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Thoughts on Events the Week of June 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on June 11, 2018

North Korea: As so often occurs with politicians and media, the news and the hype are two entirely different subjects. The news this week was how astoundingly President Trump insulted and turned his back on not only our dearest allies, but also our cultural roots. Where does Trump think his base’s sense of white supremacy comes from anyway?

The hype was all about the upcoming meeting with North Korea in Singapore next week, assuming the North Korean delegation can find enough change between their sofa cushions to afford a hotel room.

This meeting is historic, because it is a first, and it represents a meeting between the U.S. and an adversary that goes back (1953) even longer than that with Iran (1979), and almost as long as with Cuba (1948). Oh wait, those relations, re-opened by President Obama, are back to adversarial status again, thanks to President Trump. Can we hold a grudge, or what?

Trump loves firsts, but apparently only his own, because he slammed the door the openings to Iran and Cuba out of spite with Obama.

Count me among the most dubious about anything meaningful coming out of this meeting, and those that will likely succeed it, despite however Trump may try to frame it. True progress will have to come another day, far away. Here’s why.

I define meaningful only as anything that meets or exceeds the dashed Iran nuclear deal. By inference, Trump has promised to make a better one with North Korea. I will judge him by that standard (maybe a higher one; NK already has nukes), and there is not a shred of hope that he can meet it. North Korea is not going to give up its nukes any time soon, and certainly not to a buffoon like Trump’s term in office.

I would mind Trump that it was sanctions, led by President Obama’s vigorous diplomatic efforts that brought Iran to the negotiating table. And Obama didn’t loosen those sanctions until he had the deal he wanted, including strong verification clauses.

If Trump starts giving away candy before he has a deal that meets his goal of total, verifiable denuclearization, that he will have failed spectacularly comparted to Obama’s Iran deal. North Korea has already cheated two American presidents this way. If Trump makes the same mistake, he won’t even be able to claim a first, or that he did something no other president could do.

Among the not particularly meaningful results would be converting the armistice between North Korea and us into a peace treaty. It would be symbolic, but change nothing, other than give North and South Korea more space to work on their own domestic relationships.

The G7 Economic Summit: Back to Trump’s treatment of actual allies. Trump offended them all before he came to the meeting, blew his nose on the drapes, diplomatically speaking, while he was there, left early and then reneged on his communiqué agreement after he was safely out of town.

It was a spectacular display of rudeness and stupidity. In other words, typical Trump. In the end, Trump left a very bad taste in the Europe’s mouth as he headed for Singapore to make history and a fool of himself at the hands of the North Koreans and to the delight of China and Russia.

Trump got one thing right. Our Long-term economic future is in Asia, and we should be shifting emphasis there. But that doesn’t mean insulting out large, existing economic trading partners and allies.

Meanwhile, back in Asia, China is pulling Trump’s pants down, North Korea is about to play him for a fool. Allies Japan and South Korea are losing confidence in Trump and considering other options, and I get the sense that Australia has already written off the U.S. and is pivoting completely to China.

Person of Interest:  Larry Kudlow. Used to be an economist, now he just plays one on TV. A life-long advocate of free trade, Kudlow, Trump’s new National Economic Adviser is now defending Trump’s ludicrous tariffs, and even supporting Trump’s insulting of Canada Prime Minister’s Trudeau, calling Trudeau’s remarks a betrayal for speaking truth to power, and saying Trudeau stabbed Trump in the back, somewhat overheated diplomatic language.

But I guess language gets pretty heated when one is concerned about national security,  which is the reason Trump gave for slapping tariffs on Canada, because we are, you know, in imminent danger of an attack or even invasion from our northern neighbor. Please.

Status of the States: Oklahoma keeps the worst state cup until EPA Director Scott Pruitt is gone.

 

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