US President Donald Trump’s failure to make any meaningful progress with North Korea was an expected outcome of the recent summit, but not for the reasons the mainstream media and regular talking-heads want you to believe.
The so-called summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi this week was a predictable flop. According to the US President himself, he ended up walking away from the summit because “it was all about sanctions.”
“Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that,” US President Donald Trump stated.
As Trump also eloquently noted, “sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.” Though, that being said, he did explain that it “was a friendly walk.” Apparently, the two leaders exited the venue of their talks without even attending a planned lunch together. I’m not sure how friendly the walk can be if you walk in the opposite direction from each other, but if there’s one thing I know about Trump it’s that he is a friendly guy.
Given the current media climate on the issue of North Korea, I can’t say I’m all the surprised with the outcome of the summit. Despite Trump and Kim’s grandiose and laughable compliments towards each other, and despite the fact that NBC reported the US was considering waiving its demand for full accounting of Pyongyang’s nuclear program, we all knew at the end of the day that little could be achieved between these two nations because of the core issues at stake here. Some of us just disagree on the real reasons why this relationship was doomed from the outset (and some of us are just plain lying to you).
For example, former national security adviser under Barack Obama, Susan Rice, has just written an article published in the New York Times (NYT) entitled: “Can Trump Avoid Caving to Kim in Vietnam?” In her opinion piece, and I am not making this up, she actually cites the idea of “further concessions to the North Korean dictator,” like a “peace declaration” as being one of the two main risks of the Hanoi summit, unless the US receives irreversible concessions in return.
Say, what? In what universe is a “peace declaration” a risk, even if there are no concessions made in return? And what does that even mean? If peace is declared, that is a concession in itself, is it not?
Oh, but we need to ensure that North Korea dismantles all of its nuclear weapons and delivery systems first before we can even possibly discuss peace. Or as Rice puts it, not dismantle, but actually “eradicate.”
“To move the needle,” the warmongering hawk writes, “the United States and North Korea will need to agree on a series of incremental, reciprocal steps that would build mutual confidence as part of a road map to full denuclearization. Such steps could combine verifiable constraints on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs with limited sanctions relief and movement toward achieving a final peace agreement. Reasonable constraints would include opening up declared North Korean facilities to international inspectors, halting further production of fissile material and ballistic missiles, codifying Mr. Kim’s announced testing freezes and nonproliferation pledge and obtaining firm commitments from North Korea to declare the totality of its nuclear and missile infrastructure.”
Where have we heard all of this before? It seems as though – and correct me if I am wrong – but that we have already tried these strategies multiple times with varying degrees of ruination. Most famously, the US tried to convince the world that Iraq needed to disarm its non-existent nuclear weapons, only to get increasingly impatient when Iraq couldn’t do the literal impossible and reduced the country to rubble. The same also took place in Libya, a nation which previously held the highest standard of living out of any country in Africa.
In fact, North Korea cites Libya as an example of why it will never give up its nuclear weapons supply. If you dig deeply enough, you will even find proof that the US and the UK, actually gave Libya a “script” indicating what the North African nation needed to do and say in order to rehabilitate itself into the global community. Fast forward just a few years later, and Barack Obama and his NATO cohorts were bombing Libya.
Speaking of concessions, even irreversible concessions, it is actually now quite well-documented (yet hidden from plain sight) that North Korea would make huge concessions in rolling back its nuclear program – but on one condition. As MIT Professor Noam Chomsky once explained, the reason is “that it calls for a quid pro quo. It says in return the United States should put an end to threatening military maneuvers on North Korea’s borders, which happen to include under Trump, sending of nuclear-capable B-52s flying right near the border.”
“Maybe Americans don’t remember very well,” Chomsky also stated, “but North Koreans have a memory of not too long ago when North Korea was absolutely flattened – literally – by American bombing. There was literally no targets left.”
Just so we are clear, Chomsky is not exaggerating that last point in the slightest.
The reason we don’t hear about North Korea’s willingness to make meaningful concessions often can be found in almost any major media outlet, though let’s just use the Washington Post as an example, with statements such as:
“[North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un] has shown no interest in talks — he won’t even set foot in China, his biggest patron. Even if negotiations took place, the current regime has made clear that ‘it will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table, as one envoy recently put it.”
Even a recent NBC scoop appeared to be quite dumb-founded when it advanced the notion that the “Trump administration is hoping to get a significant concession from North Korea on Yongbyon [the Yongbyon nuclear reactor], but it’s unclear if the U.S. can offer something in exchange that Kim would accept.”
It seems to me that there are a lot of things that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un would accept, so it baffles me that the mainstream media are unable to even discuss this issue properly. Though, if you do happen to read far enough some articles here and there, you will find a vague mention of it, as in this piece which says: “While the United States has long demanded that North Korea give up all of its nuclear and missile programmes, the North wants to see the removal of a US nuclear umbrella for its Asian allies such as South Korea and Japan.”
Why are we having a US-North Korea summit anyway? What exactly is the threat that North Korea has demonstrably proven to be? That it fires missiles into the sea on occasion? Trust me, I feel for the fish and the environment, but as far as international human rights conventions are concerned, which as we know the US government loves to pride itself on its ability to attack other nations for a lack of upholding, North Korea’s so-called “rogue” behavior barely even pales in comparison to that of the United States.
So why does the media continue to pander to this idea that the US war machine is in any way, shape or form, bringing North Korea to the table of etiquette and decorum and why does the media give voices to those people who undermine any meaningful progress on the question of avoiding war with Pyongyang?
It pays to remind ourselves that if we are going to hold North Korea to these ridiculous standards, that it has in fact conducted no nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests since 2017. The US, on the other hand, is still assisting Israel in its destruction of Gaza, is still assisting Saudi Arabia in its destruction of Yemen, is still bombing the rest of the Middle East into oblivion and is currently threatening war against Venezuela, Iran, all the while reigniting a new and revamped Cold War with Russia and China, just to name a few.
Even as I type, two supposed US allies who do have known and ready nuclear weapons appear to be throwing stones at each other, yet denuclearization seems to be nowhere to be found in media discourse when we examine the history of the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan.
Still, to all those in the corporate media decrying that the Hanoi-based summit was a waste of time, they need not fret. While in Vietnam, the Trump administration managed to ink a deal with Vietnam for 110 Boeing planes worth billions of dollars. Seems to me like it was a very lucrative and fruitful time in Vietnam, particularly for the people who matter the most: corporations that thrive as part of the US war machine.
Coincidentally, these are the same people who benefit the most when any chance of a US-North Korea peace process fails miserably. Go figure.
By Darius Shahtahmasebi