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Don’t give Trump credit for North Korea suspending testing!



My take on the North Korea thing is that the Kim family’s goal long has been clear: to develop an ICBM and hydrogen bomb capacity in order to compel America to sit down at the negotiating table and meet their demands. Having such capability seems to be the only way for some countries to be taken seriously.

This would have been true no matter who was in the White House in 2018. It just so happens to be Trump. North Korea has been working on their nuclear program for decades, and they were bound to reach the point of deliverability sooner or later. As things turned out, they reached it late last year; hence Kim Jong Un’s calculated decision to meet with his South Korean counterpart and with the American president.

All that North Korea has ever wanted was a seat at the table and to be treated with the same respect with which America treats other counties. American presidents, Republican and Democratic, have consistently refused to do this, instead branding North Korea a rogue regime. Naturally, North Korea resented and feared this, given America’s historic habit of overthrowing regimes it doesn’t like, and they understood that the only way to force America to accept them was by developing a nuclear arsenal.

Exactly why American presidents have been so resistant to accepting North Korea has always mystified me (and I’ve been watching this game for a long time). Yes, we fought them in the Korean War, but that was 65 years ago! North Korea was never remotely close to being a threat to us, or to our allies such as Japan; and as for their vaunted ability to launch tens of thousands of rockets and bombs on Seoul, nobody ever expected that to happen, because the Kim family knew that if they did it, they would be obliterated in fifteen minutes.

America isn’t the only country ever to have had a stupid policy, but ours toward North Korea was dumber than most. It was similar to our policy—again, under both Democrats and Republicans—toward Cuba. Cuba was never a threat to the U.S., in any conceivable way. We didn’t like their communist government, but that in itself posed no danger to our way of life or national security. In both cases—Cuba and North Korea—I got the sense of an American policy hardened into concrete and made rigidly unchangeable by force of habit. It was an anachronism. Nobody could really explain it anymore, as it became less and less relevant with each passing year. Republicans in particular seemed to lead the anti-Cuba brigade, no doubt because they are so rigidly opposed to any form of socialism, preferring instead their oligarchic policies of tax cuts for the rich and giant corporations and a minimum of help for poor people, and also because of the outsized importance of the Florida Cuban-Americans, who are among the most rightwing blocs in the country. I think the anti-North Korea movement was led equally by Republicans and Democrats, but it never made any sense. I mean, we fought the North Vietnamese and lost 50,000 troops there, but today Vietnam is a business partner and American tourist destination. We’ve spent a ton of money keeping tens of thousands of troops on the Korean peninsula and in Japan all these years, to defend ourselves against a country that posed no threat to us whatsoever.

The only way North Korea might have posed a threat to us was if they developed a nuclear capacity, and the best way to ensure that they would was to do exactly what we did for sixty years: surround them, embargo them, insult them and the Kim family, threaten them, and refuse to talk to them. It’s almost as if the official policy of the United States was to make sure that North Korea would produce nuclear weapons, so that we could threaten them with war if they did.

It rubs me the wrong way to see Trump get any credit for Kim’s decision to meet with him. As I said, this would have happened regardless of who’s president. The rightwing yahoos who remain committed to Trump don’t see it that way, of course; they love macho bullies, and so Trump’s “Rocket Man” taunts were music to their ears. Insults for a chubby, slant-eyed Asian weirdo! Threats of “fire and fury” against a nation of little yellow people who are not like us! That’s what the Breitbart-tea party crowd loves, and Trump, indebted to them up to his neck, gives it to them every time. The funny thing is that, if Hillary Clinton were president and were doing the same thing (of vowing to meet with Kim), Republicans would be screaming bloody murder. Hillary is selling out America’s security! The communist Hillary Clinton hates America and is cutting secret deals with our enemies! Mitch McConnell would be holding hearings to ferret out the internationalists in the State Department who were undermining our freedom. Devon Nunes would accuse Democrats of collusion with North Korea and their chief sponsor, China, and would no doubt find secret memos by which Hillary Clinton was revealing official secrets to terrorists. Fox “News” would be showing clips of North Korean armies goose-stepping, mushroom clouds, and the graves of American war dead killed on Pork Chop Hill. Sean Hannity would be demanding impeachment proceedings.

It’s all so predictable with this tea party crowd, isn’t it? The important thing is to not let Trump get away with taking credit, in case anything good should happen as a result of these upcoming summits (which might not even happen). Let’s not take our eye off the ball: the Mueller investigation continues. We have got to remain united in resistance to this bogus Trump regime.

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