Bluster, brag and diplomacy

“In the world of diplomacy, some things are better left unsaid.”, Lincoln Chafee

I was glad there was a summit between North Korea’s President Kim Jung-un and Donald Trump.   They signed an agreement to work towards “denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.  That’s a positive step forward.   North Korea released 3 American prisoners prior to the summit.  More good news.

Donald Trump went to Grand Falls, Montana fora “Make American Great Again” rally.  Notably absent from Trump’s entourage was Ryan Zinke,  Secretary of the Interior, who served in Congress representing Montana.  Known as Scott Pruitt’s evil twin,  he immediately cosied up to the fossil fuel industry.   Like Pruitt, he is under investigation by the Office of Inspector General for his spending. See link below.

Trump was right on message,  slammed the media in general as being dishonest and fake. (note, last I looked, Trump statements were rated “true” about 5% of the time according to Politico).   He endorse US senator candidate Matt Rosendale,  and bashed his opponent, current Senator Jon Tester.  Tester had discovered that the President’s nominee for the VA Secretary Ronnie Jackson,  was known as the “candy man” for over prescribing medications and there was evidence that Jackson was drinking on the job.   Hearings were postponed and then cancelled as Trump withdrew the nomination.

No mention of Scott Pruitt, who had just moments before, was forced  to resign amid a slew of scandals.  It would explain why Ryan Zinke,  Secretary of Interior,  wasn’t there.

Since Mike Pompeo was in North Korea,  it was time for Trump to start bragging at he got the prisoners free without spending 1.8 billion dollars like Obama had done, and the peace treaty with North Korea.  All bluster and brag – and on top of it untrue.

This  was an old Republican allegation – and a false claim right  from the get-go.  A payment of 400 million dollars was made to Iran.  It wasn’t ransom, but Iran’s money which we had frozen, after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. in 1979.   Iran’s claim was valid, and they were chasing after the US in World Court.   They wanted 10 billion from the US.  We couldn’t really keep holding on to their money. What we did, was make the payment only after Iran had released American prisoners.   There was no bargaining for prisoners, but the timing looked bad. See links below.

Then Trump launched into how the North Korea problem was a slam dunk because he was the man in charge.   It was this very old, muy macho stunt, with the US Space Force, which I guess is supposed to intimidate people around the globe  every time they look up at the sky.

Trump:  “But we signed a wonderful paper saying they’re going to denuclearize their whole thing. It’s going to all happen.”

Per CNN – see link below:  This statement was made yesterday, in a 2020 campaign rally.   Crowds loved it. Trump’s assertion that North Korea has agreed to denuclearize and that “it’s going to all happen” is a massive overstatement of the facts. What Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed in Singapore last month was a sort of outline of an agreement. There was nothing binding in it. And this week we got word that satellites have picked up what looks to be more construction at a ballistic missile site in North Korea. So yeah, this version of the North Korea story via Trump misses some major points.

Then came Mike Pompeo claim that the meetings were “productive.”   The reason why Kim Jong Un signed the agreement with Trump was  because he considers South Korea to be a nuclear power, due to the US bases in South Korea, and that we have nuclear weapons ready to defend South Korea.  Of course, we’re not going to trade our bases for nuclear disarmament in the North.  But of course,  to make the summit look like a success for both leaders, the word “denuclearization”  was left undefined.

North Korea had had enough.   This meeting was not productive.  North Korea charged that the US was pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization”  and called Pompeo’s remarks, “deeply regrettable.”

Politics is one thing,  diplomacy another.   His bragging about how great a negotiator is, may in the end, cause the talks to fail.

 But, if there is one take away from the Grand Falls, Montana rally,  it is that Donald Trump is trying to set some kind of Guinness book of records, for the most lies in less than an hour.  And his only competition is himself.

Stay tuned,
Dave

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-bribed-iran-400-million-to-release-u-s-prisoners/

http://time.com/4441046/400-million-iran-hostage-history/

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