But Kim will never give up his ballistic missiles. Instead he will insist on keeping them by claiming they are now for North Korea's infant space program. Due to his intense testing program over the last two years, he is confident that -- should he ever need it -- these same missiles can be quickly retrofitted into nuclear delivery vehicles. He will never give them up. Never. The NRA would give up their guns before Kim would give up his missiles.Much Ado About Nothing .
Much has been made of Kim's promise to cease all nuclear bomb tests -- much of nothing. The north's nuclear test site is now unusable. The last test of a hydrogen bomb nearly collapsed the entire mountain. The tunnels beneath have collapsed. None of the site can be safely used for further tests. What Kim did with this factual lemon was to make lemonade. Again, well-played, Mr. Kim.
Aside from the military aspects, what does a formal peace treaty with the south mean in real terms? Nothing. Such a treaty would be a mere formality. The DMZ will not be thrown open between the two countries. Kim will surely agree to more economic cooperation with the south, since he needs the money, and his impoverished serfs need paying work.
What he won't do -- because he can't -- is open the north up to the south, much less the rest of the world. No totalitarian regime can long survive once its oppressed and uninformed populace learns how others in the world live. Opening the north to the world would be an act of regime suicide, and Kim doesn't strike me as suicidal, especially now.
Kim will also refuse to decommission his nuclear power facilities, claiming they are required for electrification projects in the civilian sector. Nor will he agree to give up the right to reprocess spent fuel or allow some other county to do it for him. He will never put his regime's future in the hands of any other country -- not China, not Russia. Remember, he is not just a control freak, but a murderous control freak.Endgame .
The final round of this drama will play out when Trump and Kim finally meet. Trump will soon learn that denuclearization means one thing to Kim and something very different to Trump. Haunted by his opposition to the "terrible" Iran nuclear deal, Trump will insist that North Korea give up all nuclear weaponry. Kim will tell Trump that he too has redlines and maintaining a nuclear infrastructure is the biggest one.
Talks at this level -- a summit -- are the endgame in any negotiations. When summits fail, negotiations are over. Which will mean the US is odd man out. The south and north will continue on their own, trying to find ways to live together, however awkwardly.
Meanwhile, the US will not bomb the north, because the south will not stand for it. China won't stand for it. Russia will not stand for it. Japan won't stand for it. All of Southeast Asia will not stand for it. The UN will not stand for it.
And if this summit fails, the uber-confident Trump will serve up his usual excuses, concocting nonsense about how he was stabbed in the back by his enemies -- Obama, Hillary, Democrats, the UN, blah, blah, blah. But in reality? Neutered by Kim Jong-un. Imagine that.
What we are witnessing now, as the media and politicians trumpet Kim's latest charm offensive as a remarkable feat of diplomacy, is in reality the most obvious piece of geopolitical sucker bait since Hitler convinced Nevin Chamberlin that all he really wanted was peace in Europe and security for Germany.
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