A vaguely creepy fake trailer, smoothly narrated and assembled by Team Trump, was shown yesterday to Kim Jong Un as an incentive for North Korea to de-nuclearize and generally behave in a more peaceful and constructive fashion.
“Destiny Pictures presents a story of opportunity. A new story, a new beginning. A story about a special moment in time, when an absolute ruler is presented with one chance which may never be repeated. What will he choose? To show vision and leadership? Or not?
“Featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un…in a meeting to remake history. To shine in the sun. One moment, one choice, what if? The future remains to be written.”
On one level Trump offering Kim a chance to improve his country’s financial health — to “advance his country and be part of a new world…shake the hand of peace and enjoy prosperity like he has never seen…a great life or more isolation?” — is a practical, constructive approach. In the darkest hours of the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson offered a similar carrot-and-stick appeal to North Vietnam, “a massive TVA-style development project for North Vietnam if Hanoi renounced its efforts to reunify the country by force.”
On another level Trump’s fake video — basically a sales pitch — reminds me on some level of that weird video shown to Warren Beatty‘s journalist character, Joe Frady, in Alan Pakula‘s The Parallax View. [After the jump.]
“Within North Korea, the ‘very special bond’ that Trump claimed to have formed with Kim will be portrayed this way: Kim forced the American president, through his nuclear and missile tests, to accept North Korea as a nuclear equal, to provide security guarantees to North Korea, and to cancel war games with South Korea that the North has protested for decades.
“In exchange for these concessions, Trump seems to have won astonishingly little. In a joint statement, Kim merely ‘reaffirmed’ the same commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that North Korea has repeatedly made since 1992.
“’They were willing to de-nuke,’ Trump crowed at his news conference after his meetings with Kim. Trump seemed to believe he had achieved some remarkable agreement, but the concessions were all his own.
“The most remarkable aspect of the joint statement was what it didn’t contain. There was nothing about North Korea freezing plutonium and uranium programs, nothing about destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles, nothing about allowing inspectors to return to nuclear sites, nothing about North Korea making a full declaration of its nuclear program, nothing about a timetable, nothing about verification, [and] not even any clear pledge to permanently halt testing of nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.
“Kim seems to have completely out-negotiated Trump, and it’s scary that Trump doesn’t seem to realize this. For now Trump has much less to show than past negotiators who hammered out deals with North Korea like the 1994 Agreed Framework, which completely froze the country’s plutonium program with a rigorous monitoring system.”