No Joy in Hanoi

We’re getting conflicting reports about what went down in Hanoi that abruptly ended the “negotiations.” Trump said that Kim Jong Un wanted all U.S. sanctions lifted in exchange for closing only one nuclear site. North Korean’s foreign minister said his country wanted only partial sanctions relief as part of a framework for more dismantling of nuclear weapons facilities. And, of course, they both could be lying.

Perhaps Trump will tire of his fake diplomacy publicity stunts and leave the nogotiations to diplomats. Nicholas Kristof writes that Trump had already overplayed his hand before the meeting began. 

In particular, he signaled that he eagerly wanted a deal and that “fantastic success” was likely, all of which probably led Kim to raise demands in the belief that Trump would fold.

With normal presidents, summit deals are largely agreed upon ahead of time. As one veteran diplomat put it, presidents pull rabbits out of hats, after diplomats have worked diligently ahead of time to stuff the rabbits into the hats. But Trump has never had much patience for that meticulous diplomatic process, instead placing excessive faith in breakthroughs arising from personal relationships — and his faith was clearly misplaced this time.

The North Korean side had refused to hash out the summit outcome in advance with the highly regarded U.S. special envoy, Stephen Biegun, presumably because Kim thought that he could outfox Trump in person in Hanoi the way he had in Singapore nine months ago.

I’m guessing that’s exactly what went down. But with Mike Pompeo in charge of the State Department, I am not hopeful follow-up negotiations will do any good. It’s also possible that Trump was so unhinged over the Cohen testimony that he had to be stuffed into a straightjacket and loaded on Air Force One before he started World War III.

14 thoughts on “No Joy in Hanoi

  1. Korea's (very real) Dictator v. America's (wannabe) DICKtator (sic).

    This may be the first time in the 21st Century that two leaders met who, instead of having hairdo's, had hair-don't's (sic too)!

    Cohen's testimony probably threw our already loopy "leader" for his final loop.

    The horse tranquilizers didn't work, so they had to use the elephant AND rhino ones to calm Donnie down enough to muzzle him, strap him on  gurney (Hannibal Lecter, like), and then pour him into AF 1!

    I thank the FSM that we don't all have to learn Korean after "The Great Negoiator" got done with his meeting!!!

  2. It's sad to say but, I'm inclined to believe the North Korean version of why the summit fell apart. Not that it was meant to succeed or accomplish anything other than role playing in the first place. Every time Trump opens his mouth only lies pour out. I've gotten to the point with Trump where even if a truth managed to escape from his lips I couldn't recognize it as such. He's just a big lying bag of shit.

  3. I'm surprised. Trump played his hand so badly, Kim was almost certain to demand everything (troop withdrawls and lifting of sanctions) in exchange for promises of denuclearization and no framework for verification. 

    As Maha points out, Trump relied entirely on the 'relationship' Trump thinks he has with Kim. Trump was the only one at the table with the capitalistic vision of golf courses and high-rise condos bringing North Korea to prosperity. 

    The defeat for Trump is enormous. He'd been planning on a Nobel Peace Prize and global accolades for his genius. I expected Trump would give the store to Kim anyway and try to spin a diplomatic fiasco as a triumph. IMO, somebody laid a heavy threat on Trump for him to take this on the chin. (I wonder if Pompeo and Bolton threatened to resign and go public with criticims if Trump gave away the store. They think their policy idea will work and for Trump to go competely insane with decisons they know will empower nuclear enemies might actually drive both of them to what resembles principled decisions.)

    I don't see that Kim is under any real pressure. China can ignore sanctions against N. Korea as a future bargaining chip. Declaring economic war on China ruined any leverage with the only country that has real influence. Kim will dangle the offer of future talks to keep Trump on the hook. The status quo is a win for Kim – he keeps developing technology to be a bigger menace if administrations change. 

    So the focus will shift to Iran and the Saudi/US war. Bolton wants it and Trump may be receptive to a war to raise his popularity. Pence would not be *just as bad* – the House needs to get the truth out in a hurry, undermine Trump with GOP voters and the Republicans in Congress. Things may get a lot worse between  now and Nov 2020 if we don't clip Trump's wings.


  4. The BBC who had a listener's request that they exclude 45 from just  one broadcast did not.  With apology, they had to report his pending trip to Nam.  Theater they reported, with detailed reporting on how the preps consecrated on photo ops and how the entry played.  I heard a report of show, façade, illusion and little more.  It played as they called it. 

    Remember we have voters in this county that elected this dork on a whim.  Other countries have rooms full of hard working elite people who know Trump inside and out. It is their job. They have no bias except the agenda of their country. We have a large electorate that is in denial of his con artist status in the world.  No other country has our  liability   We have a whole political party than wants us to believe the con artist over his turned lawyer.  I am not sure where their loyalties lie. I am quite sure their judgement is flawed.  

    Trump's lawyer was really well paid.  I am not suggesting white males prostitute themselves, but I found wisdom in a college  of mine who once admitted we were all whores just quibbling about a price.  We got to that conclusion without  even getting  a chance to quibble about the  exorbitant kind of money Cohen was got. The decision at any price level is still the same, however.  Maybe Cohen can find redemption.  Maybe he can also serve as an example of why selling out is very risky to you and also risky to those you love. Maybe his price was a bit too high. He still goes down in history as the better of a motley  lot.  

  5. According to AP Kim's administration has said Trump "overstated" the North Koren's demand that all sanctions be lifted. Who should we believe a murderous dictator who starves his own people or a craven narcissist who constantly lies about almost everything, overstates his wealth and has cheated multiple times on every one of his three wives? I'm going with the murderous dictator on this one!

  6. Trump has exposed himself yet again as having zero deal-making skills and even less common sense.  He broadcasts his intentions beforehand and gives up any leverage he has.  And his loyalty in Kim (as it is with Putin) is misplaced because of the "friendship" that really doesn't exist. 

    Trump is getting played by Kim on the world stage, and the best he's got is to try to play the rest of us.

    Trump's lack of self-awareness is probably only exceeded by his level of narcissism. To consistently fail this spectacularly in negotiating while still prancing around bragging about his deal-making skills is new heights of foolishness.  

    Rather than making it "great" Trump has made America into a laughingstock.


  7. Things don't look good for the Trump criminal enterprise. After watching last nights episode of Rachel Maddow I came away with a feeling that Trump is headed for a world of shit. Bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, criminal conspiracy, tax evasion, campaign violations, and a host of assorted other crimes. Add to that a comparison of Trump's deeds to the articles of impeachment listed, but never implemented, against Richard Nixon.. a whole lot of charges that didn't rise to the level of criminal but sufficiently spoke to a betrayal of his oath of office as president of the United States.

    Things are not exactly coming up roses for Trump. In a very political sense he's a dead man walking. He might be able to fend off the forces of justice by legal wrangling over his remaining time in office but, he'll never secure a second term. And the Repugs who defend him now would be wise to realize that the time to get out from under his shadow has arrived, and to begin to disavow ever having anything to do with him. He's a Jonah on his way to being a pariah, and he is without a doubt a big bag of shit.

    • He might be able to fend off the forces of justice by legal wrangling over his remaining time in office but, he’ll never secure a second term.

      I wish I was as optimistic. There’s a series of thresholds that get breached in a failing system. Here’s two of them:

      Threshold 1) the fact that few people think Trump will be impeached, even though his crimes are orders of magnitude worse than Nixon’s or Agnew’s (who was forced to resign in the face of a long list of crimes). The founders of this country didn’t reckon with political parties, much less corrupt political parties.

      Threshold 2) a scoundrel like Trump could get re-elected because the VRWC will pull out all the stops for him, as well as Vlad’s army of dirty tricksters working on his behalf. Trump himself views the Presidency as a shield, a way to avoid jail, because of our quaint notion that a president may not be indicted (another threshold). And so he will do everything possible to stay in power, possibly even starting a war.

      That Trump is sitting in the Oval Office at all, is a threshold breached. Someone like him would’ve been laughed off the stage thirty years ago.

    • " After watching last nights episode of Rachel Maddow I came away with a feeling that Trump is headed for a world of shit. Bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, criminal conspiracy, tax evasion, campaign violations, and a host of assorted other crimes "

      I'm not sure about Rachel Maddow, I know she's popular with us liberals but to me she's really no different than Hannity, her diatribes are more fact based but I see her as just another radio DJ with a political agenda and cable tee-vee show? Second all those things you list are pretty much standard operating procedure for most republicans. I don't see Trump or any of his evil children ever being held to account for anything. The best we can hope for is that he loses the next election and fades into right-wing media fever swamp obscurity?

      • she’s really no different than Hannity

        both have agendas, but RM is at least fact based, respects and welcomes expertise, and is open to debate. A meathead like Hannity is none of those things.

        • Yeah it's probably not a fair comparison. She definitely does not outright lie like Hannity but she does tend to put her spin on the news of the day.

        • She also has an exceptional ability to weave irony throughout her delivery of information. Hannity on the other hand delivers his messaging by means of a dark and heavy burdened spirit that doesn't allow for the listener to think for themselves. He's just another bloviating bag of shit with a barber shop quartet haircut to boot.

           Daisy, Daisy give me your answer true, I'm half crazy all for the love of you!

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