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Mixed Messages
Trump Sows Confusion in Seoul
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  • D4x

    It is going to be a long Thirteen Days, 2017 remake.

  • Suzy Dixon

    This seems to be Trumps M.O. He demands money for NATO or some other military aid the US provides, but then it turns out he’s just using that as an overture to renegotiate trade. THAAD is already on the ground just like the NATO hardware.

    • KremlinKryptonite

      I concur, Suzy. It’s not an accident that he’s repeating the same steps here as he has in Europe.

    • Dhako

      But in out there in South-Korea, this sort of “shake-down” will speak volume of the kind of “character” Mr Trump will be perceive to be. In other words, the likes of South-Koreans put maximum stock on “reliability” (or dependability). And the fact, that the man your nation’s survival depends on, could be the sort of the Character, who would demand money from you (as if he is running some kind of a cheap “protection racket” from some seedy office in New-York) will give all the information you need to “determine” whether you will “mortgage” your destiny on the say so of his argument, when he says, you are his “strategical allies” Hence, it may be Mr Trump’s M. O. But out there in South Korea, this will be a real “curtain raiser” of what US has become under Trump. And it will something that will be long-lasting in its strategical effect of it.

      • Suzy Dixon

        Who cares? Koreans are good at math. This is a mathematics question first. Maybe it’s a moral one second. As in the US lost $28 billion in lopsided trade with SK last year. It’s peanuts compared to China, but SK isn’t a totally open market either. Renegotiating a trade imbalance like that will pay for THAAD.

        • Dhako

          So the fact that Trump is openly saying that, in effect, he is running a “glorified protection racket” in so far as the US’s defensive alliance with South Korea is concern, and for good measure, if they want the “continuation” of that alliance system, then, they, as South-Koreans, must pay (either by hard cash, or pay through re-opening the already consummated free-trade agreement (FTA) with the US) seems to you about right?

          Hence, I hope you won’t be taking back the minute the new government that soon will be elected in South-Korea, start taking every measure within its power to reduce its “dependence” on the US, and openly start “tilting” to the Chinese’s sphere of influence. Least of all, the Chinese can “guarantee” the security of South-Koreans without invoking this kind mobster’s vulgarity and conduct, that is no more dignified than a mere “cheap protection racket”, which is what, Mr Trump, has effectively indicated he is running it in so far as US’s alliance system in Asia is concern.

          • Suzy Dixon

            When did he say that? Point me to the quote. Doubt you can. If the US pulled out tomorrow then SK would just go nuclear and would buy systems like S-400 from Putin and THAAD from Trump.

          • Dhako

            His words, to the Reuters (in which the Times of London is quoting is in here):-

            “…..Mr Trump demanded that South Korea pay a billion dollars for an anti-missile shield and renegotiate a free trade agreement, causing financial markets to plunge in Seoul.

            The president also spoke of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system (Thaad), a shield intended to intercept North Korean ballistic missiles, which is presently being deployed in the South. It is operated and owned by the US against the opposition of many in the South – the man most likely to be elected South Korea’s next president, Moon Jae-in, has said that he may cancel it. Now, for the first time in public, Mr Trump is insisting that Seoul should pay for the system.

            “On the Thaad system, it’s about a billion dollars,” Mr Trump told Reuters. “I said, ‘Why are we paying? Why are we paying a billion dollars? We’re protecting. Why are we paying a billion dollars?’ So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid.

            “It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you’ve ever seen – shoots missiles right out of the sky. And it protects them and I want to protect them. We’re going to protect them. But they should pay for that, and they understand that.”

            He also revived a theme of his election campaign, but one which has received little emphasis since his inauguration – the supposed inequity of trading arrangements between the US and South Korea. On separate visits to Seoul, both Mr Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and vice-president, Mike Pence, emphasised in public the closeness and warmth of the bilateral relationship.

            The president, however, denounced the five year old free trade agreement with South Korea as unacceptable and declared that it would be renegotiated.

            “It’s unacceptable,” he said. “It’s a horrible deal made by [the then secretary of state under President Obama] Hillary [Clinton]. It’s a horrible deal. And we’re going to renegotiate that deal, or terminate it. … I’m announcing it now…..”


          • Suzy Dixon

            Thank you! Exactly, he never said do X or Y (the whole alliance) is off. If merely talking about correcting a trade imbalance causes markets to dip then that’s too bad. Getting surgery to remove a tumor hurts but it’s for the best. I don’t think Trump wants to get into a [you know what] Contest with the Chinese Communist Party who’s actually doing serious damage to the South Korean economy lol. Trump will not be winning that contest.

          • Dhako

            That he said that the South-Koreans must pay the THAAD system, and wonder why the US paying for it, even if the US has a alliance system with the US, doesn’t strike you that, he is “conditioning” that alliance system on the basis of them paying the cost of installing the THAAD system. And finally this is what he said on that exclusive interview with Reuters.

            “….THAAD PAYMENT

            Trump said the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system now being deployed in South Korea to defend against a potential missile attack from North Korea would cost about $1 billion and questioned why the United States was paying for it.

            “I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. It’s a billion-dollar system,” Trump said. “It’s phenomenal, shoots missiles right out of the sky…..”

          • Suzy Dixon

            No it doesn’t strike me that way at all lol. The trump administration has already reaffirmed their commitment to the alliances. You need to pay closer attention. The way it strikes me is the way I outlined it in my original post. The people I know from Japan and Korea all favor their country going nuclear.

          • Dhako

            Perhaps, we have a different interpretation of what an “alliance system” is, as opposed to “protection racket”. Hence, whatever the case is, I am sure, the leaders (and the elites) of South-Korea in Seoul, will know how much the “alleged” commitment of the current US’s government to South-Korea really is worth. Particularly after this talk of “paying money for it” is concern, in which we have heard from the likes of Mr Trump.

            And, I am sure, those elites, will do their calculation on the basis of the new “information”, regardless of whether that new “strategical calculation” will take the form of South-Korea going nuclear or not. Or whether, on top of that, they will see to it to “purchase” an extra “insurance policy” from China vis-a-vis that of North-Korea. But we shall see soon enough, after the election of the new government of South Korea.

          • Suzy Dixon

            They already pay for the basing, and I’m sure they see the remarks on THAAD for what they are – basically as the ram Trump uses to bust open the door to trade talks. And who is buying an insurance policy from the Chinese Communist Party? SK? Now that’s a good one!

          • KremlinKryptonite

            You know, Suzy, that used to be pretty taboo here, but I am also hearing Koreans talk on awful lot about going nuclear these past few years. And it isn’t only the old people considering it.
            Not two days ago, I was on the long subway ride from Jonggak to Jamsil and I listened to two young men talking about the issue who had it more or less nailed.

            They came to the conclusion that Korea should go nuclear with or without American approval, and they figured this is the only way to really show the Chinese Communist Party how wrong it was to help the Kim regime develop its array of missiles and even nuclear weapons.
            The kids make an extremely compelling point.

          • Suzy Dixon

            Good! Japan and SK should become nuclear powers as soon as possible. The CCP has nuclear weapons and so does it’s little friend in Pyongyang. Of course, developing weapons will require at least underground testing, but so be it. North Korea is testing. The US and Russia each nuked themselves about 1000 times-literally-during their testing days. The world didn’t fall apart.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Like I said, I don’t like it, but I have to agree that the argument is compelling, and it is hard to counter if I put my nonproliferation hat on. Indeed, nonproliferation seems not to be working all that well when you a regime like Kim’s has an enabler like the regime in Beijing.

            If either or both of them were to proceed, I should like to see them adopt some minimalist nuclear doctrine. Just enough to guarantee a second strike that is intolerable damage. To do this they would need a warhead very much like the American W80 with a selectable yield and very compact in size, so that it could be placed on IRBMs, ALCMs, and SLCMs.

          • Suzy Dixon

            Well yeah. Nonproliferation zealots are just making sure nuclear weapons now proliferate only to totalitarian states. Despite much rhetoric and sincere, well-intentioned efforts, the US sat by as North Korea developed its nuclear weapons with Russian and Chinese assistance. It is not too late to disabuse China and North Korea of the idea that nuclear proliferation pays!

          • ltlee1

            Did you really hear two Koreans talked while on a train ride? No one can really tell unless he or she knows you as a person. In contrast, it is clear that many Koreans do not want THAAD missile deployment according to Reuters and other news agencies.

            “Mass Movement in South Korea against THAAD Missile Deployment
            Riot Cops Exert Excessive Use of Force”

            US Moves THAAD Anti-Missile To South Korean Site, Sparking Protests

          • Dhako

            Whether you think that the South-Korea needs to “purchase” an insurance policy or not, the fact of the matter is that, South-Korea will soon or later going to need the Chinese assistance to “diffuse” the issue of North-Korea, even if South-Korea develops Nuclear “deterrence” in the meantime. And the reason for that is that simply the Koreans eventual reconciliation and (hopefully unification) will largely hinge on the Chinese acceptance (or more likely their facilitation). Also, there is small matter of trade, in which South-Koreans will need China to “lessen” the current hostile approach of this issue from China, which will be what will happen once the Moon’s government comes to power in Seoul and proceed to “undo” many of the antagonistic positions of the Ms Park’s Administration towards China.

            In other words, China, in the longer run is the final “strategical arbiter” of how the “story” of South-Korea/North-Korea will end. Or whether it will end in a peaceful note, much like the “story” of the East-Germany and West-Germany. And, of course, unlike the German’s situation, the US’s position in Koreans peninsula, counter-intuitively, is basically, a “short-term” of a “strategical balancer” kind in that theater (even if the short-term was to have last many decades).

            But now since the US is the business of “demanding” payment (for its alleged alliance system with South-Korea) simply means, American’s short-lease hold as a “strategical balancer” in the Korean’s peninsula is coming to an end, due to the realization of the South-Koreans political elites of how much “dependence” they can afford to give to the US. While, on the hand, China, is geographical reality as well as trading necessity for the South-Koreans. And to boot, they can “ensure” that, North Korea will not be an existential threat to South-Korea in the first place, while, at best, the US can only “guarantee” that of “retaliatory ability”, even if those US’s promises seem to be taken the air of “protection racket” reality at the hands of the current Mr Trump’s administration.

            Hence, those “factors” impinging on the South-Korean’s calculation will see to it, to turn strategical posture of the South-Korea into a reality that China’s position in the Korean peninsula will take more and more importance (in their impact). As the US’s importance will, reciprocally, gets to decrease, since the US have indicated what their version of alliance system with South-Korea is all about. So from that perspective (say within the next 5 to 10 years) you will see a gradual strategical transformation of South Korea into a nation gingerly shifting in to the Chinese strategical direction, even, if South-Korea develops a nuclear weapons of its own in the mean-time.

          • Suzy Dixon

            You don’t buy insurance from the bad driver aka the CCP in this case, Dhako. Things aren’t even that crazy or backward in China. Everyone and their dog knows who supports the Kim regime and why things have gotten this out of hand. HINT: nope it’s not the Nigerians, the Chileans, the Germans, or even the Martians.

          • ——————————

            Your swinging at air SD.
            You are probably the only person here who has actually read this much of his extremely verbose nonsense…and probably the only one who actually replied to him with anything more than contempt….

  • Dhako

    So it seems Mr Trump (like wannabe Mafiosi in a low-budget mobsters movie) is making yet another “offer the South-Koreans can’t refuse”, along the line of “demanding” (actually demanding) that the South-Koreans pay (upfront) for the THAAD batteries to tune of one Billion. And that is after his defense department have “rushed” in the installment of these batteries in the middle of the night.

    In other words, it’s like a man who decided to tell you that you have ordered some such thing you aren’t sure about it whether it was a good thing in the first place (or even whether you want it now). And while you are arguing with your wife about this thing he sneaks into your house put the stuff in the back-garden, and then come around to the front door, ring the bell, and then tell you when you open the door that he already put the stuff in the back-garden. And now you have this bill to pay him right there regardless of whether you have agreed to pay this stuff in the first place, much less know for sure whether you really want this stuff now.

    And by the way, even to boot, while, Mr Trump, was doing his level best to “shake-down” the South-Koreans (to the grand tune of one Billion) he is also trying to cancel the “Free Trade agreement” (FTA) the South-Koreans have had with the US. Which means this is the “genius” way to go about in keeping your friends in your “strategical corner”, at least according to the political playbook of Mr Trump. In other words, you couldn’t really make this stuff up.

    But don’t worry up there in Beijing’s corridors of power, they are smiling, like so much of the “Cheshire cat” that got the cream. And I would even say, that, Trump, couldn’t be more “strategical booster” for China’s long-term Geo-political play-book towards the Korean’s peninsula, even, if he tries it. Lets hope long that “head-scratching-action” of his may continue.

    • Tom

      “Since, up there in Beijing’s corridors of power, they are smiling, like so much of the “Cheshire cat” that got the cream.”

      Pay no attention to the environmental problems or Xi Jinping’s cult of personality…

  • Andrew Allison

    Since we seem to have determined in previous discussion that the THAAD installation is there to protect S. Korea from N. Korea, is it unreasonable to ask that they should pay for it. The question is how, and the answer appears to lie in the trade deficit.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I like it. Being diplomatic is over-rated. “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.” This is how you demand a fair deal, by accusing them of being lousy cheating trading partners, and threatening an end to trade.

  • Old Gunny

    “Moon Jae-in has been arguing all along that South Korea should learn to “say no to the Americans,” casting doubt on Washington’s reliability as an ally and the wisdom of its hawkish North Korea policy.” But it’s Trump that is sowing confusion.

  • Literally Hitler

    I couldn’t care less if Kim III flattens Seoul with artillery and turns it into his personal parking lot.
    Then again, I also couldn’t care less if he nukes San Fran.

  • Mike

    South Korea must do more to demonstrate its commitment to the alliance with the US. Buying naming rights for this building or that golf course would be a good start.

  • afhack62

    Who cares. Like all Asians, the South Koreans decided that since we didn’t change the unbalanced defense relationship after the demise of the Soviet Union we believed they were just too important to us to do that. Of course, it was really a matter of incompetence on the part of the first Bush administration and then Clinton’s and the second Bush didn’t have a flipping clue and the execrable Obama looked on the Asian defense burden as just another way to inflict harm on the US. There’s a tendency among some Americans to be excessively concerned about Asia as a whole and the interests of the US will always come in second in that regard. If Trump is throwing that part of the world into ‘confusion’ with a few tweets and announcements that we’re no longer interested in paying for some of their defense needs I hope he does more of it.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I like how Trump treats the butt kissing diplomats, with the contempt they deserve. Foreign Relations shouldn’t be about pampering foreign delusions, but rather about forcing recognition of the True State of Affairs.

    Most of America’s trading partners have been cheating the American People, with the collusion of American Trade negotiators. Who have happily traded away American Working Class interests, in favor of opening and creating foreign markets. After over 60 years of American cultural influence and uplifting, South Korea can easily pay for its own defense, and is ready to be weaned from the American Teat.

  • Pait

    It’s all part of his genius strategy to enrich the US selling Trump branded goods and opening Trump branded brothels in Asia. The unfair lying liberals don’t understand.

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