Yep, Trump Got Played

Trump Maladministration

Although I had predicted Trump would get nothing, I was wrong; Trump got one thing. This morning the chryons running at the bottoms of our teevee screens declared that Kim Jong Un had agreed to denuclearization. It’s a lie, but it’s going to take a while for a lot of people to figure that out.

North Korea has committed to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”  They’ve been saying exactly that for decades, even as they were building up their nuclear capability.  They made the same promise to Bill Clinton in 1994. They made the same promise in 2005:

North Korea agreed Monday to end its nuclear weapons program in return for security, economic and energy benefits, potentially easing tensions with the United States after a two-year standoff over the North’s efforts to build atomic bombs.

The United States, North Korea and four other nations participating in negotiations in Beijing signed a draft accord in which the North promised to abandon efforts to produce nuclear weapons and re-admit international inspectors to its nuclear facilities.

Foreign powers said they would provide aid, diplomatic assurances and security guarantees and consider North Korea’s demands for a light-water nuclear reactor.

This agreement fell apart in 2007 in a flurry of blame-casting. So what’s different about Kim’s newest promise? Nicholas Kristoff:

The most remarkable aspect of the joint statement was what it didn’t contain. There was nothing about North Korea freezing plutonium and uranium programs, nothing about destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles, nothing about allowing inspectors to return to nuclear sites, nothing about North Korea making a full declaration of its nuclear program, nothing about a timetable, nothing about verification, not even any clear pledge to permanently halt testing of nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.

Nobody with a functional cerebral cortex thinks Kim Jong Un is serious about denuclearization. He told Trump what Trump wanted to hear, and Trump is too stupid to see he was being conned. Here’s what Trump gave away:

Trump made a huge concession — the suspension of military exercises with South Korea. That’s on top of the broader concession of the summit meeting itself, security guarantees he gave North Korea and the legitimacy that the summit provides his counterpart, Kim Jong-un.

Within North Korea, the “very special bond” that Trump claimed to have formed with Kim will be portrayed this way: Kim forced the American president, through his nuclear and missile tests, to accept North Korea as a nuclear equal, to provide security guarantees to North Korea, and to cancel war games with South Korea that the North has protested for decades.

And then there’s this:

There was also something frankly weird about an American president savaging Canada’s prime minister one day and then embracing the leader of the most totalitarian country in the world.

“He’s a very talented man,” Trump said of Kim. “I also learned that he loves his country very much.”

In an interview with Voice of America, Trump said “I like him” and added: “He’s smart, loves his people, he loves his country.”

Trump praised Kim in the news conference and, astonishingly, even adopted North Korean positions as his own, saying that the United States military exercises in the region are “provocative.” That’s a standard North Korean propaganda line. Likewise, Trump acknowledged that human rights in North Korea constituted a “rough situation,” but quickly added that “it’s rough in a lot of places, by the way.” (Note that a 2014 United Nations report stated that North Korean human rights violations do “not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”)

Incredibly, Trump told Voice of America that he had this message for the North Korean people: “I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them. He wants to do right by them and we got along really well.”

Now, you know that if a Democratic president had done this exact same thing, a Republican Congress would have him impeached and removed from office by the following afternoon. And what else does this remind us of?

Andy Kroll:

For Kim, the event was a coming out of sorts, a chance to show himself off to the world. He had a platform unlike any other – and far greater than anything available to him in the closed, impoverished nation he so cruelly presides over. Here was an opportunity to legitimize himself and his nation, to put North Korea on an equal footing with the mighty United States.

By all indications, Kim departed the summit on Tuesday having achieved exactly that. President Trump and the members of his administration validated the North Korean leader in a way like never before. “[Kim] is very talented,” Trump said at his post-summit press conference. “Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough…You can take 1 out of 10,000 could not do it.” Later, Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “He trusts me, and I trust him.”

And what did the U.S. get in exchange? A vague, four-point joint statement in which North Korea vaguely commits to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” with no way to verify that commitment. Trump got played by a dictator half his age.

See also Jonathan Freedland, “Trump really has achieved a historic breakthrough – for the Kim dynasty

Update: Well, this clears everything up. From a Trump press conference:

MEDIA: What timetable do you envision for their denuclearization and in the meantime are you thinking about easing any sanctions?

TRUMP: You know scientifically, I’ve been watching and reading a lot about this, and it does take a long time to pull off complete denuclearization, it takes a long time. Scientifically you have to wait certain periods of time and a lot of things happen. But despite that, once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over, you can’t use em. That’s the good news, and… I believe that’s going to start very soon. We will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done, Steve.

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  1. uncledad  •  Jun 12, 2018 @11:50 am

    "Nobody with a functional cerebral cortex"

    What about all the Trump supporters why do you leave them out? Someone early on in this whole Trump fiasco noted that Trump usually adopts the position of the last person he spoke to. That seems to be the case here, for the "commander in chief" to call joint military exercises "provocative" is really a breech of protocol. I have to say I agree they are provocative but so is murdering thousands of your own citizens and locking up millions in forced labor gulags. But the Trump base will love this agreement until Trump no longer loves it. After all they are just like Trump, except to them Trump is always the last person in the room!

  2. doug  •  Jun 12, 2018 @11:58 am

    Be Kim for a minute. Trump is polling at 40% for the last year and under the cloud of an investigation so dangerous Trump has declared the right to self-pardon. If you are Kim, would you bet on Trump surviving to 2024 as POTUS? A loyal Republican might bet as much as $100, but will a foreign leader bet his survival on Trump?

    Still be Kim. Recent US history says the US president has the authority to welch on a deal, a treaty, passed by the US Congress and part of a deal which Russia, China and the EU is enforcing. Just say the words, "bad deal" and the new POTUS has the power to quit any contract. This IS what Kim sees. It IS recent history. Do you think Kim believes Trump's handshake gives him security for more than two years and eight months? How much risk would you take if you were Kim?

    You can predict with certainty how a good poker player will bet based on the hand he holds. Set aside wishful thinking and it's easy to see the hand Kim holds from his point of view. Kim won and he will keep winning while Trump is desperate for the illusion of a win. Trump has no prospects for a domestic victory. The leaders of the free world, the EU, NATO and G7 despise Trump with a united passion.  

  3. uncledad  •  Jun 12, 2018 @12:10 pm

    Churchill June 4, 1940:

    we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

    Trump, June 12 2018:

    “They have great beaches……..I said, boy, look at that view. That would make a great condo. I explained it.”

  4. Tom_b  •  Jun 12, 2018 @12:18 pm

    You sell The Don short, Maha; there’ll be a golf course agreement in there somewhere. Even the 2nd or 3rd worst President, Ronald Raygun, was aware of the concept “trust, but verify.” And did I mention that guy could at least sound good when he gave a speech?

    In other news, Kudlow had a heart attack. Haven’t heard whether it’s cocaine related, but it may give him a convenient chance to desert the sinking ship.

  5. moonbat  •  Jun 12, 2018 @2:05 pm

    It's good that the two dictators (as Fox News put it) are talking. I give Trump credit for that. It's a study in psycho-pathology that two authoritarian leaders clearly understand each other, one more example if any were needed.

    As for the naval exercises, these can be reinstated at any time. It's not like something that was permanently demolished. 

    Of course, so much of this is to salvage Trump's presidency, crush the November midterms, get the Nobel Prize, and push Mueller to irrelevancy.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2018 @2:25 pm

    My, the sap sure runs strong this this year, don't it? 

  7. doug  •  Jun 12, 2018 @3:58 pm

    For people who can not tell the difference between Reality TV and real reality, this was a breakthrough. It might have been a wash if Kim didn't know the difference between illusion and fact. Kim know exactly what a rube President Bone Spurs is. My only surprise is that Kim didn't get more. I wonder if the Joint Chiefs let Trump know in advance that they'd resign en masse if Trump agreed to a complete withdrawal of troops from the peninsula.  I'm sure Kim asked for it and I don't see what prevented Trump from caving.

    All hells gonna break lose soon. Friday, Manifort will begin a  new life in prison if the judge revokes bail for witness tampering. Living in a cell DOES affect your attitude. Once Mueller knows what Manifort can sell, there's no taking it back, even if Manifort recants after a pardon. The information ALONE is enough to know where to look for external proof. Also on Friday, a million documents go to the NY prosecutor on Cohen. About 1% of the documents so far have been deemed privileged. Cohen is a weasel. Once charges are filed, he's toast because I'd bet my gyrocopter that some of the violations will also be state and potentially NYC violations which Trump can not pardon Cohen for. 

  8. aj  •  Jun 12, 2018 @3:59 pm

    Ivanka made over 80 million in guess Kim Jong un  will provide her some slave labor for her accessories factories?

    We are witnessing the end of order and start of autocratic oligarchy on global scale. They are even trying to hide it now.

  9. doug  •  Jun 12, 2018 @4:08 pm

    Pretend you are Kim. You have access to modern media even if the people in N. Korea don't. You know Trump is under investigation and it's so severe Trump declared he can pardon himself. You know that Trump is running at 40% popularity BEFORE the results of an investigation that doesn't look good for Trump. Are you going to bet your dictatorship Trump will be in charge until 2024? I'm hunting for people who will put cash money on Trump to 2020. 

    If you are Kim, looking at the recent history of the US system, any president in 2020 can look at any deal Trump makes, even if it's sanctioned by the US Congress and China AND Russia AND the major powers of Europe and, with the two words, "bad deal" renege on the signed treaty. That's the climate deal and the Iran deal. 

    If you are hoping Trump, your favorite sucker, will last until 2020, how much do you give up in REAL terms (not promises) before Jan 2021? Yeah, you lie your ass off with promises and suck Trump along with concessions until the you-know-what hits the fan in 2021.

  10. Tom_b  •  Jun 12, 2018 @4:09 pm

    “Ivanka made over 80 million in 2017”. Saw that. And that’s with nobody wanting to carry/buy her cheesy products. Feckless, but not penniless yet.

    And, you know, spousal abuse is not grounds for seeking asylum anymore (thanks, Beauregard) because that’s just … normal.

  11. uncledad  •  Jun 12, 2018 @4:36 pm

    "I'd bet my gyrocopter"

    Doug, did the feds give it back to you? I assumed they would have confiscated it? That thing should be a museum somewhere!

  12. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2018 @4:36 pm

     Scientifically speaking… Trump is a big bag of shit. I think the American public are the one's who have been played. We got Trump's usual verbal legerdemain, nothing more. What adds to the emotional torment of this situation is seeing repeated comments online by Vlad's bots and Repug dolts saying: "Thank you, Mr. President." It really hurts to see the level of gullibility that thrives in America.

     On a maybe positive note, and not claiming to being psychic or receiveing a word from the Lord, I had a moment where an unsolicited and random thought popped into my head. You know, the kind of thought that is unrelated to your current train of thought but just pops in and make you wonder where this is coming from and why is it coming to you at that particular time. Anyway, my thought was that Paul Manafort was going to roll over and cooperate before he gets shipped off to jail this Friday. When that steel door slams behind him it could very well be the last time that he ever tastes freedom. That possibility is a terrifying prospect, and something tells me Manafort is going to grab for his last chance for freedom.  We,ll know soon if I'm in tune. I'll place my bet that he rolls.

  13. freetofu  •  Jun 12, 2018 @4:46 pm

    I added another comment in the previous thread, but I'll just note that Chamberlain comparisons always creep me out a bit… I think it's actually pretty unusual to have a regime that's both willing and potentially able to take over the world and to exterminate all the conquered populations in order to make room for their own. That war warped our worldview for a long time afterwards.

  14. drew  •  Jun 12, 2018 @5:01 pm

    "Scientifically." He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

  15. Dan  •  Jun 12, 2018 @6:16 pm

    "Complete denuclearization" means US warships will not be allowed in South Korean ports (a la New Zealand) due to the US provision that no one is allowed to know which ships carry nukes at any time…

  16. uncledad  •  Jun 12, 2018 @9:30 pm

    "I was wrong; Trump got one thing "

    Maybe he'll get two things. He's invited little rocketman to the US. I'm thinking he's gonna pull a Putin where he gets some compromat on lil-kim and then he'll have his very own nuclear armed pawn, just like his idol Putin!

  17. Ed  •  Jun 12, 2018 @10:22 pm

    Trump was conned by KJU who is the winner in the short term. What is uncertain is the long term. Is it possible that KJU has set in motion some forces he cannot control and which may go in directions he did not intend? It is always assumed that he has total control over the course of events in N. Korea and that nothing will spill into his country from elsewhere, but maintaining a Stalinist system of total control in the 21st century may be tougher than it was in the 20th. Sure, he played Trump in Singapore, but did he unintentionally dislodge a boulder which will go bouncing down the slope in an unpredictable trajectory? 

    The likelihood of war has just gone way down, thanks to the fact that in order to renew hostilities, Trump would have to admit to having been fooled in the art of deal making. He has uncorked a genie which will make it much harder to renew any policy of maximum pressure and reimpose a sanctions regime. Maybe KJU has uncorked a different kind of genie whose effects, once out of the bottle, could include increased interactions between his people and their counterparts to the South. 

    We need to be told about the toll our strategic bombing took on the North between 1950 and 1953. Someone in a position to know (I can't remember if it was Curtis LeMay or some other military bigwig) estimated that we had killed about 20% of the civilian population during the course of three years of active hostilities. We can no more make sense out of N. Korean behaviour without understanding this than we can make sense of Iranian behavior without understanding what happened in Tehran in 1953.  Let's all get exposed to some history here. If Obama had said anything about the CIA coup in Iran, the screams of "apology" would have been deafening. But Trump just might get away at some point with mentioning the facts about the Korean War in one of his rambling tweets (especially if his BFF in Pyongyang can put something in his ear about it). If he got slammed by the Dems for speaking truth for a moment, they would forfeit all credibility, and I suspect that Sean Hannity would have his back.

    This all might happen, but maybe we shouldn't bet our virginity on it. 


  18. Badda Book Badda Boom  •  Jun 12, 2018 @11:15 pm

    I get so sick of following the news — tRump, tRump, tRump.  All points here are good and valid.  I am just so sick of it.  I don't know if Mueller time will be another Fitzmas.

    And NO!  tRump does not make George W Bush look good (it was during that rein-of-terror I started following this blog).  I am so sick of hearing his former press secretary, Nichole Wallace, pretend to be on the high road criticizing tRump.

    The NK talks were a disaster and now tRump admits he will lie if they come to nothing, actaully saying, “I may be wrong … I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

    And while I also agree that a democratic candidate would be impeached for only a tiny fraction of tRumps criminality, dishonesty, and incompetent; I still have not let-go of the fact that it is the democratic party that is letting us down.

    In Wisconsin, Scott Walker rose to national prominence as a koch rock star, but he did it on the back of a dem predecessor that really did come across as a putz.  Jim Doyle was hoisted into the Governor's Mansion because his family was a state democratic party hot-shot.  On his merits, he'd have never been Governor and we may have never seen Scott Walker on the national stage.

    Likewise, tRump was able to win (or steal) and election that should have been out-of-read.  Our choices were poor and rigged from the get-go.  This is how we got tRump and the NK debacle is just part of an endless stream of crap.  I don't know if I can continue to follow this administration until 2020, but I also worry we will be offered another crap sandwich.

  19. maha  •  Jun 13, 2018 @10:14 am

    “I still have not let-go of the fact that it is the democratic party that is letting us down.” Well, thanks, Mr. Obvious! I’ve gone on and on about that so much I have been trying to take a break from it. But maybe I need to repeat it a few more times.

  20. uncledad  •  Jun 13, 2018 @1:04 am

    "The likelihood of war has just gone way down "

    That seems to be convention, though I'm not buying it. Trump likes to play games. I think it is more likely that war is imminent


  21. elkern  •  Jun 13, 2018 @11:01 am

    I agree with freetofu – mocking Chamberlain scares me, because it's often used as a pro-war argument "winner".  Maha is obviously not in the Bolton Bomb-Everyone camp, but I think Democrats and Progressives need to be careful about this.  

    Yes, it sucks that Republicans still get away with smearing Democrats as Soft On {overblown fear du jour} while being somehow immune from reverse charges even when they're true.  Schumer & Co attempted to run this script the other way recently (attacking Trump for negotiating with Kim), which was stupid on two counts: it's bad policy (negotiation is a Good Thing), AND bad politics (they'll lose votes from us Progressives but won't win over any Authoritarians).  They're painting themselves into the corner, becoming the "Deep State" Elitists that Trumpists imagine.

    America has become the Empire that JQ Adams warned us about ("She goes not abroad…" – see ).  We are over-extended, militarily, economically, politically, and psychologically.  Neither major Party can turn it around.

    Trump is a narcissistic nut-job, unconstrained by normal political or diplomatic rules and traditions.   He's an embarrassment to us all.  Whenever I hear his voice on the radio, I switch to my local Sports-Yelling channel for relief. 

    But his megalomania does open some doors, like the talks with NK.  No "normal" President of the US could be seen sitting as equals with Kim; but with Trump, it makes perfect sense.  (It's a shame, though, that Dennis Rodman wasn't at the table, to complete a Quorum of the Bad Hair Club for Men.)

    And from a macro-geostrategic view, (temporarily?) ending the joint military exercises with SK signals acceptance of the fact that within a decade or two, China will supersede the US as  the dominant Great Power in East Asia.  We can't run the whole world forever, and pretending we can/should will just get everybody killed real dead.

  22. doug  •  Jun 13, 2018 @11:29 am

    uncledad – they did confiscate it, and they paid people to dismantle and destroy it rather than have it got to a museum with a sign that explains why the flight was made. 

    Elkern – You and others are eager to portray the US as inevitably declining and retreating from the world stage. California has a bigger GDP than Russia. China is constrained despite her population, size and economy because the US, Russia, Japan, S. Korea, Australia and the EU don't want China to dominate globally. The visible presence of the US in S. Korea steadies that county and Japan. The P.I. are threatened and may stay in the alliance against China, but they're playing with fascism, as is Trump.

    The world isn't judging the US by Trump – yet. If he's repudiated in elections, all will be forgiven by Canada and the EU. We could still emerge as the leader among equals in the league of democracies.

  23. elkern  •  Jun 13, 2018 @5:23 pm

    Doug –

    Real sorry to hear that they chopped up your chopper.  Was it store-bought or homebuilt?  Do you have a website where I can learn more about your "adventure"?

    Respectfully, I'm not "eager" about US decline, and certainly not about retreating from world stage.  Taking our turn as Planetary Hegemon has resulted in a better world – far more happy, healthy humans than ever before.  But just as Adams warned, we fell into the role of Empire, and as he foresaw, it has warped our national soul (as much as there is such a thing). 

    I want and expect the USA to be a leading Great Power for a long time.  However, the invasion of Iraq hastened the end of our time as the Only world Power, and we're faced with a multipolar world.  If we'd handled it better, we could have been turning over responsibility for  planetary security to supranational institutions by now; instead, we pushed the world back toward the traditional "might-makes-right" framework.  And here at home, we continue to pour resources into our military while disinvesting in infrastructure, education, research, health care, basic science, and everything else which would make us stronger in the long run.

    I sincerely hope – and I'm working to ensure – that Democrats win majorities in Congress, leading to Trump's impeachment and the implosion of the GOP.  But it's hard to have any faith that the D's will have the brains, heart, and courage to … oops, I wrote myself into a corner here… to get us back to Kansas!

  24. badda book badda boom  •  Jun 13, 2018 @9:55 pm

    Maha — I am venting.  But I am also sure that you have never given the example of Scott Walker's rise — and remember — when he was catapulted onto the national stage by "dropping the bomb" (his words) on unsuspecting public employees via Act 10, he was launching the new GOP playbook.

    Of course, he is too stupid to have thought of it.  He is a koch puppet.  Frankly, if you look at his oddly-spaced dead-eyes, each far out-of alignment with the other, and his misshaped face, it looks like a textbook example of fetal alcohol syndrome (just sayin'…)

    I tried to leave Hillary out of this — as frustration has been expressed here.  I also did not want you to get unfairly labeled as a "firebagger" (I am sure you and your readers know what this reference means from FDL).

    Walker's being fraudulently hoisted onto the  spotlight after 2010 election was a direct result of the cronyism at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.  I also feel I must take a break from it sometimes, but then I am conflicted that the story cannot be told enough.  IMHO, some will not be ready to accept this until things really break down and then they will need to be hit over the head with these facts.

    So please accept that it was not my intention to question where you stand on all of this — I am frustrated and, just like immediately after the stolen 2004 Presidential Election, I find this a more understanding space to speak these truth.  I am sure you and your readers are aware that these truths are bannable offenses at the site I refer to as "evil orange" and at Site Voldemort (do you and your readers catch that one?)

  25. maha  •  Jun 14, 2018 @8:54 am

    Baddabookbaddaboom — You are welcome to vent, but please do not presume what I have or have not written about in the 16 years I have been writing this blog.

  26. badda boom badda book  •  Jun 14, 2018 @9:39 am

    WFT?  I know — have been reading virtually ALL of those years.  No, the details of Wisconsin's rise were NOT posted here.

    I guess I'm wrong — you're really not different than that orange site or SV.  I don't need to vent here and won't.  Bye Bye