Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 11, 2018

The historians and experts are all hysterical about the historic meeting between Trump and Kim. They warn that JFK appeared too week while Nixon’s aggression didn’t intimidate. No one can win in the eyes of the hindsight expert who sees himself as the smartest guy in the room. But, history has already been made: Trump brought Warmbier home and Kim to the table. No one has done either before as a sitting president.

For the record, former President Bill Clinton did bring home Lisa Ling’s younger sister from North Korea under Kim Jong-Il, but he wasn’t president at the time and he wasn’t dealing with the same leader. Still, Clinton deserves kudos. Presidents Clinton and Trump should have a victory cigar together at some point.

Kim Jong-Un is a kid who has never known the free world. Though there are rumors of him having attended school as a kid in Europe, it would have been just enough to gain an appetite, not an understanding. Donald J. Trump is an old, wealthy man. With talk of a McDonald’s and a Trump resort in North Korea being on Kim’s wish list, everyone should expect the conversation to be that of the young kid eagerly asking daddy for gifts. Trump’s answer will likely be similar to his response to Senator Feinstein, “Sure we can do that…” with the added, “But, those things aren’t given by eternally rich countries since no country is eternally rich. Those things are part of a world culture of people coming in and going out, but your father and grandfather wouldn’t let people go in or out. If you just let people go in and out, you can get those things yourself without having to ask me.”

In all likelihood, no one has ever told those things to Kim Jong-Un before, not even South Korean President Moon who began the current outreach. Everyone has his role. Moon was the charm, Trump may be the evangelist who delivers the good news no one else could. This meeting is not about a hashed-out, jig-sawed “deal”; it’s about the only man in the world with both the power and the words to explain life and love to the only man in the world who can’t receive those ideas from anyone else.

As Trump and Kim prepare to meet tomorrow, the main news in the Western press about China is China possibly spying on the Trump-Kim summit, that and flashbacks to Nixon and Mao. The rest focuses on the old script of news in China: economics. The SCO summit includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Russia, China, and India. They basically met to agree that they agree. Clearly, China and its neighborhood is solidifying a stark alliance to contrast morphing alliances in the West—and the West’s growing alliance with some nations to China’s east.

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