The INF In The Rear View Mirror

As we slowly remove ourselves from the international treaties of our past….and the newest one is the INF Treaty…..a nuke and missile treaty from the 1980s….

Personally I think it is stupid to pull out yet another nuke treaty……but do not take my word for  it…..

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he intends to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was cast in contractual logic: the U.S.-Russian agreement prohibits land-based short-and-intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles, both nuclear and conventional, which are difficult to track and make unintentional nuclear war more likely. Washington, with support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, alleges that Moscow has breached that ban, and, as Trump put it , “we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”

If Russia has violated the deal, why should America maintain it? While there is a good reason to think National Security Advisor John Bolton would want out of the INF Treaty regardless of Russian compliance—he has argued as much in the past—the basic logic of leaving an already broken treaty seems straightforward. Nevertheless, there are three strategic reasons to proceed with extreme caution.

His, Trump’s, withdrawal should not be the end of arms control as we know it…..

Even before President Trump reversed his position and announced (at a campaign rally for Republican congressional candidates in Nevada, no less) that he was pulling the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement (INF), the era of significant nuclear arms control agreements between the United States and Russia was in danger of ending. Such a development must be forestalled at all costs, because arms control efforts have over the last 50 years shown themselves to be remarkably effective.

From the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear testing in the atmosphere, to the 2011 New START Agreement, which limited the two countries to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons on no more than 700 deployed delivery vehicles, the two major nuclear powers have concluded dozens of bilateral agreements and supported several multilateral arms pacts.

Hopefully Trump  will come to his senses about nukes and arms control…..but truthfully I am not holding my breath….are you?


Mines That Litter The Diplomatic Field

I realize that most people are trying to wrap their heads around just what the deal is with Dear Leader and Putin…but there is another situation that should not be ignored.

Even the most moronic of Trump supporters has got his mind full of the Kim-Trump “summit”….most seem to think that some sort of peace deal is inevitable simply because the two men met and complimented each and that is all it takes to end 70 years of hostilities… that way of think I say….you are dreaming moose brains!

I wrote a couple of posts after the “summit” had taken place describing what could happen as the process went forward…..5

The negotiations to rid the Korean Peninsula of the threat of nukes could hit several land mines in diplomacy……

A denuclearization deal with North Korea is more within reach than anyone could have thought possible a very short time ago. Thanks to the tireless diplomatic work of Moon Jae In of South Korea and the unexpectedly adept diplomatic work of Kim Jong Un of North Korea, a joint statement between North Korea and the United States exists and the impossible is suddenly under way.

Those who dismiss the the joint agreement as vague and vacuous and light on detail forget how far the language of the joint declaration has traveled since Trump’s first “fire and fury like the world has never seen” attempt at diplomacy. They also commit the error of comparing the joint statement to history’s final agreements rather than to other first meetings. The diplomacy may also have more content than the joint statement reveals, since some steps seem to have been negotiated that have not yet been made public.

There are NO guarantees that this will be a successful diplomatic effort……we can wish them well….but it will be up to the diplomats working behind the scenes to make it a success.

But we should not put too much in the denuke basket?  Why?

Bill Clinton offered oil and reactors. George W. Bush mixed threats and aid. Barack Obama stopped trying after a rocket launch.

A decades-long cycle of crises, stalemates and broken promises gave North Korea the room to build up a legitimate arsenal that now includes purported thermonuclear warheads and developmental ICBMs. The North’s latest announcement stopped well short of suggesting it has any intention of giving that up.

A look at previous negotiations with North Korea and how the currently planned summits took shape:

The Trump Doctrine

With Dear Leader’s recent meeting in Helsinki…the question onc e again arises…just what is the Trump Doctrine?

I have written on a few occasions that I have yet to determine just what the Trump Doctrine is and how to apply it to world affairs…..I mean since 1949 there has been a presidential doctrine presented by each president elected since that date.

A doctrine is how a president is forced to operate foreign policy in the reality in which he finds himself. Sometimes, presidents proclaim their own foreign policy doctrines. Other times, observers see a coherent pattern in a president’s foreign policy and outline the doctrine for him. In both cases, doctrines ought to be seen not as strokes of genius or decisions made at the will of the president but as actions imposed on him and dictated by reality.

The Truman doctrine was defined in 1948. Given the Soviet threat to Turkey and Greece, President Harry Truman announced that, as a general principle, he was committed to supporting free nations against communism. The United States could not accept a Soviet-dominated Europe because of the long-term threat it would pose. The U.S. lacked the capacity to launch a conventional war against the Soviets, so it was forced into a strategy of containment. Turkey, in particular, was indispensable to this strategy, as the Bosporus blocked Soviet access to the Mediterranean. The U.S., therefore, had to defend Turkey and Greek ports. The doctrine was determined by necessity.

Any “doctrine” needs some consistency and so far I have seen nothing Trump has said or done that illustrates that consistency.  The best I can say is he enters into a meeting kicks over all the furniture and slaps around the people then walks out and claims a success when nothing actually changed (all that is a metaphor…he did not actually touch anyone….I felt I needed to explain that for the low IQ of Trump supporters.)

The Big Meeting Or The Spirit Of Helsinki

Today I have dedicated my posts to the “Big Meeting” that the whole world is talking about and some of it is also just as worried.

Ukraine and Syria are the two most urgent problem sets. On the former, diplomacy has stalled. France, the United Kingdom, and the United States appear to be consumed with other problems. Talks with Russia on the core issues behind the Minsk agreements—a cease-fire, a restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty, a workable political order in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine—might stimulate the Western appetite for leadership. With the rebels surrendering, President Bashar al-Assad’s Syria will be taking on a new form, the volatility of which could provoke a war between Iran and Israel. This is an outcome Russia and the United States would both want to avoid. They should be looking ahead in consultation with each other. U.S. leverage over Israel and Russian leverage over Iran is incomplete, but a basic degree of coordination would certainly help prevent conflict. Addressing these dilemmas should not be deferred to 2020 or 2024. Arms control, counterterrorism, the Arctic, and space are other issues that deserve real bilateral attention. Low-key discussions out of the public eye have modest potential, and the Russian and U.S. presidents could give these discussions a preliminary blessing in Helsinki.

In an ideal world, Trump would raise the issue of election interference one-on-one with Putin. Those U.S. officials who join Trump at other meetings would do the same. No less important, Trump would make an emphatic public statement about Russian meddling while together with Putin, as French President Emmanuel Macron has done at comparable moments. Putin will deny the meddling, and Trump should neither accept this denial, as he has in the past, nor make an official acknowledgment from Putin a precondition for moving forward. The confession will never come, but raising the issue with clarity and without embarrassment would convey American resolve and a willingness to respond. If Trump waffles on the issue in Helsinki, however, Russia will score a propaganda victory and will likely be emboldened to test further what redline, if any, the administration has on meddling.

(Foreign Affairs)

Will Dear Leader take troops out of Syria?  (I would not argue with that move)  Or will he end “war games” in Eastern Europe?

A big meeting with low expectations from our dear leader……

With heavy expectations for the first summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, administration officials are desperately trying to downplay Monday’s talks, with Trump saying he’s come into the talks with very low expectations.

“Nothing bad’s gonna come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” Trump said. He followed this up with a series of Tweets complaining that it would never be good enough for his critics.


Ambassador Jon Huntsman sought to lower the bar even more on the summit by insisting the media is making a mistake in calling it a summit at all, saying it’s only a “meeting.” He emphasized the need to hold Russia accountable.

This is where some offer a small bit of advice to Our Dear leader…….

The meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki this week comes on the heels of a turbulent NATO summit that saw the American president butting heads with the other European leaders. In an era where Trump seems to be combative with allies and collegial with adversaries, the world will be watching attentively.

Simply, the agenda of the summit is to discuss relations between the two countries. One of the most important topics will be Russian involvement in the 2016 American election. This comes as the two leaders will meet just days after special counsel Robert Mueller handed down 12 new indictments of Russian nationals in relation to election hacking.

Oh but wait….there are others that think that this meeting should be nothing more than a handshake and a photo op…….

President Trump should not seek a grand bargain in Helsinki. There is no grand bargain to be had with President Putin, a world-class deceiver. Likewise, Trump should not try to charm, flatter, or appease Putin. Previous presidents have tried that approach, and rather than resetting the relationship, it only made matters worse.

Regardless of how much American presidents wish it were not so, Russia is a prideful country with a long history that views the United States as an opponent.

Our Dear Leader has been wetting his pants for decades on the chance of getting a face to face with Putin and now he has what he has dreamed of for so long.

All in all if there is no advisers in this meeting then we will not know what the two talked about and I will bet that it has little to do with our national security and everything to do with the Trump name.

A little musical interlude in honor of the meeting held today…..

Let me remind my readers of the prediction made by Soviet Premier. Nikita Krushchev…….

What team is Our Dear Leader Playing on?(To use a football metaphor)

Need more be said?

“I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump told reporters

Please……What world would that be?


Diplo-speak is what diplomats do when they talk to the press or the public…..makes perfect sense to them but after thought tells them to stop speaking.

Take North Korea….at one point Pompeo and others said that NK should follow the example of Libya or the “Libya Model”…they meant that the leader gave up his nukes and was met with a warm embrace by the West.  The problem was that also lead to the civil war and the death of their leader.

Now Pompeo after his latest round of talks in NK has said that NK should follow the “Vietnam Model”……Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now suggesting another example in Vietnam.

After the end of the Vietnam War, the US and Vietnam ultimately had a successful rapprochement, and now have close ties.

This could be an appealing model for North Korea to follow, as it would suggest both the end of the war, something North Korea has long sought in the Korean War, which began in 1950, and a rapprochement with close trade ties.

But will South Korea sign on to the “Vietnam Model”….if one recalls North Vietnam invaded the South and took control of the country and turned it communist.

Maybe Pompeo should just stop trying to find a “Model” to sell NK….just hold talks and work to eliminating the nukes and stop trying to sell the idea…..

I think it is great that the two countries are talking……now the diplomats need to stop running to a mic and trying to be cute……

North Korea–Continues To Unravel

WE all applauded the meeting of Kim-Trump and their announcement of a path to rid the Korean Peninsula of nukes….that was last month and ever since that meeting this topic is getting more and more confusing.

That idiot Bolton (personal opinion) is telling anyone that will listen that there could be an end to this situation in a year…..

Speaking on Face the Nation on Sunday, John Bolton claimed that the White House has a plan all set up that would see all North Korean “weapons of mass destruction,” not just their nuclear program, dismantled in a year.

Details were scant, but Bolton said it would see North Korea’s nuclear, biological, and chemical arsenals totally wiped out, along with its entire ballistic missile program. He warned this would only be possible with “full cooperation” from North Korea.


This must inevitably raise questions on if Bolton’s comments are designed to support denuclearization, or undermine it. Bolton has long been opposed to North Korea diplomacy, and made it very clear that if his one-year deadline wasn’t met, it’d be proof North Korea wasn’t serious about the deal. This could easily be a plan designed to fail.

And yet intel shows a different situation……

President Trump’s declaration that there is “no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea” may have been somewhat premature, according to experts analyzing new satellite images from the country. The images show that North Korea is continuing to expand a missile-manufacturing plant in the city of Hamhung, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plant produces solid-fuel missiles, which can be launched with little warning, suggesting that Pyongyang is pressing ahead with weapons programs despite a recent moratorium on testing, analysts say. Intelligence sources tell the Washington Post that North Korea is preparing to conceal its nuclear weapons instead of giving up its entire stockpile.

A Defense Intelligence Agency report has concluded that despite Trump’s talk of a denuclearization deal after meeting Kim Jong Un, North Korean officials plan to deceive their American counterparts on the number of nuclear weapons and facilities they have, the Post‘s sources say. During a Fox interview Sunday, when asked about North Korea’s use of secret sites to enrich uranium, Trump admitted that it was possible the deal with North Korea, which didn’t include a deadline for denuclearization, could fall through, the Guardian reports. “I shook hands with him, I really believe he means it,” Trump said of Kim. “Now, is it possible? Have I been in deals, have you been in things where people didn’t work out? It’s possible.” (Work at a North Korea nuclear site is proceeding at “a rapid pace.”)

News has come out that Pompeo will return of DPRK…..

The White House says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make another trip to North Korea as the Trump administration seeks agreement with Pyongyang on an acceptable denuclearization plan. Per the AP, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Monday that Pompeo would travel to North Korea this week. The trip to Pyongyang will be Pompeo’s second as top US diplomat and the first by a senior US official since Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month. The trip comes as concerns mount over the North’s willingness to follow through on the agreement signed by the two leaders. US officials say they are clear-eyed about the North’s past behavior in negotiations. Pompeo last visited Pyongyang in May ahead of the Trump-Kim summit and traveled there secretly in early April while he was director of the CIA.

The announcement of Pompeo’s trip comes at the heels of news that satellite images have revealed that North Korea is continuing to expand a missile-manufacturing plant in the city of Hamhung, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plant produces solid-fuel missiles, which can be launched with little warning, suggesting that Pyongyang is pressing ahead with weapons programs despite a recent moratorium on testing, analysts say. Intelligence sources tell the Washington Post that North Korea is preparing to conceal its nuclear weapons instead of giving up its entire stockpile. On Sunday, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton told CBS’ “Face the Nation” the the US has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in just one year. The Associated Press has more on why experts believe that 1-year plan may be unrealistic.

And the drama carries on…..everyday seems to be something new… all this a misdirection?  Or is there just an air of naivete?

The “Summit”!

No not that “summit” the new one to come…….

I could go off on the last “summit” between Kim and Trump…..but why?  This meeting has been dissected to its minutest detail…..if that “summit”is not on my radar what else could be?

Of course it will be his bromance Putin……..

The long-anticipated Trump-Putin summit is now official. The US president and the Russian president will meet, likely in July, according to the Wall Street Journal. The meeting was announced by US National Security Adviser John Bolton after he met with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday; the timing and location will be announced Thursday. The one-on-one meeting—which is expected to be held while President Trump is in Europe for the NATO summit next month—will cover Syria, arms-control, and the relationship between the two countries. The primary issues in US-Russia relations are Russia’s interventions in the Ukraine and Syria, the country’s interference in the 2016 US election, and its alleged role in the poisoning of a former double agent and his daughter in the UK. This will be Trump and Putin’s first official sit-down, as opposed to encounters they’ve had on the sidelines of larger events, the Washington Postreports.

NATO partners are pushing for the meeting to take place after the NATO summit in mid-July, due to concerns that Trump and Putin could agree to something that they oppose, reports CNN. Some members, for example, fear that the current efforts to sanction and isolate Moscow could be undone by President Trump. “No one knows what he’ll walk out saying,” one western official told CNN. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will also meet, likely before the presidents do. “The president’s been unambiguous since he took office that there are places where Russia is working against the United States, but many places where we work together,” Pompeo told MSNBC last week. Putin, speaking in advance of Bolton’s visit, sounded optimistic about the future of US-Russia relations, saying he hoped to discuss “what both sides could do to restore full-fledged relations on the basis of equality and respect for each other’s interests.”

What will our Fearless Leader give the Russians?

Let’s be honest shall we?

“Summits” are all the rage…..but in the grand scheme of things internationally……these things are nothing but a photo op and a propaganda tool.  They accomplish very little the real work is done by diplomats behind the scenes…..that is traditionally and there is NOTHING traditional to Trump foreign policy.

But let us look at the silliness that is a “summit”…..

What purpose do international summits serve? It’s a question well worth asking, in light of the just-concluded G7 gathering and the about-to-begin Trump-Kim meeting. With the discussion around the latter, you’d think world peace is at stake; with the coverage of the former, you might think the rule-based international order is rapidly breaking down. Neither is true, though both narratives offer plenty of fodder for the 24-hour news cycle, especially on a normally uneventful weekend.

Come July 16th…..Like I stated earlier….the Putin ‘summit” will be a photo op and very little else……

The Trump-Putin summit is indeed happening, and now it has a date: The two leaders will meet July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. The White House and Kremlin announced the date simultaneously, which the Guardian sees as part of a “carefully choreographed rollout” from both sides. This summit will likely be about “optics” as much as anything tangible that might emerge on arms control or other security issues, writes Andrew Roth. For Putin, it’s about showing that Russia is part of the world community, and for Trump, it’s about defying critics who think the White House is too warm to the Kremlin.

Trump and Putin have met face-to-face twice informally at previous world gatherings, but this will be their first formal summit.

Here we go again…..but not before the MSM milks the Supreme Court and the latest shooting for all the possible angles.