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Thread: How the “Moon Miracle” Made the Second Trump-Kim Summit a Reality

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    How the “Moon Miracle” Made the Second Trump-Kim Summit a Reality

    How the “Moon Miracle” Made the Second Trump-Kim Summit a Reality

    Moon Jae-in does not get nearly enough of the credit for forging peace in Northeast Asia. And yet, without Moon playing the vital role of peacemaker, the détente we see today between Washington and Pyongyang would never have occurred.

    He just doesn’t care who gets the credit. That’s the truth.”

    That’s what a senior South Korean government official said recently when I asked what President Moon Jae-in thought of how people perceive his role in helping to craft a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and specifically how much credit he deserves. “I would say Moon’s philosophy is that he doesn’t care who gets credit, a Nobel Prize, awards, fame or recognition for the changes we are seeing here in Korea. All he wants is a day where the thought of war on the peninsula is impossible to fathom.”

    We might just as well call President Moon Mr. Impossible. That’s the best way to describe what is taking place today in Northeast Asia—a shift that at the end of 2017 would have seemed inconceivable. North Korea has not fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in over a year nor tested a nuclear weapon. There have been three inter-Korean summits with a fourth likely coming soon . Moreover, there have been two U.S.-North Korea summits counting the one about to happen in Vietnam. There seems to be a once-in-a-generation chance to forge a different relationship with the Hermit Kingdom, with Moon being essentially the man in the middle between Pyongyang and Washington.

    That’s no easy task. While it was clear Moon entered office seeking a new beginning with his brethren in the north, South Korean officials in Seoul right around this time a year ago always made it a point to explain that Moon did not want to be perceived as a mere go-between when it came to U.S.-North Korea ties. As one official based in Seoul explained: “Our job is not to be seen as carrying water for Washington or Pyongyang. That could get complicated and unstable. We are happy to help as we can, but that can’t be our role.”

    How times have changed—and for the better. In a strange mix of fate, time, and circumstance, Moon has emerged as perhaps the only person who understands on the most intimate level what President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un are actually thinking about the difficult issues that impede better relations. Thanks to the January 2018 New Year’s Day speech opening the door to talks, Moon jumped at the chance and leveraged the Olympic Games in South Korea to his advantage, clearing the way for much-needed dialogue. Those successful games paved the way for the first inter-Korean summit, where Kim and Moon met at the Demilitarized Zone, with Moon making history crossing into North Korea and shaking hands with Chairman Kim.

    And let’s not gloss over the rough patches Moon has had to smooth over. Don’t forget how a piece of North Korean propaganda nearly scuttled the first Trump-Kim summit, with Washington canceling the summit in retaliation. Absent Moon’s efforts, holding what can only be called a snap summit with Kim to break the impasse, we might not be talking about a Hanoi Summit after all.

    Of course, while Moon’s motives are to foster peace and prosperity as well as an end to decades of hostile relations between Washington and Pyongyang, there is a much deeper driving force at work. I suspect Moon looks at the north with a mixture of hope and fear all wrapped into one, and that goes way beyond denuclearization. He likely is concerned that:

    -North Korea’s “new way,” as laid out in Kim’s 2019 New Year’s Day Address , could mean that if talks with Washington hit an impasse, Kim will simply decide to go all in on Chinese economic aid and assistance at some point. Seoul looks at the north, knowing it has few options for large scale economic growth now that its economy has reached first-world status and its demographics are less than ideal. Furthermore, North Korea could open trillions of dollars in potential profits for the south. In many respects, there is a race to Pyongyang that is now just beginning, and who is on the ground first when North Korea opens for business could stand to gain profits beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

    -Indeed, Moon’s strategy towards the north goes way beyond just trying to forge better relations and economic ties. I suspect Moon believes the best way to ensure North Korea is no longer a military threat is to tie its fortunes to not only South Korean investment but eventually the United States, the European Union, Japan and other nations eager to do business someday in the north. Pyongyang’s behavior would need to change knowing its economic future depended on the goodwill of corporations from nations that simply would not invest if we went back to the days of missile and nuclear weapons tests. Additionally, Pyongyang would need to clean up its human rights record. If those challenges can be addressed, and if Moon is thinking long-term, he might be gambling that rapid economic growth could be the ultimate security guarantee for the Kim regime, all thanks to South Korea and its allies—and not China.

    -In his heart of hearts, Moon is a Korean nationalist—and I mean that in a positive way. Moon believes that the Korean people must solve their divide largely on their own terms, avoiding outside powers dictating how reunification or even a less ambitious confederation would unfold. Washington or Beijing might not like that approach, but a Korean-led process of someday rebuilding a nation still dealing with its colonial legacy and its division after World War II would be one that is surely more sustainable and embraceable over the long-term.

    Whatever happens in the days ahead, if there was a different person sitting in the Blue House, then geopolitical events on the Korean Peninsula might have unfolded very differently. The Moon Miracle is real—and we should embrace it.

  2. Amen guacamole amen'd this post.
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    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
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    Thank you. That was an interesting read.
    "Down in the lowlands, where the water is deep,
    Hear my cry, hear my shout,
    Save me, save me"

  4. Amen Cow Poke amen'd this post.
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    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    It looks like the deal is off for now. The signing has been cancelled...Trump said something to the effect of: Sometimes you just have to walk away. Apparently Kim wasn't willing to completely disarm all his nukes....
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

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    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    It looks like the deal is off for now. The signing has been cancelled...Trump said something to the effect of: Sometimes you just have to walk away. Apparently Kim wasn't willing to completely disarm all his nukes....
    I sometimes feel like it isn't totally unreasonable, especially if they are worried about China.
    "Down in the lowlands, where the water is deep,
    Hear my cry, hear my shout,
    Save me, save me"

  7. Amen JohnHermes amen'd this post.
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
    Thank you. That was an interesting read.
    Was to me, too, and reminds me of the Reaganesque "it's amazing what we can accomplish when nobody worries about who gets the credit".

  9. Amen One Bad Pig amen'd this post.
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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    It looks like the deal is off for now. The signing has been cancelled...Trump said something to the effect of: Sometimes you just have to walk away. Apparently Kim wasn't willing to completely disarm all his nukes....
    It appears that he wanted all sanctions lifted before he would begin to disarm.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    It appears that he wanted all sanctions lifted before he would begin to disarm.
    And Trump exercised "walking away power".

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    And Trump exercised "walking away power".
    Which of course the left is lambasting him for right after complaining that he was giving away the store.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Which of course the left is lambasting him for right after complaining that he was giving away the store.
    Who was it who said "Trump could walk on water, and they'd blast him for not being able to swim". (or something like that)

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Here is something I think Trump is completely wrong on:

    Trump on Otto Warmbier's death: Kim Jong Un wasn't to blame
    The American college student died after being released from a North Korean prison in 2017 in an unconscious state.

    Kim Jong Un was not responsible for the horrific injuries sustained by American student Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after being released from 17 months of detention in North Korea, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

    "Some really bad things happened to Otto — some really, really bad things. But he tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word," Trump said, referring to the North Korean dictator.

    The president added that Kim told him that he "felt very badly about it."

    Trump said Kim had nothing to gain from the Warmbier situation.

    "I really don't think it was in his interest at all," he added at a press conference after their nuclear summit in Hanoi collapsed.

    Trump said Kim "knew the case very well but he knew it later."

    North Korea is one of the world's worst rights abusers and most repressive governments. International investigators have accused it of extermination, murder, torture, rape — among other things.

    Warmbier, 22, was arrested for taking a propaganda banner from a hotel while on a visit to Pyongyang in January 2016.

    The University of Virginia student from Ohio was later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

    The North Korean government released him in June 2017, and when he returned to U.S. soil, doctors found him to be in a state of unresponsive wakefulness.

    He died days later; the exact cause of death is still not known.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/t...-blame-n977516


    This was pure pandering on the part of Trump. The kid should not have been arrested in the first place, and it is obvious he was tortured and mistreated while in NK custody. To let Kim off the hook like that is disgusting.

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