Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Today's Links

1--Peace Declaration

South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

2--O' Hanlon on Korea

It would also be wise to formalize dialogues on human rights and economic reform. Not much may come of these at first, but Pyongyang needs to hear the message that the world can no longer shut its eyes to what happens inside the DPRK when conducting negotiations. Doing so in the past has not worked.

Finally, there is the matter of a peace treaty. To a large extent, this can be separated from the nuclear and missile discussions.

If Pyongyang is willing to accept the existence of the Republic of Korea, express a desire to reduce tensions and armaments on the peninsula and accept the indefinite duration of the U.S.-ROK military alliance as well as the presence of American forces on the Korean peninsula, U.S. negotiators need not fear such an accord to end formally the Korean War.

3-- Would Peace Treaty trigger the end of occupation?

If a formal peace treaty were signed, as Time reporter Charlie Campbell correctly observes, it would undermine Washington’s argument for its continued military presence. As Christopher Green, a senior researcher at the International Crisis Group, tells Campbell: “There would be voices raised with the question: why are the U.S. troops still here if we have a peace regime in North Korea?” Trump is already on record as saying South Korea should no longer get a “free ride” from the United States and should defend itself.

4-- Optimism About Korea Will Kill Us All

his is not to say that I am not delighted that North Korea has announced an end to nuclear explosive testing and the closure of its test site. This is a very good thing. But we must be clear about what’s happening and what it means. North Korea isn’t giving up a test site because it collapsed. North Korea agreed to stop testing because Kim is getting what he wants. The third inter-Korean summit was not premised on Kim Jong Un offering to disarm. He has never, ever made a concrete promise to abandon his nuclear weapons program. If you read the joint statement closely, what South and North Korea have done is to take disarmament off the table as a concrete outcome and substitute a vague aspiration that at some point nuclear weapons will no longer be necessary.

Kim is willing to agree to a much more modest series of steps — a moratorium on launches of intermediate- and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, as well as an end to nuclear testing. Those are good things. We should appreciate them as genuine improvements to U.S. security, not something to tide the United States over until North Korea turns over missiles and nuclear warheads.

5--Comedian Michelle Wolf exposes a cynical and hypocritical media

Speaking to the print and broadcast press, she poignantly observed:

    You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric, but he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him.

Trump is the creature of a hysterical, reactionary, right-wing and ignorant media climate. His foibles and scandals give these phony journalists the opportunity to spew their bile, while obscuring the fact that they agree with him on almost everything that matters: lowering taxes on the rich, slashing social services, attacking democratic rights, and waging war abroad

6-- The Eisenhower Doctrine, 1957

(Justification for military intervention) President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the Eisenhower Doctrine in January 1957, and Congress approved it in March of the same year. Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression from another state. Eisenhower singled out the Soviet threat in his doctrine by authorizing the commitment of U.S. forces “to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism.”


7--Buchanan on Wolfe meltdown

Hillary Clinton surely spoke for many of the Beltway media laughing at Wolf’s jokes when she said:

“(Y)ou could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. … The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic … (Trump) tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

What happened to the WHCA dinner? The evening has become less a celebration of the First Amendment than a celebration of the press themselves, how wonderful they are and how indispensable they are to our democracy.

Yet in the eyes of tens of millions of their countrymen, they are seen not as “speaking truth to power,” but as using their immense power over American communications to punish their enemies, advance their own agendas, and, today, bring down a president.

The press denounces Trump for calling the media “the enemy of the people.” But is there any doubt that the mainstream media are, by and large, enemies of Trump and looking to Robert Mueller to solve their problem?

8--The Putin Plan for Korea

9--US will say they saved the world’ while peaceful Russian approach on N. Korea won – Moscow

10--Nunes, Gowdy, Goodlatte Statement on Comey Memos

11--Nikki Haley Unplugged


12--Turning on Russia, Part Two

In 1973 neoconservatives did not want the United States having better relations with Moscow and created Jackson-Vanik to obstruct it. But their ultimate goal as explained by Janine Wedel in her 2009 study the Shadow Elite, was a Trotskyist dream; the complete transfer of power from an elected government representing the American people to what she referred to as a “new nomenklatura,” or “guardians of the national interest,” free from the restraints imposed by the laws of the nation...

Through the eyes of the State Department’s Raymond Garthoff, the moves against d├ętente in 1973 are viewed from the narrow perspective of a professional American diplomat. But according to Judis in his article titled “Trotskyism to Anachronism: The Neoconservative Revolution,” the legacy of NSC-68 and Trotskyism contributed to a form of apocalyptic thinking that would slowly exclude the professional policy-making process from the realm of empirical observation and replace it with a politicized mechanism for creating endless conflict. “The constant reiteration and exaggeration of the Soviet threat was meant to dramatize and win converts, but it also reflected the doomsday revolutionary mentality that characterized the old left,” Judis wrote.

Whether American democracy could have survived the stresses put upon it by the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and the ongoing frauds posed by neoconservatism now poses an answerable question. It couldn’t. Fletcher School international law professor Michael Glennon maintains that the creation of the national security state in 1947 as a second, double government effectively renders the question mute. He writes: “The public believes that the constitutionally-established institutions control national security policy, but that view is mistaken. Judicial review is negligible; congressional oversight is dysfunctional; and presidential control is nominal. Absent a more informed and engaged electorate, little possibility exists for restoring accountability in the formulation and execution of national security policy.”

Additional Links and Notes--

No 'credible' proof of Iran nuclear weapons program after 2009: IAEA

US Treasury says Q1 borrowing set record of $488 billion



“While the Committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government, the investigation did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns,” the report states.

“It has been shown to the corners of the earth that Libya’s giving up its nuclear arms was used as an invasion tactic to disarm the country by sugarcoating it with words like ‘the guaranteeing of security’ and the ‘bettering of relations,’” a spokesman for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in 2011.

Today, however, it seems like Pyongyang has warmed up to the idea of disarmament after months of tension with the US and the West over its ballistic missiles and nuclear program.

On Friday, Kim said he was ready to abandon development of nuclear weapons in exchange for an official end to the Korean War and a pledge from the US government to not invade his country.

It’s not a matter of South Korea being a staunch ally of the US and having invited the US to put troops there and to construct bases there. South Korea has no choice or say in the matter. The US, since the original 1950 UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a UN force to combat the North, has been the designated leader of the UN expeditionary forces in South Korea. As such, the Pentagon has retained control over the South Korean military and has a UN-sanctioned right to have troops occupying South Korean territory (with immunity from South Korean law). That’s why Trump was able to order the placing of highly controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile batteries in South Korea over the objections of both the South Korean people and the government of Moon Jae-in — missiles that would be of little or no use against any North Korean attack, but which actually threaten and target China, much like the anti-missile batteries that the US has installed in Eastern European countries which it continues to insist publicly are to defend against non-existent Iranian missiles, but which actually pose a deadly threat of a potential first strike against Russia.

A complication for the US is that if South Korea’s Moon and North Korea’s Kim, on their own, were to agree to sign a peace agreement, it would be difficult for the US to insist that a state of war still exists on the Korean peninsula. It would make a joke of the continued UN Security Council resolution that places the US military in charge of a UN-led security force there, and of any continuation of the US bases in South Korea.


Yesterday, Pompeo, who was sent by Trump to Pyongyang at the end of March to negotiate the basis for any potential meeting, told ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl that North Korea “understood” that the US terms for a deal were “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation.” He asserted: “We’re not going to make promises. We’re not going to take words. We’re going to look for actions and deeds.”

Karl asked: “If diplomacy fails on this, is there a military option?” Pompeo replied: “We’re not going to allow Kim Jong-un to continue to threaten America.”

In an even more ominous comment, Trump’s newly-installed national security advisor John Bolton told Fox News that a “model” for North Korean denuclearisation could be the deal made with Libya in December 2003. In exchange for the destruction of chemical weapons and components for nuclear weapons, the major powers restored relations with the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

The Trump administration, in other words, goes into any talks under immense domestic pressure to take the hardest possible line. Any deal that does not involve the complete capitulation of North Korea is likely to come under withering criticism for being “too generous.”

China and Russia, which border North Korea and view it as a useful militarised buffer against the US forces in South Korea, are indicating opposition to any agreement that undermines their strategic interests.

Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov insisted Saturday that regardless of the outcome of US-North Korea discussions, only “six-party talks” involving Russia, China and Japan, as well as the US and the two Koreas, could solve the “sub-regions’ problems.”

While the Chinese government has made no statement, Chinese commentators have opposed the possibility, hinted at in the Korea declaration, of a “peace treaty” being signed without Beijing’s participation. Lu Chao, from the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the South China Morning Post: “From a legal perspective, if an armistice is to turn into a peace treaty, all signatories should take part in the process, meaning China should also get a seat at the table.”

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