With North Korea accusing Secretary of State (and former CIA Director) Mike Pompeo of engaging in a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization,” it should be increasingly obvious to most everyone that North Korea is not going to destroy its nuclear bombs.
This should not surprise anyone. The dumbest thing that North Korea could ever do is to destroy its nuclear capability. One thing is for sure: No matter how brutal North Korea’s communist regime is, it’s not stupid. The North Koreans know that the second that they were to destroy their last nuclear bomb, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and his communist regime would become one great big nothing-burger in the eyes of President Trump and the U.S. national-security establishment.
Consider the following three dictators: Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, Cuba’s Miguel Diaz-Canel, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. Like Kim, they operate socialist-communist regimes in impoverished Third World countries. Like with North Korea, Trump has imposed economic sanctions against all three regimes.
Suppose any of those three dictators were to say to Trump, “I propose we meet in a summit in Singapore in order to work out our differences.”
How would Trump, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA respond? They would either ignore the request or laugh and ridicule it. Why would Trump travel to Singapore to meet with any of those three socialist-communist dictators? He wouldn’t. There is a simple reason for that: In the eyes of Trump and the U.S. national-security establishment, Maduro, Diaz-Canel, and Ortega are nothing more than nothing-burgers. Trump is not about to travel thousands of miles away to have a summit with a nothing-burger.
So, why did Trump travel to Singapore to meet with Kim? Isn’t he just a dictator of a Third World country, just as Maduro, Diaz-Canel, and Ortega are? Of course he is, but there is one big difference: Kim has nuclear bombs and those other three communist-socialist dictators don’t. That’s why Trump took the time to travel thousands of miles away to meet with Kim, where he showered him with compliments and accolades and even saluted one of his brutal communist generals.
Now, let’s imagine the day that Kim were to destroy his last nuclear bomb. On that day, Kim would revert to the status of a nothing-burger, the same status that those other three socialist-communist dictators have. Ask yourself: Why would Kim be willing to give up his nuclear bombs in return for becoming a nothing-burger in the eyes of the president of the United States, the Pentagon, and the CIA, especially since becoming a nothing-burger could mean no more summits and no more compliments and accolades and, even worse, continued sanctions, as Trump has done with Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, and even the possibility of a military regime-change operation, as Trump discussed last year with the Pentagon with respect to Venezuela?
One possible answer is that North Korea might believe that Trump would fulfill his promise to bring condos to North Korean beaches and to bring economic prosperity to North Korea. Even if that were true, would North Korea really wish to become a nothing-burger in return for a promise by U.S. officials to turn North Korea into an economic paradise?
And, after all, how would Trump accomplish that, especially since Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, which don’t have nuclear weapons, are nonetheless economic basket cases? Would he somehow make North Korea’s socialist economic system work? Would he have the CIA and the Pentagon build the condos? Would he send in a gigantic welfare check, compliments of American taxpayers? Would he force U.S. builders to go to North Korea to develop their country?
More important, how can North Korea be assured that Trump and other U.S. officials will continue to treat North Korea with respect, compliments, and accolades after it becomes a nothing-burger? Trump and his officials don’t treat Maduro, Diaz-Canel, and Ortega with respect, compliments, and accolades. They treat them like nothing-burgers. Why should North Korea think that it wouldn’t be treated in the same way the minute it too becomes a nothing-burger.
Think of this way. Suppose the U.S. government ordered every American to turn in his guns to the federal government, just as it did with people’s gold in the 1930s. The government promises that if Americans comply with the order, the government will keep them safe and secure and will never do anything bad to them.
In fact, for many Americans it is inconceivable that the federal government would ever do anything bad to American citizens. For them, there would be no problem in trusting the federal government, including the troops, who they effusively thank for their service. They would wholeheartedly endorse the nationalization and confiscation of everyone’s guns.
So, let’s assume it happens. The American people are totally disarmed. The only ones who have the guns are the federal government and the state and local police. What happens if there is a crisis in which the president orders the troops to begin rounding up people and putting them into camps, where they are tortured, Abu-Ghraibed, abused, incarcerated indefinitely, or even executed without a trial or due process of law? What if the courts and the Congress go silent or even supportive, as they historically have during times of crisis?
At that point, could Americans say, “We made a mistake in surrendering our guns to the government. Can we have them back”? Sure, they could say it, but it wouldn’t do any good. The government would not give the guns back to the people. Agreeing to disarm is a mistake that people can make only once.
Is the U.S. government capable of doing such things? They have done such things. They rounded up innocent Americans in the crisis of World War II and kept them jailed without a trial or due process of law. They Abu Ghraibed people in Baghdad, after having converted Saddam Hussein’s brutal prison for their own brutal use. They installed into power and enthusiastically supported Chile’s military dictator, Augusto Pinochet, whose goons rounded up, raped, tortured, abused, disappeared, or executed thousands of innocent people. They continue to maintain their prison, torture center, and kangaroo “judicial” system at Gitmo in Cuba.
Any government, including the U.S. government, is capable of anything given the right circumstances. Our American ancestors understood that. That’s why they enacted the Second Amendment — to provide an insurance policy against the possibility of tyranny. They knew that government officials, including democratically elected ones, were capable of anything, especially during times of war and other crises. They knew that widespread gun ownership could serve as a deterrent to tyranny or, if things got really bad, could serve as a means of self-defense against a tyrant and his army. When regimes know that the citizenry has the means of defending itself, they act accordingly.
The situation with North Korea is no different. The North Koreans acquired nuclear bombs for one reason alone: to deter U.S. officials from attacking and invading North Korea or, if that failed, to provide the a means of defending themselves. So far, their strategy of deterrence has worked.
What might be easy to forget is that it was not North Korea who started this latest brouhaha. It was Trump who started it. North Korea was never threatening to initiate a nuclear war against the United States. It still isn’t. All that North Korea was saying was: If you start a war with us, we will defend ourselves with nuclear bombs fired at you.
That’s defense, not offense. Trump turned that attitude into a crisis. Recall that he stirred up the crisis by maintaining that North Korea’s mere possession of nuclear weapons threatened U.S. “national security.” He publicly demanded that North Korea destroy its nuclear weapons , or else. The “else” meant: If you don’t destroy your nuclear bombs, as we have ordered you to do, U.S. bombers will destroy them for you and, if you respond with nuclear weapons, we will flatten your entire country with nuclear fire and fury. Trump even brought hawk John Bolton, who has long publicly favored a regime-change operation against North Korea, into his administration to show that he wasn’t bluffing.
But Trump was bluffing, fortunately for everyone. And once he realized that North Korea was not going to back down and was willing to go to nuclear war, Trump realized that he had painted himself into a corner. That’s when he decided to accept Kim’s invitation to meet in Singapore, where he instantly became Best Friends Forever with one of the most brutal communist dictators in the world, much more brutal than Maduro, Diaz-Canel, and Ortega. Never mind that it was Trump himself who started the entire brouhaha in the first place and who ending up resolving the crisis that he himself started.
So, here we are in the same situation in which we were in before Trump initiated the brouhaha. North Korea still has its nuclear bombs but Trump says that they don’t pose a threat to U.S. national security and that every American can now sleep well. But what he obviously fails to recognize is that North Korea’s nuclear bombs have never posed a threat to U.S. “national security” because North Korea never had any intention of using them to start a war with the United States because Kim knows that if he were to start a war with the United States, his entire country would be carpet-bombed with nuclear bombs. At most, North Korea’s nuclear bombs posed a defensive threat to any plans by the CIA and the Pentagon (and Bolton) to initiate one of their storied regime-change operations against North Korea.
The situation was the same with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Concerned about the possibility that the Pentagon and the CIA would invade Cuba, Cuban President Fidel Castro invited the Soviet Union to install nuclear missiles on the island to deter an attack or, if that failed, to provide a means of defense. U.S. officials have always maintained that the missiles were “offensive” missiles, implying that they posed a threat to U.S. “national security.” That’s false. The missiles were entirely defensive. Their aim was to deter an attack or defend against a U.S. attack. As soon as President Kennedy vowed that the Pentagon and the CIA would not attack or invade Cuba again, the nuclear missiles were withdrawn and the crisis was resolved (except for the rage that the Pentagon and the CIA had toward Kennedy for what they considered to be cowardice, weakness, appeasement of the communists, defeat, and even treason.) Thus, what many acolytes of the U.S. national-security establishment fail to recognize today is that it was the Pentagon and the CIA and their threat of regime change, not Cuba, that were the root cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Since the very beginning in the 1950s, the U.S. government has been an interventionist buttinski regime in Korea, butting in to a civil war that was — and is — none of its business, just like it did in Vietnam. It has no legitimate role in butting in and trying to resolve Korea’s civil war. No one died and made the U.S. government the world’s international policeman, interloper, intervener, judge, jury, torturer, invader, resolver, executioner, or buttinksi.
What should Trump do? He should butt out our Korea by immediately bringing all U.S. troops home. The South Koreans don’t need Trump to negotiate and reach a deal on their behalf. They can do that themselves. It’s their country. Leave Korea to the Koreans. That’s the best way to arrive at a satisfactory resolution of Korea’s civil war.