Trump "War Games" Announcement Shocks South Korea, US Military Forces

In what was perhaps the most surprising announcement to emerge from today's Trump-Kim summit, president Trump agreed to suspend military exercises with South Korea in return for a commitment to denuclearisation from North Korea.

As we reported earlier, Trump said the war games were expensive and “very provocative”, and yet stopping them has been called a "major concession", something the US has previously rejected as non-negotiable on the grounds that the exercises are a key element of its military alliance with Seoul, and maintaining a deterrent against North Korea. In return, Trump said Kim had agreed in a joint statement to reassert “his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

In other words, Trump made it appear that he is negotiating from a position of weakness to achieve a diplomatic goal which would have remained unachievable had Trump not taken the initiative. In doing so, however, he infuriated the neocons in his immediate circle. Immediately after the announcement, the WaPo's Josh Rogin noted that "Everything Trump is saying and doing goes directly against everything Bolton has ever said or believed about North Korea."

On the surface, anything that neocon warmonger Bolton hates can only be good.

But it wasn't just Trump's closest advisors that were shocked: both the South Korean government and US forces in the region appear to have been taken by surprise by Trump’s declared suspension of joint military exercises.

According to Reuters, US forces in Korea said they had not received updated guidance on military exercises.

“In coordination with our ROK [Republic of Korea] partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance,” a spokesperson told Reuters.

Trump’s announcement also came as a surprise to the South Korean government. “At this point, we need to know President Trump’s exact meaning or intentions,” according to a statement released by the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “However we think that it is crucial to pursue various solutions for better dialogue.”

The South Korean military appeared similarly taken aback, with NBC News quoting a statement as saying: “Regarding President Trump’s comment regarding ending of the combined military drills … we need to find out the exact meaning or intention behind his comments at this point.”

Military officials from both countries, including the US defence secretary, James Mattis, had vigorously opposed curtailing joint military exercises, on the grounds that doing so would undermine the alliance and its deterrent against North Korea.

Kelly Magsamen, a senior Pentagon official dealing with Asian and Pacific security in the Obama administration, blasted the surprise suspension of military exercises and their disparagement as expensive and provocative “continues Trump’s disturbing pattern of undermining our democratic alliances while praising our adversaries”.

Then again, with North Korea having repeatedly said that any denuclearization could only take place if the US stops naval drills in the region, Trump's surprise decision just may be the missing link that gets North Korea to finally do what generations of western leaders have failed to achieve.

Trump said the summit on Tuesday would be followed next week by more negotiations between US and North Korean officials to work out the details of the agreement.

In an amusing twist, before his press conference, reporters were shown a video that Trump said he had played to Kim and his aides towards the end of their talks. It was made by Destiny Productions and was presented in Korean and English in the style of an action movie trailer.

It sought to illustrate alternative futures for North Korea: one a bright, colourful world of scientific progress and happiness, the other a monochrome world full of weaponry accompanied by ominous music. Only one person could choose between these two destinies, the film’s narrator said.

Comments

skbull44 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 09:32 Permalink

Confusing to say the least. But I do hope we begin to see the lessening of geopolitical bravado in the weeks/months/years ahead. May not be great for the MIC (and we should shed no tears about that) but it should be for the rest of us.

 

 

https://olduvai.ca

Baron von Bud NidStyles Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:02 Permalink

Trump is reducing US offshore military commitments to reduce costs. He said it himself that war games are "very expensive". When the monetary reset hits, America needs the cash staying at home. We won't be supporting the SK standard of living much longer or Europe's. Get ready. Costs will soar as the dollar finds its true value.

In reply to by NidStyles

LaugherNYC Baron von Bud Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:16 Permalink

You have this bass-ackwards.

Fewer dollars abroad creates a massive dollar shortage. What is available is sucked up by UST debt. Trillions of outstanding dollar bonds issued in Europe and Asia must still be repaid in dollars. 

That is hardly a scenario for a falling dollar/rising costs.

Trump's trade reset will also create bigger dollar shortages. As trade reset means less energy exported, this will become even more extreme.

Nationalism, as seen by Trump, has always included a strong dollar. The only argument for a weak currency is international trade. If you are running a $500 billion trade deficit year after year, and suddenly most of those dollars are staying at home, US production will have to increase across all sectors of imports to meet increasing demand AT HOME. This may not offset completely the hit to GNP of reduced exports, but -- it actually might.

If there was ever a moment to do this in the past 25 years, it is now. The banks are as healthy as they have been since forever, the markets are flying, the economy is on the verge of overheating. If we can reduce our military spending by ending idiotic agreements that we pay for, forcing our "allies" to carry their own weight, all the better.

Within 2 years, Europe, Canada and Mexico will be back on their knees to open free trade agreements. No more rigged trade. This could be the watershed moment for the next American Century. Stop exporting our prosperity, and start sharing it with the American working man and woman. Watch wages, nominal and real, increase here, and drop in Europe. It could be a wet dream.

Now, next up is Trump renegotiating Treasury debt with foreign holders.

Madame Merkel? Here is your bill for the past 20 years of NATO subsidies. You work out how you pay it with your Europals. Maybe all those Muzzie "refugees" you brought in would like to chip in?

In reply to by Baron von Bud

errorcode99 LaugherNYC Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:59 Permalink

You're completely dreaming. The amount of bs assumptions in that statement is actually astounding. Sure, you're optimistic but you just throw things like "healthy banks", "overheating economy", and you expect a dollar shortage that implies stable demand rather than declining demand for the dollar. None of those are necessarily true just because you say they are. You don't explain why banks are healthy, they are highly leveraged. Why is USD demand "fixed" under your assumptions? You don't explain the labor participation rate or why you assume debt will always be paid in dollars abroad whether the dollar "gets expensive" or doesn't get used as much for reasons of trade. Both sound inconvenient to international debtors and debt can always be restructured.

In reply to by LaugherNYC

DCFusor Baron von Bud Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:56 Permalink

Which of course means...loss of a free fill for various MIC rice bowls, and all that trickles down from there - our overseas spending accomplishes a lot of cash foreign aid, indirectly and stopping the flow of free stuff is bound to make waves (the bars and hookers our boys support have a stake!).  Even people who convince themselves they are honest can rationalize almost anything to keep that paycheck coming, it's the very heart of the evil of the deep state.  Or any other bureaucracy (I happen to track even esoteric ones like fusion research, it's the same anywhere people get money to do anything that isn't directly consumed as product - "just give me more and I really promise results this time" is the refrain).

Oh wait.  It happens in consumer land too - it's just that if you fail hard enough and aren't too big, you actually fail.

Oh, wait, again - that's the same everywhere too.

The bribes (spice) must flow, eh?

Who will be the next fake enemy to justify keeping all this going?  Russia was good as they are too powerful to actually attack.  China would be good too - for the same reason...

In reply to by Baron von Bud

Lost in translation Cloverfield-Z Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:24 Permalink

Was in the US Embassy today for an appointment.

CNN playing in the waiting area, naturally.  

Beta-cuck Jim Sciutto running his orifice ad nauseum, while Cuomo appeared strangely attracted to him.

Silently thought to myself: who watches this sh#t?  Excrement masquerading as “news.”

Highlight was when Rodman segment was replayed, and he’s wearing a MAGA hat.  I damn near busted a gut.

 

In reply to by Cloverfield-Z

The Great Hambino JimmyJones Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:02 Permalink

Nowhere does it say that the U.S. will suspend military exercises in South Korea. Doesn't say this in the signed document, and Trump did not say this either. Seriously, read the document yourself, and watch Trump's press conference. The media has contrived another lie. Every media outlet where they claim this, they don't provide a quote. President Trump said they will end the "war games," but that means military exercises will not stop until denuclearization. 

In reply to by JimmyJones

I Am Jack's Ma… IridiumRebel Tue, 06/12/2018 - 09:52 Permalink

Kelly Magsamen is not only a partisan neoliberal hack, like her neocon equivalents her ‘expertise’ seems to be based on being said to possess expertise by other people whose expertise...

She’s not an expert on Korea.  And while I don’t care for or trust Trump I at least understood he was a better option than Hillary -  if he had gone ahead with exercises this stupid woman (and she is stupid) would find fault with *that.*

 

And Mattis is regurgitating some shit he got in a memo with his steak n eggs.  There’s ZERO reason to continue with these exercises, and it is a sign of good faith.

What, you have this historic meeting then days later you hold massive drills off their coast and practice incursion and extraction runs?  Many thousands of miles from our shores?  When the South Koreans have 650k troops at the ready... almost all of whom would love to have a beer with soldiers from the north?

Look its one thing to not like or trust a politician, another to actively root for the failure of everything he tries.  That is pure faggotry.  The likes of which are all over the nyt, wapo, cnn, and most of the rest of the legacy media.

Fuck ‘em. 

I’d like to believe Trump really has wanted to get us out of Syria and has been opposed by Mattis -  who would oppose it out of myopia and ignorance, and the Joint Chiefs, who could not be more corrupt and were I advising Trump I’d tell him that the American people want us out of Afghanistan and Syria -  its just the corporate MSM and its paid ‘experts’ who keep fabricating reasons why we must spend tens of billions arming psychos who will later turn them on us.

In reply to by IridiumRebel

DosZap YourAverageJoe Tue, 06/12/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

He's not stopping the War Games,he's waiting to see if the Meeting produces fruit, IF RONK crayfishes on anything Pompeo and Lil Kim have already agreed to, and they DO nothing to move ahead, the next games are 12 mos away, and believe me, THEY will continue on schedule if RONK does not move to do what they swore to do.

Trump said ONE SHOT,believe him.

In reply to by YourAverageJoe

Scipio Africanuz IridiumRebel Tue, 06/12/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

I tip my stetson to Trump! He caught them all by surprise, and shocked them silly! The SK military can go pound sand, and no more prancing around like ponces, in expensive toys for the war hawks!!!

Shameless SK military, sabre rattling against their brothers, bitching about useless military exercises, that cost them little, bloodsucking leaches, that lot. Rather than support their president, gutless SK military trying to sabotage him.

Wonders never end!...

In reply to by IridiumRebel