It Could’ve Been Worse

After the Singapore summit, the commentators, op-ed writers, columnists, analysts, foreign policy experts and seemingly everyone within reach of a keyboard or smartphone all have an opinion. Who are we not to join in with StratDem’s opinion? Consider the alternative to negotiating, “politics by other means”, war and potential catastrophic use of nuclear weapons

 

“Nice to meet you Mister President,” Kim said as he sat alongside Trump, against a backdrop of North Korean and U.S. flags, beaming more broadly as the U.S. president gave him a thumbs up. Trump said he was sure they would have a “terrific relationship”

 

#StratDem:

Most critically, the summit provided an off ramp, a turn away from imminent nuclear confrontation. We should, as a nation, acknowledge this essential beginning point before we turn to discussing and debating the details of the agreement. South Korean president Moon Jae-in was instrumental in advancing the talks, working both North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump. The winter Olympics cooperation between countries set in motion the events leading to Singapore. What needs to be remembered is that the Korean people and their future are at the center of the talks.

What the initial Singapore agreement includes, doesn’t include, what it (based upon the point of view of the writer) should have included, but didn’t, what it means, what it could mean… grist for the media mills as we know what’s next up — the devil’s in the details. The next round of talks, prolonged and protracted, with maneuvering as every arms expert has warned, will be devilishly difficult. Stay tuned.

Until the detailed talks begin, here are several thoughts from the Strategic Demands as we question US political reactions before the summit and the morning after…

Any liberal commentator should begin any op-ed or analysis w the hard fact that the Singapore meet up could’ve turned out much worse. But our quick scan of liberal-oriented commentators and comments show few who acknowledge the war v. negotiate choice. The president ups the ante as North Korea test fires missiles and tests nuclear devices under mountains, threats are flying, provocation is the order of the day — and the odds of confrontation was growing as the stakes increased. As liberals complain about yesterday’s results, they miss bigger picture. The US has much to give, NK not so much phase one. Think of US air power in the region, and NK express fear of being devastated by another LeMay air campaign (at StratDem we have talked about this, to be “LeMay’d”, a fear factor revealingly talked about in Singapore).

The political response of Democrats has not been what it should be.

The Democratic Senators’ letter to the president, with deal breaker sets of demands, was a tough act of nonsense. They should, if they have geopolitical smarts, move toward denuclearization strategies that are realistic and aim beyond the Korean peninsula.

 

2) Conservative politics should celebrate. This is a big step for the Rs in the midterm. The president has been quoted talking of “courage” it takes for peace — “Anyone can make war, peace takes courage.” Hold him to this.

A breakdown in talks could have meant and can still mean economic downturn globally as war talk spooked markets. Any confrontation would spell doom for the Republicans election hopes, and disaster militarily in the event of nuclear exchange for the people of Korea, the region, and the world. This deal, as incomplete as it is, puts hard negotiating/verification off until after the November election. The page and a half agreement is a beginning. The agreement has to be constructed, built on. Build on it, go beyond it with nuclear arms control.

The US president’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted today celebrating a “million jobs” created. This economic record is what the Republicans will be running on in November. Any downturn or disaster will threaten Republican control of the US executive branch and Congress.

 

 


 

 

Twitter:

Long day yesterday, waiting to see if the presidente had another outburst as he did w Trudeau and G7 allies. After a Trump foreign policy doctrine was succinctly described by one of his Sr aides as “We’re America, bitch!”, It suddenly got cloudy. What was about to come down in Singapore w the N Korea Supreme Leader.

After all, here were two guys who a few months ago were threatening missile tests, nuke demos, and ‘fire and fury’ like ‘the world has never seen.’

Then there wasn’t a Bolton out of the sky. The two heads of state walked out in front of the cameras, shook hands, and next thing in the spectacle highlighted for me by Dennis Rodman w his lip, nose, and ear rings (shades of modern ‘ping pong’ US-China diplomacy), was an announcement. A deal of sorts was agreed to. Better than a nuke exchange.

 

StratDem Online:

  • Democrats in the US Senate sent a list of demands in a letter to the president as the negotiation begin. The letter falls short of constructive engagement at this point.
  • Smart politics, sane politics, should be to push negotiating step by step, action by action.
  • Politically motivate the president to negotiate and, as he moves into the negotiation, try to advance, not to act to block, the negotiation.
  • Work to make a deal, find a deal, shape a deal, because nuclear war would be a disaster.
  • Go beyond the deal and ‘pivot’ to the larger nuclear proliferation issues. Focus on realistic arms control (with Korea, China, Iran, Russia).
  • Re: nuclear arms spending by the US, China, Russia and other nations, the larger goal must be to directly address and implement multi-nation solutions. The immediate challenge is to limit nuclear arms spending on new nuclear weapons. The US Nuclear Posture Review, with its new tactical nuclear weapons and capabilities, is delivering additional risk even as nuclear confrontations are a dead end. Denuclearization must extend far beyond the Korean Peninsula.

 

From the StratDem Editor:

NYT OPINION / Trump Was Outfoxed in Singapore

I disagree. This was a turn away from imminent nuclear confrontation. Any liberal commentator should begin any op-ed or analysis w this hard fact. Second, the US has much to give, NK not so much phase one. Think of US air power in the region, and NK express fear of being ‘LeMay’d’. Third, politically this is a big step for the Rs in the midterm. A breakdown in talks could’ve meant econ downturn in US as war talk spooked markets. This deal, as it is, puts hard negotiating/verification off until after the Nov election. Imo, the Ds better get their act together. The Schumer letter to the pres was a non starter, deal breaker set of demands, a tough act of nonsense. They should, if they have geopolitical smarts, move toward denuclearization strategies that are realistic and aim beyond the Korean peninsula.

 

 

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