Trump-Kim de-nuclearization talks were doomed to fail from the start
On Thursday, Feb. 28, President Donald Trump, second from right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from left, talk at a hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam. U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo is at right. Kim Yong Chol, a North Korean senior official and former intelligence chief is at left.| Korean Central News Agency

The chance that North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons approximates the chance of survival a snowball has in hell.

Whatever one thinks about the leadership of North Korea, with 100 percent certainty we can say the North Koreans act based on what they see the United States actually do as opposed to any promises Donald Trump makes.

We can’t know exactly what Trump said to Kim during their private talks during the summit in Hanoi. Let us assume, for example, that he told Kim the U.S. would not overthrow his government if he gives up his nuclear weapons. What are the chances that Kim would agree to something like that, considering the fact that the U.S. is now threatening to conduct regime change warfare in at least two countries, Iran and Venezuela?

“North Korea will look at Trump’s actions, not empty promises,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, a 2020 presidential candidate, tweeted last week. “We can’t expect Kim to believe we won’t overthrow him if he gives up his nukes when he sees us threaten to carry out regime-change war in Iran and Venezuela.”

Unfortunately, most of the media punditry around the Trump-Kim talks not only misses this important point but, after missing the point, goes on to deal with only peripheral rather than basic issues. We hear that Trump came back with nothing and that Kim essentially took the president for a ride, using him to promote his own image as a leader on the world stage. We see liberals gloating that “Trump failed” in his mission.

Nowhere on cable TV are they talking about how arrogant and insulting it was to leave out South Korea, a nation of over 50 million people, from the talks. Powerful movements for peace and progress in that country have resulted in the election of a government committed to peace on their peninsula and committed to mutually beneficial trade and other relations between the North and South. Trump only bothered to call the South Korean President Moon Jae-in when he was on the way home after the summit “broke down.”

There is much talk about the fact that there was no agreement on what “de-nuclearization” means. That’s because the liberal media accepts the outrageous position that it is acceptable to demand that North Korea dismantle its nuclear weapons but that it is not OK to question the right of the United States to have nuclear-armed submarines in the waters surrounding the Korean peninsula. With all the talk last year about North Korean missiles that could reach the U.S., never mentioned was the fact that U.S. nukes, from where they are positioned, can, in minutes, destroy the entire Korean peninsula—along with Japan and big sections of China.

Talking about “de-nuclearization” in Korea makes no sense unless U.S. nuclear weapons are also on the table. What the rest of the world combined spends on weapons is dwarfed by the $700 billion U.S. military budget.

And there’s a lot more to consider:

Trump just canceled an historic nuclear arms treaty signed in the 1980s by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. That treaty banned the placement of medium-range missiles in Europe. This is particularly dangerous since right-wing regimes in Eastern Europe have been clamoring recently for the placement of such U.S. missiles on their territories, missiles that could destroy major Russian population centers in minutes.

Prior to that, Trump canceled the nuclear deal with Iran, raising the danger of war breaking out in that region. When he canceled the deal, his national security adviser, John Bolton, spoke openly about regime change in that country and how the U.S. will celebrate the accomplishment of that at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Shortly after he took office, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Accord, endangering the sustainability and the future of the entire planet.

As if all of these things were not enough for the North Korean leadership to take in, there are the open attempts today to drive out the elected government of Venezuela and the declaration by President Trump that an un-elected figure is the real president of that country. U.S. troops are massing in neighboring Colombia for a possible invasion of Venezuela.

And then there is the memory of other leaders who made deals with the U.S. Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was told that if he gave up his nuclear ambitions he would not be overthrown. Within a few years of him giving up the plans for the nukes, the U.S. proceeded to assist in overthrowing him anyway. Worse than that, however, is the fact that the U.S. installed ruthless, reactionary terrorists in his place, and today Libya is far worse off than it was under Gaddafi.

Saddam Hussein, too, was overthrown in Iraq by a full-scale U.S. invasion which resulted in the deaths of as many as a million or more Iraqis. Few would argue that Iraq today is any better off than it was before the U.S. invasion.

The fact is that the talks with North Korea failed because Trump, like presidents before him, is carrying out a policy of world domination by U.S. capitalist business interests, a policy that has no use for democracy or human rights or free elections when they get in the way of what’s best for the world’s one percent.

Until we change over to a foreign policy that supports peace, progress, democracy, and labor rights around the world, rather than a foreign policy that props up the international capitalist profiteers, we will have a hard time getting anyone to have faith in negotiations with the U.S.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.