A Brief Outbreak of Sanity After nearly a year of gaffes, provocations, threats, bombings, destabilizing arms deals, and, most recently, the disastrous decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the sanest member of the Trump Administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, appeared to have begun a new and promising diplomatic direction in relations with tiny, beleaguered North Korea. Oil man and uranium man – will there be an exchange of binoculars soon? As regular readers know, after studying numerous official photographs of Kim, we have concluded that what he really wants is a pair or two of really spiffy new binoculars. International diplomacy is not exactly rocket science, one just needs to be a little observant. And giving him new field glasses would be a lot
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A Brief Outbreak of Sanity
After nearly a year of gaffes, provocations, threats, bombings, destabilizing arms deals, and, most recently, the disastrous decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the sanest member of the Trump Administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, appeared to have begun a new and promising diplomatic direction in relations with tiny, beleaguered North Korea.
Oil man and uranium man – will there be an exchange of binoculars soon? As regular readers know, after studying numerous official photographs of Kim, we have concluded that what he really wants is a pair or two of really spiffy new binoculars. International diplomacy is not exactly rocket science, one just needs to be a little observant. And giving him new field glasses would be a lot cheaper, less bloody, and less likely to generate unhealthy levels of radiation than waging war. [PT]
Screenshot via nypost.com
In a surprising statement given to a Washington think tank on December 12, Secretary Tillerson said:
“We are ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. We are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions. Let’s just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether its going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about. And then we can begin to lay out a road map.”*
He perceptively added that it was “unrealistic” for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Tillerson’s reasonable approach, however, did not sit very well with either his boss or the blood thirsty war hawks within the Administration who now have enough ammunition to force his removal, probably after the first of the year. One of Trump’s top aides reportedly said Tillerson “hasn’t learned his lesson.”**
A couple of days later, and probably after a tongue lashing by the Chief Executive, Tillerson had taken back his earlier statement and was once again pushing the hardcore, neocon line declaring: “North Korea must earn its way back to the table. The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved.”***
The “preconditions” for any US-North Korean talks was spelled out by the Secretary of State: a “sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behavior” and that the “ultimate outcome [of the talks] would be for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.”****
Upper left: Kim and his buddies hear that Tillerson is even offering them to pick the shape of the table they are going to sit at. The unspoken question hanging in the air is obviously “will he bring spiffy new binoculars?” Lower left: Kim surrounded by a bunch of his evidently slightly antiquated little optical helpers… but look how happy he is! And it should be obvious he needs new ones. Upper right: Kim hears that Tillerson is backtracking on that earlier offer about the meeting and who is allowed to pick the table… not surprisingly, tears are shed (“will I ever get my new binoculars?”). Lower right: Kim hears about shady neo-con warmongers scheming to chase the friendly oil-man out of office and sadness quickly becomes anger. What a disappointment! He was really looking forward to… you get the drift. [PT]
War and Peace
As an astute appraiser of the situation, Tillerson understands that the preconditions set by the US will never be agreed to by North Korea. They would be insane to do so. Kim Jong Un realizes what happens to regimes that renounce their nuclear weapons program – their leadership usually faces a grisly demise – see Iraq and Libya.
Why is it that the US should unilaterally set preconditions? Doesn’t North Korea have any say in how negotiations should commence? Wasn’t it North Korea that bore much of the destruction in the “police action” of the 1950s, when 10% of its population perished and only a few buildings remained standing in its capital after merciless American carpet bombing?
The effects of what the US did are still embedded in the North Korean psyche, President Trump, who avoided military service during the Vietnam War due to a mysterious foot ailment, called it “pointless” to negotiate without preconditions which would in effect mean surrender for North Korea.
While anti-immigration proponents and border wall enthusiasts continue to press President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise, illegal immigration is still secondary to that of war and peace. In fact, the two are linked. A deescalation of tensions in North Korea as Secretary Tilllerson’s path would most likely lead to would mean that the Trump Administration could concentrate more on domestic issues with the first priority being border security.
Meeting of the rocket-men. [PT]
Secretary Tillerson’s level-headed thinking should be applied to other parts of the world that the US has poked its unwanted nose into. A pull back in its role as global policeman would reduce the massive wasteful defense spending which would leave resources available for the domestic economy.
If, God forbid, war does break out on the Korean peninsula, the blame can be directly placed on the crazed war hawks of the Trump Administration up to and including the Chief Executive himself and not in the more moderate voices like Rex Tillerson. Not only would there be massive bloodshed and destruction from such a conflict, but it might lead to a general world conflagration.
Conclusion – A Much-Needed Return to Principles
Ultimately, however, even Rex Tillerson’s approach goes beyond what a true America First foreign policy should look like. America has no business being involved in the political affairs of Korea. Non-intervention, free trade, and cultural exchange are the principles of a true America First program. Only when these ideals are adopted will the crisis on the Korean Peninsula be solved.
Kim when he’s very angry. Note that he’s not even using his top-of-the-line field glasses in this picture. They’re just there to remind us what he really wants. [PT]
*Tyler Durden, “After Shocking Reversal Tillerson, North Korea Agrees ‘It’s Important to Avoid War.’” Zero Hedge 12 December 2017.
**Jason Ditz. “Trump Allies: Tillerson Hasn’t Learned His Lesson.” Antiwar.com 15 December 2017.
***Carol Morello, “In Reversal, Tillerson says N. Korea must ‘earn’ way back to talks.” The Washington Post, 16 December 2017, A9.
Image captions by PT
Antonius Aquinas is an author, lecturer, a contributor to Acting Man, SGT Report, The Burning Platform, Dollar Collapse, The Daily Coin and Zero Hedge. Contact him at antoniusaquinas[at]gmail[dot]com https://antoniusaquinas.com/.