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Seriously: A U.S.-Nork Summit Revisited

Why the idea of a Trump-Kim summit has some merit—if handled properly, that is.

Published on: March 14, 2018
Adam Garfinkle is editor of The American Interest.
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  • WigWag

    As Adam must remember from watching the Wizard of Oz as a child, or at least from watching it with his own children, when the Wicked Witch of the West was planning the “delicate” demise of Dorothy, she was highly motivated. After all, Dorothy had recently dropped a house on her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East.

    The threat of a house tumbling down on one’s head is sure to inspire the attention of all the wicked. It would have motivated the North Korean leader to alter his behavior had any of the three previous American presidents and the “experts” who worked for them (who Adam so admired) threatened muscular action.

    Instead the “experts” in the Clinton Administration decided it was more important to bomb Serbia. The experts in the Bush Administration decided it was more important to bomb Baghdad. The experts in the Obama Administration decided that the best way to pursue American interests was to bomb Libya and appease Iran.

    All the while, in plain sight, North Korea was perfecting first a fission bomb, then a fusion bomb and as their pies de resistance, intercontintal ballistic missiles.

    Despite this unvarnished record of miserable failure, Adam would like us to once again place our faith in an expert class that could not have damaged our nation more if they had been actual traitors instead of what they really are, vainglorious morons.

    American diplomats, Generals and foreign policy pundits jump from failure to failure to failure with all of the enthusiasm of slimy toads jumping from lilliy pad to lilly pad. Yet Adam still thinks that the problems we face with North Korea, Iran and the rest of the world can squarely be placed at the feet of the narcissist, Donald Trump rather than the expert class in which he, personally, is firmly ensconced.

    Adam is right, of course that the United States is berift of good options when it comes to North Korea. That’s not Trump’s fault, it’s the fault of the clueless American Presidents who preceded him and the coitarie of experts who have ruined American foreign policy in a bipartisan fashion for decades.

    It’s no exaggeration to say that the generation of foreign policy professionals in power from the 1980s up until the Trump Administration has been the most incompetent stewards of American foreign policy in history.

    Who are the highly respected intellectuals but idiots that we are talking about? The motely crew consists of airheads like Nicholas Burns, William Burns, William Cohen, Lee Hamilton, Richard Luger, Thomas Pickering, Brent Scowcroft, and Adam’s loathsome buddy, Lawrence Wilkerson. I could name fifty equally stupid co-conspirators.

    If Trump has done one good thing, it’s been putting this miserable generation of experts out to pasture. If Trump really wanted to do something good, he would find a way to take away their pensions and lock them all in a cell with Bernie Madoff. After all, collectively they’ve harmed our country far more severely than Madoff ever did.

    So now that we are facing with North Korea, our version (to borrow a phrase from Star Trek) of the Kobayashi Maru, what is to be done?

    Being that the South Koreans and Japanese, afraid of their own shadows and effete and helpless, won’t ever countanence military action, the only course is to change the paradigm. We should announce to the world that both South Korea and Japan are no longer welcome under the American nuclear umbrella, we should express a willingness to relate to North Korea in the same manner that we relate to numerous other despotic nation’s and we should publucally offer to lend some of our nuclear weapons to Japan and South Korea until such time as they can build their own. This, of course, will throw South Korea, Japan, China and North Korea into a frenzy.


    Trump got it right during the Campaign; it’s time to stop encouraging our erstwhile allies in Asia to take advantage of our country.

    Let them fend for themselves.

    • D4x

      It was worth the visit to see why Garfinkle chose to write about North Korea on March 14, to read you WigWag. Tip of my hat on: “Despite this unvarnished record of miserable failure, Adam would like us to once again place our faith in an expert class [and the three previous American presidents] that could not have damaged our nation more if they had been actual traitors instead of what they really are, vainglorious morons.”

      Unfortunately, none of “this miserable generation of experts [are] out to pasture”. They won’t shut up, and still dominate the echo chambers that passes for ‘news and analysis’, especially when it comes to a greater challenge, on March 14, 2018, than Kim Jong-un, to the institutions of the Liberal International Order, especially NATO, the UN, and EU: Turkey’s Erdogan.

      Keep your eye on Dr. A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs since Oct. 17, 2017: After leading the team meeting with Turkey on US relations, especially the YPG in Syria, on March 8-9, he suddenly flew to Pristina, Kosovo on March 12, then Skopje, Macedonia, wrapping up in Belgrade, Serbia on March 14, for the serious meetings in Athens and Nicosia through March 17. Turkish media is ginning up a NATO v NATO naval battle this week. Cyprus is the battleground, and Greece is the NATO ally under direct threat, in addition to being core to TeamTrump’s energy security for EU (totally un-reported in the US), at the expense of Russia and Turkey.

      I knew that Mitchell had been confirmed, and of his presence in Ankara with SecTillerson Feb 15-16. Due to the events with Tillerson March 11-13, I finally learned that Mitchell co-authored “The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable” in 2009, where Tom is the Wilsonian, Sonny is the Neo-con, and Michael is the deft Realist.

      Why does Adam keep writing his derogatory distractions? The Wilsonian and Neo-con foreign policy experts think they are delegitimizing a Jacksonian who “lacks any experience in foreign and national security policy. […who] doesn’t read, and so has a very limited potential to grasp such issues”. This expert class, the real ‘deep-state blob’ has done so much more damage in the past year. The slap of reality can’t come soon enough. On foreign policy, this is TR, 1900-1904. That’s all I got, on March 14, 2018. Except to add that apparently the KSA-GCC-Egypt-Jordan coalition thought Tillerson was too aligned with Qatar, hence the change before MbS arrives in the WH on March 20. So complicated, but, he is a bit too Wilsonian, and was terribly damaged by some in America’s diplomatic news corps who manufactured too many rumors in 2017.

      • WigWag

        The only reason that the North Koreans would ever have the United States in their sights is our allegiance to defending South Korea and Japan. But for our commitment to those nations, the North Koreans would have no interest in us whatsoever.

        Are the South Koreans and Japanese grateful for the protection that we provide them with? If they are, they have a funny way of showing it. Despite the trillions of dollars we’ve spent defending them, both countries are mercantilist to the bone; it is impossible to trade fairly with either of them.

        It is remarkable to me that either country has the audacity to request exemptions from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Ask anyone who has tried to sell manufactured items to South Korea or Japan how successful they’ve been.

        Imagine a North Korean bomb exploding over the American industrial heartland. What devastation it would cause. Factories destroyed; the creation of a barren wasteland; environmental degradation and, for the survivors, poor health and helplessness.

        Now take a look at the result of American trade policies with China, South Korea, Japan (and Germany). The American heartland is practically as devastated as it would have been had the North Koreans actually dropped their bomb.

        Here’s the reality, America’s Asian friends have done far more to devastate our country than North Korea ever has or likely ever will.

        It’s not America’s enemies we need to worry about, it’s America’s friends who are taking us to the cleaners. And they are doing it with a big assist from people just like Adam Garfinkle and the rest of the Starbucks set.

        It’s time to cut Japan, South Korea and Europe loose, but not before we do whatever it takes to get paid for services rendered.

        • D4x

          It’s been more than ten years since I paid close attention, i.e. digging through the trade data, foreign direct investment and currency valuations, and longer since I was directly involved in coping with non-tariff
          trade barriers, especially with Japan. I would add the stubborn cluelessness of America’s manufacturing industries as engineers were replaced by MBAs in senior management, after the great inflation, 1973-76 changed Wall Street earnings paradigms to double-digit earnings increases quarter after quarter. WS did not change that paradigm in the 1990’s even though inflation had been tamed. 3% after ta profit was not good enough, making those manufacturers monetization targets,. Cyclica l industries had it worse.

          After NAFTA, by 2001, one million manufacturing jobs had migrated to Canada, because medical insurance/care was delinked from unit labor cost. I never met an executive who understood that was also how their direct
          European competitors really could be cost competitive. Add in offshoring as the easy way out of regulatory compliance, especially in finding alternatives to toxic by-products, waste, and the 1992 paradigm shift to the utopia of a post-industrial economy where only the symbolic analysts were deemed of value.

          At this point, I drift to remembering the cautionary tale of “Gilligan’s Island” where the Professor is the only one you want to be stranded with, only because I can no longer remember who was on the spaceship (to nowhere?) with all the hair stylists and publicists in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide of the Galaxy.

          I do recall when South Korea did try to assume full military manning, but was persuaded to keep a reduced number of American troops, at some point before 2004 when I stopped paying close attention to many previously
          fascinating topics. Without checking, I thought Japan, South Korea, and Germany do pay for the infrastructure, but not the human payroll of our permanent deployments. Whatever – your points are all valid. Mine are about why the USA chose to ignore so many opportunities to re-level the playing field,
          going back to the Great Inflation of 1973-76, when prices doubled.

          When VP Pence went to Argentina last August, he solved a 25-year ban on American pork. It was a technical issue that never got attention, for 25 years. It reminded me of all the times I had identified other
          small non-tariff trade barriers that no one thought worth solving, and when I bought a Bosch stove Made in the USA. Why did Bosch build a factory in NC? Because American unit labor cost, even with medical insurance, was still cheaper than Germany. I could not buy the stove I wanted because, at the time, 2006, that Bronx manufacturer only sold to NYC apartment buildings, no direct consumer sales. I needed a width, for a house, that they made, and all the big retail manufacturers had moved assembly to Mexico. Bosch won. In 2016, Whirlpool was proud to be Made in the USA, and so were Samsung washers & dryers.

          How many symbolic-analysts did it take to screw in this lightbulb in twenty-five years?:
          “[…]Under the agreement announced Thursday, Argentine food-safety officials will visit facilities in the U.S. to verify the U.S. meat inspection system. After that, exports will resume after any pending technical issues are resolved. […]”

          BTW, I am a big fan of Mercantilism, and believe tariffs on Steel and aluminum are a good place to start, especially “STEEL MILL PRODUCTS – HTS codes that require steel import licenses as of March, 2018”, e.g., 7225501130 FLAT-ROLLED OTH ALLOY STL, WDTH >/= 600MM, COLD-RLD, TOOL STEEL, BALL-BEARING STL Tool Steel Long Products
          because, our entire world runs on ball bearings. Definitely do not want to rely on China for those.

          Give Japan a break, before they lose themselves in Anime forever 🙂

        • D4x

          “How Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Strategy Got North Korea to the Table” By Austin Bay • 03/13/18 6:00am
          is an excellent ‘after-action’ report on what TeamTrump did while Garfinkle and his fellow blobs spent their time denying reality, believing their own myth of “the President’s instantaneous, seat-of-the-pants” conduct of foreign relations. Still refusing to see the evidence of their traitorous mythology.

          I read the draconian US Treasury sanctions Sec Mnuchin announced on Sept 21, 2017, at a UN week press briefing within minutes of the completion of Trump’s RoK bilateral, RoK/Japan trilateral working lunch, and Japan bilateral*. And, have read, at, of Sec Tillerson’s relentless focus on so many nations to join the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, Austin Bay’s assessment is spot-on.

          *POTUS had some day on Sept. 21, 2017. Before the RoK/Japan bi & trilaterals, he had bilaterals with Afghan’s Pres. Ghani and Ukraine’s Poroshenko, who gave trump an opening to reveal that his WH Homeland Security advisor Bossert was in the next room working on Federal response to Hurricane Maria. After the RoK/Japan bi-tri’s, Trump had bilaterals with Egypt’s al-Sisi and Turkey’s Erdogan. It was incredible to read all the WH readouts from that day, and the entire week of the 72nd UN GA opening.

          Media whined about Trump spending the weekends in Bedminster, noting his ‘Rocket Man’ speech.

        • Tom

          Hysteria–It’s not just for leftist snowflakes any more.

    • CheckYourself

      Here’s the acceptable deal: “Mr. Kim, we are told that you’re now committed to denuclearization. Fantastic. Tremendous. Believe me. So please, tell us which airports and/or which seaports we should pull into so that we can load up your weapons program starting next week.” “then we can lift sanctions and talk about signing an actual peace treaty”.

      That’s it.

      Anything less than that and Donald needs to get up, leave, and probably overturn the table too. If all Kim wants are some big commitments and more talking and endless meetings and other vagaries, well then obviously he’s just stalling as they’ve done before. And Donald knows that too.

      • SeaAyeA

        I like your proposal, but if there’s no solid commitment to pick up the nukes and material the week after then just give the Japanese and South Koreans the Pershing II missile design along with the design for the W-85 warhead that went inside it.

        It’s time to stop playing games, and that includes the game of “non-proliferation”, which has been an abject failure and does not really exist, similarly to free trade really. More myth than reality. The reality is, Russia, China, and North Korea, and Pakistan and India are all nuclear already, and quite possibly in the future Iran too. No reason South Korea and Japan shouldn’t be able to go nuclear and also take that burden off the so-called “nuclear umbrella” of the US as they’ve their doubts about the US “nuclear umbrella” anyway.

        • AbleArcher

          I like that idea, too, but the W-85 apparently has a selectable yield of 5kt – 80kt. I wonder if that max yield is enough for a South Korean and/or Japanese deterrence mission?

          • KremlinKryptonite

            The Pershing II, as it was in the 80s alone, would be a sufficient delivery platform for an ROK/JP nuclear deterrent. In fact, the Pershing II with its 1,100+ mile range and extreme accuracy of only 100ft CEP means that it’s accurate enough to be a first-strike weapon against DPRK and select targets in China, although it would surely only be used as a retaliation weapon in the case of China, holding major industrial bases in the north and coastal population centers at risk.

            It’s true, the max yield of the W85 is rather small compared to even the W78 or W87 in the hundreds of kilotons. However, rest assured that accuracy is more important. You can target a hardened structure with 80Kt if you can air burst that warhead at the correct altitude and within 100ft or less of the target. The Pershing II could accomplish that. As far as targeting an industrial base for population center, well that’s perhaps even overkill at 80Kt. Remember, the Fat Man device yielded just 1/4 of that at 20Kt, and it wasn’t delivered at hypersonic speeds either.

          • AbleArcher

            Yeah I see it would be enough to wipe some apartments and Xi’s house and some factories off their slabs, but still not sure about hardened targets. Just seems awfully low yield.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            I had to walk someone else through this on another thread not too long ago, so I can help you to understand as well, I suppose. Understand how much energy is released from 1Kiloton of TNT exploding, and then you need to know how many kilotons you have to work with. The W85 gives us up to 80Kt.

            Okay, so 80Kt, what do you want to do with it? If you simply want to devastate a city or industrial base then you need to find the right height of burst for that amount of energy to maximize the area to which at least 20 psi of additional pressure can be applied. For 80Kt you’re looking at an airburst of around 2,500ft. That is going to obliterate residential structures, and even well-built, concrete structures are going to be heavily damaged or destroyed.

            As far as the first-strike goes, you’re probably attacking hardened targets, so you want to maximize pressure of say 3000 psi. That’s an unbelievable amount of pressure. Not much can survive it but a mountain of granite or the very best of hardened silos, and you still wouldn’t want to put much money on it.
            Even that 80Kt device can apply that kind of pressure, 3,000psi, to an area of about 1,600ft if it’s airburst about 170ft above the target.

            The Pershing II had an accuracy of 100ft CEP, so you can easily see how that missile (or something similar) would be accurate enough to put an 80Kt device over, or very nearly over, a target with that 3,000 psi zone being literally about 16x as wide.

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