Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 8:52 AM

Freezing Nuke Tests Is ‘Mission Accomplished’ for North Korea, Not Triumph for US

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

North Korea says its quest for nuclear weapons is ‘complete’ and it ‘no longer needs’ to test its weapons capability, a significant development ahead of diplomatic engagement with both South Korea and the United States.

(CNN, April 21, 2018)

Trust me folks, this is like Syria saying its conquest of all rebel strongholds is complete and it no longer needs to use chemical weapons to finish them off.

Which is why it’s so patently stupid for President Trump to be hailing North Korea’s announcement as a blink in the face of his “fire-and-fury” brinkmanship.

North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018

Said the hen to the fox …

Hell, this is the same delusional, self-aggrandizing narcissist who hailed the second round of cruise missiles he launched at empty buildings in Syria as “Mission Accomplished.” What mission he accomplished, he did not say (or care), and only few people (like me) bothered to ask.

But Trump claiming credit in this case also reeks of hypocritical fecklessness. After all, North Korea made this announcement only because it has accomplished its mission of perfecting its nuclear arsenal. Even more damning, it did so by launching more tests on Trump’s watch than any other president’s. This, despite Trump vowing as a presidential candidate that North Korea would never dare launch a single one on his watch.

Given this, you’d be forgiven for wondering why so many reporters and commentators are hailing North Korea’s announcement as a “breakthrough.” Especially, given that some of us are still mocking them for hailing this:

North Korea is willing to discuss relinquishing its nuclear weapons and will freeze its nuclear and missile programmes if it begins direct talks with the US, in a dramatic easing of tensions after a visit by senior South Korean politicians, officials said on Tuesday.

(The Guardian, March 6, 2018)

Frankly, anyone who knows anything about this “Hermit Kingdom” knows that North Korea is merely saying what it always says, which is anything necessary to extract concessions from the United States.

Here, for example, is what I wrote when Kim Jong-un’s father made a similar “breakthrough” announcement 12 years ago:

North Korean President Kim Jong-Il is a temperamental and insecure man. Only this explains his habit of making nuclear threats from time to time. Whenever he does, he commands the international attention he craves so pathologically and extorts the aid his people need so desperately. …

When it comes to psychological warfare, this North Korean gnome is one Chicken Little who manages to jerk the world’s chain every time. Indeed, true to form, statements of concern from world leaders about what Jong-Il might do followed his antic declaration with Pavlovian predictability. But one wonders why — given his record of idle threats — world leaders even give him the time of day?!

(“Why do World Leaders Give North Korea’s President Time of Day,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 4, 2006)

And here is how I presaged six years ago what Kim Jong-un himself is saying today:

His perverse calculation is that a successful launch [or, in this case, producing more plutonium to make nuclear weapons] will give him a much stronger hand to extort (with threats to attack South Korea or sell nukes to terrorists) tons more money and food when he returns to the negotiating table for patently disingenuous talks about dismantling his nuclear program. And, past being prologue, he’s right.

(“North Korea Commanding World Attention … Again,” The iPINIONS Journal, April 13, 2012)

But forget testing! Because somebody should remind Trump that he promised to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. This clearly requires North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons, not just discuss doing so.

Incidentally, getting North Korea to sign a meaningless peace treaty or release a few prisoners would be tantamount to settling for just a slice. This would be a far cry from the whole loaf Trump promised, or even the half loaf any negotiator worth his salt should get.

In any event, North Korea announcing a willingness to freeze its nuclear tests is no cause for Trump to pat himself on the back. Never mind the folly of reporters and commentators already hailing him as a top candidate for this year’s Nobel Peace prize.

Related commentaries:
Groundhog-day re NK nukes
mission accomplished Syria
fire and fury

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