North Korea

'Experts' Fear Trump Will Talk to Kim Jong Un, New York Times Reports

But talks, even bilateral ones, offer the best solutions.

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Shawn T Moore/ZUMA Press/Newscom

President Trump fired off a tweet bemoaning the "extortion money" the U.S. has been paying North Korea over the last two decades. "Talking is not the answer!" the president huffed.

Not really, Defense Secretary James Mattis and other members of the administration clarified immediately. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has previously signaled the answer to the North Korea crisis is conversational.

Still, Trump's tweet "revealed a paradox in how Asia experts view the crisis," The New York Times reported. Some fear Trump commencing a "risky, unpredictable dialogue" with Kim Jong Un more than him starting a war.

"What the North Koreans are angling for is to bring the danger and tension to a crescendo, and then to pivot to a peace proposal," Daniel Russel, the previous assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, told The Times. "All of this is focused on pressuring the U.S. to enter direct talks with Kim on his terms. That is the big trap."

A trap, The Times noted, President Clinton almost fell into in the 1990s. But the prospect of direct talks shouldn't be seen that way.

"I suspect that in the end, the president might fall back on his event-planning background," Michael Green, an Asia advisor for President George W. Bush, told The Times. "This is not a Miss Universe pageant or a pro wrestling match, so that might stop Trump in his tracks."

American foreign policy may not have been conducted by a WWE Hall of Famer before, but that doesn't mean wrestling-like tropes haven't been used before. After all, Bush called North Korea, Iran, and Iraq an "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address.

That description, the subsequent invasion of Iraq, and the deterioration of relations with Iran in the Bush era offer few incentives for North Korea other than to press ahead with its current program for deterring regime change.

Six-party talks—North Korea, South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia—collapsed in 2006 over North Korean satellite launches, which served much the same purpose as its test missile launches.

It should come as no surprise that a military build-up across East Asia and a perceived lack of interest in resuming negotiations produced more and more North Korean missile tests.

President Obama's "Asia pivot," a sanitized term for a China containment policy, meanwhile, predictably led to a more confrontational stance from China.

The Times cites the death of American citizen Otto Wermbier, who was imprisoned by the North Korean regime, and the broader political climate, as impediments to such talks.

But there are more fundamental stumbling blocks, primarily that there is not all that much for the U.S. to discuss with North Korea outside of the reality that multilateral negotiations are the best path forward for the region.

Despite deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations, the region, like the world, is a far less divided place today than it has been at any time since the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Trump has tried to cultivate a relationship with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as China President Xi Jinping.

Multilateral negotiations are the most promising path to resolving the North Korean crisis. If bilateral talks can lead to multilateral negotiations, they would be a success. The Times nevertheless conceded such two-way talks remained "a far-fetched notion."

Any talks will be, on a basic level, unpredictable. There are no easy solutions to the crisis. Talking them through, however, whether two-way, six-way or some other way, decreases the chance of a pre-emptive or reactive war.

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  1. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has previously signaled the answer to the North Korea crisis is conversational.

    Obviously when he said “talking is not the answer” he meant speaking out loud. Twitter DM’s are the answer.

    1. “We’ve got the best fish farms around, fat boy. I mean, magnificent. Yours are puny. Sad!”

      1. “And you call these mushrooms? Pathetic, pathetic. Our mushrooms are fantastic, believe me. Big league.”

        1. “Kim… you’re fired.”

        2. “That’s not an impressive belly. You want to see the best belly? Look at this. Tremendous! Tremendous, I tell you. I can help you, Kim.”

          1. Certainly talking is always a better choice, but I really don’t see what NK can have to offer in a negotiation. Cheaper slave-labor manufacturing of iPhones?

  2. I’m lost.

    Is Trump gonna start this nuclear war or not?

    Nazis want to know.

  3. Despite deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations

    I wonder why that is.

    1. Because lefty media is blaming the Russians for a bunch of stuff without actual support and wants the USA to attack Russians in Syria?

      Or maybe its that the lefty media underestimated Trump and thereby Putin underestimated Trump and now Trump is pushing back. I mean the Russians had 8 years of pushing Obama, Hillary, and the USA around.

  4. The Times cites the death of American citizen Otto Wermbier, who was imprisoned by the North Korean regime, and the broader political climate, as impediments to such talks.

    Good thing we’re friends with Australia.

  5. That description, the subsequent invasion of Iraq, and the deterioration of relations with Iran in the Bush era offer few incentives for North Korea other than to press ahead with its current program for deterring regime change.

    Cue the pro war retards who hated the anti-nuke Treaty Iran signed.

    1. Does Iran have nukes now? Yes, or no?

      1. They do not have nuclear weapons and are subject to inspection so they cannot develop them.

        1. Ok, now bonus question, is North Korea prohibited by treaty from having Nuclear Weapons?

          1. BYODB: It’s too easy tripping up Butt like that. I mean these lefty nutjobs are so tribal that they will never admit anyone on their team made a serious error.

  6. You mean like these schmucks?

  7. Yeah, I’m sure that ‘talks’ will have a totally different result this time from the results we’ve had over the previous 50 years.

    Can we think of a single agreement North Korea has actually honored? I guess the armistice is about the only one I can think of, even if they’ve been building up their military and arsenal the whole time. I wonder why?

    1. They don’t even honor the armistice. Whenever they feel like it, they shoot across the armistice line.

      1. I was thinking that as I posted it, but since they’re dishonest fucks I figured ‘well, at least they haven’t marched on South Korea again’. I mean, that’s the level of ‘honor’ those guys have at this point. If they don’t completely break an agreement, it’s surprising.

  8. Trump: “All options are on the table.”

    Trump: “No more talking!”

    I know the country belongs to the President, and we serfs just live in it and all we’re expected to do is obey laws and pay our taxes, but is it too much to ask that we be informed of the intentions of our illustrious leaders? You know, because we need to know that shit when we go to the voting booth.

    1. Come on… Trump did not say we were not going to talk with North Korea anymore.

      1. His tweet from 5:47 a.m. yesterday:

        “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!”

        1. Yup. I added that below in my other post. That means just not talking to North Korea anymore, to you? What about the extortion part of that statement?

          If you want to take what he said all literal to a TDS extreme, he said talking is not the answer not that he would not talk anymore.

  9. Trump’s tweet “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!” is not about never talking to North Korea.

    Its about paying the Norks extortion money and just talking, never accomplishing anything good for the USA.

    That is very different than talking with North Korea and not putting up with their military aggressiveness.

  10. It’s true that “If bilateral talks can lead to multilateral negotiations, they would be a success.” But that isn’t going to happen.

    The fundamental problem with bilateral talks is that the whole North Korean claim underlying the demand for such talks is that there is no legitimate South Korean government, just a US puppet. That is, the North Korean demand for bilateral talks is an express denial of the reality that “there is not all that much for the U.S. to discuss with North Korea outside of the reality that multilateral negotiations are the best path forward for the region.” North Korea would demand an agenda for the talks that included all sorts of demands that can only be properly answered by the South Koreans.

    The result would either be a collapse of the bilateral talks over US “intransigence” in refusing to discuss such matters, or the US overstepping its proper limits and thus offending South Korea. Both of which would be diplomatic wins for North Korea and losses for the US. Bilateral talk are, accordingly, a trap.

    Thus, the correct move is, as it has been for all the decades North Korea has been demanding them, for the US to refuse to talk bilaterally. if North Korea really wants to talk instead of scoring points, it’ll call for more multilateral talks.

    1. North Korea wants the same outcome as North Vietnam got, ownership of the South, with the rest of the world allowing the North to plunder and pillage and murder.

      Korea is not going to slowly lurch its way to a reunification and freeing of the North as happened in Germany with their East.

      If China could be convinced to stay out of it, except for blockading anything going out of China to North Korea, the USA, South Korea, Japan, and perhaps Australia should be able to strike and destroy most of North Korea’s military in short order. The Korea situation is mainly China’s fault. In the 1950’s China was supplying Chinese and Russian military equipment and Chinese soldiers, especially pilots, to operate it until they could train North Koreans.

      Bringing the economy and infrastructure of the northern half of reunified Korea up to snuff would be a long process, lots of money to be made. Industry from around the world would flock to build factories there. Korean companies like Samsung would expand too.

  11. The writer states “…there is not all that much for the U.S. to discuss with North Korea…”. My first reaction is “What nonsense!”. Then I realized he’s right, but probably not for the reason he meant.

    Washington should be talking to South Korea, not North Korea, about the terms for North and South to end the Korean War, and for the U.S. to leave the Korean peninsula, send all its troops home, and remove all the missiles, nuclear weapons, and bases. Only when the US leaves and South Korea talks with North Korea, will tensions subside and eventually disappear.

    But since the military/security complex is such a major part of our GDP, and keeps its oligarchs rich, i expect the US is presence in Korea and other countries around the world to continue.

  12. Perhaps if there was some way to shift the national attention to the unimaginable suffering of DPRK’s regular citizens?

    I’m all for not melting in nuclear fire, but why are we even pretending to play the Game of Houses with that shithole? Every time I see his dopey, fat face, I think of Fwi-Song and his thralls. Surely we could feed him some poison flesh.

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