hasn’t entertained plenty of dictators with blood soaked hands, just as bad as Kim.

For 60 years, the policy for dealing with North Korea has been to keep them in a cage, and it hasn’t worked.

North Korea wants a formal peace treaty, and feels that, absent nukes, they would be attacked.

Given what happened to Qaddafi (sodomized with a knife, then killed) after he gave up his nuclear program, there might be something to this–especially because the West keeps laughing at the idea of a formal peace treaty. If you think they aren’t going to attack, why not give them one? Or at least offer it as a prize for cooperation, along with reducing some of the frankly insane sanctions?

(This approach, by the way, is favored by most South Koreans, the people with the most to lose if the situation turns into war and Seoul gets flattened.)

Is Trump supposed to not meet with the King of Saudi Arabia? Do you know how he treats Shi’ites and women? Do you know what he is doing to Yemen right now? Is he not supposed to meet with George W. Bush, his predecessor, the butcher of Iraq?

Stop clutching pearls. Yeah, Trump is scum, but this is ridiculous. Diplomacy is about talking with your enemies, not just your friends; it is about talking with bad people (which is why everyone keeps talking to the US) when they have something you want.

Trump is right, in this case, and the squealing about it is not only pearl-clutching bullshit, it makes an actual war more likely, as did hitting Trump so hard on Russia that better relations with Russia (the only other country with enough nukes to destroy the world) seem to be off the table. Because God knows, we wouldn’t want good relations between the two nuclear super-powers, and Russia may not be a super power in another way, but it still has a ton of nukes.

A man may be a bad man, and your political opponent, without being wrong about everything, and acting as if he is could cost hundreds of millions of people their lives.


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