Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of the Trump-Kim Korea sum­mit

South Florida Times - - OPINION -

This Jan­uary 25, the Bulletin of the Atomic Sci­en­tists set its Dooms­day Clock at two min­utes to mid­night, mean­ing that the world is on the brink of de­struc­tion be­cause of a rise in in­ter­na­tional ten­sion against the back­ground of nu­clear weaponry. The num­bers are hard to come by but var­i­ous es­ti­mates put the to­tal at be­tween 15,000 and 20,000 in the hands of just nine of the 195 coun­tries on the planet, mostly Rus­sia (6,850) and the United States (6,450), ac­cord­ing to the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Sci­en­tists.The oth­ers are France (300), China (270), United King­dom (215), Pak­istan (140), In­dia (130), Is­rael (80) and North Korea (15).

Rus­sia and the U.S. are in the lead be­cause of the mind­less arms race that fol­lowed the Sec­ond World War, with mu­tu­ally as­sured de­struc­tion be­ing the pri­mary means of de­ter­rence. The Global Zero group re­cently cited a re­port in the Jour­nal Earth’s Fu­ture in­di­cat­ing that the det­o­na­tion of only 100 of those nu­clear weapons would dev­as­tate the earth for at least 25 years and lead to global famine.

This is why, re­gard­less of what jour­nal­ists are fond of call­ing the op­tics that sur­rounded the June 12 meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un, the sub­ject of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion was of crit­i­cal global im­por­tance. Kim’s nu­clear ar­se­nal can reach much of the planet, in­clud­ing parts of the U.S. and a war would inevitably em­broil other coun­tries.

North Korea has re­mained un­der one-man rule since the end of the three-year war with the South and iso­lated from the rest of the world ex­cept for China. Spo­radic ini­tia­tives to woo the North into trans­form­ing the armistice that ended the war into a last­ing peace failed but the is­sue grew ur­gent in 2003 when North Korea with­drew from the Nu­clear Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty and an­nounced a cou­ple of years later that it had nu­clear arms.

Some an­a­lysts es­ti­mate the North has as many as 60 such weapons but, in the eyes of Wash­ing­ton and the rest of the world, even one in the hands of a mer­cu­rial ruler dis­as­so­ci­ated from the world’s po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions is too many. The ef­forts to woo the North into the com­mu­nity of na­tions took on an spe­cial ur­gency, with of­fers of se­cu­rity guar­an­tees and lav­ish aid thrown in, when threats failed. Such ef­forts ran into the Ghaddafi syn­drome: Libya’s strong­man Muam­mar Ghaddafi gave up his nu­clear am­bi­tions and was not only ousted from of­fice but bru­tally and pub­licly killed. The three gen­er­a­tions of Kims who have ruled North Korea for more than six decades know about self-preser­va­tion.

That is the back­ground against which Trump met with Kim in a re­sort is­land in Sin­ga­pore. It would have been naïve to think that sub­stan­tial agree­ment would emerge from a rel­a­tively brief meet­ing be­tween the two lead­ers and it did not. But if it has set the stage for gen­uine rap­proach­ment that could see Kim sur­ren­der­ing his nu­clear ar­se­nal and sign a peace treaty fi­nally with the South, then the meet­ing would have met its ba­sic ob­jec­tive. But there is good cause for pes­simism.

Trump did not come away with any agree­ment of sub­stance and it was Kim who gained the ad­van­tage, a 33-year-old mer­cu­rial leader whose coun­try is shunned as a pariah state got to sit down with the most pow­er­ful leader in the world and seem­ingly gave away lit­tle for the priv­i­lege of do­ing so. It is re­gret­table also that the Kim dy­nasty’s hor­rid hu­man rights was ap­par­ently not a topic for dis­cus­sion, though Trump would prob­a­bly ar­gue that it could be on a later agenda.

Trump’s suc­cess in get­ting Kim to meet has been tar­nished also by the way the pres­i­dent treated Amer­ica’s clos­est al­lies just a few days ear­lier when he pulled out of the clos­ing state­ment from the Group of 7 in­dus­tri­al­ized meet­ing in Canada be­cause of a peeve over com­ments by the host, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. In in­ter­na­tional af­fairs it does not look good to at­tack your friends and at the same time make merry with your en­emy.

Of course, Trump holds no brief for the es­tab­lished or­der, whether at home or abroad, so the shake-up which he has en­gi­neered against al­lies over trade is in keep­ing with his style of gov­ern­ing and his po­lit­i­cal agenda. But while he may not mind an­tag­o­niz­ing Eng­land, Ger­many, France, Canada and other al­lies now, he may soon come to re­al­ize that, in­deed, “no man is an is­land.”

In May, 2018, ABC’s en­ter­tain­ment pres­i­dent Chan­ning Dungey abruptly fired Roseanne Barr from her hugely suc­cess­ful hit show be­cause Roseanne sent out an ugly tweet about for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s se­nior ad­vi­sor Va­lerie Jar­rett.

Dungey stated that “Roseanne’s Twit­ter state­ment is ab­hor­rent, re­pug­nant and in­con­sis­tent with our val­ues.” The me­dia deemed the state­ment racist as Roseanne is white and Va­lerie Jar­rett is black. Dungey is also black.

Since then Roseanne, an avid sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been la­beled a racist. But one of her show’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers, Bruce Ras­mussen lamented that “We were gut-punched. It was re­ally de­press­ing that that one stupid sen­tence that she sent out de­stroyed a whole bunch of peo­ples’ jobs.” Hun­dreds lost their jobs. While ev­ery­one was fo­cus­ing on Roseanne and Trump be­ing racist, real in­stances of racism was play­ing out ev­ery day. CNN did a piece show­ing that racial pro­fil­ing was more com­mon than one might think. I’ll enu­mer­ate some of the painful ex­pe­ri­ences that black peo­ple have re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced.

Some blame Trump, but I sug­gest that Lib­er­als have been com­plicit. Mis­souri State Se­na­tor Maria Chap­pelle-Nadal said there was “no dif­fer­ence be­tween white Democrats and Repub­li­cans” and “nei­ther one of them give a heck about the black com­mu­nity. My ex­pe­ri­ence is that white Lib­er­als were more racist than the Repub­li­cans with whom I’ve come in con­tact.

CNN pub­lished that “In just the past month, a golf course owner called po­lice on black women be­cause they were play­ing too slowly. A mom called po­lice be­cause two Na­tive Amer­i­can stu­dents made her "ner­vous." And a white stu­dent at Yale called po­lice be­cause a black stu­dent was nap­ping in a dorm build­ing.”

Dar­ren Martin, a for­mer Obama White House staffer, was ac­cused of bur­glar­iz­ing his own apart­ment as he was mov­ing IN, not OUT. A neigh­bor called the po­lice and ac­cused Martin of be­ing an armed bur­glar. He said he couldn’t un­der­stand what they thought he was us­ing as a weapon – maybe his TV or couch.

He also said that many times when he leaves a store, he is asked to show what’s in


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