The Pyongyang Shuffle Redux

The Chinese Communist Party’s strategy of playing the White House and the EU for suckers is in full swing with attempts to resume the six-way talks with North Korea once again, only this time after North Korea violated every single other agreement, developed long range missiles and a hydrogen bomb all because Obama and the West did nothing about it, except take away Kim Junior’s allowance. This was Obama’s solution to every single international problem (sanctions, or lifting them) and I can’t think of a single example of it working, and in fact it made each situation worse (Russia with Crimea, Ukraine, or Iran, Cuba, N. Korea, Syria, etc.) because it left the actions with little downside and emboldened each horrible regime to double down on infamy.

We imagine Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on his way to North Korea, riding the secret train, and right now we are back in the midst of the Pyongyang Shuffle Redux, a dance choreographed by the CCP and Kim Jong-il, and now Kim Jong-un, which has been the number one hit in China and North Korea for the past 20+ years.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the two “leaders” meet (Li has been diminished as Xi has been elevated, and Kim Junior leads by exterminating all perceived enemies, it seems, including family members).

Kim: (to Li, while watching some old Elvis movies): “Congratulations on sixty-eight years of absolute power. It is almost as long as my family’s 69 years of absolute rule.”

Li: “Thank you. One party rule is definitely the way to go, especially when your family or your best friend runs the party (they both laugh). Now, as for the purpose of my visit, we want you to try to be nice for a change.”

Kim: “I’m always nice.”

Li: “Yes, well, the Americans don’t understand that. We want you to offer them something. A meeting perhaps in exchange for movement on your nukes. Give Tillerson something he can work with.”

Kim: “I’m not giving up the nukes.”

Li: “I know that, you know that, but they don’t know that, and we like it that way. As long as they think you are being genuine, we will have this very useful leverage over them. It’s called ‘six-way talks’, but we know it’s ‘four plus two talks’. As long as they don’t know that, it’s better. If you play along with us, we will take care of you, as always.”

Kim: “Yes, and along those lines, I need some more beluga. And lots more of that Dom Perignon you sent last time, the limited edition – though I hear there’s a nice Perrier-Jouet limited edition for a mere fifty thousand Euros – you can have someone stop off in Epernay next time you’re scamming the Europeans. And duck – fat, juicy duck, and lots of it. You know what I like.”

Li: “Anything for your people?”

Kim: “Oh, them. You can also send along some trainloads of rice and cabbage. The people love rice. You can never have enough rice – or kimchee.”

Li: “Okay. So, this is how it works. Right now, the world is anticipating this trip of mine. I will go out there, and face the cameras, and put on a look of serious contemplation, like this (makes a stern face – Kim laughs). Then I will tell the reporters with a straight face that we have made some progress towards denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, talk about peace in Asia, common goals, blah blah blah. Maybe I will call it a breakthrough, give a little gift to Trump.”

Kim: “But we’ll know better (chuckling).”

Li: “Right. Do you want to stand next to me?”

Kim: “No, not this time. We can find some old footage. I put on a lot of weight with that champagne and caviar diet, and I look fat and a little puffy and weak. I can’t appear to be the powerful juggernaut I am commanding a two million man army if I weigh more than 150 kg and have trouble walking. It’s okay. It’s part of my enigmatic personality if I don’t appear. The people accept my lofty nature.”

Li: “Okay then. So, we offer them some movement, and then let’s plan to string out these latest talks until after Trump’s next State of the Union address in late January, 2018. That’ll give him something to brag about, and soften him up on human rights, democracy, Taiwan and Tibet, and other areas, like trade. We can make some good progress in our plans. Then, say March, you can pull out, or fire some missiles or anything to justify breaking away from the talks, and we will start all over again. Just don’t hit anything with the missiles.”

Kim: “Can I hit something uninhabited? It’s getting boring spending all this money to sink my missiles in the ocean. The boys need something to encourage them.”

Li: “Not at this time. It’s a delicate balance with all those American ships and the aircraft carrier parading around in our sea just off our coast. And don’t get too close to Guam. Ever. This guy in the White House is not the same as Obama, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Trump is just itching to roll out some nukes. We don’t need that right now.”

Kim: “Okay, okay. I get the point. You know how to make me happy. What will your position be in March?”

Li: “Mock surprise and horror of course. But don’t worry, it’s only for show. I’ll send along some nice dumplings and a few hundred fat ducks on the next train, and see if I can get someone to stop off in Epernay. And maybe some Krug 1995.”

Kim: “There’s one other thing. My son.”

Li: “What about your son?”

Kim: “Well, that’s the thing. I’m not finished making sons yet, so I don’t know. But when I do know, I need your promise you will support him in all that he asks. He will need to consolidate his internal power. I will have taught him to play this little game of ours. At this rate, it can keep going for at least another 30 or 40 years years. By the way…”

Li: “Yes..?”

Kim: “I’ve got a little something going on the side with that nice fellow, the Ayatollah. Quite a little supply thing going on. It’s good cash right now. Any problems?”

Li: “No, not at all. But do understand that at the U.N. we will sound upset. But we won’t vote upset. Don’t worry. And stop using ships that can be tracked.”

Kim: “Okay. That guy is always begging for a nuke. ‘Give us one, even a little one, something nuclear, anything…’ He won’t take no for an answer.”

Li: “Well, you can give him something very small, but make it defective, and you can blame it on the sand or Israel. This nuclear intrigue gives us more leverage over the Americans, but we need to control the Iranians in different ways. They copied this game from you and play it well, and we go along with them on watering down the Americans’ sanctions, but they don’t listen to us like you do – they don’t like champagne and caviar, and they don’t want nukes just to play – they want to actually use them. You at least understand us. The Iranians hate us, and love us at the same time. Actually, they call us ‘infidels’ behind our backs, but they buy our weapons every day, anyway. As long as we can use them to make the Americans sweat without risking nuclear war, we’re happy.”

Kim: “Yes, well, they are all westerners as far as I’m concerned. Maybe they will kill each other off. Here, have some more kimchee, and a Big Mac. Wash it down with this Moet you sent me for my birthday.”

Li: “Don’t mind if I do.”

Stay tuned for more of the Pyongyang Shuffle as the saga continues.

Appeasement is not a Viable Strategy with North Korea, as 25 Years of it has Shown

An article appeared in the Taipei Times on Sunday, October 29, 2017 on p. 6 regarding the North Korean crisis entitled Talking Must be the Only Answer by Ian Inkster  http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2017/10/29/2003681233/3

Mr. Inkster very instantly and blithely dismisses the most important concept identified by President Trump, that “the US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years,” at the outset of Inkster’s article.  President Clinton made the horrific mistake of trusting North Korea in 1992, and the agreement with North Korea was violated by North Korea before the ink was dry. Years of Chinese prevarication, talking, and “statesmanship”, as Mr. Inkster lovingly suggests, in particular over the past 8 years by the great statesman President Obama, produced nuclear weapons, long range missiles and a hydrogen bomb. So much for statesmanship. As I mentioned before in my blog post, and here, and in others, President Reagan scared the Iranians so much they released the hostages they had held for a year within hours of his inauguration, after years of wimpiness from President Carter. Curiously we find ourselves in a similar position, with 8 years of extraordinary wimpiness from President Obama followed by a very loose and sometimes scary but apparently resolute cannon (despite not being the brightest bulb in the marquee of life).

Mr. Inkster refers to the Cuban Missile Crisis. He must have viewed it as a young teen through the foggy mist across the pond. From here, in New York, a hop, skip and jump from Washington, I saw and felt President Kennedy’s “bluster”, which Mr. Inkster says Kennedy did not display, but his spine, and his temerity, his willingness to meet move with move and show of strength with show of strength, and the backdoor channel ready to receive a message of contrition from Khrushchev is what made the Russians back down and get the missiles out of Cuba, not “statesmanship” alone. In those days, the US had 16 times as many nuclear weapons as the Soviets, and Khrushchev knew it. Were Kennedy instead Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama, Cuba would be a colony of the Soviet Union with nuclear missiles on our doorstep. Make no mistake. Kennedy played chicken well, and Khrushchev blinked, and then a basis for resolution was found. Junior knows the score. He is crazy but he is not an idiot. He looks for weakness and tries to exploit it. But like a rat, he has no desire to die.

In Europe, the strategy for everything has always been, compromise, compromise, compromise. Even with Hitler. Even with Russia. Even with Iran. Even with N. Korea. Particularly with China. It is this unwillingness to show strength to achieve compromise that has always led to horrible deals. I am not surprised by this (and Europe had a willing partner in Obama, whose foreign policy was taken directly from Europe’s playbook, which is why his foreign policy was reviled in the US, and loved abroad).

As soon as Trump spoke his mind (and the more unhinged he sounds, the better at present for strategic purposes) the European members of NATO were on their hands and knees begging for talks with N. Korea. To what end? To what compromise? To give a lunatic encouragement? Let an insane regime have a hydrogen bomb? There will be no resolution to this situation unless NATO grows a spine and plays its part (which is not begging, but rather trying to convince junior that Trump would love to test the US arsenal), and when North Korea weighs its options well, it will find a way to save face and back down.

And the answer is not relying on China. China has been playing the North Korea game for 25 years, playing every President and every administration and Europe for fools, just as the Palestinians have. It is a farce. Bullies only understand one thing. A punch in the nose, or the very real threat of one. Tea on the veranda is not the approach.

 

The Problem for Taiwan and Israel is not China or the Arab World – It’s European Appeasement…Again….Will They Never Learn?

In an article by Alexander Gorlach, which appeared in the Taipei Times on Saturday, October 21st on Page 8 entitled “Taiwan, China: the European view” Mr. Gorlach states: “Declining support for the values of Western liberal democracy across the world in recent years, which not only led to the Brexit vote but also to a rise in mostly far-right xenophobic movements, does not serve as a breeding ground for compassion and action for a far-away nation such as restricted Taiwan.”

This is a somewhat delusional statement. To think that “liberal democracy”, particularly European liberal democracies, are either compassionate of foreign struggles for democratic evolution or capable of taking action to actually support and protect foreign democracies, is laughable, at best. Two examples which immediately come to mind are Taiwan and Israel, two of the smallest and brightest stars in the celestial glow of democracy, both completely abandoned by those useless “European liberal democracies”.

The height of liberal democracy might be considered the administration of the recent liberal God, President Obama, whose foreign policy doctrine of Oppeasement basically betrayed all of the American allies, most pointedly Israel and Taiwan, and allowed the world to erupt into flames, and evil dictators around the world to hastily move with aggression (and celebrate) while he danced and sang Kumbaya, and said to Putin, “be my guest” as he sped by into Syria to take over the fight there, but on behalf of Assad, not the opposition, betrayed by Obama over and over. Obama did nothing for Taiwan. European democracies have their lips pressed too hard to Daddy Xi’s buttocks to even notice Taiwan, welcoming the One Belt One Road honey trap (extolled on these very pages in article after article by George Soros’ ultra liberal Project Syndicate) with open arms, rubbing their hands together and chortling at the prospects of Kommunist Kash filling their coffers.

In 70 years, the US is the only ally with the guts to pass law after law in favor of Taiwan and keep China at bay. NATO couldn’t without the US, the European powers cannot and will not, nor will the UN. This trend has nothing to do with the death of liberal democracy, but in fact is the direct result of liberal democracy’s tendency to retreat in the face of danger or conflict, and prefer to “negotiate” rather than confront (e.g. totally misunderstanding evil such as N.Korea, and rather than employing an enormous stick and a teeny carrot and a kick in the teeth, are on their knees holding a gigantic carrot and a toothpick, begging Kim to come to the table and talk (and doing the same with Iran, which is an order of magnitude more dangerous)), having NOT learned the lessons from World War II of the dangers of APPEASEMENT and the unquenchable hunger of evil regimes for more power, more land, more death, more everything. Actually, in the case of Israel, its biggest problem is not the Arab nations that surround it (who know they cannot defeat Israel) but rather liberal democracies in Europe, which have done everything in their power to destroy Israel by being weak in convictions, weak in morality, weak in policy, weak in support, weak in their faux liberal democratic ideals.  The same can be said for Taiwan, which cannot rely on liberal democracies around the world for support, except the United States Congress.

China is not a problem of Trump’s making, nor is Iran or N. Korea or the Middle East. These are problems left on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office by Blinking Barry and his Oppeasement policy on the way out. President Trump has extraordinarily difficult tasks ahead undoing the damage done by Obama in eight years of weakness and betrayal, and in this instance specifically to Taiwan and Israel.

I am skittish about President Trump’s meeting with Xi. Not because Trump is not a liberal, but because he is not the brightest bulb in the marquee of life, and while China has always played three dimensional chess, Trump is having difficulty with checkers because there are two colors. However, I have less fear of Trump meeting Xi than Obama, who bowed to the Chinese leader on several occasions and projected such a weak image of the US, that China has become far more belligerent and aggressive than before Obama’s era of Oppeasement.

When you show me liberal democracies growing spines, I will listen to this “European View” drivel. In the meantime, so long as they appease evil around the world, I will ignore them as the weak, timid, fearful, feckless, useless regimes they are, pretending to be important, while planning the next business trip to Tehran or Beijing. (“hey, China is not so bad, just because the Communist Party is the worst totalitarian regime in the history of the world – they have pandas and lots of money, we just have to say “One China” and keep Taiwan out! And if we sell jets and missile and nuclear technology to Iran, of course they won’t bomb us – they’ll bomb them (Israel)!”).

Macron’s Visions of European Sovereign Sugarplums Dancing in Paris

An article appeared in the Taipei Times on Saturday, September 30, 2017, P. 9, “Macron’s vast ambitions for a united Europe” By Philippe Legrain  /  PARIS.

Mr. Legrain’s article is just another Project Syndicate pie in the sky piece about rainbows and lollipops. Basically the EU is made up of 28 sovereign nations who have been cobbled together into an economic zone, and pressed by France to sit under what it views as its enormous penumbra of substantive government so that France can be the King of Europe (once again, if ever it was)(“Coalitions of willing governments would then integrate faster, with a revitalized Franco-German engine driving the process forward”). But the EU can never be cobbled into a United States of Europe because to do so would be to release sovereignty and no country is going to give up sovereignty to France or Germany or both – yet at the end, that is Macron’s great “vision” for Europe – or is it for France?

Already the EU has tried to pass so many substantive laws about the internal affairs of nations in the EU (which has led to the exit of Great Britain, which would never cede sovereignty to a French leadership) including vast and often unwelcome immigration and rights and internal policies. Far from the economic and social organization, the EU, under French and German determination, has become a stringent competitive (or anti-competitive) entity which often is at odds with particular sovereign’s own internal policies (e.g. Ireland’s tax concessions to lure international businesses to its shores having become the subject of retroactive reversal and imposition of enormous taxes and penalties by the European commission concerned with protecting EU competition and not member states’ competition, and stealing as much as possible from foreign entities through penalties and taxes).

Of course the French PM sees a greater bigger tighter EU as one entity under France (oh, perhaps I should not have said that out loud). Not going to happen. Not unless Europe finds itself immigrated out of existence, which is more likely than each of the sovereign European members ceding sovereignty to a French and German dominated EU. Nothing has changed in 800 years, the French and Germans are eager to grab territorial influence one way or another. Macron’s view is merely “the good old days” repackaged with ribbons and rainbows.