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Old 04-18-2019, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
Going back to this post, I'd just like to point out that it's the most significant progress toward denuclearization -- after they have actually finished the process of demonstrating substantial nuclear capabilities.

I suspect that what Kim is saying is:

"Look, the fact is, we've got missiles, and we've got nuclear weapons. I know that, and more importantly, you know that. We could make more and more if we want and you would pay one hell of a price for trying to stop us. But the truth is, we're not really interested in going that route. This being enemies of the world shit is getting kinda old. Instead, we'd rather you just stop putting sanctions on us, as they threaten my ability to govern over the long term. We want you to stop threatening our regime's future through sanctions and political isolation; you guys want us to stop building nukes and shooting missiles over Japan. So we'll cut you a deal. You end sanctions and maybe even move your military threat further away from us, and we'll end nuclear and missile testing, and we might even be somewhat normal. I'll look like a hero for normalizing my country and perhaps even possibly improving the economy and welfare of my people, and you'll actually look like a legitimate global deal maker and possibly get reelected. So whaddya say, Orange Yankee, deal or no deal?

Trump might actually be tempted to take it. I'm not sure John Bolton would, though. This is where it would get interesting because Bolton represents a significant faction within the old "deep state," which is that the United States doesn't compromise power in exchange for peace. FWIW, I think Hillary Clinton somewhat had a worldview that was not too dissimilar. She's probably more open to traditional diplomacy than the Walrus (Bolton), but that traditional diplomacy would mean North Korea making concessions first before actually holding up our end of the bargain. Kim's not interested in that. His grandfather/father tried that with Bill Clinton and he got nowhere when Republicans pulled funding for the nuclear deal in the 1990s.
This is what I said at the start of the thread, and I think it's mostly still applicable today. I put John Bolton's name in bold because I think he (and maybe Pompeo as well) is the dangerous variable in this equation. I think Donald Trump wants to be a hero and wants a deal, but he also doesn't want to be embarrassed either. Bolton, OTOH, is an ideological soldier, and I think he in particular is a dangerous factor inside the WH. He was never a fan of this detente, and you can count on Bolton to do all he can to shape how Trump interprets Kim's actions. Bolton's solution for everything is aggression, pressure, and dominance. He is an imaginary warrior ten times as arrogant and deulusional than Donald Rumsfeld. The risk of deliberate first strike from either side is probably still quite low; as always, the real risk is playing a game of chicken and having one side or both misread and miscalculate the other.

I can't argue against the fact that the deescalation over the past year has been a largely positive development. However, I don't think the overall situation has fundamentally changed that much. The dynamics involve friction between the Kim regime's need to have sanctions eased and to ease pressure on the regime on one hand, and the US's foreign policy based on economic warfare on the other. The Kim regime probably doesn't feel that it's in a position to negotiate all that much, though there could be some concessions it could end up making. Generally speaking, if there's a way out, it's most likely going to have to be some concessions on the US side. Those concessions mean a gradual easing of economic sanctions in exchange for some meaningful benefit in return. The problem is, I don't see concessions as Bolton's style.

Last edited by asahi; 04-18-2019 at 06:49 AM.