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Westlake Legal Group > denuclearization

New York Times Claims With Zero Proof That Trump Will Let Kim Jong Un Keep Nuclear Weapons

Westlake Legal Group trump-kim-panmunjom-620x317 New York Times Claims With Zero Proof That Trump Will Let Kim Jong Un Keep Nuclear Weapons Politics North Korea New York Times michael crowley Media Government Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump denuclearization democrats david sanger Allow Media Exception

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walk on the North Korean side in the Demilitarized Zone, Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Panmunjom. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Yesterday, President Trump became the first US president to cross into North Korea when he met briefly with Kim Jong Un at Panmunjom. Whether you think this was real or a photo opportunity, a couple of things were indisputable. The meeting occurred based on personal diplomacy on the part of Trump. The meeting was a first of its kind. North Korea has not tested a ballistic missile or nuke in nearly two years. Sanctions against North Korea are now more robust in scope and in enforcement than at anytime the past several decades.

One would think that anyone who doesn’t want war on the Korean Peninsula would be in favor of Winston Churchill’s maxim of “jaw-jaw is better than war-war.” But that doesn’t seem to be the case. There seems to be a substantial stream of thought within diplomatic circles that war with North Korea is, indeed, preferable to no war occurring and Donald Trump getting some credit for either the reduction in hostilities or, heaven forfend, an actual diplomatic breakthrough. Here is an example of a person or persons within the State Department attempting to torpedo Trump’s diplomatic efforts by painting them as caving to Kim.

But for weeks before the meeting, which started as a Twitter offer by the president for Mr. Kim to drop by at the Demilitarized Zone and “say hello,” a real idea has been taking shape inside the Trump administration that officials hope might create a foundation for a new round of negotiations.

The concept would amount to a nuclear freeze, one that essentially enshrines the status quo, and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power, something administration officials have often said they would never stand for.

It falls far short of Mr. Trump’s initial vow 30 months ago to solve the North Korea nuclear problem, but it might provide him with a retort to campaign-season critics who say the North Korean dictator has been playing the American president brilliantly by giving him the visuals he craves while holding back on real concessions.

While the approach could stop that arsenal from growing, it would not, at least in the near future, dismantle any existing weapons, variously estimated at 20 to 60. Nor would it limit the North’s missile capability.

The administration still insists in public and in private that its goals remain full denuclearization. But recognizing that its maximalist demand for the near-term surrender of Mr. Kim’s cherished nuclear program is going nowhere, it is weighing a new approach that would begin with a significant — but limited — first step.

From the good ol’ NeverTrump right:

And from the Obama alumni:

Notice anything similar?

Here are two themes that permeate all reporting on the subject.

1. Kim will not give up his nuclear arsenal. How do we know this? We don’t. We know he won’t/can’t give it up under current circumstances–both internally and externally–but we don’t know what circumstances would convince him to do so. The same geniuses that convinced themselves that their god-king could woo the Iranian mullahs into agreeing to put aside their nuclear and territorial ambitions and become a good-faith partner in the Middle East are now trying to convince us that yes, they can actually distinguish their ass from a hot rock.

2. Trump is a naif in search of adulation who is being played by wily Kim. Nothing. I say again, nothing in Kim’s foreign policy indicates that either he or his advisers have any sophistication or even a sense of how little anyone in the West not called South Korea thinks about them. There is no doubt that Kim does have a game here. Ideally, he’d like to trade meetings for relaxed sanctions. Unfortunately for him, the rejection of Trump, from his friends and enemies, would be nearly universal and immediate if he did so. Kim actually has a greater need of the meetings with Trump for his own domestic consumption. Trump undoubtedly likes the notoriety of meeting with Kim because, I suspect, of the people who befoul themselves but there’s no evidence that he’s willing to go back on a position he’s unambiguously staked out.

While we have no idea of the source(s) for the NYT piece, we do have two on-the-record comments.

On Sunday evening, the State Department’s envoy to North Korea, Stephen E. Biegun, said that this account of the ideas being generated in the administration was “pure speculation” and that his team was “not preparing any new proposal currently.”

“What is accurate is not new, and what is new is not accurate,” he said.

John Bolton has weighed in:

Taken in its most favorable light, the source for this is a loser who is very happy to lose. It is someone who really believes that Kim has outmaneuvered this president, just like all presidents before him, and that our best bet is to try to save some face by agreeing to give the North Koreans what they want under the fig leaf of a “freeze” that can no more be verified than can anything else in North Korea today.

If you take it at its most cynical, it is simply an attempt to undercut the Administration by giving their enemies at home and abroad aid and comfort. It is trying to damage Trump domestically by insisting, in absence of all evidence, that the administration is not serious about ridding North Korea of nukes and it is trying to give Kim hope that by holding out he’ll get rid of sanctions and keep his nukes.

The underlying assumptions in this article are simply at odds with the facts. If meeting with Kim makes him more secure at home, he has a greater ability to cut a deal that will be opposed by a large swath of the North Korean ruling elite and that is good. Every day that passes under sanctions, the North Korean government grows weaker and is less able to pursue whatever douchebaggery it would otherwise be up to, that is also good. If we are talking we aren’t shooting, also a big plus. Needless to say, this in not a timed event. Either a deal will materialize or it will not. The worst possible course for the Trump administration would to be cutting a deal with the DPRK locking in their ability to deliver nuclear weapons to the United States after abrogating an deal that ostensibly kept Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Trump knows this. His advisers know this. His enemies here and abroad know this.

The post New York Times Claims With Zero Proof That Trump Will Let Kim Jong Un Keep Nuclear Weapons appeared first on RedState.

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Why wasn’t John Bolton included in Trump’s Korea trip?

Westlake Legal Group t Why wasn’t John Bolton included in Trump’s Korea trip? Tucker Carlson Trump trip The Blog North Korea national security advisor Mongolia Kim Jong-un john bolton denuclearization

Is it common for the president’s National Security Advisor to skip a high-stakes summit involving nuclear diplomacy on the Korea peninsula and, just maybe, a brief meeting with North Korea’s supreme leader? Let’s ask an expert.

The media, and not just the U.S. media either, noticed Bolton’s absence:

As he made history Sunday by becoming the first United States president to cross the demilitarized zone into North Korea, Donald Trump was joined not by national security adviser John Bolton, but by Tucker Carlson. In some ways, the choice makes sense—the Fox News host has counseled the president in the past, apparently including urging him not to attack Iran, something Bolton had encouraged. It also makes sense that Trump wouldn’t want Bolton around; it’s no secret Pyongyang considers the hawkish national security adviser, who once called for a preemptive strike against North Korea, persona non grata. Trump’s attempt to continue nuclear talks, which broke down in February when he walked away from the negotiating table, surely stood a better chance without Bolton there.

But allowing Carlson to tag along—and banishing Bolton to Mongolia to “to consult with officials on regional security issues”—only added to the bizarre spectacle of the impromptu meeting which was, like much of Trump’s diplomacy with North Korea, more about pageantry than policy.

It’s true that the North Koreans despise Bolton and target him sporadically with propaganda, but foreign countries don’t dictate which advisors accompany the president on diplomatic visits. If need be, Trump could have brought Bolton along and asked him to hang back during the visit with Kim. It’s also true, as a Twitter pal reminded me, that Bolton wasn’t off playing golf this weekend while Trump was in Korea. He was in Mongolia, a nation eyed by the U.S. as a potential player in diplomacy with the NorKs. Maybe Bolton was chatting with them about hosting a third Trump/Kim summit. He might not have been excluded from the Korean denuclearization process, in other words, so much as he was working on a different arm of it.

But why couldn’t he have met with Mongolia’s leadership after the Korean summit? And how can we overlook the symbolism of Tucker Carlson accompanying Trump on his Korean rapprochement while the NSA was off in another country? Carlson has attacked Bolton viciously on his show lately, describing him amid the debate over war with Iran as a “bureaucratic tapeworm” who “live[s] forever in the bowels of the federal agencies, periodically reemerging to cause pain and suffering but never suffering himself.” (An odd criticism in Bolton’s case, as he spent more than a decade out of government before reemerging as Trump’s NSA — much of that time on, er, Fox News.) The Tucker narrative is that Trump is forever being tempted by the sirens of interventionism, with Bolton the demonic face of that effort. Trump seems to share that belief, allegedly telling a “confidant” last week of his advisors, “These people want to push us into a war, and it’s so disgusting.” Trump watches Carlson’s show regularly, of course, and he’s discussed Iran policy with him personally. To have Tucker on hand for the Kim meeting while Bolton is on assignment abroad reeks of a deliberate snub.

And so the question: Is Bolton being marginalized by the president? This tweet, about the NYT story that Jazz wrote about earlier, got some attention online this morning.

Maybe he’s right and the Times piece is the product of some disgruntled aides trying to force a nuclear freeze onto Trump’s menu of options on the peninsula. (The Times stood by its reporting, for what that’s worth.) But maybe Bolton, the National Security Advisor, is simply out of the loop of the president’s thinking. If so, it wouldn’t be the first time that Trump has soured on a top advisor and chosen to cut him out of his deliberations instead of firing him forthrightly. John Kelly, remember, was brought in as chief of staff with plans to serve as an absolute gatekeeper to the president. All requests for face time with Trump, even by Jared and Ivanka, would go through him. He’d attend all presidential meetings personally. “Discipline” was the West Wing’s motto at the start of the Kelly era. In less than a year, discipline had broken down so completely that Kelly was reportedly seen going to the gym in the middle of the day and telling friends that he didn’t care if Trump was impeached. And yet, he lingered. From Trump’s perspective, it seems, so long as Kelly wasn’t making too much trouble for him, it was easier for awhile just to keep him on staff and ignore him rather than fire him, endure another round of “White House in disarray” headline, and then have to go looking for a new chief.

Is that Bolton’s fate now? NSA in name only, a figurehead kept around to reassure hawks that they have a forceful voice inside the building while Trump charts a path for America’s future abroad with Fox News’s 8 p.m. guy? I’m thinking no: If Trump were to come out today and confirm that he’s considering a nuclear freeze with the NorKs, just as the Times said and Bolton denied, Bolton would have to resign on principle. It’s one thing to be marginalized, it’s another to look ridiculous.

Here’s Tucker sounding even more Tucker-y than usual yesterday on Fox.

The post Why wasn’t John Bolton included in Trump’s Korea trip? appeared first on Hot Air.

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North Korea “ready” to denuclearize if Kim gets everything he wants

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With the new year comes the next chapter in the ongoing talks between the United States and North Korea regarding denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un gave his annual New Years address this week, during which he tossed out some hints and suggestions as to what we should expect going forward. Much of the international attention has been on whether the anticipated second summit between Kim and Donald Trump was going to take place and the diminutive dictator addressed that subject.

So will there be another meeting? Kim says he’s up for it, but he has some “conditions” which need to be met first. (WaPo)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un renewed his commitment to denuclearization Tuesday and said he was ready to meet President Trump for a second time, but he warned the United States not to “misjudge” his patience.

In a closely watched, nationally televised annual New Year’s Day speech, Kim balanced a willingness to talk with a reminder that North Korea has its own demands if the peace process and denuclearization talks are to succeed.

In particular, he demanded that South Korea end joint military exercises with the United States, and warned Washington that if it continues to maintain sanctions and pressure, Pyongyang could walk away from the negotiating table.

So Kim wants an end to any joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, as well as having all the sanctions lifted before he’ll talk about getting rid of his nukes. That should be a non-starter based on everything that Donald Trump has said over the past year, effectively jettisoning any reason for having another summit in the first place. Kim’s history of going back on his word once he gets what he wants should rightly be seen as enough reason to flush this idea until he can be brought further into compliance.

But that quote above was just the portion of the speech released for western consumption and part of an obvious public relations effort. To get a better look into Kim’s mind we should see what he was saying to his own people during the rest of his remarks. The Associated Press has a good rundown of all the major points he made, translated into English, and it’s well worth a look.

Two-thirds of the speech was focused entirely on the economy, with plans for greater domestic energy production and the availability of electricity in more of the country. (He also mentioned nuclear power plants, which should give you an idea of his intentions.) As far as opening up to the west and joining the normal circles of diplomatic engagement, Kim was almost entirely silent on Donald Trump and the United States. He focused all of his plans – and praise – on South Korea, touting their renewed relationship and progress on ending the war. He wants to restart the railways that used to connect the two countries and improve trade.

But what about the nukes? That’s where the real kicker comes in. While Kim is suggesting to the western press that denuclearization of the peninsula is still on the table, he was telling his own people that he might be interested in “a possible cap on nuclear weapons production if the U.S. takes equivalent steps.”

A cap? That’s not denuclearization. That’s Kim deciding to stop blowing money on more missiles and warheads so he can focus on his own economy while keeping his arsenal in reserve. While I hate to start the new year on a down note, I’ve yet to see any sign that Kim Jong-un is acting as an honest broker in these negotiations. He’s getting all sorts of positive attention these days, China is relaxing sanctions and there’s more money and oil flowing into North Korea. And in exchange for all of that, Kim has given up precisely nothing and doesn’t appear to be planning any sort of concessions. In short, we’ve probably been played yet again.

The post North Korea “ready” to denuclearize if Kim gets everything he wants appeared first on Hot Air.

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