I guess it took two meetings for him to realize [it].
That’s what Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday, commenting on the breakdown in talks between the Trump administration and North Korea. Specifically, she was referring to Kim’s apparent unwillingness to denuclearize.
To be sure, Trump did win some lukewarm Democratic plaudits for walking away from the talks in Vietnam. Chuck Schumer, for instance, said the president “did the right thing”.
And of course, Republicans tried to pretend as though Trump was courageous in his decision to leave Hanoi without a deal. “Kim Jong Un now has a long train ride home, and he’ll have time to reflect on the future that is still within North Korea’s grasp”, Mitch McConnell said.
But really, the reactions from lawmakers on Thursday are more a sign of relief than they are a ringing endorsement of the administration’s foreign policy stance as it relates to Pyongyang. In the simplest terms possible, everyone was scared to death that Trump might get outfoxed by Kim on the way to conceding too much and getting little to nothing in return. Trump’s decision to walk was thus seen as a good one, even as it underscored the intractability of the problem.
Trump ‘Moved On Kim, Actually’ — But He ‘Couldn’t Get There’
Amusingly (or not, depending on how funny you think nuclear war is), the North Korean side appears to be partially disputing Trump’s account of what happened in Hanoi.
In an exceedingly rare press conference, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho suggested that the North had only sought partial sanctions relief. Specifically, he said the North wanted an end to “sanctions that hamper the civilian economy, and the livelihood of all people in particular.” Here’s the clip:
Got that? According to the North, Kim offered to “permanently dismantle all the nuclear material production facilities [at the Yongbyon nuclear site] in the presence of US experts.”
Although the tone was generally conciliatory, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui suggested Kim may have “lost the will and motivation to continue negotiating.” The US, North Korea says, “missed an opportunity.”
Obviously, you can take anything Kim’s officials say with a grain of salt, but then again, you can take anything Trump says with a grain of salt too. It’s thus impossible to know exactly what was on offer and now we’ll never know if Kim was serious.
In any case, we would reiterate that Trump’s critics (a group that obviously includes us), can’t have it both ways. Either he shouldn’t negotiate with Kim and therefore it was a good thing for him (Trump) to walk away, or else he should negotiate with Pyongyang and this was, as the North contends, a “missed opportunity.” But the criticism needs to be consistent.
One thing that definitely didn’t go over well American audiences was Trump’s express willingness to believe that Kim didn’t know about the plight of Otto Warmbier. This is so farcical that it only bears mentioning because it underscores Trump’s penchant for catering to dictators:
Here it is again:
He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word. Those prisons are rough. They’re rough places, and bad things happen. But I don’t believe he knew about it.
That’s on par with Trump’s contention that somehow Mohammed bin Salman didn’t order the hit on Jamal Khashoggi.
In any event, the fact remains that no matter what the likes of Mitch McConnell want to say about Kim having a “long train ride home”, the mere fact that he participated in a bilateral summit with a sitting US president is a win for him – unequivocally.
“Kim was the big winner”, Pelosi said Thursday, in the same set of remarks cited here at the outset. “[He] got to sit down with Trump.”
12 thoughts on “And Now North Korea Will Dispute Trump’s Account Of Collapsed Nuke Talks”
There has been very recent news coverage that food supply issued to each N Korean has been significantly reduced, partially due to imposed sanctions and more people are now starving to death.
A psychopath is incapable of emoting concern for any living creature, animal or man. Both of these alleged leaders are extreme egocentric lying psychopaths and I think they are both telling only partial truths. Even if Kim said he would denuke, most likely he would never. Trump is much too distracted with his personal problems to really give a crap about any other pretense.
I resent your use of the word ‘psychopath’. I’m a ‘sociopath’. Go look it up, loser. Sad.
This country must stop playing empire and governing through imperialism. Perhaps the lifting of sanctions and signing a peace treaty (after 70 friggin’ years) are what is needed. Enough! Live and let live; after all, the only losers throughout history are the common man.
Found the Korean Propaganda Ministry employee!
Who has been brainwashed? If I hear “they’re fighting for our freedom” one more time, I’ll puke in my cap.
That sounds like Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” utterance after giving in to and trusting Hitler. The result was WW2. You have to fight psychopaths with everything available if you want to stop them.
Munich provided a lesson in history. It didn’t provide ALL of the lessons. There is a difference between not letting innocent civilians starve and giving North Korea the Sudetenland.
You’re right about that. We didn’t learn the lesson after the West’s sanctions on Iraq (before the invasion) killed countless innocent civilians. It is a fine balance; not let people suffer and remove the murderous psychopath. If you feed the people, you cement his position. We don’t really know what to do.
Correct. This situation is, effectively, at the core of what a real President (the previous one) was trying to tell the current (impstor) President when he advised him the North Korea was the single biggest challenge to be addressed…… Don’t think Trump will have learned what good advice thatbwas, much less ever admit it publically.
At the heart of our disagreement was the question of whether hair gel is better than good ole Yankee hairspray. He just wouldn’t listen. Sad.
Is this picture getting clearer or more cloudy?
What if Trump never intended to get KJU to de-nuke? What if this was all for show? Trump abandoned the whole deal way too quickly which I find suspicious.
Trump just let KJU/China maintain their nuclear power in the region. Trump just did a favor for Xi – another of Trump’s autocrat best buds despite the trade war.
We also know that “national security” is not one of Trump’s concerns because he ordered the FBI/CIA/John Kelly to give Jared Kushner top security clearance, and we see what Jared is doing with this clearance.
Michael Cohen told us this week that we’re already living in an autocracy under Trump, and that if Trump lost, there would not be a peaceful transition of power.
And Trump pronounces the Press / NYT the “ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE”
The whole Trump thing is becoming more terrifying by the day just when we thought that wasn’t possible.
And it’s happening fast.
The only hope America has is if enough republican Senators grow some conscience and start looking for the truth. Their display at the Cohen hearing was despicable. It wasn’t even imaginative; trotting out a silent black person as proof that Tiny isn’t a racist–in spite of all the racist shit that has fallen out of his tiny mouth–was tantamount to putting a black, lantern-holding lawn-ornament on his desk.
When Tiny was first elected, I commented to my friends that this was proof the civil war in America had never really ended. They laughed. No one is laughing now.