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

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.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


What the Tao Teaches Us About the Good Society’s Devolution to the Bad


Doctors Paid More by Opiate Manufacturers Prescribe More Opiates


  1. Heliopause

    It’s interesting to look at elite media’s reactions to all this. When Trump is bellicose they’re against it. When there is a chance at rapprochement they’re against that too. Since the only other alternative is endless cold war we can only conclude that that is what the elite consensus truly wants.

  2. Ché Pasa

    What sign is there that Trump or his administration are “trying to make peace” with North Korea?

    At this point, it is not at all clear that there will even be a meeting between Kim and Trump.

    Remember, Trump says a lot of things that turn out to be inoperative, false, diversonary, or contradicted by events.

    Neither has Trump shown any inclination for peacemaking; it’s not his way. Is it?

    We don’t know what’s going on, and we can’t expect much or anything to come from the statements by the White House.

    It’s my understanding that Pyongyang has been silent about it in any case.

    A sustainable peace with N. Korea is certainly desirable, and it would be outstanding if these overtures led to it. But there is yet no sign that’s where it’s going.

  3. different clue

    It could work. It deserves to be tried. Nothing else has worked.

    If the two Koreas were to recognize eachother and each give up their dreamy dreams of ever re-unifying Korea, then they could exist in a state of peace with eachother. America’s presence in Korea would then be unnecessary and we could leave. NorKor could be under the Sino-Russian nuclear protection umbrella and on that basis could surrender its nukes and nuke program.

    I note that Riverdaughter still sometimes runs a paragraph from some of your posts. One wonders whether she will run a “what other bloggers are saying” paragraph from THIS post.

  4. Willy

    A Trump Ryugyong? A Dennis Rodman envoy? Kim golfing with The Donald and one of those Kim impersonators? Probably none of those things but this could be interesting.

  5. S Brennan

    And again proves that Trump, during the campaign, had better thought out foreign policy positions than Hillary, who wanted to start a shooting war with the Ruskies on day one.

    With the upcoming removal of Gen Disaster…er..ah..McMaster, let us pray that Trump will stop listening to the DC neocons/neocolonialists. America first, we don’t need overseas colonies, we need investment, right here, at home.

  6. atcooper

    The stalemate is useful for selling weapons, so there is at least one faction in support of continued, low-level threats.

  7. Synoia

    The demands to enable the meeting come with US prerequisites of N Korea, and nono concessions by the US.

    In addition one can expect the US to perform on all its commitments and treaty obligation in the manner it always honors them.

  8. Little bit of a tangent, but … for the past couple of days my littlest one has had a new (to me) cartoon running in the background that I am thoroughly enjoying. A 2009 release, Monsters v Aliens features Stephen Colbert as the voice of the pResident of the Untied States, with his onscreen presence the most amazing cross between Our Tea Pot Dictator and his butt-buddy the Rocket Boy, Kim Jong Un. The size, most physical features and mannerisms all Drumpf uck, the hair a cross between the two, and the face and glasses Kim. You really should see it.

    At the end, being stupid, he blew up the world (the monsters just saved).

  9. Jimmy Dore has noted that Rachel Maddow is attacking Trump from the right, re Korea:

  10. Hugh

    Trump isn’t a rational actor. He doesn’t do policy. So whenever he says or does something that almost looks sane, it doesn’t last. It’s like smoke. Look away from it an instant and then back, and it’s gone.

    Also look at all his zigs and zags on issues, i.e. his lies. Kim Jong-Un would have to be the biggest idiot on the planet to believe anything Trump says. Ditto, Trump believing Kim.

    Finally, Kim is a psychopathic murderer who has offed his half brother and executed his uncle. And against this, we are sending a narcissist with onset of dementia. I mean what could go wrong?

  11. If the US relationship with Russia between the Nineties and today is any indication, any peace, pursued or not, would be nothing more than a Cold Peace. In the category of “don’t forget they’re all the same”, I’d admonish one tempted to analyze this at face value to recall that “face value” is really about goosing numbers around. Being “on the brink” is just as valuable to those transferring the seven-figure annuities to pundits who think the Nixon reference is insightful as is stepping back from the brink. It’s all teetering, some of it real, but mostly for effect. Not that a deal is worthless, but it wouldn’t change much.

  12. Tom

    Rex Tillerson just got fired and is being replaced by the CIA Director…

    Figured it was coming when Rex accused (correctly) Putin of poisoning Sergei Skripal.

    Increasingly, Trump is being surrounded by more hawkish military men to the point even his family is being locked out and may soon be ousted from the White House altogether.

    From this point on, I would consider Trump to be a puppet and General Kelly and Mattis, his puppet masters.

  13. Brian

    North Korea is a prison society. Even Kim is a prisoner in its structure so that if he wanted to dismantle it, he couldn’t. Everyone is made to watch and spy on everyone else, at least come up with one bad things someone else has done or you yourself get punished, if you go to prison and die your family serves out the rest of your sentence. It’s a horrible, unhealthy, panopticon society and it’s almost immoral that it exists in this world. Even if a deal is made, the balls and chains on the people remain. The contradictions in it, the contrast with prosperous South Korea, the slow strangulation of it’s own people… I don’t think it’s possible, with Gods will, for this to last for long. The damage control, both external and internal, as it breaks apart should be the utmost priority.

  14. Peter

    Any peace treaty to end the Korean war will have to be between NK and SK. The armistice was signed by the CiC of the UN Defense Forces, an American acting under UN mandate. The UN, China, Russia and the US would be involved but it was NK who invaded SK and the war is theirs.

    NK is responsible for a long list of violent violations of the armistice with kidnappings and murders at the border, insertion of armed forces into SK, bombings , assassinations, invasion tunnels and ship sinkings. I wonder what kind of ‘peace’ NK wants today. Probably one that removes their main impediment to finishing their invasion goals, the US military.

  15. StewartM

    Here’s an article in the Atlantic that I think deserves merit. Work out an agreement for Kim to give up his nukes, and give him security by working out an arrangement stationing Chinese and/or Russian troops in North Korea (to insure that some future US president doesn’t do an Iran or Libya).

    The author echoes much of what Ian has been saying. Kim wants nukes not because North Korea is strong, but because it is weak, and moreover getting weaker versus potential adversaries.

  16. Sid Finster

    Not only has Kim learned well the lessons of Iraq and North Korea (CN: do not trust the United States), he wants everyone in Washington to know and to know full well that he has nukes and delivery systems to boot.

  17. Willy

    What do the purely selfish, the morally insane, do when they try to publicly deal with each other?

  18. Ché Pasa

    Prediction: There will be no meeting between Trump and Kim.

    Given the current (constant) level of White House chaos, the sacking of Tillerson, the absence of diplomats on the Korea desk, the elevation of Pompeo to Sec of State (probably), and the further consolidation of power by The Generals, the greater likelihood is that belligerence, threats and counterthreats will increase and armed conflict will continue to expand.

    It’s all but baked in by now.

    The basic question is whether this course leads to nuclear annihilation at home or abroad.

  19. wendy davis

    thank you, ian, and i totally agree. i’d add it’s not just some of herr T’s R-haters who are naysayers to the meeting, but many, many of the librul class orange julius haters. here’s a bit of a long round-up i’d pasted together. the meeting was first discussed at the olympics, and while there are potential pitfalls, i say the flip-city naysayers are wrong, and may torpedo it all in its infancy.

    this is about nukes, fer crissake.

  20. different clue

    Perhaps a “peace deal” between the two Koreas which led to denuking the North could also involve American troops staying in South Korea and Sino-Russian troops taking an equivalent position in North Korea to keep the two Koreas under control.

    If North Korea implodes, the South Korean border should be sealed against refugees. The millions of starving, desperate and bitter North Koreans should all be directed to flee into Russia and China, because those are the two countries which have supported North Korea all this time in order to create problems for the other countries in the region.

  21. The Stephen Miller Band

    I called it. Trump was The Plan all along. The New New Pearl Harbor. The Military Coup is almost complete. Direct Rule by Military Intelligence, or more generally by the Military Corporate Industrial Complex (MCIC). No more Beating Around The Bush. Civilian Politicians can no longer be trusted considering what’s coming.

    What Would It Take?

    You know America has Jumped the Shark when A Freak like Trump ascends to The Presidency.

    There’s no going back — not even to Obama or anything like him at this point. Dream On, Hillary. This is Uncharted Territory and there is no map to get us back. We’re LOST.

    Trump’s not only The Dead Canary In The Coal Mine, he’s also a One Man Wrecking Crew. The guy can’t even tie his own shoes. I bet he doesn’t even know you can’t put metal containers in microwave ovens because he does so metaphorically every day. That should be prerequisite knowledge, a litmus test of sorts, for anyone aspiring to be POTUS.

    We’re getting a lesson in just how powerful The Office of the Executive really is. Trump could give The Nuclear Codes to Russia and The Establishment still wouldn’t be able to extricate him from office. It’s as though everything the POTUS does is perfectly legal. The Executive is above The Law, or so it seems.

    It may take a Military Coup — one that the majority of The Nation would support at this point. Don’t laugh. Increasingly this appears as though it will be the only solution. I’m feeling it. I’m not endorsing it. I stare at goats and this is what I see. Look closely. You’ll see it too.

    A torturer who should be in jail with a slew of others if Obama did HIS JOB is now the Director of the CIA. She’s wanted in Germany and if she travels to the EU, she may be arrested. I’m all for arresting Gina Haspel. In fact, I think we should make a Citizens Arrest and spare Germany from doing our Heavy Lifting. She’s a Criminal and so too are those who ordered her and those who aided & abetted her. They are not Americans. What they did was Undemocratic and not The Will of the People.

    The MSM and The Dems are controlled by the MCIC every bit as much as The Repubs are but now the MCIC is usurping the Executive & Legislative Branches entirely & directly and placing their own people rather than manipulating civilian politicians. If America was an indirect Military Dictatorship prior to Trump, it’s now quickly transforming into a direct Military Dictatorship.

    Check this out. The MCIC has you coming and going. There is no choice. It’s Military-Corporate Dictatorship or Military-Corporate Dictatorship.

    Game Over.

    There’s no coming back from that/this. A direct Military-Corporate Dictatorship with enough nukes to turn the planet to a cinder. It really is over at this point. Bernie Sanders can’t compete with this and neither can Jill Stein.

    The CIA Democrats: Part One

    An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

    If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

    The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call “spy vs. spy.”

  22. Hugh

    Tillerson was no prize, presiding over a mass exodus at State. Pompeo is arguably worse because he is a nut case on Iran, and a nuclear agreement that is actually working. What does this say about the likelihood of an agreement with North Korea?

    I assume Kim knows this. So yes, any agreement would have to have international, non-US guarantors, principally China. I wonder though if the current charm offensive is a stalling technique to cover a major buildout of North Korea’s ICBM capability. If Kim is committed to keeping his nukes, this would be the logical extension.

  23. wendy davis

    @ The Stephen Miller Band

    here is a compilation of all three parts, and i just saw that patrick martin has a fourth part overview up today,

    but what most of you may not know is that moon jae-in was elected on the hope that he could find rapprochement with north korea, and was very instrumental in sending a delegation to deecee to make the case that trump should take kim’s offer to meet seriously. kim’s sister may have been the first ‘notable’ (or close person (as per tim shorrock who’d interviewed moon before his election) to cross the dmz to attend the olympics, and had conversations there w/ moon jae -in. and yes, moon wants to be ‘in the driver’s seat’ as he’d put it early on.

    (see my link far above in agreement w/ ian). in interviews on trnn and elsewhere, he debunked a lot of the msm lies about north korea, especially from the democrats. so yes, pyongyang knows all about it. what happens next…is very hard to predict, imo. especially w/ the white house in ‘reset’ chaos…again.

  24. NoPolitician

    I doubt that a nuclear genie can be put back in a bottle. Knowledge doesn’t just vanish.

    Why not just work with Kim to help make his country better, and thus give him something to lose? A leader, even a dictator, with nothing to lose, seems like a more dangerous person.

    Is it North Korean ideological doctrine that they must be poor with everyone working for dear leader to create a false front that they are prosperous? Is that how Kim really wants his country to be?

    I can appreciate that a more robust economy in North Korea could mean the end of the rule of the “Kim dynasty”, but another way to look at it would be that Kim Jong-un could be viewed, historically, as the person who brought great prosperity to his country.

  25. Yes, Trump is absolutely right to talk to Kim. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Many people retched when Blair talked to the IRA, but it produced the peace agreement. Aggression is a sign of insecurity. The more reassurance we can deliver whilst remaining wary and prepared the less dangerous our enemies will become. Never cast the first stone.

    A year or so ago Kim took the initiative to say that North Korea would not be the first to use nuclear weapons. He deserved much more credit for this than he got, even allowing for the cynics. He has also taken the initiative to make contact with the South, as we have seen during the recent Winter Olympics. He is clearly now much more self confident of his position in charge, which gives him the leeway to make these moves. Things are looking up.

    It is interesting to compare him with Basher Al Assad, who displays none of this self confidence. He should have bumped off more uncles in the best Machiavellian tradition like Kim did in order to establish his personal power. Instead he remains merely the puppet of his shady inner circle and much more difficult to deal with.

  26. Just as a follow up, I think you have missed the point over Iraq. Saddam knew perfectly well he had no WMD, and that had he allowed Hans Blix to confirm it he could have had the sanctions removed and the no-fly zones lifted to Iraq’s enormous economic advantage. So why didn’t he, and why did he go to such lengths to deceive Blair and MI5 into thinking that he had?

    There is only one possible reason, that he wanted the deterrent effect to cover his re-invasion of Kuwait.

  27. S Brennan

    “Saddam knew perfectly well he had no WMD, and that had he allowed Hans Blix to confirm it…So why didn’t he, and why did he go to such lengths to deceive Blair and MI5 into thinking that he had?”

    Another disinformation specialist arrives to rewrite history:

    “In late 2002 Saddam Hussein, in a letter to Hans Blix, invited UN weapons inspectors back into the country. Subsequently, the Security Council issued resolution 1441 authorizing new inspections in Iraq. The carefully worded UN resolution put the burden on Iraq, not UN inspectors, to prove that they no longer had weapons of mass destruction. The United States claimed that Iraq’s latest weapons declaration left materials and munitions unaccounted for; the Iraqis claimed that all such material had been destroyed, something which had been stated years earlier by Iraq’s highest ranking defector, Hussein Kamel al-Majid. According to reports from the previous UN inspection agency, UNSCOM, Iraq produced 600 metric tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, VX and sarin, and nearly 25,000 rockets and 15,000 artillery shells, with chemical agents, that are still unaccounted for.

    In January 2003, United Nations weapons inspectors reported that they had found no indication that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons or an active program. Some former UNSCOM inspectors disagree about whether the United States could know for certain whether or not Iraq had renewed production of weapons of mass destruction. Robert Gallucci said, “If Iraq had [uranium or plutonium], a fair assessment would be they could fabricate a nuclear weapon, and there’s no reason for us to assume we’d find out if they had.” Similarly, former inspector Jonathan Tucker said, “Nobody really knows what Iraq has. You really can’t tell from a satellite image what’s going on inside a factory.” However, Hans Blix said in late January 2003 that Iraq had “not genuinely accepted UN resolutions demanding that it disarm.”[67] He claimed there were some materials which had not been accounted for. Since sites had been found which evidenced the destruction of chemical weaponry, UNSCOM was actively working with Iraq on methods to ascertain for certain whether the amounts destroyed matched up with the amounts that Iraq had produced.[68][69] In the next quarterly report, after the war, the total amount of proscribed items destroyed by UNMOVIC in Iraq can be gathered.

    In an attempt to counter the allegations that some WMD arsenals (or capability) were indeed hidden from inspectors, Scott Ritter would argue later;

    “There’s no doubt Iraq hasn’t fully complied with its disarmament obligations as set forth by the Security Council in its resolution [no nation on earth could]. But on the other hand, since 1998 Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed: 90-95% of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capacity has been verifiably eliminated … We have to remember that this missing 5-10% doesn’t necessarily constitute a threat … It constitutes bits and pieces of a weapons program which in its totality doesn’t amount to much, but which is still prohibited … We can’t give Iraq a clean bill of health, therefore we can’t close the book on their weapons of mass destruction. But simultaneously, we can’t reasonably talk about Iraqi non-compliance as representing a de-facto retention of a prohibited capacity worthy of war.[71]

    Ritter also argued that the WMDs Saddam had in his possession all those years ago, if retained, would have long since turned to harmless substances. He stated that Iraqi Sarin and tabun have a shelf life of approximately five years, VX lasts a bit longer (but not much longer), and finally he said botulinum toxin and liquid anthrax last about three years.[72][73]

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén