When it comes to creating illusions, my first thought would normally be David Copperfield, but the “historic event” in Singapore that Trump ginned up takes the cake. Like most I would agree with Churchill’s statement that “jaw, jaw is better than war, war.” But if the continued jawing creates a false fantasy of progress, that is a danger in itself. Pleasant dreams our nice, but at some point we must wake up.
“No longer a nuclear threat,” Trump tweets. Why? Because he got a long famously with the former little rocket man who Trump now views (or says he does, who knows?) as “talented… funny… smart… a man who loves his people”.
Loves his people? This is a guy blamed for the murder of his half-brother, not to mention many others in his regime who he viewed as threats. And this is also a guy who has continued the family tradition of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of possible detractors earning his nation the reputation of being the most oppressive on earth.
All Kim Jong Un offered was a promise to “work toward the complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula”…… No specifics whatsoever (including what complete denuclearization means) and Trump treats this as a huge victory for peace from a nation that has broken every arms agreement it has made with us. Trump was so grateful to appear to have made peace that he offered to stop joint military exercises with South Korea (like the ones this August), or at least suspend them until further notice.
(This must have come off the cuff as South Korea and other allies along with our military seemed startled at the announcement).
In exchange for this fantasy the American president acted like he just found his long lost brother while the world watched Trump embrace the most oppressive dictator on the globe as if we Americans had no history of being the beacon of freedom in the world.
This is where Trump’s lack of knowledge and concern about history comes into play. His sense of history goes back about two weeks, the time he and Kim have been being nice to each other. As he has indicated, all he knows is that with him Kim has been a fun guy, a guy who Trump believes he can do business with.
Gag me with a spoon. Trump has pulled out of the Iran agreement for being too weak. It has over 100 specific, verifiable demands that Iran has been meeting, while all he has from Kim is a promise to try to work things out. It is that belief alone that separates us from NOKO being a nuclear threat. All the threats and tough talk and this empty document is what Trump got out of it. It is only about two to four pages depending how you space it…… Hey, you can read it in 10 minutes (includes a break to get coffee).
What I find particularly irritating is the tendency for commentators to call this meeting a “historic event,” even those quite critical of it. Such a term tends to carry positive connotations, implying – as Trump claims – that only he could bring about such a meeting.
WRONG, VERY WRONG……….. the Kim family line has always craved such a meeting, but previous presidents did not want to legitimize this string of dictators in the world’s eye. Dictators who, to remind you again, have broken every arms agreement we have made with them.
Now, with the president saying “there is no longer a nuclear threat,” how can we hold together the nations that have been sanctioning North Korea? Those who call this a historic event should occasionally note that such events are not always good, such as the Munich agreement between Hitler and English prime minister Chamberlain, who believed Hitler could be bargained with and when returning home announced to his nation that he had “saved peace in our time.” A premature judgement if there ever was one.
When it comes to being a historic event, I’ll borrow Trump’s frequent answer to any question that touches upon the future “We’ll have to wait and see.”
I’ll wait to see if this mutual expression of good will between two of the biggest liars on the planet actually leads to a North Korean denuclearization plan with a series of verifiable steps. Until then, I’ll just mark this summit down as one more self-congratulatory publicity stunt by the man I affectionately think of as Trumpenstein.
P. S. – I did not cover all of the wacky elements of the Singapore meeting. Trump also presented Kim with a four minute movie apparently designed to dazzle him with the economic possibilities of playing ball with us. This film was labelled “sensational idiocy” by the folks at the New Yorker, a term that pretty much sums up my sense of the entire summit. Take a glance at the video and the magazine’s response here.