The View from Singapore
Negative fallout ahead is more likely than overall ongoing afterglow continuing longer than short or perhaps intermediate term – the way US agreements most always play out.
Believing this time is different with the most extremist US regime in power is foolhardy at least, hugely dangerous at worst given Washington’s rage for regime change in all sovereign independent countries, North Korea no exception – not now, not earlier or ahead.
What follows Kim Jong-un/Trump summit talks will be playing out for months and years to come – most likely for ill, not good.
Post-summit talks, Trump stunningly said “war games are very provocative. It is inappropriate to be having” them, ending them in East Asia clearly not about to happen, adding:
“The sanctions will come off when we are sure the nukes are no longer a factor.”
(Denuclearization) takes a long time scientifically.”
Trump is erratic, unpredictable, contradictory and disingenuous – often doing something entirely different from what he says, trusting him and bipartisan hardliners infesting Washington sure to disappoint.
Nuclear related sanctions on Iran were only partially rescinded. The Obama regime breached the JCPOA straightaway, betraying the Islamic Republic, never getting key benefits promised – well before Trump pulled out altogether.
Make what you will out of him saying “(w)e are are going to take care of a very big and very dangerous problem for the world.”
Agreed on positive change is meaningless unless and until it unfolds as pledged – the rare exception to the rule in US dealings with most nations, notably sovereign independent ones.
A new chapter in bilateral relations may be no different than what’s gone on for decades.
A NYT commentary claimed “Trump was outfoxed in Singapore…hoodwinked” by Kim Jong-un, adding:
“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.”
“…Trump seems to have won astonishingly little” in return.” The framework agreement reached lacked details.
The devil is always in them, what’s unknown so far, the jury very much out until they’re known at a later time, along with actions by both countries going forward to play out in the months and years ahead.
The historical record isn’t encouraging. Betrayal defined US/North Korea relations before. Nothing positive between both countries ever happened. Earlier deals agreed on collapsed, Washington fully to blame, not Pyongyang.
Why expect a new leaf by Washington toward the DPRK now when never before under less extremist US regimes than Trump’s.
The Times complained about what wasn’t in the joint statement – relating to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, along with inspections for verification of specifics agreed on.
That’s not what a framework statement is all about – following a few short hours of Kim/Trump talks and preparatory pre-summit ones preceding them, details to come later.
They’ll likely unfold incrementally, both sides testing each other to assure pledges made are fulfilled – never before by Washington in dealing with the DPRK, no reason to think this time will be different.
For now, things have come a long way from Trump’s “fire and fury like the world has never seen” threat and rage to “totally destroy” North Korea to “develop(ing) a very special bond” with Kim, along with calling talks “a good prelude to peace.”
Have “rocket man” Kim and “dotard” Trump become buddies? Far from it! The threat of US betrayal haunts unfolding events ahead like always before.
Deplorable US duplicity is likely to surface, shattering hopes for durably stepping back from the brink on the Korean peninsula for real.
DPRK leadership is well aware of what it’s up against in dealing with any US regime.
A breakthrough for peace and normalized bilateral relations with Pyongyang is less likely under Trump than his predecessors.
The fullness of time will have final say. Then we’ll know the outcome of unfolding events. Tuesday talks barely scratched the surface. The hard stuff hasn’t begun.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."