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Thoughts on Events the Week of June 11

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on June 18, 2018

Singapore Summit: President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met here to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, whatever that means to them, respectively. The spoken and written words at this point mean nothing. Trump’s statement after the brief meeting that the nuclear problem with North Korea was “largely solved,” illustrates just how ludicrously meaningless those words were.

Trump promised us “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.” Kim promised the same thing, as he has a dozen times previously, and reneged every time. He also promised not to steal the towels from the Singapore hotel when he left.

The only way to judge the value of this meeting, and any that may follow, is the actual results, and, from my view, how they compare to the Iran nuclear deal Trump discarded.

Trump announced immediately after the meeting that he was suspending joint military exercises with South Korea – he called them war games and provocative, parroting North Korea’s characterizations. He also stated that he would like to pull down U.S. troops in South Korea, because the cost a lot of money. (I wonder how State and Defense Secretaries Pompeo and Mattis, and National Security Advisor Bolton, feel about this.)

It is patently premature to part with the military exercises, and it would be  pure folly to pull down the troops, much as I too would like to see it eventually, unless and until something really meaningful comes out of the negotiations, and frankly, I don’t think anything sufficiently meaningful will. North Korea is never going to give up its nukes, and we need to understand that and manage the situation accordingly, as we do with Pakistan, another sorry state with nukes.

To make those reductions otherwise would hand South Korea, a functioning, flourishing democracy over to North Korea. At this point, Trump seems prepared to trade two successful, functioning democratic allies – South Korea and Japan – for one totalitarian state. What a deal maker!

If I were Japan, I would quickly acquire nuclear weapons, with the ironic result that there would be nuclear proliferation rather than reduction from Trump’s brilliant negotiating. (Also, Japan might point some of the nukes at us for hanging them out to dry, and I wouldn’t blame them. Just kidding.)

I would also remind South Korean President Moon that he wanted this. I wonder what Moon is thinking about it now that Trump is already giving away the candy…Moon’s candy.

One thought about the summit. There may have been no technical experts or seasoned diplomats at the meeting, but there were clearly experts in stagecraft, which is most important to Trump, and, I suspect, to Kim also. The Trump-Kim Barnum and Bailey Circus, which is all it is right now, was a colorful show.

Correction, or more accurately a comeuppance: I was premature, or more accurately downright uninformed and naïve to think converting the armistice to a peace treaty would be insignificant, as I did last week. Apparently, for diplomatic purposes, it is a real big deal.

Sudden Thought: If not in and around South Korea, perhaps we should be conducting military preparation exercises in Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington, the 13 states that border Canada, to prepare for an attack or invasion, since president says Canada is a national security risk? Let’s face it, our president is a liar and a fool.

Inspector General’s report: In a nutshell, the I.G. report stated the obvious. The Justice Department behaved properly and reached the correct conclusion that Hillary Clinton committed no prosecutable crime, but that James Comey made terribly bad judgements handling the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, and was insubordinate in discussing them in public.

(FBI agents Peter Strzok and his squeeze Lisa Page also used incredibly bad judgment exercising their First Amendment rights by criticizing, on the company’s email server, a person whose activities they were investigating, although they did nothing improper in the actual investigation. In my view, they should be fired for plain stupidity.)

Comey should also have been fired, but not by Trump. Trump’s firing of Comey was obstruction of Justice, by his own admission. Comey should have been fired by then Attorney General Loretta Lynch the moment he spoke publicly about the investigation in the way he did.

It is my firm belief that Comey, not the Russians, stole the election from Clinton, although the Russians were clearly trying.

There is supreme irony here. If Lynch had fired Comey, Comey wouldn’t have been around for Trump to fire, and the whole Russian special counsel investigation might never have begun.

For the record, despite what Trump has said about this report letting him off the hook regarding Russia, this report had absolutely nothing to do with the Russian investigation and said nothing about it one way or the other. The report was strictly about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Person of Interest:  Paul Manafort. The erstwhile manager of Trump’s presidential campaign is in jail, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Already indicated on several criminal charges and awaiting trial, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson found probable cause Manafort had engaged in witness tampering while out on bail and she revoked it. Manafort can appeal, but I don’t think much of his odds. Good for her, good for us, good for justice. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Manafort)

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

I’ll just note in passing that Texas is the epicenter of the administration’s program of separating children from their parents at the border. And does former Alabama Senator and now Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions really have that many friends in the Senate anymore?

 

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