Trump meets Kim.

Now the dust has settled and the media seems to have got bored with this meeting, what was achieved, and who, if anyone, came out ahead? Some of the comments about this meeting seem to me to verge on the ludicrous, but my answer to those questions, what was achieved was that the two countries at least started talking to each other, and nobody came out ahead.

The meeting led to a statement where the north agreed to “work towards complete denuclearisation” and the US committed to provide security guarantees to the North. Commentators have moaned that the statement left out “verifiable” and “irreversible”. Actually, the document gave no hint as to how this denuclearisation was to be achieved or what the terms mean, which is hardly surprising because such details need to be worked out, and that takes a long time. Equally, the US gave no clue as to how it was to provide security guarantees. This will be significantly more difficult because US Presidents have a habit of tearing up commitments made by previous Presidents. Ask Gaddafi, who gave a promise not to go after nuclear weapons in return for security. If I were Kim, I would expect this to be clarified well before I started to throw away what security I have.

Just to be clear, North Korea has adopted a porcupine strategy for security. The porcupine knows that in an all-out contest it will die. What it tries to do is to make it so obvious at the start that such a victory will come with a price that the predator will not wish to pay. Kim would know he cannot win an all-out fight with the US, but with nuclear weapons he can exact a very undesirable price. The reason they have been developed has been obvious too. George Bush invaded Iraq on a totally trumped up charge that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and then killed Saddam in an example of “victor’s justice”. He then put North Korea on a list of “the axis of evil”. The then Kim had to do something, and nuclear weapons were as good as any other option for a security guarantee.

Many commentators seem to think Trump gave away the shop and got nothing back. How? Apparently by talking to Kim, he promoted Kim to being an international figure. Well, I think that is the nearest to total rubbish that there is. Trump wanted Kim to give up nuclear weapons, his security blanket. How, short of all-out war, was this ever going to happen if he refused to talk to Kim? You can’t get anyone to do what you want without talking to them. Trump also said he would cancel future military exercises along the border. That is not much of a concession. The US military is very highly trained, and these exercises were more for show than anything else. Added to which, Trump claimed the cancellation saved the US a lot of money, so it was as much a gift to himself as to Kim. In the meantime, Kim has apparently destroyed a bomb-testing site and declared no more nuclear tests. In reality, he probably decided that he needed no more tests, and destruction of the site gave news, and stopped people from further investigating the site. He has also agreed to have US bodies from the Korean War repatriated to the US. Again, neither of these are big deals, but Kim has at least given them. Both sides made small concessions to the other that were not that meaningful, but they each gave something.

In my opinion, very little has actually happened, and the biggest gain is the two leaders have stopped prodding each other and started talking to each other. It is hard to know where this will end up, but I suspect that as long as Kim keeps a low profile and stays polite, the up-coming potential trade war will take up far more attention.

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2 thoughts on “Trump meets Kim.

  1. Qaddafi was a complete fool, always had been. He was at war with France for most of his atrocious reign. However, the idiot thought Anglo-Saxons ruled the world, and it was enough to make an accord with Bush and Blair. Also, the USA had given NO security guarantees to the Libyan dictator.
    When Reagan bombed Qaddafi, he was warned by the Italian gov at the time, and escaped. However, another time, when in Chad, the French Air Force nearly got him. He was on the field during the bombing.
    Anyway, the French had to get him, for a whole bunch of reasons, and bombed his truck, so he ended in a sewer, wounded. Then, dragged onto a truck’s hood, someone shot him in the belly. Someone.
    French marines BTW, and a French airlift (using chartered Russian cargo planes on an improvised air strip), were crucial in the fall of Tripoli.
    The French also started the bombing, destroying Qaddafi’s army in the suburbs of Benghazi.

    Now back to Kim: I would have gone to him, and say (as I have said for years). Look, China has been your enemy for more than 2,000 years. We are not. We want you to be part of our empire, like Japan, Philippines, Australia, etc. Actually, even the French who are friendly to China are with us, they are equipping Australia with the best submarines… You know france, you have been there, nice swimming…We can all help you. So let’s do it! Don’t repeat that to Xi…

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