Don’t get me wrong. The Singapore summit between Trump and Kim was a very good thing. You only have to look back over the last year. North Korea conducted nuclear and intercontinental missile tests. The US considered pre-emptive military strikes. Both engaged in increasingly belligerent talk up to comparing the size of their nuclear buttons. Now the two seem to be the best of pals. If that is not a great deal better then what we had before then what is.
All Show no Substance
But then you read the full very brief text the two have signed. There is nothing new but the commitment to return the remains of POW/MIA (prisoners of war/missing in action). In other words the whole show was just that.
True to his history and style as a reality TV star Trump was just playing to his grass-roots supporters. His propaganda department having it’s eyes firmly fixed on ratings. His daughter in law and chief advisor to his re-election committee Lara Trump send an invite to a “Trump writing history” victory party and re-election campaign event in the battleground state of Minnesota already the day before the meeting. Of course Trump told us beforehand that he would suss out Kim Jong Un within the first minute by “my touch my feel”. If the writers of a TV series like The West Wing would write that stuff they would be called crazy. But that’s the world we live in.
The real dark side is that the USA and the world are run by a criminal. As New York ex mayor and real self-made billionaire Michael Bloomberg famously said about Donald J. Trump : “I am a New Yorker. And I know a con when I see one.”
Sadly the uninformed Trump supporters of Minnesota who “love Trump for his cruelty towards racial minorities and the way he sticks his thump in the eyes of ‘elites’ (Nobel Prize Winner Paul Krugman)” will blindly lap it up and shout “make America great again”. Serious historians and political commentators in the media will again be drowned out by the cries of “fake media”. All exactly according to Trump’s song book. “Why do I constantly attack, malign and insult the media? So nobody will believe them when they write anything negative about me”.
Obviously Kim played Trump like a fiddle. He knew his vanity and desperate desire to appear as a Statesman and deal maker on the world stage. The Trump sales pitch after the event gets even more crazy. The best round-up so far was given by Stephen Colbert.
But will this make the world a better place long term? To get closer to answering this pivotal question we have to look at the wider picture of Trump’s foreign policy initiatives.
Two images taken within days of each other tell the story. First the G7 meeting in Toronto.
This picture is worth more than a thousand words. For you who haven’t seen it before it does not depict a petulant toddler in the naughty corner. It shows the US President and so called “leader of the free world” surrounded by the America’s longest and closest friends and allies after he declared (trade) war against them.
The next one shows the “great leaders” of the USA and North Korea that were for over 65 years mortal enemies.
The leader of the free world gives the thumbs up to the brutal murderous dictator of a tiny country which suppresses it’s starving population. But it literally bombed the US president to the negotiation table. Trump in a sit-down interview with George Stephanopoulos asked if he trusted Kim replied that the North Korean people “loved” their leader. The same leader he called a few months ago “little rocket man”.
The two images are combined in Rod Emmerson’s cartoon in the NZ Herald.
To top it all off Trump gave Kim a parting gift that wasn’t even in the agreement but North Korea long wanted. He cancelled the joint military exercises with South Korea the annual war games aimed at the North. He even adopted the North Korean language calling them “provocative”.
Is the world a safer place ?
Undoubtedly as said at the outset talking is better that tweeting insults. Shaking hands is better that shooting and firing missiles.
The great irony many of Trump’s critics do not seem to see is the possibility that out of the crazy acts of a crazy person something positive might emerge. Like two negatives making a positive.
Trump is destroying the old world order, which might actually be a good thing. Globalisation despite all the mantra of the tiny minority which benefited has not delivered the promised land of milk and honey.
After the collapse of communism the cold war, which was sold to us as essentially a war of two ideologies Capitalism vs Communism has not ended. May be Trump achieves what others have not even tried. Bringing Russia into the fold as the Russians expected after they embraced neo-liberal doctrine wholeheartedly in the 1990s. May be he takes the lead to acknowledge that the Crimean people have spoken to be again part of Russia. It has been for hundreds of years bar the time when within the Soviet Union it was gifted to the Ukraine without the people being asked. This would take away an excuse for ongoing Western aggression and vilification of Russia.
However will the arms industry allow it ?
The answer to the question if the world will be a better Place in the long run is a definite may be.
The madness of war games has stopped on the Korean peninsula. In the meantime despite Trump’s sensible words towards Russia in Toronto American and NATO tanks are rolling towards the Russian border in the Baltics for 30,000 men joint exercises.