Today's American centrists (who only get to call themselves that because plutocratic media control has made Orwellian neoliberal neoconservatism the dominant ideology in the US) are deeply, profoundly concerned that Donald 'fucking' Trump is insufficiently hawkish.
This would be the same Donald Trump whose administration just facilitated the bombing of Yemen’s new cholera treatment center. The same Donald Trump who has increased US troops in Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. The same Donald Trump who is openly pursuing regime change in Iran. The same Donald Trump whose administration committed war crimes in Raqqa. The same Donald Trump who has made many dangerous cold war escalationsagainst Russia. The same Donald Trump whose administration has voiced a goal of regime change in Damascus and the intention of remaining in Syria indefinitely. The same Donald Trump whose air strikes are killing far more civilians than the drone king Obama’s did.
Centrist pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle are saying that this very man is being too soft and cuddly toward North Korea. These would be the same centrist pundits and politicians who loudly cheered both of the timesthis administration bombed the Syrian government, effectively sending the message that the only way this narcissistic president can win praise by the manufacturers of the mainstream narrative is by rejecting peace and embracing war. Thanks guys.
"I had better be getting something big in exchange for this disruption in my egocentric attachment to the childish fairy tales I've been told about world geopolitics." pic.twitter.com/tFB23wZDEM— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) June 12, 2018
We all want to see diplomacy succeed w/ North Korea. However, a deal that preserves the status quo & trades away ability to counter nuclear aggression is unacceptable. Read my joint statement with @WhipHoyer, @RepEliotEngel, @RepAdamSmith & @RepAdamSchiff: https://t.co/jSLFXzcrey— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) June 11, 2018
In addition to bipartisan freak-outs from the punditry of the DC orthodoxy, Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate have released statements criticizing the administration for not making more demands of Kim Jong-Un in this first extremely rudimentary initial meeting.
To their credit, fifteen more progress-minded House Democrats signed a statement addressed to the president diverging from the mainstream position of their party and expressing concern that “some, from both parties and inside and outside of your administration, seek to scuttle progress by attempting to limit the parameters of the talks, including by insisting on full and immediate denuclearization or other unrealistic commitments by North Korea at an early date.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would be one such voice, again repeating his previous demands for the “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, nothing less” in a press conference today.
This is plainly insane. Demanding that North Korea immediately disarm as a condition of further peace talks will immediately end those peace talks, since North Korea has no reason to disarm at this time, or at any time in the foreseeable future. Insisting on an immediate and completely illogical capitulation from Pyongyang is the very kind of demand which has prevented these peace talks from happening in the past, and if Trump made them he would be ensuring a return to previous tensions.
North Korea is highly unlikely to ever denuclearize as long as the world geopolitical landscape remains as it is. The only way that would happen would be if Pyongyang decided to allow the DPRK to be fully absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized imperial alliance like Japan, and it has no good reason to do so at this time. The best way to ensure peace is to work toward making changes which shift North Korea’s standing to that of any other non-US-aligned nuclear power, and ideally that would include the US and China getting out of the way as soon as possible to allow the North and the South to conduct their own diplomacy.
And with that handshake, President Trump has done something no other President has done: Legitimize the brutal dictator of North Korea, the most repressive regime in the world.— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) June 12, 2018
Most of the criticisms of Trump's meeting with Kim are gibberish about "legitimizing" and "giving a world stage" to his government. You guys know those aren't real things, right? War is real. Starvation sanctions are real. "Legitimizing" is just nonsense you made up in your head. https://t.co/PhpKFgOpJ1— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) June 12, 2018
What exactly is Kim supposed to do with this “legitimacy” that he’s been wrongly granted? Export it as a commodity? Harvest it for food? It’s such an intangible concept as to be meaningless— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 12, 2018
US foreign policy elites have invented a whole slew of meaningless phrases to justify a state of permanent militarism & aggression in the world, then trained people to recite them. That US should avoid negotiating with Bad Guys because it gives them "legitimacy" in a good example https://t.co/sSPZZq0luZ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 12, 2018
But by far the most common concerns being expressed about the Singapore summit are based not on a fear of this administration making insufficiently aggressive demands of Pyongyang, but on pure ridiculous nonsense.
“President Trump seems to have given away two or three of the major things that Kim Jong-Un wanted,” Schumer complained at the aforementioned press conference. “A meeting. The flags next to each other. Now a delay of exercises with South Korea, without getting anything in return.”
Huh? A meeting? Flags next to each other? I can kinda-sorta-almost see into Schumer’s twisted reality tunnel when it comes to temporarily suspending military drills along the DPRK’s border as an act of good faith, but on what planet is having a meeting or putting two flags next to each other a win of any kind?
Well, going by the outcry I’m seeing from Twitter pundits, the concern appears to be that it “legitimizes” Kim Jong-Un. What exactly that means is hard to fathom in terms of actual, tangible reality, but for years that term has been passed around like it has as much relevance as war or starvation sanctions. This imaginary product of “legitimacy” is, according to influential mainstream political commentators, meant to be withheld from Kim until he gives up everything he has and grovels on his belly begging for it.
This just shows you the power of narrative, where repeating some meaningless placeholder syllables over and over again can create the illusion that a purely mental construct is as relevant in peace negotiations as nuclear warheads. It isn’t hard to see through for anyone who doesn’t have a vested interest in subscribing to that narrative, though, and Pyongyang certainly has no such interest.
In theory the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and ending the Korean War are worthy goals, but are they worth the price of having the American flag photographed next to another flag of the same size? Worth considering— Will🦕Menaker (@willmenaker) June 12, 2018
There are many, many perfectly valid things to criticize the Trump administration for. Opening up peace talks with North Korea is not one of them, and anyone who says it is is not a friend of humanity. The fact that nobody on either side of the aisle seems to have their foot anywhere near the brake pedal when it comes to war should concern us all, and we need to do something about it.
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