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Rather writes: "The news of a potential meeting between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hits like a thunderclap. There is shock and disbelief, and then a cavalcade of questions."

Dan Rather. (photo: CBS)
Dan Rather. (photo: CBS)


North Korea and the Prospect of Peace

By Dan Rather, Dan Rather's Facebook Page

09 March 18

 

he news of a potential meeting between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hits like a thunderclap. There is shock and disbelief, and then a cavalcade of questions. Where did this come from? Why was it announced by a South Korean delegation to Washington? Why were many in the U.S. government caught seemingly unaware of the President's decision? What is the end game?

One has to enter these developments with a very healthy dose of skepticism, and even a weary pessimism, considering the tortured history of escalation and broken promises. There must also be worry that the American diplomatic corps, so vital for a high-stakes showdown like this, has been decimated. North Korea remains one of the most brutal and duplicitous regimes on Earth, if not the most. Having covered many high-level summits, I also know that they are meticulously planned and prepared affairs. One cannot but worry at how this President will approach these negotiations.

But there is no way to cut it, this is a big development.

The President’s partisans are already claiming that this vindicates his bellicose approach to the tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Perhaps. Or perhaps Kim had his arsenal and is negotiating from strength. Or perhaps this is a ruse. Or perhaps it's a chance for Kim to get what he and his predecessors always wanted, legitimacy on the world stage. Or perhaps something else. Or perhaps, and likely, it's a combination of many factors.

One note I wish to add is that there has been a tough bipartisan agreement for decades to keep the Korean threat as contained as possible. And I think that deserves some acknowledgement. To wish that foreign policy was not as political is perhaps foolishness considering our fraught partisan environment. But wish it nonetheless I do.

For in the end I worry a lot less about credit than about calm. I want peace no matter who takes a victory lap. I think odds are against a breakthrough here and there are many reasons to fear things could go horribly wrong but I pray that these fears are proven incorrect. This is about our country and our world. May we find a way to proceed in peace with our allies and our adversaries.

We shall see...


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+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-09 15:39
It is sad to see Dan's pessimism. This did not come as a surprise. Trump has said off and on that he would meet with Kim Jong-un. And it seemed somewhat "in the cards" when the South and the North began to work together on the Olympics. On the North Korean side, it has been asking for high level meeting for about 70 years. And finally Putin has been suggesting this meeting for about a year. (Now we will hear that Trump is going as Putin's puppet).

I have not read the letter of invitation that came from Kim Jong-un so I don't know if there are any goals indicated for the meeting. Kim Jong-un did say to S. Korea that he'd give up nuclear weapons if the South would guarantee non-aggression from the US. My guess would be that the invitation to Trump came out of this.

I'm worried about Trump's short attention span. He may change his mind or forget it in a few weeks. And I'm worried about the dipolomatic corps which will do all it can to preserve the status quo of the last 70 years. I hope Trump leaves them at home.
 
 
+1 # ericlipps 2018-03-11 09:09
Quote:
I have not read the letter of invitation that came from Kim Jong-un so I don't know if there are any goals indicated for the meeting. Kim Jong-un did say to S. Korea that he'd give up nuclear weapons if the South would guarantee non-aggression from the US. My guess would be that the invitation to Trump came out of this.

I'm worried about Trump's short attention span. He may change his mind or forget it in a few weeks. And I'm worried about the diplomatic corps which will do all it can to preserve the status quo of the last 70 years. I hope Trump leaves them at home.
Let's see if I have this right:
(1) Kim said he'd give up his nuclear weapons if SOUTH KOREA would GUARANTEE that the UNITED STATES would refrain from aggressive moves. Just how is Seoul supposed to do this? And just how much faith can be placed in Kim's promise?

(2) You're worried that Trump might change his mind in a few weeks, but you want him to leave all the people with actual diplomatic experience behind and just wing it.

What are you smoking, and is it legal? If it is, should it be?
 
 
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-11 20:16
The long serving diplomats are the problem. They have failed for 70 years. What was that about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Was it the definition of insanity. I hope Trump goes alone. Then he and Kim can meet without dragging in all the baggage and history of past failures. They can talk like two human beings. They can take a fresh look at the situation. This is what is needed. All the past failed dipolmats can just go to hell.


I gave up smoking a long time ago. Bad for your health, so I heard.
 
 
+4 # DongiC 2018-03-09 17:55
Amen, brother, amen!
 
 
+21 # tedrey 2018-03-09 19:56
Yes, "there has been a tough bipartisan agreement for decades to keep the Korean threat as contained as possible."

But I think there also has been a tough bipartisan agreement for decades not to allow the Korean threat to be actually solved, but to keep it active for political purposes of fear and manipulation.

I am afraid that the MIC will not allow an agreement on this matter. They profit too much from its continuance. I do hope I'm wrong.
 
 
+14 # janie1893 2018-03-10 01:58
I believe Trump has been feeling pressure from the Mueller investigation and the Stormy suit.
This is his way of having the public dismiss
the potential threats from those 2 issues. He may meet with Kim and have a miracle happen in the way of further talks, upon which he thinks he will become a great American hero.However, he or Kim will probably cancel the meeting at an opportune moment and another big nothing will have occured.
 
 
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-10 10:00
janie -- good thought. This may be a reverse "Wag the Dog." Instead of a war to distract the people from a bimbo eruption, we might get a Peace distraction. I would love it. We need more of it. Peace will make all the Stormy Daniels into long forgotten news.

but it would be nice to see Stormy get a few hundred thousand just for her efforts. After all, she played the instrumental role in pushing Trump toward Peace. Or let's hope that is how it happens.
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2018-03-10 19:52
But for the time being, the situation will calm down. Any disasterous confrontation will be delayed, hopefully until we can get rid of him.
 
 
+15 # Wise woman 2018-03-10 02:35
Spot on, Dan. America is not known for making peace here or abroad. However, being threatened with nuclear annihilation might spark some serious negotiation with "little rocket man." Let's hope that trump is up to taking this seriously and not resorting to juvenile school yard antics.
 
 
+12 # harleysch 2018-03-10 03:20
I wonder if anyone will acknowledge the role that Russia, China, Japan and South Korea have played in making the prospect for peace in the Korean peninsula possible -- acting in coordination with Trump. Perhaps Trump's desire for good relations with Russia has nothing to do with Putin's "meddling" in the U.S. election, and a lot to do with breaking out of the provocative and confrontational approach toward Russia taken by Obama and Hillary. By demonizing both Russia and China, the neocons, the media and the anti-Trump former "progressives" are missing a bigger story, of coordinated efforts at resolving a crisis which eluded the Obama administration.

Maybe Bush, Jr., should have met with Saddam, instead of using fake British reports on Iraqi WMDs to launch an ill-fated war? Maybe Obama should have met with Assad, instead of providing arms -- much of which ended in the hands of ISIS and Al Qaeda -- and training to "moderate rebels", to prolong a bloody civil war? How much death and misery in the Mideast could have been avoided by a coordinated diplomatic effort, including Russia and China?

I also place much of the blame on the same leaders of the intelligence community who have run the "Russiagate" fraud from the beginning, for the wars in the Mideast.
 
 
+8 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-10 06:47
One thing that might help the situation is to stop using false statements like this: " to keep the Korean threat." North Korea has never been a threat to anyone. The opposite is true. The US has been a threat to all of Korea and China since 1945. The US has truly awesome weapons surrounding N. Korea. The US really does have the capacity to wipe N. Korea off the map, and it nearly did that in the early 1950s.

N. Korea has ALWAYS expressed an interest in resolving a permanent peace treaty with the US and an interest in re-uniting with the South. The US has always been against this.

I agree with Rather that we want peace no matter who takes the credit -- Trump or Kim. Peace is what matters. There are powerful forces in the US who don't want peace at all. It is best to expose these war criminals.

We should support the bold steps by Kim and Trump in every way. We should help to make this opening path toward peace irreversible. I for one will say that if Trump concludes a peace agreement with Kim, he will have outdistanced the last 5 presidents in honor.

It is well to remember that an important reason why the CIA took out Nixon was his trips to China and Russia and his whole policy of detente. I expect to see the Russiagators ramping up their attacks dramatically. I hope not, however. I hope I am wrong.
 
 
+11 # chrisconno 2018-03-10 10:47
I don't have the feeling that this is anything but a ruse. Not so much North Korea's but more the buffoon-n-chief 's ruse. He made threatening overtures then claims success before anything is settled. Or, this is all orchestrated to show just how wonderful he is. What ever it is it doesn't seem real but could become a real catastrophe.
 
 
-1 # Earl1936 2018-03-10 13:03
Why anyone puts any credence into what Rather says is beyond me. After his about-face reporting on 9/11 he has lost all credibility.
 
 
+2 # tedrey 2018-03-10 16:42
I submit that could be said of a large proportion of our esteemed spokespersons both in government and journalism in our generation.
 

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