Closing Thought–29Apr19

Last week the big story was that Joe Biden was entering the 2020 process……but everybody knew he was going to do what he did….big story.

The true big story was the one that hit while the country was focused like a laser on the Biden announcement…….when Otto Warmbier was a bigger story.

We all have watched the antics of Don the Orange and Li’l Kim……but think back to their first “summit” one aftermath was the release of Otto Warmbier from a North Korean prison…..

North Korea insisted the U.S. agree to pay $2 million in medical costs in 2017 before it released detained American college student Otto Warmbier while he was in a coma, a former US official said Thursday. An envoy sent to North Korea to retrieve the 21-year-old student signed an agreement to pay the $2 million on instructions passed down from President Trump, the former official told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The bill went to the Treasury Department, where it remained—unpaid—throughout 2017, per the Washington Post. CNN reported the bill has not been paid since then.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration does not comment on hostage negotiations. US policy is to refuse to pay ransom for the release of Americans detained abroad. While the majority of Americans detained by North Korea have been released in relatively good condition, Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, died last June after he was flown home comatose after 17 months in captivity. Warmbier was seized from a tour group while visiting North Korea in January 2016, convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster, and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Joseph Yun, the US envoy, told CNN he could not confirm the payment report, saying, “These are diplomatic exchanges and negotiations.” Fred Warmbier, Otto’s father, said he was never told about the hospital bill, per the Post. He said it sounded like a “ransom” for his son.

Seriously?

Was this the big decision that was made at the first “summit”?

If so, it is pathetic!

Further reading on this news story…….

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/25/politics/otto-warmbier-north-korea-comatose-bill/index.html

And Bolton says it is true…..

National security adviser John Bolton confirmed on “Fox News Sunday” that a Trump administration official signed a document pledging to pay North Korea a $2 million hospital bill to release Otto Warmbier, though he said no money was ultimately transferred.

WALLACE: Did North Korea demand money for the release of Otto Warmbier?
BOLTON: It appears that they did. This occurred before I came into the administration, but that’s my understanding.
WALLACE: Did the U.S. official who was there to get him out of the country, Joseph Yun, did he sign a document pledging the money in order to get him out.
BOLTON: That is what I am told, yes.
WALLACE: I guess the bottom line question is, did the U.S. pay any money to North Korea, however it was disguised, after Warmbier was released?
BOLTON: Absolutely not. And that’s the key point.

The backdrop: President Trump called the Washington Post story that first reported the hospital bill “fake news,” though the report notably said it was “unclear” whether the administration actually ended up paying the bill. Nothing in the story has been proven inaccurate.

Is not this negotiating with “terrorists” and I thought the US does not do this.

Some stories are more important than others.

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Vlad Meets Li’l Kim

We have seen the two “summits” between Li’l Kim and Don the Orange and the results that have been no where to be seen.

Not to be left on the sidelines Putin (Vlad) is set to have his “summit” with Li’l Kim….for security reasons the exact date has not been released…..but according to Russian speculation it will be soon…..

When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin for their first one-on-one meeting, he’ll have a long wish list and a strong desire to notch a win after the failure of his second summit with President Trump. But it’s not entirely clear how much Putin can or will oblige, the AP notes. Kim has two urgent concerns as he heads to the summit, the date of which hasn’t yet been announced. More than 10,000 North Korean laborers still employed in Russia, many working in the logging industry in the Russian Far East, are being kicked out by the end of this year as a 2017 UN sanctions resolution takes effect. The laborers, who previously numbered as many as 50,000, have provided a revenue stream estimated by US officials in the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Kim regime would like to keep flowing.


Kim is also looking at the possibility of a food shortage this summer. Russia has shown a willingness to provide humanitarian aid and just last month announced it had shipped more than 2,000 tons of wheat to the North Korean port of Chongjin. But his decision to more actively court Putin undoubtedly goes deeper than that. Despite all the talk in Washington about denuclearization, Kim’s primary concern is improving his country’s economy. Per internal documents obtained by a South Korean researcher and published this week in a Japanese newspaper, Kim wants to boost trade with Russia tenfold—to $1 billion—by 2020.
That would obviously require some significant easing of sanctions, which seems unlikely. But it would also require a change in Russian behavior. The AP has more on what the Kim-Putin summit could mean, and what could emerge as a result

Want more information?

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-russia/north-korea-confirms-leader-kim-jong-un-to-visit-russia-for-summit-with-putin-idUKKCN1RY1KF

Since the US has massive sanctions in place any deal Kim makes with Putin would make things worse?  This will be interesting to watch the reaction from our Supreme Leader.

Summits: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Our Beloved Supreme Leader just had a horrible and unproductive meeting (some call it a “summit”) with North Korea’s Kim…..but to listen to his rhetoric it was a success with the Dems trying to hang some criminality around his neck……but what of the so-called “summits”…….

Let’s step back to the beginning……

As far as is known, the first professional diplomatic corps appeared in the Byzantine Empire following the collapse of Rome in 476 AD. Byzantium established the world’s first department of foreign affairs, developed strict and complex diplomatic protocols, and actively sought intelligence about friend and enemy alike. Surrounded by enemies, Byzantium needed all the skill in diplomacy it could muster.

The art of diplomacy was carried to the next higher (some might say lower) plane in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Italian city-states of the era engaged in constant intrigues against each other. During this era, diplomacy became identified with behind-the-scenes scheming, duplicity, and double-dealing. Niccolo Machiavelli of Florence, whom many consider the father of “realist” views of the international system, stressed in his book The Prince (1532) that rulers should use whatever means they had at their disposal to stay in power.

https://www.diplomaticourier.com/from-ancient-greek-diplomacy-to-modern-summitry/

Summits and summitry have their uses in a modern foreign policy…a constructive foreign policy (there’s the rub….we, the US, no longer has a constructive foreign policy)…….

It should not be regarded as an instant elixir for the assuagement of crises to dissimulate relief from the realities of inter-governmental ailment (1979, p. 186).

To begin with, this essay will discuss both on some of the possible strengths and flaws of the different types summits. It also argues on how summitry can be infused as a tool of a constructive means of diplomacy and it will also unearth some factors that could help determine the success of summits. The first part of this essay discusses on how summitry could be a tool in the engagement of public diplomacy and followed by with an insight on how timing is crucial in initiating a summit. Meanwhile, the second part of this essay details on how summitry could provide an opportunity for state leaders to administrate and show their capabilities in winning a summit.

https://www.ukessays.com/essays/politics/summitry-analysis-diplomacy-7750.ph

This is where the Trump summits go off the rail…..a summit should NOT be an elixir for a solution to whatever problem it tries to address.

And yet Trump himself billed his “summits” as a solution to North Korea’s rush to nuke weapons…..

So far nothing but a few exchanged “love” between the two leaders and the search for nukes continued…

Summits are a diplomatic tool not necessarily the end of the search of solutions to problems….something someone needs to teach to our president….maybe then he would stop embarrassing the country on the world stage.

Those Inevitable Sanctions

Sanctions seems to be the word of the Trump administration…..we have imposed sanctions on Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela and several others…..sanctions are the only diplomatic tactic the president and his band of slow thinking slugs have in their book of “things to do”…..

Recently the Trump admin has issued more sanctions against Venezuela….because they are subverting democracy (at least that is the excuse….this time)……

Personally I do not believe that these sanctions will work without covert action by one of our shadowy groups…sanctions do not work as a sole penalty…..they are basically a feel good attempt to control another nation.

Economic sanctions are the penalties of choice for the start of hostilities with any given nation…..the US uses this penalty liberally (that is with a small “L”)……in recent history sanctions have been imposed in Iraq, Iran, Venezuela (most recently) and in all that time what has it accomplished?

Good question, right?

But what is included in “sanctions”?

The Council on Foreign Relations defines sanctions as “a lower-cost, lower-risk, middle course of action between diplomacy and war.” Money is that middle course, and economic sanctions are the means. Some of the most common punitive financial measures include:

  • Tariffs: Surcharges on imported goods, often imposed to aid domestic industries and markets.
  • Quotas: Limits on the number of goods that may be imported or exported. 
  • Embargoes: Restrictions on or cessation of trading with a nation or bloc of nations. These can include limiting or banning travel by individuals to and from nations.
  • Non-tariff barriers: These are designed to make foreign goods more expensive by complying with onerous regulatory requirements.
  • Asset seizure/freeze: Capturing or holding the financial assets of nations, citizens, or preventing the sale or moving of those assets. 

If the US is honest then they would also state that sanctions only work about 30% of the time…..that is not a good chance for success.

If the reader would like more info on what sanctions are about………https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-are-economic-sanctions

I am opposed to these types of punitive action because they seldom have the intended result of punishing the elites and leadership of any given nation instead the average person suffers far more than the intended targets.

Economic sanctions have long been used as a foreign policy tool, sometimes perceived as the tool of choice for nations where diplomacy has failed to yield desired results. Yet as widely used as they are, and despite the fact that some sanctions may remain in place for years, they generally fail to achieve their objectives. One of the most definitive studies on the effectiveness of sanctions — covering the period from 1915 to 2006 — has shown that comprehensive sanctions are effective at best 30 percent of the time, and that the more comprehensive the level of sanctions, the lower their degree of success. In spite of this, sanctions remain one of the few internationally accepted means (short of military conflict) of attempting to change the behavior of national leaders.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-wagner/do-sanctions-work_b_7191464.html

Again the people of the targeted nation suffer far more than the elites…..so the conclusion is that economic sanctions have a dismal record of success…….of course the establishment will point to the success of sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s…..they will ignore the failures like Iraq in the 1990s, Iran since 1979……

In short economic sanctions, in my opinion, are a worthless exercise that punish NO one but the people to the targeted nation……diplomacy is more effective (at least it was prior to the Trump presidency)……

What Happened In Hanoi?

I have been waiting to see what will be said about the massive failure of the Trump/Kim “summit”……so far it has pretty much taken a backseat to the Congressional hearing with Cohen a Trump fixer from the past……

So let me help out……the talks collapsed….epic failure on Trump’s push for some sort of positive foreign policy legacy…..!

“Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times,” President Trump said Thursday after his second summit with Kim Jong Un abruptly collapsed. A working lunch and the signing of a joint agreement were scrapped after talks fell apart on the summit’s second day, causing confusion among the press corps, the New York Times reports. “It was about the sanctions basically,” Trump said at a press conference. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that.” Trump said Kim had been willing to dismantle some of the country’s nuclear infrastructure in return for sanctions being lifted, but wanted to leave other parts of the program intact, the Guardian reports.


Trump said a third summit with Kim might not happen for “a long time,” but defended him as “quite a guy and quite a character.” Trump said Kim had promised him he would continue the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile testing. He said the US would continue not taking part in joint military exercises with South Korea, which he was already opposed to because of the “unfair” cost to the US military. Trump, who departed Vietnam on Air Force One soon after the talks collapsed, said he still has a “great relationship” with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, the BBC reports. Earlier Thursday, Kim surprised observers by answering a reporter’s question, Time reports. The North Korean leader, asked if he felt confident about the talks, said he had a “feeling that good results will come out.”

Talk about putting “lipstick on a pig”…….but then Trump will lie as often as he has to to massage those 35% supporters……

According to NK’s foreign minister the talks did not end the way that Trump tried to pass off…….


When President Trump explained to reporters why his summit with Kim Jong Un ended prematurely, he cited one big reason: North Korea wanted the US to lift all sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of its main nuclear facility. Not so, says North Korea’s foreign minister. The North asked for only a partial lifting of sanctions, Ri Yong Ho said at a hastily arranged news conference, reports the BBC. “We offered a realistic proposal in this meeting,” he said. Specifically, the North agreed to decommission its nuclear facility at Yongbyon under the supervision of US experts, reports the Washington Post.


In exchange, the North wanted the US to end only those sanctions that affected civilians, though he did not provide details of exactly what that means. “Given the current level of trust between North Korea and the United States, this was the maximum step for denuclearization we can offer,” Ri told reporters, per the New York Times. However, the AP reports that Ri also said the North had been prepared to offer a written pledge to halt nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and that Washington wasted an opportunity that “may not come again.”

Let’s break it down to make it simple to understand……

 

US Version:
According to President Trump, the split came entirely on the basis of North Korea’s demand for “full” sanctions relief. Though he dodged some reporters’ questions seeking specifics, he gave the impression that the North Korean proposal was to close the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, but only for full lifting of all international sanctions. Trump walked away at this point.

Trump said that there was basic agreement to have more talks in the future, and that the US and North Korea would continue to talk until a future meeting.

North Korea’s Version:
Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Trump’s claim was inaccurate. He says North Korea offered to dismantle all its nuclear material production, including everything around Yongbyon, and was only asking for “partial” sanction relief. It was at this point Trump walked away.

Ri was much less hopeful of future talks, saying that North Korea’s position isn’t going to change, and that right now North Kora believes that the US is not ready to make a deal. Subsequent reports from North Korea’s state media, however, did anticipate future talks would happen.

Who to believe? After all Trump trust Kim at his word…..so should we just go about this whitewash?

But South Korea (we seem to forget about them in this kabuki play) has a version as well…….

South Korea Says:
Former South Korean Unification Minister Chong se-hyun, however, suggests that neither of these was the real problem. Instead, John Bolton showed up at the last minute, and started demanding that North Korea not only provide a full accounting of its nuclear program’s past, but also full accounts of North Korea’s chemical and biological weapons to.

Interestingly, this didn’t immediately derail the talks, but led North Korea to ask for more sanctions relief in return. It was at that point, apparently, that the US walked away.

So can we blame the war hawk for the failure? I am talking about the slug Bolton.

This opportunity will not come again under the Trump heavy fist…..it will take years for the opportunity to return…..maybe now we will return to diplomacy and stop the theatrics.

So to answer the question…..it failed because there was NO prep work done by diplomats….all there was was a president trying desperately to look like a statesman…..and he FAILED miserably!

No Deal, Lucille

Looks like the trip Trump took to Hanoi may have been a fart in a hurricane……..the MSM made it to be something grand in scale and it ended with a whimper of a presser……

A planned signing ceremony between President Trump and Kim Jong Un capping the summit was scrapped Thursday in Vietnam, with no agreement reached and talks ending about an hour and a half early.

This led to a conference from President Trump, during which he called the meeting a “very productive time.” He said there were options, but that the US “decided not to do any of the options,” and that sometimes, the US “has to walk.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also talked of progress, but said it “didn’t make sense for the United States.” He claimed to be optimistic for a “really good outcome” in the future, adding that meant total denuclearization of North Korea.

Trump said all North Korea sanctions will remain in place, and confirmed to reporters that this was the sticking point. He said Kim had “wanted sanctions lifted but weren’t willing to give us the areas we wanted.” He added North Korea would ultimately give in “at a certain point in time.”

Trump said Kim has a “certain vision, and it’s not exactly our vision.” He also called Kim “quite a character,” despite praising him repeatedly throughout the talks. Trump did, however, say he trusts Kim, and that Kim has promised not to resume any testing.

(antiwar.com)

Oh God the press conference was all about Trump and his ego…..we still do not know what if anything was accomplished with our dear Beloved Supreme Leader and Li’l Kim…..

Stay Tuned….More To Come!

That “Axis Of Evil”

We all know the original “axis of evil” from GW Bush after 9/11…..or do we?

Refresher…..

Okay you are caught up……

We have a new “axis of evil” and it is all around this mash-up the US is having with Venezuela…..not sure?

https://lobotero.com/2019/02/11/venezuela-some-things-never-change/

https://lobotero.com/2019/01/30/dammit-venezuela/

Again you are pretty much caught up with the mash-up…..

Now the new “axis of evil”………Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams….the warmongering neocons that are handling the Venezuela situation…..

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on countries to “pick a side” on Venezuela, urging them to back opposition leader Juan Guaido in a Saturday speech at the UN Security Council in New York.

“Now, it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem,” Pompeo told the Security Council.

Russia accused Washington of plotting a coup attempt and had tried to stop the meeting requested by the United States. “Venezuela does not represent a threat to peace and security. If anything does represent a threat to peace, it is the shameless and aggressive action of the United States and their allies aimed at the ouster of the legitimately elected president of Venezuela,” Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the UN Council.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/26/trumps-axis-evil-pompeo-bolton-abrams

Recently Pompeo tried to include all the neocon “hit list” into the conversation on Venezuela……..

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made several statements that raised eyebrows, such as claiming that Cuba had invaded Venezuela and “taken control” of the Venezuela’s “security apparatus” and that U.S. sanctions illegally imposed on Venezuela “aren’t aimed at the Venezuelan people.”

However, the most surprising claim Pompeo made in the interview was that Hezbollah and Iran were “active” in Venezuela, presenting a national security “risk for America.”

After accusing China, Cuba and Russia of interfering with U.S. efforts to install U.S.-funded opposition figure Juan Guaidó and oust current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Pompeo made the following assertion:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/pompeo-attempts-to-link-iran-hezbollah-to-crisis-in-venezuela/5668244

Then there is NatSec adviser Bolton……

If there is any proof that Trump picks people that compliment his stupidity it will be his adviser Bolton…..he has done what most neocons do…..thumps his chest like a sex crazed primate……this time it is Iran.

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has issued a direct threat to Iran’s supreme leader on the 40th anniversary of his country’s Islamic Revolution.

John Bolton was featured Monday in an ominous video posted to the White House’s official Twitter account. The video was posted as a “message to the Ayatollah of Iran,” Ali Khamenei, who the United States has targeted with a new social media campaign entitled “#40YearsofFailure” in reference to the decades of hostility between Washington and Tehran since the 1979 uprising that ousted a West-backed monarchy and installed a Shiite Muslim clerical leadership.

“What a 40 years its been, tyrannizing its own people and terrorizing the world, Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons to intimidate peaceful people all around the globe and ballistic missiles to use as delivery systems,” Bolton said in the roughly one-minute clip. “Iran under the ayatollahs remains the central banker of international terrorism and its conventional military forces are all over the Middle East, in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

https://www.newsweek.com/bolton-iran-ayatollah-many-years-trump-anniversary-1327159

Seems he is similar to his boss….speaks through his ass without thought or knowledge.

False Bravado has NO place in international relations…..accuracy anf facts are the best weapons.

BTW the Islamic State of Iran is 40 years old……

https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/02/08/the-islamic-state-of-iran-at-40/

To be honest this link is a neocon propaganda site take that for what it is worth.

Remember the non-existent WMDs in Iraq?  Or 1954 an excuse for the regime change in Guatemala was the presence of Soviet guns……well that is tried and true the technique…..

While insisting that US military intervention against Venezuela remains on the table, Senate Armed Services Committee chief Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has also claimed on Tuesday that the US would be obliged to intervene if Russia were to move weapons to Venezuela.

“We’d have to, not go to war, but use force,” Inhofe told reporters. This claim appears not to be an actual obligation, but part of the idea of the Monroe Doctrine that the US generally does intervene against other countries getting involved in the entire Western Hemisphere.

And while Inhofe doesn’t appear to want to rule out attacking Venezuela just unilaterally, as the administration is hoping to impose regime change there, it is clear he views the war even more favorably if it can somehow be turned into a proxy war against Russia.

(antiwar.com)

Now let’s look at why.

After decades of rhetoric why does the US want to overthrow an elected government?

Since 1998, the United States of America has tried to overthrow the government of Venezuela. What threatened the government of the United States since then was the Bolivarian dynamic set in motion by the election of Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela that year. Chávez won the elections with a mandate from Venezuela’s workers and poor to overhaul the country to tend to their long-neglected needs.

Venezuela, with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, had enriched the U.S.-based oil companies and its own oligarchy. Venezuela’s key oil minister in the early 1960s (and architect of OPEC—the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso rightly called oil the “devil’s excrement.” It promised so much and delivered so little. Chávez arrived as the embodiment of popular hope. He threatened the oil companies and the oligarchy, which is why the United States tried to overthrow him.

The first attempt at a coup came in 2002, when the United States egged on the military and the oligarchy to overthrow Chávez. They failed. He was supremely popular, the Chavista base eager for change that would improve their lives. They had no faith in the United States or the oligarchy, both of whom had suffocated them for the past century.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/02/12/why-does-united-states-america-want-overthrow-government-venezuela

The American people need to ask why is this so damn important to the Neocons…….just why is it that the US cannot tolerate a leader that does not agree with them?  And who elected the US to speak for the people of Venezuela?