Carnes: With such a checkered track record, be careful calling North Korea a win (column)
April 23, 2018
"Same old story, same old song and dance, my friend …"
No one could have guessed the 1974 lyrics from Aerosmith would be so prophetic, not once but twice, in America's dealings with North Korea.
"This is a good deal for the United States … North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons."
Yes, political doublespeak from an American president, but those were the words from a Clinton, not a Trump.
The year was 1994, and Slick Willie made a deal called the "Agreed Framework," where an international consortium (including South Korea and Japan) offered compromises in an attempt to prevent North Korea from ever getting its hands on a nuclear bomb.
It only took a few years for the world to learn North Korea was cheating on the deal, and they eventually conducted their first nuclear test in 2006.
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Like certain Starbucks managers, North Korea simply cannot be trusted.
And now, at the same time we're discovering Sean Hannity is Trump's caddy and Rudy Giuliani is driving the golf cart down at Mar-a-Largo during Barbara Bush's funeral, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suddenly announces, "From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. … The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test."
I will be one of the first to applaud President Trump if peace actually comes to the Korean peninsula for an extended period of time, but caution and critical thought should come into play before celebrations are in order, as this ain't our first rodeo.
The words "shut down" and "suspend" scream "trap" to those not afraid to remember history, as according to http://www.38north.org (a North Korean watchdog group) the referenced test site has suffered "substantial damage" and would not survive another test, so they could merely move to another location.
And perhaps Kim is simply done testing and is now ready to mass produce as many missiles as he wants.
And is it paranoid to note at the same time North Korea backs off, Iran steps up their nuclear rhetoric?
Or how about China? The world has always known of China's wish to control the entire peninsula, and just last month, Kim had a meeting with China's leader, Xi, in China (he rarely leaves North Korea borders).
North Korea has always clung desperately to China for food, medicine, energy, etc., and this entire episode could be a Chinese ploy to finally rid South Korea of American forces, which we could consider if the two Korea's become friends again.
The day after we leave the 38th Parallel, China could swoop in and take over faster than Trump changed his mind about Russian sanctions.
I'm simply saying this entire episode just doesn't pass the political smell test and conjures up the Aerosmith song, "Rats in the Cellar."
But to be perfectly honest, I think Aerosmith's biggest hit is even more appropriate when it comes to North Korea dropping its nuclear program, settling for peace and reunifying with South Korea.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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