The North Korean summit and deal

Many of you have asked what I think, so here goes:

1. There is a secret (and unenforceable) deal beneath what is reported.  You may think this is good or bad, but for heaven’s sake don’t just be judging the press release.

2. If they didn’t actually agree to anything, that is fine.

3. I am reading so much yelping about how Trump “legitimized” Kim.  The status quo ex ante simply was terrible, and there is no reason to think this change is for the worse.  Trump’s great “virtue” in this regard was simply to be some mix of ignorant/disrespectful of the prior “expert consensus” and approach the problem afresh with a rather direct transactional and person-centered, personality-centered mentality.

4. As I tweeted: “Isn’t the whole point of the “deal” just to make them go visit Singapore? The real spectacle is not always where you are looking. And I hope someone brought them to the right chili crab place.”

The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game.  We won’t know for some time whether this has succeeded.  Here is good FT coverage on this point.  There are in fact numerous signs that the North Koreans are considering serious reforms.  Of course those could be a feint, but the probabilities are rising in a favorable direction.  Economic cooperation with South Korea is increasing at an astonishing pace.

5. The chance that North Korea someday becomes an unruly version of an American client state has gone up.  The chance of a kind of faux, “on paper” Korean reunification has gone up too.

6. No, North Korea isn’t giving up its nuclear weapons.  The more important question is to what extent they will use those weapons in the future to check China.

7. How is it that Dennis Rodman played in only two All-Star games?

8. In expected value terms, this is the biggest triumph of the Trump presidency.  Most of all, however, you should be agnostic.  The negative commentary I am seeing is mostly sour grapes, misplaced frustration, and it is weak in the quality of its argumentation.  Here is one of Trump’s better tweets.

Comments

Exactly. I think for those who read history it is worth mentioning that grinding Germany into the dirt economically was in large part what brought about Hitler and WWII. Having a technolgically adept state theat is being humiliated (in it's mind) unfairly on the world stage is a recipe for disaster. Bringing NK somewhat into the community of nations is the best solution. Of course it may not work, but it should be tried. If it fails then the justification for a more aggressive plan B increases.

"Of course it may not work, but it should be tried."

And I think that's getting lost in the rhetoric and invective. The standoff between North Korea and essentially the rest of the world will break down eventually. Trying to help it break down in a constructive and positive manner beats the living hell out of waiting to see what happens.

When in doubt, don't do nothing.

When in doubt, appeasement is better than nothing, clearly. As history shows when dealing with supreme leaders.

"Appeasement"...a corollary of Godwin's Law, you lose.

That's not fair. Javier invoked the Hitler comparison in the very first comment, both of this thread and the post.

Now you invoked Hitler, so you also lose. Who's next?

"When in doubt, appeasement is better than nothing, clearly. As history shows when dealing with supreme leaders." - clockwork_prior

Who can forget the historic "appeasement" that took place, when President Trump gave the dictator of North Korea everything he wanted, such as not lifting the sanctions, giving them zero money, keeping his aircraft carriers in naval blockade readiness position, giving them zero territory, and making North Korea release hostages.

A note to those disingenuous fu*ks who argue in bad faith like the guy above: 99.9% of the time, we simply view you with a seething hatred for what you do to public discourse and move on with our lives. Do not mistake our silence for actual accession to your delusional, dishonest, pathetic talking points.

Ha! It only took President Trump to turn Prior into a Cold War hawk. When might we expect your defence of Reagan’s foreign policy skills to commence?

'to turn Prior into a Cold War hawk'

You haven't been here long, have you? I spend a fair amount of time pointing out how the Russians are not our friends. As a matter of fact, I spend a fair amount of time pointing out how the Russians are doing their best, as they have for decades, to decouple Europe from the U.S., so as to weaken the only adversary that has actually defeated Russian ambitions.

'When might we expect your defence of Reagan’s foreign policy skills to commence?'

Probably never, because in my opinion, Reagan mainly got lucky in having Gorbachev as his counterpart. However, there is no question that in many ways, Reagan was the right man (for example, his faith in American greatness allowed him to act magnanimously to an adversary, and his credentials as an anti-communist were impeccable) at the right time (the Soviet Union, after decades of American led containment, was poised on the edge of collapse). Whether skill or luck is not important - Reagan deserves full credit for his role in bringing the Cold War to an end that benefitted America and its allies.

What are you suggesting- immediate war? Ignoring the situation? Some sort of massive escalation? Are you even suggesting anything or just howling at the moon because that's what's trendy these days?

Appeasement, WITH NO WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE COURSE, doesn't work. Of course, you have only your personal biases to support that assumption.

'What are you suggesting- immediate war?'

I think the term you are looking for is 'combat' - we are at war with North Korea right now, actually.

'Are you even suggesting anything or just howling at the moon because that's what's trendy these days?'

How did the Berlin Wall come down? Was it because Reagan said 'Mr. Gorbachev, I promise not to have the American military practice with its German allies along this wall?'

'WITH NO WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE COURSE'

It willing be interesting to see whether this modern supreme leader will be different from a previous supreme leader, and actually be willing to change course.

And let us be honest - do you think Kim Jong-un trusts Trump? And why would you think that the Supreme Leader is such an idiot? Kim has bought the most precious thing of all, at least according to another supreme leader - '“You can ask me for anything you like, except time” Trump, however, is considerably more generous than that loser Napoleon.

Lulz. Wherein prior turns all Norman Podhoretz on us.

Indeed Trump is a genius. There is nothing he cannot make the Left do. No long held position they will not sell out in seconds if Trump makes the slightest gesture. The Democrats are embracing MS-13, international agreements aimed at trade liberalization. It is amazing.

And now Prior embraces his inner Jack D. Ripper. Wonderful. Who would have guessed that Trump could make the Democrats tougher on Moscow and Communism than Reagan?

In the meantime I predicted Rodman would come out of this as Trump's New Best Friend. It seems to be working. Will Trump get 25% of the Black vote? He speaks to Black men, certainly. He is the first Bling President. He is the Jay Z of the Republican Party. Unlike Obama being the first Urkel-American in the White House.

I just hope that Trump campaigns in 2020 with a sound track by Public Enemy and LL Cool J. Who wouldn't want to hear Trump come in to the sound of Fight The Power and leave with Momma Said Knock You Out?

"He is the Jay Z of the Republican Party. Unlike Obama being the first Urkel-American in the White House."

MR never made me laugh as hard as now.

That was a good line.

rofl, 'effing awesome.

"I think the term you are looking for is 'combat' - we are at war with North Korea right now, actually."

Pedantic BUUUURN!!

Nothing that's been tried in the last 40 years has worked. What's the downside of trying something new that doesn't involve sending nukes to South Korea and Japan and putting more US troops in the region?

Didn't some smart guy once say, Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?

"I think the term you are looking for is 'combat' - we are at war with North Korea right now, actually."

Perhaps things have changed but wasn't the Korean War one of the first big Police Action and the USA (and many other nations) simply combating the violation of the UN sanctioned elections for establishing a Korean government. Russia (and China) got Kim I to boycott the game, start a civil war and then happily accepted the ongoing division of the peninsula as a good buffer zone.

Unless that is a misunderstanding the USA is not at war and never has been at war with DPRK -- we've simply been defending the ROK government that was the UN sanctioned elected government.

Yes - but it seemed that saying that United Nations Command is still at war with North Korea would have appeared too pedantic. And still not precisely accurate, as the UN does not wage military operations - it lets the U.S. handle the job in the main in this theater.

And though hostilities have ceased, a state of war still exists.

You are certainly correct that the U.S. never declared war - and neither did China. The Cold War was an unusual period, where thousands of soldier could be actively involved in combat, without anyone declaring a state of war existed.

The threading is getting too strange.

No, I am not Podhoretz - for example, I think Brandt's Ostpolitik/detente was an important element in the collapse of the Soviet Union too, in part by showing the conquered East Europeans that America was opposed to an ideology that relied on secret police to stay in power, not nationalities. And unlike Podhoretz, I never doubted that the U.S. would ever lose the Cold War.

'And now Prior embraces his inner Jack D. Ripper. '

I doubt it. Talking like this is pure idiocy, and ensures that the Supreme Leader will never give up his nuclear arsenal - '“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending much of the month on a working vacation. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Referring to North Korea’s volatile leader, Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump said, “He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said, they will be met with fire and fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”'

'Who would have guessed that Trump could make the Democrats tougher on Moscow and Communism than Reagan?'

I'm guessing you have never heard of Sen. Henry 'Scoop' Jackson or Sen. Sam Nunn, have you? Or the idea that America's foreign policy should not be held hostage to domestic political whim?

"Trump’s great “virtue” in this regard was simply to be some mix of ignorant/disrespectful of the prior “expert consensus”"

While I get what you mean, I think "disrespectful" has some connotations you may not mean. Or maybe you do. Was he being "disrespectful" of prior consensus or just recognizing it as a losing plan and trying something else?

From Tyler, this is as close to praise as he can get. He's evolving.

Agreed. He broke line with ex-mayor bloomberg’s narrative. That dangerous. But Tyler has never disobeyed before.

Enough with the Straussian anti-complacency, and onwards and upwards with genuine anti-complacency!

I interpret it as "lacking special regard or respect for." Which can be taken however one likes. To put it another way, he was willing to shake the box and see if things lined up more favorably.

If BHO had done this, he would be given a second Nobel Peace Prize.

True. But you could also say that if BHO had done this, the Right would have gone crazy about how he cozied up to a dictator and got practically nothing in return (like they did about the Iran deal, but 10X over)

I'm surprised Tyler didn't compare this to Nixon and China and state that no D president could do this.

Also quite true, but there are plenty on the "Right" (i.e. neocons) saying the very same thing today. Kristol, Shapiro, Kristof, et al... the usual suspects.

Good grief...

https://nowthisnews.com/videos/politics/fox-news-different-reactions-regarding-negotiations-with-north-korea

And Fox news would have called for his impeachment. C'est la vie

True. I think they called for his impeachment, anyway, though.

Perhaps, although I'm not sure on what grounds. Actual Congressmen have submitted articles of impeachment for Trump on no grounds at all. It's a low bar, these days

Hahahaha. Obama was nearly crucified for wearing a brown suit. Trump snagging a few mil here and few mil there--not sure exactly, we can't see his taxes (under audit I hear)--THIS IS FINE.

I still remember when talking to the Koreans were appeseament and W. would defeat North Korea by playing poker instead of chess (whatever it means). Let us be blunt: both America's Left and Right are seriously deranged.

Took only six posts in to get a whataboutist argument.

It is amazing how mind controlled people are by their “tribe”. It’s pathetic how the same event can go from the worst thing in the world to the best depending only on if ones tribe did it. About 18 months ago the unemployment rate was a fake number and America was a disaster. Now it’s a celebrated terrific number. Unreal.

Exactly. My personal favourite is Trump getting elected and suddenly the sniping started about how golf is a waste of time. Golf being a game Obama was lauded for playing (“its very important that a stressed president gets some quality time on the greens”).

But you're doing it too. You surely were ripping Obama for playing golf (like Trump used to do). What makes extreme partisanship so awful is it's basically the same thing as blatant hypocrisy. And hypocrisy is toxic.

So we go from CDS to BDS to ODS to TDS. We'll know things are getting better when there's a lot less DS.

and to show just how "serious guys this is important" msgkings is about this issue- msgkings bitchily whined about this comment while praising a comment making the exact same point but in favor of his far-left tribe. did you forget to switch usernames lil guy. if you weren't so pitiable it might be infuriating how hypocritical you are

Da fuq? You got msgDS son.

yikes have a better poker face. don't let me know when i've hit a bullseye so easily

LOL this style of trolling doesn't work on me. What's next, "u mad bro"?

nope clearly your anger covers your posts as thick as your rage spittle covers your keyboard. what's beneath that layer of spittle i don't even want to speculate on

Ah yes, the 'spittle' troll. You're quite the classic rock station today.

less squwak more mock msgkings

you are getting your ass kicked

Wait, isn't this where you are supposed to call me a cuck?

that's not my style. I would never you use the fact your wife isn't interested in having sex with you against you. I think its a damn shame honestly- if i could convince her to stop humiliating you i would man. or at least limit it to two other guys tops. i hope you get the issue resolved and hey maybe the kids are yours just because they are tall and athletic... maybe you are recessive for those genes

Ok, let's see, response number 348 cued up:

I'm having so much sex with your wife I barely have time for mine!

OK now you go.

honestly nah this is too easy. maybe if you weren't so distracted by your wife sleeping around your heart would be in it.

Oh dear, unforced error. We already did the cheating wives bit. Gotta do something new. So....the jerk store called, they're all out of you! (hat tip George Costanza)

OK your turn.

the game is over man i took a knee like six plays ago and the clock ran out. right now you are interrupting my post game interview

I don't blame you for surrendering when down so much. I hope your coach doesn't channel John McKay, who was asked after a game during his Tampa Bay Buccaneers inaugural season (they went 0-14) how he felt about his team's execution. He replied "I'm in favor of it".

Oh, so this is why this is 200 comments long

My personal favourite is Trump getting elected and suddenly the sniping started about how golf is a waste of time. Golf being a game Obama was lauded for playing (“its very important that a stressed president gets some quality time on the greens”).

Bad example. The sniping is about the fact that Trump repeatedly criticized Obama for playing too much golf, and now he is playing a lot more than Obama did.

Those are actual facts.

1. No one 'lauded' Obama for playing golf.

2. It's not so much the double standards but the in your face double standards. Like not just playing golf but playing more golf in the first 5 months of his administration than Obama racked up in 8 years.

To be fair, Obama played way more basketball than Trump does.

Then why did he suck so badly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IjDqm-JHrA

maybe he should have tried granny style to go with the mom jeans

Best baller POTUS evah! Although Grover Cleveland apparently had a great handle.

Because he was a 50 year old man, and hadn't played regularly in decades?

1. No one 'lauded' Obama for playing golf.

Well, I did, but I'm pretty much no one. And as I wrote elsewhere a couple of days ago, if Trump wants to spend the next 2.5 years doing nothing but pardons and golf, that would be better than I'd have expected

+100, it's the saddest thing of all these days. I hope we get past it someday.

Yes, yes and yes.

Of course, to a Straussian, the hidden meaning is more important than the apparent or clear meaning. So it is with the Trump-Kim summit. Cowen has been agnostic (or is it coy?) about Trump since the election, so I would not expect his attitude about Trump to change now after Trump has his finest hour. I must say that the contrast between the video posted by Tabarrok on the value of institutions and this blog post by Cowen is rather stark. Cowen prefers "disruption" to order and stability (even wrote a book about it), so I'm not surprised that Cowen would be less concerned about upending institutions than is Tabarrok. It's possible that Cowen is right, that the order and stability and the institutions we have come to respect are suspect, that a good dismantling (of institutions, alliances, etc.) would at least give us a chance for something better. Or something worse. To paraphrase the Chinese curse, we live in interesting times.

Boomer struggles to make sense of the world, post 1988.

I’m not sure I would call what Rayward does “making sense.”

There is no such Chinese curse.

There are in fact numerous signs that the North Koreans are considering serious reforms.

The North Koreans have been instituting serious economic reforms for 10 years already. The private sector already makes up far more of the economy than it did in the GDR before reunification.

Interesting. What are the numbers?

Or is this just a way to tilt from Trump's "communist dictatorship is great?"

Don't have the numbers but the basic thesis is from Rüdiger Frank, a (former East) German expert on North Korea who has written extensively on North Korea. He notes that most of North Korea's state economy effectively collapsed in the late 1990s. Most women in North Korea are traders, sell services or engage in light manufacturing on a private basis. The NK economy is already a lot like China in the mid 1980s. Given that there was almost no official private sector in the GDR, it is fairly obvious that North Korea is far less "socialist" than East Germany was, although more repressive. (BR Meyers would say that North Korea is simply straight-up fascist, along the lines of imperial Japan or Nazi Germany, both of which allowed significant private economic activity).

Wow.

https://twitter.com/David_Boaz/status/1006591834792046592?s=19

I think I would rather be an East German than a North Korean. Thanks.

The economic reforms are important, but it's worth noting that Kim is still running literal concentration camps, and seems to have no plans to reform on that front.

Also:

The economic reforms are important, but it's worth noting that XI is still running literal concentration camps, and seems to have no plans to reform on that front.

Economic reform and lack of political freedom is 2018 China.

China is obviously Kim's model, he has no desire to allow South Korean style pluralism to say nothing of Western style democracy.

1. 'There is a secret (and unenforceable) deal beneath what is reported'

Actually, it is double secret probation, and Dean Wormer is responsible for enforcing it.

2. 'If they didn’t actually agree to anything, that is fine.'

Well, Kim certainly made out like a bandit - and he basically has no incentive to agree to anything unless it is on his terms anyways. He can be milking this meeting for years, after all.

3. The word to describe what Kim will be doing is crowing, not yelping.

4. 'The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game.'

Except that is exactly the game that brought them to this point, after decades of failure to be treated as an equal by the U.S.

5. 'The chance that North Korea someday becomes an unruly version of an American client state has gone up.'

Right up to the Yalu River, undoubtedly. These days, sneakers are no longer a uniquely PLA fashion accessory, after all.

6. 'The more important question is to what extent they will use those weapons in the future to check China.'

This is absolutely delusional, unless you mean that by becoming a nuclear power, North Korea can now play its own version of the MAD game - China, the U.S., Russia, whoever.

8. '... this is the biggest triumph of the Trump presidency'

And here is a youtube clip of another man's triumph after meeting another Supreme Leader - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ95ffnU4Sw

And where is number 9, the reaction of the South Koreans at seeing how Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un can seemingly dictate where the U.S. military can and cannot exercise?

Seriously? You are comparing Trump to Neville Chamberlain. Those two aren't even remotely alike in any way.

This seems to be a desperate grasping at straws.

Yes, Chamberlain was able to think strategically. His 'appeasement' deal recognised that the UK was not ready to fight a war and bought it time to re-arm.

It also gave Hitler time to re-arm and facilitated Hitler's complete takeover of the German military which up to that point basically thought Hitler was a mentally unstable gambler when it came to foreign policy. The only justification for the Munich Agreement is the belief German's demands were legitimate which was basically Chamberlain's position. Strategically it was a disaster. I mean look I get it- this talking point was on the fact sheet this morning and if you don't make 35 posts before lunch your boss is going to go find some 22 year old that can, but cmon man learn some history- they have podcasts for that now so its not like you even have to read a book.

"It also gave Hitler time to re-arm and facilitated Hitler's complete takeover of the German military which up to that point basically thought Hitler was a mentally unstable gambler when it came to foreign policy."

So you're saying Chamberlain should have relied less on his knowledge of the state of the UK's armed forces and assumed he had superior knowledge of the intricacies of German politics instead?

Your speculation is that if Chamberlain attacked Germany it might have faked out the military enough to overthrow Hitler. But then it might have devastated England, confirmed Hitler as a victor and provided the nazis with a "we were attacked first" narrative that couldn't be disputed.

you are welcome to read up on it. Chamberlain's decision making process was not made on the basis of giving England enough time to re-arm. In fact England didn't even begin re-arming until the German's violated the agreement and occupied the entirety of Czechoslovakia. This is all very common knowledge.

My speculation is that neither of you know much about history- but have deadlines for making trash posts. But again that's just a surmise. That's the extent of my speculations everything is pretty well documented. Thanks for playing.

hmmmm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neville_Chamberlain#September_1938:_Munich

The agreement was signed in Sept 1938. In October...
"He told the Cabinet in early October 1938, "[I]t would be madness for the country to stop rearming until we were convinced that other countries would act in the same way. For the time being, therefore, we should relax no particle of effort until our deficiencies had been made good."
and
"He made trips to Paris and Rome, hoping to persuade the French to hasten their rearmament and to persuade Mussolini to be a positive influence on Hitler."

I'm seeing evidence that his strategy was "hope for the best but prepare for the worst". Could he have been stronger about pushing re-arming? I'm sure but I do not see anything that says his strategy consisted of simply trusting Hitler's word and deeming re-armament as unnecessary.

"My speculation is that neither of you know much about history- but have deadlines for making trash posts."

Trashing your post doesn't require much history. You put forth the idea that if Chamberlain 'bluffed' the German military would have been spooked and put Hitler in check rather than realizing England didn't have the means to win.

Two issues I have are:

1. To work this would have required the German military to embrace near treason. Keep in mind Hitler came to power with a narrative about Germany being defeated by 'traitors' and unjustly humiliated after the war. So given that the UK would either attack or appear to be on the verge of attacking Germany and German generals would have turned on Hitler rather than rally to their nation's defense? Remember throughout the entire war the German military never successfully deposed Hitler even until the very end.

2. Even if this would have happened, is it reasonable to say Chamberlain should have played that strategy. I would say it was not. Chamberlain should have been more confident in the actual data he knew about British military readiness and much less confident in speculation about what German generals might be triggered into doing.

3. I think at best you might say Chamberlain appeasement was the correct strategy but he should have made better use of the time it brought. But it was only 12 months later that Germany invaded Poland and the UK declared war.

I never put forth that position at all. I simply laid out that strategic considerations had little bearing on Chamberlain's decision making. Once he was convinced Hitler wasn't interested in occupying all of Checkoslovakia he immediately began lobbying to give up the Sudetenland. Normally I would be frustrated by people putting arguments in my mouth but clearly you don't know much about the issue judging by the hour it took you to read a wikipedia page before uttering a response.

My point remains Chamberlain's appeasement was not motivated by strategic factors and in that wikipedia article you will notice that he strenously resisted efforts to put England on a war footing. I likewise pointed out that even if that had been his decision making process it would have been a faulty one because the Munich Crisis consolidated Hitler's control over Germany. Hitler's control over the military was very tenuous and at several occasions proceeding the Munich Crisis the military did considering removing Hitler from power. But the miracle of Munich as it was called in Germany overwhelmed that opposition in the military. This is all pretty well known historical background. Not provided in the wikipedia page you scoured but like i said likely included in any book on WW2 you might struggle through.

So to restate.

1. If you have to read a wiki page in a debate its best to walk away.

2. Don't attribute points to the person you arguing with especially in a forum where it is all recorded.

3. Wikipedia is no substitute for even a History Channel documentary apparently.

Hmm, you lied, have misunderstood the facts, or potentially both. Either way, oops.

ha low effort low t jan as he's ever been. anklebiting in adult baby form

We are still stuck with what was reasonable information for him to have made decisions on in 1938? The UK trying to declare war on Germany in 1938 could have just as easily produced it's own 'Munich Miracle' where Germany feels attacked by a Great Power that it is able to defeat easily. Given those circumstances would the German Generals have felt confident about deposing Hitler? German generals never deposed Hitler even after things got very, very bad for Germany. Perhaps 1938 was an opportune time to do so since Hitler's cult of personality was not yet fully formed and he was still weak but it's a heroic speculation for the UK to make plans based on guessing how they would behave.

That then brings us back to what should the strategy have been in 1938? Appeasement seems to offer time for the UK to get its armed forces back in shape but as you point out the Germans made more use of that year than the British did. Is that the fault of appeasement or the fault of what the UK did with the time it had? The UK was never well equipped to mount a D-Day style invasion of Europe on its own but the year appeasement brought also brought France a year. If both nations used the time optimally they might have 'won the race'.

A third option I see would have been to try to talk everything to death. Do a Kim-Trump style summit where both sides declare they will keep talking but Chamberlain wouldn't agree to any annexation by Germany of any lands but would agree to revisit the issue with more talks. But how would Hitler have responded to a stalling tactic like this?

I do think there is a problem here with Democracies and appeasement. The agreement looked like 'peace in our time' and the natural response of the public would be celebration and an extreme reluctance to embrace a massive retooling of the economy for war. Appeasement may buy you time but the logic of it means it will be impossible to convince everyone else to make use of that time.

Based on my knowledge of the subject, Sam is correct. According to William Manchester's Churchill bio, The Last Lion, the idea that the Munich Agreement bought England time to re-arm was a justification invented by Chamberlain's apologists well after the fact. Years later. Evidence of this is the very little rearming that actually took place between the "Peace for our time" declaration and the invasion of Poland.

let it go man. just back away slowly.

'Evidence of this is the very little rearming that actually took place between the "Peace for our time" declaration and the invasion of Poland.'

For the U.K.

Germany, on the other hand ....

'A major boost to German armour came with the acquisition of Czechoslovakia in 1938, giving the entire Czech arms industry to Germany. The Czechs already had two main tank designs, the Skoda LT35 and the Cesko-moravska Kolben Danek (CKD) TNHP. The Skoda was a 10-ton machine with a 37 mm main gun and excellent cross-country capabilities; the CKD was 8.5 tons and also fitted with a 37 mm gun - due to extensive tests it was an extremely reliable machine with a top quality chassis. Both were taken into the German panzer forces, as the PzKpfw 35(t) and the PzKpfw 38(t), and further production was ordered. CKD was renamed Böhmisch-Mährische Maschinenfabrik AG (BMM) in 1940 and continued production until 1942, providing the Wehrmacht with 1,168 PzKpfw 38(t)'s. In 1940 Czech tanks made up around a quarter of the entire German panzer force.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanks_in_the_German_Army#Post_World_War_I

you dense fool. that's exactly what he said.

Without actually providing any concrete information of just how useful it was for Germany to be able to take over Czechoslovakia. Blitzkreig without those tanks would have been much harder to pull off, if at all in terms of conquering France. Most people have no idea what absolutely concrete benefit it was for the Nazi war machine to be able to take over Czechoslovakia without firing a shot. It was not merely time, it was a significant amount of tanks that Chamberlain handed over to the Germans after proclaiming peace for our time.

'Those two aren't even remotely alike in any way'

Time will tell. Did you watch the clip? The cheering as Chamberlain talks is really quite amazing - the people around him really thought that peace with Hitler was possible.

Though strangely, Churchill never trusted that supreme leader to keep his word. In large part, because Churchill recognized evil when he saw it. Oddly, when it comes to North Korea, most of us seem to side with Chamberlain's perspective, that an honorable deal can be made with a supreme leader.

'This seems to be a desperate grasping at straws.'

Time will tell.

"The only justification for the Munich Agreement is the belief German's demands were legitimate"
If you take the Hitler part out of the equation, Germany's demands were far from ridiculous. Czechoslovakia was an artificial state created by Czech nationalists and naive Westerners, carved out of the Habsburg historical crown lands. It was supposed to be a multi-national state along the Swiss model where Czech, Slovak, German, Hungarian and Ruthenian speakers would all be able to live in equality and using their own language. It immediately became a vehicle for Czechs to impose their culture and language on everybody else. (There is a reason Slovaks happily left it twice.) There is little doubt that the German speaking populations of Bohemia and Moravia were genuinely quite happy to leave Czechoslovakia and join Germany (Wilson's principle of self-determination at work). The Polish populations near Ostrava and the Hungarians in Felvidek were also happy to be rid of "Czechoslovakia." Granted the "but Hitler" part is a major "but", nonetheless only five years into Hitler's rule and before Kristallnacht, Chamberlain's appeasement wasn't quite as obviously stupid as it is in retrospect.

cool not only am I already aware of all this what on earth does it have to do with my point. I never said Chamberlain was right or wrong to feel the way he did- just that he did indeed feel that way and that was far more responsible for his decision than any kind of strategic concerns

Kim and Hitler are clearly the same, though, except for the part where they aren't at all alike.

Trump and Chamberlain are clearly the same, though, except for the part where they aren't at all alike.

"Well, Kim certainly made out like a bandit - and he basically has no incentive to agree to anything unless it is on his terms anyways. He can be milking this meeting for years, after all"

IMO that's a feature not a bug. The US is in a position of strength and North Korea has demonstrated it is able to be very stubborn for a very long time. A viable strategy might be to just give such players a few things to benefit them. It may over the long run soften the stubbornness since as time goes on there is a temptation to get more 'goodies'. Twenty years from now will the "Our Glorious Leader once meet the US President" seem like such a good line or would it be better if it was followed by other things (i.e. White House visit or whatnot)?

Too bad Trump is too stupid to see how this approach has merit to countries like Cuba and Iran as well.

better relations with Cuba are basically worthless. There are a bunch of strategic considerations that go into our dealings with Iran beyond what Trump thinks.

'The US is in a position of strength and North Korea has demonstrated it is able to be very stubborn for a very long time.'

Absolutely. But there is a difference between enjoying a position of strength, and helping an adversary - a difference that is open to reasonable debate (see the discussions about detente a generation ago - though a lot of unreasonable debate occurred too, of course).

'A viable strategy might be to just give such players a few things to benefit them.'

Letting North Korea dictate where and with whom the American military can practice defending an ally is not a good precedent, and provides far too much benefit to an adversary. Especially when coupled with the fact that the North Koreans publicly demanded exactly this condition to hold a summit beforehand.

"Letting North Korea dictate where and with whom the American military can practice defending an ally is not a good precedent, and provides far too much benefit to an adversary. Especially when coupled with the fact that the North Koreans publicly demanded exactly this condition to hold a summit beforehand."

Why? A North Korea vs South Korea+US War's outcome is unlikely to hinge upon whether or not US forces did another war games practice in 2018. By definition a position of strength means you can make a show of taking a few steps back. If you're really strong it shouldn't matter.

Tyler, this is an extremely narrow take on the summit. North Korea wants time -- that's all it's looking for -- and it got more time because of this summit.

The problem is that any negotiation will take years to unfold, and a deal between the US and North Korea will need to overcome hurdles that probably can't be overcome. When those negotiations fall apart, or when the next president comes along and tears up the agreement in the same way that Trump tore up the Iran deal, tensions will escalate. And we'll go back to what we had before: open hostilities.

But North Korea will be in an even better military position when that happens. Because over the next few years, as negotiations unfold, it will enjoy increased trade with China and Russia, boosting its economy and Kim's position. And North Korea will undoubtedly continue to expand its military, especially its nuclear, capabilities. And if, along the way, the US makes concessions to North Korea -- such as ending the war games -- even better.

So here's what the summit produced. After Trump put the two countries at the brink of war with his "fire and fury" threats, the situation has cooled off. The cooling off period feels good to the US, but provides it no strategic benefits. But it gives many strategic benefits to Kim.

They want time... for what? How is talking going to give them time that they didn't already have? Do you really think the US would have started a war if not for this summit?

It's in everyone's interest for DPRK-US relations to improve - even (especially!) the ordinary North Korean. Except apparently for TDS sufferers, who must remain butthurt about this at all costs.

PS. No future President is going to tear up this deal - that's the beauty of having Trump negotiate it. Republicans won't because the deal is "theirs"; Democrats won't because it goes completely against their brand. I believe I have said this before, but something something Nixon China.

"Except apparently for TDS sufferers, who must remain butthurt about this at all costs."

Is there a version of Godwin's Law for "butthurt?"

I mean people that call their political enemies Hitler at the drop of the hat seem to get really butthurt when the term is used. Clearly it bothers you and you seem like an aging windbag who could benefit from being bothered some.

Do you really think the US would have started a war if not for this summit?

All that needs to be said about that guy's comment, which was a desperate grab for something to complain about

As an American, I actually think that putting North Korea in a better position militarily is a good thing for US security. The stronger North Korea is, the less likely we are to start a war with it. Mutually assured destruction did keep the US (and Western Europe) from going directly to war with the USSR, although it did result in the US and the USSR getting involved in lots of different ways in third world civil wars. But given that North Korea is already contained by China and by South Korea (both of which have vastly superior militaries and always will) the US doesn't actually have a really compelling interest in a weak North Korea, because a weak North Korea is unstable and unpredictable. If anything, giving North Korea the theater that removing sanctions and opening up their economy to trade with their neighbors is a concession that they won from their enemies is tactically brilliant; it is in our interest but North Korea's leaders get to call it a victory over us. In the short term, sure, we lose a little bit of face, but in the long term North Korea (and its leadership) start to get more enmeshed in the global elite and act as a restraint on just how belligerent North Korea can be.

'As an American, I actually think that putting North Korea in a better position militarily is a good thing for US security.'

Possibly. The South Koreans, along with the Japanese, just might have a different opinion.

An America First foreign policy has it value sometimes. If we are lucky, by the end of Trump's presidency Crimea and Eastern Ukraine will be part of Russia (and the war in Urkaine over), and China's border disputes settled in its favor. Fighting wars to contest the interests of other great powers in their backyards definitely is not in the interest of the US.

Hopefully Trump will go to Congress with any Korean deal, unlike Obama who made the Iran deal by executive order.

US war games in Korea are more show than substance. If we attack North Korea ground forces would play a minor role.

As for Trump giving the North Korean time, what was the alternative? Destroy them today with a full scale attack? Please get serious.

"If we attack North Korea ground forces would play a minor role."

I disagree with that, but the rest of the comment earns a +1

'US war games in Korea are more show than substance.'

Yes, they show South Korea and Japan that the U.S. is involved in their defense, and not only from a possible North Korean threat.

What? Japan, South Korea and the rest of Asia know that the US has a vital interest in the area. Preparation for a ground war in Korea may be preparing for the last war not the next. Plus friends who served in these simulations have expressed doubt about effectiveness. But there are groups that have financial interests in continuing the exercises

All possibly true but how do you square it with blowing up the Iran deal? And is it possible that he genuinely prefers dictators to Trudeau, Merkel, etc and if so, isn't that incredibly dangerous (or at least harmful to our interests) long-term? It feels like this analysis looks at the summit as a discrete piece, and on its own, it does feel like progress. But in a larger context, what we are gaining here is very unclear.

'isn't that incredibly dangerous (or at least harmful to our interests) long-term'

Come now, Winston Churchill hated supreme leaders, and did it ever get him a Nobel Peace Prize? Nope, because even today, people remember Winston Churchill saying things like this - 'I would say to the House as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs—Victory in spite of all terror—Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.'

Hard to imagine Churchill applauding the man who is bringing peace for our time.

(Admittedly, we are only in a state of war with North Korea, and not actually fighting at the moment.)

Hard to imagine Churchill bargaining away Eastern Europe and half of Germany away at Yalta but there he was.

Hilarious to watch the Left get in touch with its inner Richard Perle.

The inability of the left to give credit for anything good Trump does is just as depressing as the inability of the right giving credit to anything Obama did. Partisanship and derangement still rules the day for the most part.

Well, I'll give Trump credit when he meets on the same terms with Iran's president, who is elected, and I suppose, Chief Justice Roberts meets with the Iranian defender of the law, for those who argue the voters don't really pick the presidents, and the voters don't get to influence the laws of the land, and shouldn't because "liberals are always wrong".

Great analysis. I wonder if the North Korean state media will show pictures or video of Kim's tour around Singapore - and how a typical North Korean might react to seeing it.

I'm guessing that's a no, unless Kim starts reforms (big if at this point) and then faces resistance from his inner circle/winning coalition. Then, he'll have reason to show the masses what he will do for them.

Guess again.

https://kcnawatch.co/periodical/rodong-sinmun-840/

"The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game."

Better for whom? I doubt the Kims are starving right now (actually, the Supreme Leader could use some dieting). Yep, dictators can end up like Gaddafi (after cooperating with America) or Ceaucescu. But look all dictators that liberalized (or were forced to liberalize) and soon were out of a job or worse. Gorbachev? Out. The Castro Dinasty, despite the CIA's funniest efforts ( http://www.cracked.com/article_18758_the-5-most-ridiculous-assassination-plots-ever-attempted.html ) still have the top spot 60 years after the Revolution. The Hungarians were the first ones to follow Gorbachev's lead and they were the first ones out. The Albanians (!!) did everything worse since 1945 and lasted longer. East German Communists threw Honnecker out after refusing him permission to crush the opposition and allowed the Wall to crumble. For their troubles, they were annexed by the "fascist", "puppet" West German regime. Gunther Schabowski, the Communist who backstabbed Honnecker was sentenced to jail time.

Also, the Kims know Red China. They know pretty well that one theorically can mix authoritarism and free(er) markets. The Castros knew that too. They also know it is difficult or all the cool dictators would have done that already. And even China (with its non-dynastic sucessions) is not the template Kim wants. Even Singapore, with elections, technocratic rule and caretakers between Lee Prime Ministers is too much alien to North Korean political traditions and North Korea's leadership's goals to be useful as an example.

Better for the Kims, obviously. Kim Jong-Un may seem like he has a great life, what with all the power and top-notch brandy and such, but he's sitting on top of a volcano and he knows it. Unless he changes something, sooner or later it's going to erupt.

We have said so for 70 years now or at least 20 years since the early 90's famine.

Putting politics aside, this was a helpful meeting that may lead to a more peaceful world. If this falls apart, we at least gave it a shot. If war comes that won't be good, even if it is necessary. My 2 cents worth.

Tyler's analysis presumes Trump cares about anything beyond this morning's headlines. There's just zero indication that that's true. If I were Iran's supreme leader, I'd be restarting my nuclear program stat.

Tyler's analysis presumes Trump cares about anything beyond this morning's headlines. There's just zero indication that that's true.

Haha, 'zero indication' -- only because you refuse to notice it.

♫ He's as blind as he can be... Just sees what he wants to see... ♫

There is also zero evidence that it isn't true.

A test question. What was the situation in 2016, what has been done by both sides of this issue since then? What are the stakes and interests of the other parties in the region, and what was the trajectory say the time?

What happened yesterday was planned probably early 2017.

Does that sound plausible inside your head? Given that there's a new secretary of state, a new chief of staff, two new national security advisors... Essentially you're saying that Trump himself had this all plotted out a year and a half ago. That's flat-out crazy.

Mattis has been behind the strategy from the beginning. The Secretary of State has played a big part as well. The events of yesterday were a culmination of a long strategy. Including actions, pressure on China, Miley a exercises. Maybe you weren't aware of what has been happening.

I don't know how it will work out, but there has been a strategy in place and in action for quite a while.

> The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game.

Un spent ~8 years in Switzerland. He most likely got the idea of blowing the vice-premier with anti-aircraft gun in Bern.

The 7th point is the most important one, clearly.

Honestly, it might be better to emphasize that Dennis Rodman is in the Hall of Fame despite averaging 7 points and 13 rebounds a game.
That's obviously due to a few seasons averaging 16-18 rebounds on one of the greatest teams of all time, combined with really excellent defense, but other than that, most of Rodman's seasons were that of an immensely talented role player, not an All Star.

Recall, too, that Rodman was only a 'full-season' starter for two seasons. He came off the bench a lot.

All in all, his accomplishments were largely career accomplishments rather than individual seasons of greatness. He led the league in rebounding for 7 seasons straight, but he was only averaging about 5 points a game for some of those seasons. He was great defensively, but lacked the gaudy blocks/steals numbers necessary to turn many heads in the days before advanced metrics

Final point: 1993 was probably Rodman's best non-All Star year (8/18), but the All Star forwards from the East that year included Pippen, Larry Johnson, Larry Nance, Detlef Schrempf, and Dominique Wilkins. Pippen and Wilkins are obvious...Schrempf averaged 19/10/6 that year, Johnson 22/11 on 53% shooting, and Nance 17/9 on 55% shooting. You could probably make a case that he would have been a better pick than Nance, but Nance was an old-timer by this point, and had more legacy votes on his side. It's always tough to be a wing player come All Star selection time!

I just looked up Rodman's value over replacement player, and he is 65th all time in the NBA, which is pretty good. His VORP is just about as good as that of Isaiah Thomas. Additionally, Rodman realized that basketball isn't just a sport, but entertainment, which is valuable beyond what he did on the court.

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/vorp_career.html

A deep dive into Rodman shows he was so good at his skills that they translated into team success in an almost unprecedented way. See the outline from Ben Morris here: https://skepticalsports.com/the-case-for-dennis-rodman-guide/. Rodman, also an elite defensive player, provided so many extra possessions over the average player with his offensive and defensive rebounding (without "stealing" possessions from better teammates by taking bad shots) that the differences between his teams with and without him on the court suggest he's one of the more valuable players ever.

But ASG, HOF, etc are all heavily biased toward primary scorers, and this was even more true in 1993.

No disagreement that he was a phenomenal player and a key contributor to championship teams in unique ways. My point is that he didn't excel at the specific things that tend to get you ASG appearances (e.g. lots of scoring or obvious defensive statistics like blocks/steals). His contributions (a) are much more obvious with advanced metrics that weren't around/used in the 90s, and (b) were more apparent over the length of his career rather than in a particular season. All in all, it makes sense that he didn't play in more ASGs, and you can believe that without shortchanging his HoF career.

Yep, agree on both counts. Mostly wanted to shoehorn in a link to that Skeptical Sports piece, which I love.

Defenders get underrated.

He was one of the greatest defenders of his era.

If it was the opposite, if he was a great offensive player but atrocious defender, he'd be getting mvp votes. See James Harden.

Rodman was strong enough and could effectively guard players much larger than he was. You don't see that often.

The closest thing to Rodman today is Draymond Green, who does get all-star nods. But he can shoot the 3 occasionally and racks up assists and triple doubles, so he's a better all around player.

I think that's probably right. Draymond gets a lot more credit for his contributions because he's such a vital part of the offense as a facilitator, though. He's also averaged double-figures ppg for the past 4 years (Rodman only did this two seasons in his entire career), though, so even though he's not primarily a scorer, he's still a much more obvious and consistent offensive threat than Rodman ever was.

Agreed, exactly my point. Draymond is a likely HOFer for those reasons.

Maybe a better "all-around player" but not more valuable overall

Disagree, especially in today's game Draymond > Rodman

Why? Defense and rebounding don't matter in today's game? With the number of possessions these days, rebounding matters more than ever. Rodman is by far the best rebounder who ever lived. I've read analysis that places his value close to MJ

Draymond is at least as good a defender. And much more of a defensive QB actually coaching on the court. If you literally play every game and focus only on one thing, rebounding, you will get a bunch. But how many rebounds would go to other players if Rodman isn't there. Does he increase team rebounds much, or do a high % of the rebounds each night go to him?

Draymond is > defender, and >>> offensive player. Plus he's got almost as good troll game. He's better.

And so now this proves to Iran that nuclear brinksmanship works.

I thought that the Iran deal already showed that? Iran pursued nuclear weapons, got hit with sanctions, indicated that it would agree to inspections in exchange for sanctions relief, and in doing so basically got Europe to adopt the stance that so long as Iran was submitting to nuclear facilities inspections, they would turn a blind eye to everything else that Iran is doing. The Iran deal is probably one of Obama's biggest mistakes, as Europe was going to lift sanctions no matter what the US did. So instead of meekly agreeing to a deal that Europe and Iran made that is contrary to US interests, Obama should have protested loudly that any US sanctions relief would have been dependent not only on inspections but also on a cessation of Iran's activities promoting civil wars throughout the Middle East and their development of ICBMs. Given Obama's popularity in Europe, that actually would have put some pressure on European leaders to reconsider their stance. At the very least, the press in Europe would have given that point of view a fair hearing (and airing) if it had been coming from the Obama administration.

"Obama should have protested loudly that any US sanctions relief would have been dependent not only on inspections but also on a cessation of Iran's activities promoting civil wars throughout the Middle East and their development of ICBMs"

+1

One might be forgiven for thinking that Obama, like his successor Trump, was interested in a foreign policy “success”.

"The Iran deal is probably one of Obama's biggest mistakes, as Europe was going to lift sanctions no matter what the US did."

Where did you get that idea?

Liberal news outlets and liberal bloggers. They were praising Obama and his administration for negotiating a relatively tough deal compared to what would happen if they didn't make a deal (Europe would lift sanctions). Granted, I don't think the Europeans would have lifted sanctions without Iran making a deal with someone to cease trying to acquire nuclear weapons, but there was a lot of talk about how if the US and Iran could reach a deal once they started talking, Europe was going to lift sanctions anyway.

6. Are you refering to an outcome where North Korea may become an Eastern version of Israel, who can freely possess nuclear weapons and nobody gives a damn, because he's safeguarded by Uncle Sam? That's the craziest script I've read about the future of Korea, but I'm buying your optimism.

I think the cleaner read on that is that North Korea followed their script and won. They got their nukes and then they got full membership in the nuclear club.

Ah, yeah - that makes more sense. Altough I'm not sure how the Southern allies would like that, but I guess there's a money in trade for them which would make them accept a nuclear neighbor if that's what required for peace.

Here is the way I would put this in the best light:

If the North Koreans have functional ICBMs and nuclear bombs, they are secure.

The non-proliferation game is over and they won.

The best path to graciously deescalate from this point is to accept their victory. Flatter them, even. A lot of presidents we have a hard time doing that, because for a lot of presidents words matter.

On the other hand Trump can go in there and praise Un all he wants. We are in a special situation where nobody is surprised, or can be sure this is a lasting friendship. Trump can treat Un with just as much randomness as Trudeau going forward.

But sure, shaking hands over their victory, our loss, does advance peace, if not the freedom of the North Korean people.

Note that just canceling US and South Korean military exercises fits within this framework.

What's the point of practicing for conventional war? It's off the table.

Because those war games aren't necessarily about North Korea. They are just as much about China, but I think America has basically decide that India is such a bust as a potential global power that it makes more sense to contain China by flipping Kim than trying for conventional deterrent. India would collapse in two weeks if China were to invade with that reality containment of China in a world war scenario is impossible.

Its just about impossible for China to invade India in force. The border terrain is too cold and mountainous to get enough men and equipment over.

Plus, India has nukes.

And India has a pretty significant arms industry and vast manpower. Currently they have something like 3 million men under arms and another 2 million in the reserves.

I agree that this is crazy, and I do not exactly share your optimism.

But, it would make some of what has been happening (especially that very odd letter and schizophrenic messaging) make a bit more sense.

1. The new prime minister of South Korea wants closer ties with NK,
2. China's influence in rapidly growing,
3. recently, there seems to be some daylight between NK and China, and
4. it is hard to imagine NK giving up its nukes.

So, Trump decided to accept NK nukes, escalated the crisis to a point where it has to be dealt with NOW and then tried to get Kim on his side before China can react. Maybe he thinks that if this doesn't work out then China will be motivated to get rid of NK nukes on their own.

Suffice it to say, there are many, many ways this could go wrong and he could also be doing this for purely domestic reasons. (Or both). But, it is certainly an interesting take.

Tyler has the new-new TDS. I look forward to a conversation with Peter Navarro.

>The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game.

Tyler gets it. Nicely done.

For the "human rights" crowd. The heavy handed tactics in this type of state are necessary because the economy is such a disaster. Kim would lose control if he didn't imprison his enemies. If you want to improve their lot the best way is to gradually modernize North Korea. Now this may or may not be possible incrementally - it may be too late. But it is worth a try. Just declaring that human rights abuses must stop won't work. If the incremental engagement Trump is trying doesn't work their will be eventually be a war or a coup - you can bet on it. Both of those outcomes are risky.

This is a ridiculous analysis. Trump created a crisis. All we had to do is let NK flail about. Instead, this moron raised the prospect of devastating war. And know you are all so relieved he did this summit instead. You fell for the con.

They've been flailing for decades, Cuba has been flailing for decades, Iran has been flailing for decades. Where is there any evidence that isolating a country actually leads to positive results?
Meanwhile, you can point to the Eastern Bloc as evidence that being inclusive is far better approach.

+1

Gotta love when someone claims a flailing North Korea sounds like a safe option, whereas a diplomatic NK is bringing us to the brink of nuclear war.

So Trump visits Cuba next?

As soon as they get some nukes, yes.

Never said that, but keep knockin' down those straw men ...

Exactly - we let Eastern Bloc flail about until it fell. Yes, it takes strategic patience ... not exactly something Americans are good at.

The situation is hopeless. North Korea was lobbing missiles over Japan, Blowing off nukes. Syria and Iran likely involved. Japan was dealing with an intolerable situation leading to a launch on launch nuclear standoff. China had a mad dog on a leash, pleased to poke the US.

Who knows what drives Kim. In mortal danger at all times, as bloodthirsty and willing to do anything to maintain power. Sitting on a powder keg, where any change meant his head on a stick.

All paths with a well laid down result. Gorbachev the reformer. Ghadaffi got nothing for his cooperation. Iraq where the US threw up it's hands and left the place worse at the end.

What good could come out of this? Nothing, and possibly an even worse situation. Three Presidents at least looked at it, saw nothing but potential catastrophe, and no political gain.

I don't know what will happen, but they aren't shooting. China is sidelined. Japan isn't setting up nukes. There are small tokens of goodwill being exchanged. It is possible the state of war is being wound down.

Trump didn't go in pleading.

So far so good. I wouldn't trust anything written down in any case.

This summit did no damage and might lay the framework for a better tomorrow. South Korea, which is one of the two countries with the most to lose or gain, seems happy. Trump is playing a different game than past presidents. He likes to cut through the normal Kabuki dance and try for simple direct solutions. His disdain for traditional steps has caused him problems in a few cases (with Russia i.e. not following traditional informal rules) but a direct approach, so far, seems to work in Korea. The upside is so great and the downside is minimal.

The model for transition has always been sitting there, next door.

China. Where progress and wealth is great, and the communist party retains absolute control.

Where Tyler gets this stuff that North Korea would model themselves more on Singapore and Trump than China and Xi I don't know.

As far at Trump's fascination:

His interviewer asked, “You mean firm hand as in China?”

Trump answered, “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world –”

These things are in plain sight, no straussian analysis required.

"These things are in plain sight, no straussian analysis required."

Indeed they are in plain sight. Being strong without being vicious and horrible is a virtue.

So what are the names of those killed and how many? From what I have seen there was a Canadian journalist who saw and heard a bunch of stuff that night. The movement was crushed and disappeared.

Trump is right. WIthout power it is all meaningless. He wasn't talking to you, he was talking to Asians who are wondering which would be the best bet to tie themselves to.

"So what are the names of those killed and how many? "

There were a lot of deaths. Even the Chinese publicly admit that much.

The Chinese military admits to 14 deaths among it's soldiers. It's also noteworthy that the Chinese carried out executions against officers who failed to carry out orders afterwards. (Those aren't included in the 14).

Most of the protestors (estimates were over 1 million) were unarmed. There is no official list of the dead, but it was clearly far more than 7.

"218 killed (per Chinese government)
Hundreds–10,000 killed (outside estimates)
7,000+ wounded"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Liberation_Army_at_Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

"So what are the names of those killed"

Troll style.

I'm not suggesting that it wasn't a bloodbath. It was. Probably thousands.

I ask what are the names because we don't know. We don't even know how many were slaughtered that night. Since then there has been little to no political challenge to the Communist party power. Not only that but China has been held up as a paragon in the US. Our prime minister lauded the Chinese for their ability to get things done. Including presumably getting rid of political opponents.

What does it take to stop the Chinese from doing something like that? Power. And the willingness to exercise it.

Look what happened in Sri Lanka. A civil war went on for decades, suicide bombers, a mess. The Chinese wanted a naval base, so in return they solve the problem. In a matter of weeks the civil war was over. A raw exercise of power.

Kim was using the power he had available to threaten the Japanese and the US. In return Mattis showed him the awesome power of the US military. Possibly even arranged for something to happen to the nuclear facilities. And all of a sudden the whole game has changed to talks.

Don't you remember all the revolutions that were supposed to free North Africa, Egypt and Syria? Twitter, hashtags and nice thoughts were to bring about something wonderful. Didn't work out because people with power and willingness to use it to advantage of the situation.

What that means in each situation isn't simple. There are costs and benefits. But wringing of hands and pontificating is a waste of time.

Yes, Major Tom is horrified that the flag has been debased, but sharp observers take comfort knowing Tyler and Peter Thiel are having a Straussian orgasm deep within President Muffley's War Room.

The Nobel goes to Disruption itself...or does it?

Tyler, could you expand on what you mean by the "secret deal beneath"?

Perhaps we will need to ask Mr. Rodman about that.

Cowen wrote: "Economic cooperation with South Korea is increasing at an astonishing pace."

But all the article states is: " The South Korean government already is drawing plans to improve inter-Korean trade and investment under different sanctions scenarios."

Where is the "at an astonishing rate" part?

Analogies are always hazardous, but China’s amazing economic growth over the last 40 years seems to have been given a large boost by the Nixon-Mao meeting of 1972. Neither the USA nor the Communist Party appear to have lost anything as a consequence. Likewise, this meeting may lead to economic progress for DPRK. Giving up the responsibility and cost of demonstrating military prowess in the region might not be injurious to the USA; it is possible that our world wide military commitments are more burden than boon.

Fake Donald agreed to a fake deal with a mass murderer.
But nothing really changed.

Overall, it is better to have good relations with NK than bad relations seem like simple logic. And Trump is the master of exaggerating his accomplishments and as long as NK stops missile tests, my guess this a great deal by Trump. (Most of the US concessions don't cost us anything.)

However, I do think there is room for:
1) Why did Trump break the Iran Nuclear which was a stronger deal and likely accomplishes nothing on economic as China and India buying Iranian oil. (Or better yet sets up China buying Iranian oil and then increasing nuclear activity.)
2) Should conservatives applauded Obama Cuba visit? Again, that visit accomplished 'Better Relations' which I thought was valuable as Cuba moving away from the Castro era.

"2) Should conservatives applauded Obama Cuba visit? Again, that visit accomplished 'Better Relations' which I thought was valuable as Cuba moving away from the Castro era."

Yes, they should have.

geopolitcally what are good relations with Cuba worth? the next global showdown isn't going to take place in the Caribbean.

Quite true, but does it really cost much to improve relations with and the lives of our neighbors? Why not do that?

maybe the same reason that people think forcing Christians to bake them a cake at gunpoint are a good idea. who knows why people favor a mailed fist instead of a velvet glove. but When we get the forced cake baking issue straightened out let's look at cuba. I'm a tend our own garden first kind of guy

Cuba to gay wedding cakes...you seem a little disturbed today, everything all right?

oh goodness i hope you don't associate people using analogies with them being disturbed. how on earth did you make it through seventh grade english. you did make it through sixth grade english right? you act like someone who got held back a few grades. is that what happened? you couldn't figure out analogies. that's tough and in sixth grade too. the kids weren't going to let you forget that.

Hmm, trying the uneducated troll? Interesting gambit. Capitalizing your sentences would help you there.

You just seem extra feisty today and I was wondering what was up. Whatever's happening, please don't do a Bourdain. God loves you, and maybe your dog does too.

" In expected value terms, this is the biggest triumph of the Trump presidency. Most of all, however, you should be agnostic. The negative commentary I am seeing is mostly sour grapes, misplaced frustration, and it is weak in the quality of its argumentation. "

+2. Of course, the deal will probably peter out to nothing, but there was no significant cost to these negotiations.

Most of the Left is outraged because it's Trump and some of the Right supports it because it's Trump. And if this were Obama the Right would be outraged and the Left would support it.

Generally that's the sign that it's a pretty good deal.

So....the Iran deal was a pretty good deal?

No, it was a bad deal. However, I don't think Trumps policies have made the situation better with regards to Iran. I would rate that a loss for both Democrats and Republicans.

I think Obama's actions with regards to Cuba should have been supported by Republican's and the criticisms were largely partisan. I think the criticisms of the Iran deal were much more substantive and that Obama should have spent the political capital on an actual treaty.

To be clear, I can imagine Obama doing nearly the exact same thing that Trump has done. And the Left would be cheering him, while the Right lobbed criticisms that are similar (if not identical) to what the Left is saying.

There's no chance that Trump (or even a conservative President) would have signed off on the Iran deal. It has quite obvious issues from a conservative point of view. Here's a synopsis of the critique from William Tobey that I found compelling.

"Why does the deal undermine existing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) authorities under the Additional Protocol by extending the timeline for inspecting suspect sites from 24 hours to 24 days—or more?"

"Why, after insisting in an April interview that Iran must come clean on what the IAEA calls the possible military dimensions of its program before a deal is completed .. did Secretary Kerry agree to defer the issue to a future and uncertain resolution in December?" This never happened.

"would anyone believe that the agreement provides anything more than a speed bump on the path to Iran’s nuclear ambitions?"

You'll note the core part of this deal doesn't actually stop nuclear development, it merely slows it down. Most of the deal involves reducing Iran's nuclear program. It doesn't eliminate it.

"Why is that speed bump a good trade for at least $150 billion in sanctions relief, access to international arms markets, and international blessing for Iran’s nuclear ambitions at the conclusion of the deal?"

Iran got a whole lot of money, for a deal that merely reduced the speed of it's nuclear program.

I'll conclude on this:

"The deal does a whole lot less than we were expecting. Obama says this disappointing result is caused by the attitudes of the rest of the negotiating countries, especially Russia and China. It is possible that Obama is correct.

It is also very disappointing that parts of the deal are secret, and that the deal was not actually signed by either Iran or the US. "

+1 "To be clear, I can imagine Obama doing nearly the exact same thing that Trump has done. And the Left would be cheering him, while the Right lobbed criticisms that are similar (if not identical) to what the Left is saying."

The Iran deal was just effin' stupid not= matter who would have done it.

'but there was no significant cost to these negotiations'

The South Koreans and Japanese might have a different opinion. After all, the North Koreans demanded, as a condition for holding a summit, that America cancel military exercises in the region. And lo and behold, the U.S. announced just that.

And that costs SK and Japan what exactly?

You may want to look at where Seoul is located. And which country remains South Korea's best guarantee that a nuclear armed North Korea won't decide to reunify Korea on terms acceptable to North Korea. Hint - that country it isn't China.

The exercises are just a public face of the basic strategy - that of a trip wire. Even in the early 1980s, the American military in South Korea would have been unable to stop a massive North Korean invasion - but their dying would have ensured America's commitment to defending South Korea.

The North Koreans are aware of this fact - and have spent decades trying to work around it.

So we can't do them next week if we want to?

This isn't a private contract between two private individuals. Secret deals don't work for nations and especially for denuclearization efforts.

I see your point but doesn’t Kim kind of “own” North Korea as a private individual? If he’s not the owner, he’s a very very powerful caretaker. But one sitting on a powder keg, to be sure.

'Secret deals don't work for nations'

Worked for Kennedy - ' Beginning in the late 1980s, however, the opening of previously classified archives and the decision by a number of participants to finally tell the truth revealed that the crisis was indeed resolved by an explicit but concealed deal to remove both the Jupiter and the Cuban missiles. Kennedy in fact threatened to abrogate if the Soviets disclosed it. He did so for the same reasons that had largely engendered the crisis in the first place—domestic politics and the maintenance of America’s image as the indispensable nation. A declassified Soviet cable reveals that Robert Kennedy—whom the president assigned to work out the secret swap with the U.S.S.R.’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin—insisted on returning to Dobrynin the formal Soviet letter affirming the agreement, explaining that the letter “could cause irreparable harm to my political career in the future.”

Only a handful of administration officials knew about the trade; most members of the ExComm, including Vice President Lyndon Johnson, did not. And in their effort to maintain the cover-up, a number of those who did, including McNamara and Rusk, lied to Congress. JFK and others tacitly encouraged the character assassination of Stevenson, allowing him to be portrayed as an appeaser who “wanted a Munich” for suggesting the trade—a deal that they vociferously maintained the administration would never have permitted.' https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/the-real-cuban-missile-crisis/309190/

So the Cuban missile crisis was an even bigger disaster for the US than previously thought? Not only did the US tear up the Monroe doctrine, guarantee the Soviet Union a submarine base in the Caribbean, allow Castro to support terrorism across Latin America, while guaranteeing the safety of the Communist regime - in exchange for nothing - but they knew their deal was so bad they had to lie about it.

Great.

Secret deals like this did not work for America. Khrushchev saw that Kennedy was weak and naive and bluffed him into giving the Soviets everything they wanted.

Regarding (1), if you think that there might be a secret pro being quided that sounds almost like an accusation of Trump having a secret pecuniary interest, as some asserted about the ZTE deal with Chinese investment in Trump properties.

7. You probably mean that rhetorically?

If not, because he is the type of player you hate unless he is on your team. Thus, almost regardless of the selectorate (with the exception where his own team's coach is the all star team coach and in a position to make a few selections and needs a PF), there is a strong bias against selecting him.

Why couldn’t this approach be used with Iran? How is this different than Obama’s deal with that regime?

There's no indication that this administration has promised North Korea a billion dollars in cash to spread around in terrorist activity, for one thing.

Returning something that you took from someone is not the same as giving them something.

My take is that it is a 21st century version of the Field Of The Cloth Of Gold, the gaudy "summit" between Henry VIII and Francis I (of France) which ended up accomplishing...absolutely nothing.

If Cowen believes Kim can reinvent himself as North Korea's version of Lee Kuan Yew, I would point out that Yew never terrorized the people of Singapore. How does one transition from brutal dictator to benevolent leader. My point is that opening up North Korea opens up Kim to regime change, brutal regime change - do the North Koreans suffer a case of amnesia and forget that Kim has terrorized the country. Sure, Trump offered to provide security for North Korea, but that's from external threat not internal threat. Dictators who feel threatened are dictators who are unpredictable, amplifying what is already an unstable situation. Consider Syria. Making nice with Kim more than likely increased the risk of war. Perhaps Cowen believes there will be a (relatively) non-violent coup in North Korea, and Kim can be pushed aside and replace with someone who can become North Korea's Yew. That seems like a moonshot to me, a moonshot with great risk to us.

John Bolton and Chief Kelly arranged two chairs and two pens for Kim and Trump to sign the agreement. A North Korean security official, in white gloves, examined the pen and swabbed it. Kim chose not to use the pen provided by Bolton and Kelly and instead used a pen provided to him by his sister. https://www.vox.com/world/2018/6/12/17451978/trump-kim-summit-photos-pictures-handshake-meeting-singapore

"No, North Korea isn’t giving up its nuclear weapons. "

Depends on the size of the carrot.

So far, Trump is not bending on eliminating their nukes. Bribe or induce Kim enough, we will see.

There's nothing on earth Trump or anyone else can offer Kim to give up the nukes. He'd be idiotic to do so.

Yep, we have the Libyan Gaddafi precedent.

Thanks Obama!

Libya had no protector, NK has China. Neither did Libya actually have atomic weapons

We took advantage of a civil war in Libya as well. Is that likely in NK?

If anything, its Ukraine that is an example of reckless giving up of a deterrent.

The civil war started after the president was killed, not after.

Before the president was killed, and before the air strikes, it was unarmed protesters, who were being attacked (some of which killed) by the government. (Presumably the militants and the unarmed protesters are/were not the same people ...)

I dunno, you ever put a brownie in the microwave?

There is no Libya precedent. Libya was never anywhere close to get nukes. They have the scientific and engineering level of a paleolithic village. The information they got form Pakistan were worthless without the workforce to understand them, the industrial complex to realize them. etc. Similarly they didn't get anywhere near having a decent soccer team, despite this being their first objective (before nukes, that were second). Libya when it "renounced nukes" just made a symbolic gesture of submission, and since there is not much more you can ask from an impotent enemy, the West accepted it and normalized its relations with Libya.

Then Gadaffi claimed, true or false, on March 16, 2011,
that he had bought the 2007 presidential election and the new French president Sarkozy for $50 millions (a huge sum when you know that French electoral expenses are limited by law to 20 millions per contender and per presidential election). On March 19, the western intervention against Libya begins. This was one of the best decision made by Obama.

The situation is completely different for North Korea, who has nukes already.

"This was one of the best decision made by Obama."

LOL, sure, good luck convincing Kim Jong Un of that one.

"Hey Kim, that totally won't happen to you. You can trust us on that one. This Executive Order will guaaarrrrannnteeeee your long term safety."

But this is not the message we want to send to Kim. The message we
want to send is "if you keep your nukes, of you keep cyber-attacking and cyber-stealing people outside NK, or if you interfere in our democratic processes, or if you keep developing long-range missiles, or if you attack again South Korea, or if you finance terrorist groups, you will soon be dead, like Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein or Mussolini. If you don't do any of this and open your country and eventually (and not too late) leave power, you have a pretty good chance of a quiet and golden retirement somewhere, like Ben Ali or Duvalier in exile, or even Pinochet in his own country -- we'll do our best to help."

Absolutely. But that's a hard message to sell. Maybe Trump can manage it, but I'm skeptical.

Someday, I dream, people will learn the timeline of the Libyan Civil War, and Obama's late appearance in it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2011_Libyan_Civil_War

I know it's a long shot, but a guy can dream.

BTW yes, the real timeline should be a caution to Kim Jung Un. Internal dissent becomes a shooting war, and the UN picks a "humanitarian" side.

I somehow doubt you'll ever do more than cherry pick the facts that are convenient to your narrative.

We've been over this before. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a key architect for the Libyan intervention.

Here's a direct quote from Hillary Clinton:

"Clinton has pointed to the international military operation as a signature moment in her four-year tenure as the top U.S. diplomat: “No one else could have played the role we did,” she wrote in her book “Hard Choices,” adding that acting with European and Arab allies helped “prevent what might have been the loss of tens of thousands of lives.”"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/02/03/a-tough-call-on-libya-that-still-haunts/?utm_term=.02905eaa420b

If your point is that it was really Hillary Clinton more than Barack Obama, then yes you have a point. Clearly Hillary pushed to get Obama's final approval. However, ultimately he was the boss.

"Hillary’s war: How conviction replaced skepticism in Libya intervention"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hillarys-war-how-conviction-replaced-skepticism-in-libya-intervention/2011/10/28/gIQAhGS7WM_story.html?utm_term=.ecae5bc8af91

You dream has come true : I know that timeline. It fits perfectly with what I have written above about Libya and Sarkozy.

Of course Obama came late and somewhat reluctantly, the main proponents of an attack on Libya being France and UK. But then, he supported the attack, which would certainly not have occurred without him. He deserves credit for that. And you still have to explain why this story "should be a caution for Kim".

+1

I thumbnailed my caution, but to expand very briefly: there are many examples where people living under oppression, experiencing some freedom, want a lot more and fast.

And the international community has a history of supporting those people.

Why? We did not invade MK for 50+ years between the 1953 armistice and their first successful test. Their protector China is not going anywhere either.

A few nukes does not protect them, it makes them a danger to the US and it invites a preemptive first US strike.

No nukes, within a decade [or less] we will withdraw our troops from SK.

The purpose of nukes is to prevent a first strike.

Bob, you make some good points, but I think it hinges on Kim Jong Un being far more rational and selfless than he is. He doesn't personally suffer under the current conditions. About the only thing he clearly desires is recognition by the international community and the resultant ego boost.

This Trump gave him, by agreeing to the meeting. It's not clear if anything else will change his personal incentives. We're not dealing with a country, we're dealing with an irrational dictator. One who treats the country as his own personal kingdom and the people are his subjects.

Well, I am not saying its a sure thing or even likely, just not a foregone conclusion there is no deal out there.

The point of the summit is the November elections. Things not looking so good for Republicans, Trump has a splashy success, base is energized, mid-terms go better than expected, Republican majorities maintained (maybe increased), mission accomplished!

For Kim, time is bought to deal with catastrophe at nuclear research centre. Build new centre, nuke programmed restored, mission accomplished!

Win-win

Cynical, but this may turn out to be the most accurate analysis.

What no one has mentioned is Trump's bellicose rhetoric helped to cover his right flank. The "liberal" media has greatly assisted Trump with this.

Well, as long as the launches have been stoped, I am hapy.

I don't understand point 6 of Tyler : "No, North Korea isn’t giving up its nuclear weapons."

North Korea is saying clearly in the agreement that it is giving up its nuclear weapons. This promise may be a lie or it may be true. Tyler's statement is clearly equivalent to North Korea's promise being a lie. Two questions:

a. How do you know that North Korea statement is false ? (question asked to all those who agrees with 6, and even all who undertsand what Tyler had in mind).

b. If the promise is a lie, how making this lie makes North Korea closer to be accepted in the club of nuclear countries (question asked to those who say so above).

The US will never (or certainly not anytime soon) say that it accepts NK having nuclear weapons because once this is said it cannot be unsaid if it becomes unacceptable later. The most one can expect is that the US tacitly tolerates NK nukes and does not actively try to get rid of them. This seems to be happening now.

"work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula"

Secret deal? that inference, assumption of special info MY is privy to?

That said, most of what is said is on target -- the reactions here are pure sound and fury and signify as much in almost all cases.

For a person who endlessly accuses others of mood affiliation, this is an embarrassing post. Not too long ago, Tyler had a decidedly different view - https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-13/game-theory-scowls-at-trump-north-korea-talks. I’m not sure what changed in his mind, but the basic facts of the Washington-Pyongyang dynamic certainly haven’t. Incidentally, the summit was always an excellent idea, and I think the late Kim Dae-jung would be happy - https://www.economist.com/node/14302282. Also, this is an opportune to dust off one of Reagan’s speeches from 1984; much of it has been deservedly forgotten, but the Ivan and Anya paragraphs belong to the ages.

Link - https://mobile.nytimes.com/1984/01/17/world/transcript-of-reagan-s-speech-on-soviet-american-relations.html

#7: An absolutely astonishing number of rebounds per minute played. Doesn't say anything about his abilities as a statesman, but remarkable nonetheless.

1. There is a secret (and unenforceable) deal ...
Sure, and it involves the Freemasons? George Soros? Gandalf? the Deep State?
Please, Prof Cowen, let's leave the Secret Covenant blather to Alex Jones.
As for the "unenforceable" bit, nothing in today's agreement appears enforceable.

2. If they didn’t actually agree to anything, that is fine.
And I thought Trump was the master dealmaker? Don't forget Trump pre-sold this summit as the grand CVID deal or some such.

3. I am reading so much yelping about how Trump “legitimized” Kim. The status quo ex ante simply was terrible...
You seem to forget that KJU leads the world's worst regime, and like Trump you don't dare mention the human suffering inflicted by this tyrant. From the NK POV, they're now legitimate murderers, on par with Xi, Moon and Trump.
Trump didn't "approach the problem afresh" but was suckered into this meeting.

4. ...Isn’t the whole point of the “deal” just to make them go visit Singapore? ... The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game. ...
Eh, the NK leadership have all been to Singapore, and Beijing, and elsewhere. KJU went to school in Switzerland. They know what the world looks like, sort of, and they know better than you where to order chili crab.
Also, don't substitute charity and dreary slave-labour-filled SEZs for "economic cooperation."

5. The chance that North Korea someday becomes an unruly version of an American client state has gone up. The chance of a kind of faux, “on paper” Korean reunification has gone up too.
Minor leaugue issues. But the chance that NK remains a vassal state of China has gone way up now that sanctions are likely to be eased (or not enforced).

6. ... The more important question is to what extent they will use those weapons in the future to check China.
No, the real question is to what extent they will use those weapons in the future to wrangle more concessions out of the US and ROK.

7. How is it that Dennis Rodman played in only two All-Star games?
Can we, unklike CNN, please please leave that MAGA PotCoin hawker out of the picture? Please?

8. In expected value terms, this is the biggest triumph of the Trump presidency. ... The negative commentary I am seeing is mostly sour grapes, misplaced frustration, and it is weak in the quality of its argumentation. ...
What were the other big triumphs?
The commentary I'm seeing is almost universally negative (on balance) and is definitely better argued than this post. Also, no mentions of Rodman!

In all, Prof Cowen, I'm afraid i have to give you a C- for this effort.

You miss the point badly.

As soon as mainstream media started saying the summit was useless at best and a gift to KJU at worst it was a dead certainty that we would get something like this from Cowen.

The contrarianism is so reflexive he probably doesn't even notice.

"3. I am reading so much yelping about how Trump “legitimized” Kim. The status quo ex ante simply was terrible...
You seem to forget that KJU leads the world's worst regime, and like Trump you don't dare mention the human suffering inflicted by this tyrant. From the NK POV, they're now legitimate murderers, on par with Xi, Moon and Trump.
Trump didn't "approach the problem afresh" but was suckered into this meeting."

This most be the dumbest criticism ever. You complain that Kim Jong Un's is torturing his people, and then complain that Trump met with him. Trump meeting with him is likely the only path that might lead to less North Korean concentration camps.

'Trump meeting with him is likely the only path that might lead to less North Korean concentration camps.'

Well, in President Trump's own words, this is his vision to replace those concentration camps - "As an example, they have great beaches. You see that whenever they're exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said, 'Boy, look at that view. Wouldn't that make a great condo?

You could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective. You have South Korea, you have China, and they own the land in the middle. How bad is that, right? It's great."

Just imagine Reagan saying something like this - 'Mr. Gorbachev, build condos along this wall, look at the view of the Brandenburg Tor. It's great. Think of it from a real estate perspective.'

It may be that no deal can be done in which he is required to give up his nukes altogether. I'd also venture that no deal can be reached if he is required to play the role of the pariah dictator of a pariah state until the negotiations are successfully completed. On that point, you are better off with Trump than the previous administrations dealing with the guy.

This is first comment that even seems to acknowledge that we've been down this road before. What, exactly, makes this time different? Why should the possible existence of a secret deal make judge it any differently? Why is North Korea suddenly more trustworthy? Haven't they violated every agreement they've made in the past?

didn't read the comments. Tyler,
your commentary here is sterling.

"Peace in Our Time" eh?

I'm surprised that Trump didn't just get an F35 to shoot down Kim's plane on the way home, and then tweet "Sic Semper Tyrannis". I suspect the selectorate around Kim (Army officers, etc.) are probably more afraid of actual war than Kim is, and perhaps this could have pushed NK into its "post-Mao communist" phase.

Trump kicked the can down the street as have others before him. Only he has embellished it with secrecy and PR.

Remember when Nixon had a secret plan.

Who “calls the pitches” in NK? Is Kim the absolute leader? What is the role of the Politburo? the Generals? Kim’s sister? The almost total absence of discussion of internal NK politics is distressing. Who whispers into Kim’s ear and what there goals? Is there a never ending power struggle? “Backdoor” negotiations are ofttimes the path to lasting agreements.

Any 'secret agreement' seems a bit unlikely.
Trump got his piece of PR, and Kim got what he wanted too. I doubt NK will give up their nukes any time soon.

What it does do is tie Trump's prestige to the continuation of talks. If nothing else, it ought to prevent any Bolton inspired pre-emptive strike, perhaps until the end of Trump's term in office.
Seems like a positive result to me, whatever I might think of Trump.

Please correct me if I misunderstood what you are saying.

Trump has resigned himself to North Korea keeping their nukes as long as they are not pointed at us. He thinks that Kim is open to being wooed (or bribed) into not being a Chinese puppet state.

Now, if this approach actually starts to work, can you imagine a scenario in which China will sit by and let it happen? A nuclear armed and adversarial North Korea on its border? Isn't it likely that they will respond and the result will be far more serious than Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

North Korea did not agree to anything specific and already has a different interpretation of the agreement than the Trump administration. When they have negotiated in the past, they have eventually violated agreements. We have weakened our defense of South Korea by not keeping troops trained. There is a welcome decrease in tension, but I expect very little to come of this summit long-term. In 6-12 months, it will become obvious that North Korea has made no effort to scale back their offensive weaponry, or improve human rights for any group other than the elite allowed to live in the capital.

For a North Korean, this is vindication of the road taken for the Kims; or do you believe that Trump will be meeting with Kim Jong Un if they do not have atomic bombs. Do not underestimate the nationalist fervor of Countries as North Korea? For them, Now they are treated as equal by USA is a big plus.

The notion that China will allow a 2nd Taiwan with nuclear arms on its border is dangerously loopy. China is the local ward boss & NK cannot advance without its approval. Trying to expel China from influence in the Korean peninsula would bring fire and fury.

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