As profound as flushing the toilet.
That sums up the Joint Trump-Kim Statement. History will record it as the carnal embodiment of nullité sonore. No translation needed.
But why does that mean Kim won?
He who sets the definition of the situation controls the rules of the game. He who controls the rules of the game has the power and wins the game.
Our post "Kim Jong-un´s Game Plan" laid out his goal for all to see:
"What is actually involved involves nothing you are hearing or seeing from the White House or the mass media.
A colleague of mine at the University of Florida was for many years an army intelligence officer. He told me that the Soviet Union worked up a model for American politics: ´Indicators of Fascism.´ When the indicators are high, so is the risk of war; the Kremlin backs off, become conciliatory, moderate. They know that in a war the United States would win. After the indicators decline, the Kremlin goes back to business as usual.
I am sure North Korea has much the same model.
Their objective is not substantive change. Rather, it is to buy time until U.S. fascist tendencies subside and the danger is gone. You can bet that North Korea´s ´Indicators of Fascism´ right now are flying off the top of the political Richter scale.
Leaders of regimes such as North Korea have a totally different time perspective than U.S. leaders. Trump will be in office a maximum of six more years. Kim, on the other hand, if he lives into his eighties like his grandfather, will still be in power fifty years from now. Consequently, a change of tactics for 6 years for him and the people around him is nothing."
Buy time. We´ve seen Kim´s strategy before. The home-brewed version was dished out by Muhammad Ali who called it what it is: rope-a-dope.
The smaller weaker fighter leans against the ropes and concentrates on protecting himself while his stronger opponent delivers punch after punch. In the later rounds, when the stronger fighter has worn himself out, the weaker fighter unexpectedly mounts a knock-out offense.
All Kim needs to do to win -- i.e., to survive until the indicators of fascism in America subside -- is two things:
(i) Outlast Trump, which is a given. Trump will be in power a maximum of six more years. If Kim Jong-un lives into his eighties as did his grandfather, he will still be in power 50 years from now. Kim´s perspective of timing is totally different from Trump´s -- indeed, from that of Americans in general.
(ii) Land a few solid blows now and then, whereas Trump must content himself with delivering mostly blocked, symbolic punches -- symbolic because they look good but cause no decisive damage.
An important part of the rope-a-dope strategy is to hold Trump, the stronger fighter, close, depriving him of leverage; his blows lack power. Also, lean on him so that he must support his own weight and also Kim´s.
In toto, the weaker fighter keeps his opponent off balance.
Our prior post "The Kim-Trump Meeting: A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come" made a prediction:
"If the summit takes place, Trump will be at a manifest disadvantage. The proof will be in the pudding: Kim´s only concessions will be symbolic acts and words – dismantling more of his nuclear site, promises of peace – in exchange for real tangible concessions from the U.S., notably the cancellation of UN economic sanctions. For a perfect example of words-symbols versus reality-concrete, look no further than today´s headlines. China says it will substantially reduce the annual $335-billion U.S. trade deficit by buying more goods and services from America. America, in exchange, has already put its much ballyhooed punitive trade tariffs against China ´on hold.´ Every day they are delayed, China pockets millions of dollars.
The kicker: the Chinese never provided precise figures or dates for their increase in purchases from the U.S. The American punitive tariffs, to the contrary, are specific, detailed.
To sum up: China sold Trump a piece of blue sky. You can look for Kim to do exactly the same."
Time up; game over. Elvis has left the stadium. The crowd is heading for the exits; the janitors are sweeping up. Lights out.
Kim and Trump couldn´t even end the Korean War, a technicality to be sure, but nonetheless worth doing.
* * *
"I can´t give you a brain, but I can give you a diploma."
-- The Wizard of Oz --
Mainstream commentators are finally picking up on the real versus symbolic rewards con game. They are pointing out the incredible error of giving up something tangible, measurable, e.g., Trump is canceling war games with South Korea -- in exchange for, ah, ... what exactly?
The answer: blue sky. But judge for yourself -- here it is, acres of it:
"Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018. President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following: The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity. The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified. Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit -- the first in history -- was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit. President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world. DONALD J. TRUMP President of the United States of America KIM JONG UN Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea June 12, 2018 Sentosa Island Singapore"
To watch Ali´s masterful display of rope-a-dope accompanied by an insightful explanation, click here.
One fact stands out: the weaker fighter must be incredibly tough to pull it off.