Some Points of Orientation on Trump’s Announcement of Talks with North Korea

March 10, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


1. What kind of world are we living in?

It is a fundamental outrage that we live in a world where the survival of humanity rests in the hands of someone like Donald Trump; that the people of the Korean peninsula, and humanity, are held hostage to his acts and speech.

Let’s not forget that he has threatened to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea “like the world has never seen before,” then doubled down at the UN with threats to “totally destroy” North Korea. We are being told this is what forced North Korea and Kim Jong-un to the table. We are being told this is Trump-style diplomacy, the “madman” theory, which Trump himself joked about recently.

Ask yourself: what kind of world is this?

2. Who is the real aggressor?

Let’s be clear: the U.S. has been—for 70 years—and remains the real aggressor here, starting with the Korean War of 1950-53, and ever afterward. And it must not be forgotten that during the Korean War, the U.S. carpet-bombed and eventually burned down every town in North Korea, and that an estimated three million Korean civilians, the great majority in the North, were killed in this war.

Even mainstream commentators have identified the existential and long-standing U.S. threats against the North Korean regime as one of the main reasons that they have pursued this nuclear deterrent in the first place, as a protective measure. (See here for more background on the U.S.-North Korea conflict.)

3. What is at stake in the negotiations—U.S. interests or those of humanity?

The U.S. will be pursuing its imperialist interests through negotiation, as it would through war, and these interests are fundamentally and through and through unjust and have nothing in common with those of the masses, worldwide and within the U.S.

These interests have to do with larger geopolitical considerations, great power rivalry, and fundamentally, the U.S. quest for continued dominance in a changing world. These are the interests that have resulted in and provoked the U.S.’s current aggressive stance, and remain its abiding and driving interests, not the situation and real interests of the people of the Korean Peninsula or humanity.

4. What is the context of the talks?

The proposed talks are fraught with grave dangers. Plans to negotiate take place in the context of an increasingly bellicose stance, direction, and policy posture overall by the U.S., one which is deeply linked to the fascist character of the regime. And this context includes the ramping up of military spending by this fascist regime—and its announced intention to expand, modernize, and make more useable the U.S’s planet-destroying arsenal of 4,000 nuclear weapons

Think about this before celebrating the negotiations: writing in the New York Times March 9, Victor Cha—a candidate for the post of ambassador to South Korea whose nomination was withdrawn because of differences and reservations with this regime over its consideration of a preemptive strike against North Korea, the “bloody nose” option—states:

Finally, everyone should be aware that this dramatic act of diplomacy by these two unusual leaders, who love flair and drama, may also take us closer to war. Failed negotiations at the summit level leave all parties with no other recourse for diplomacy. In which case, as Mr. Trump has said, we really will have “run out of road” on North Korea.

In fact, the dangers of war further heighten Trump’s need to walk the “last mile of peace.” This is a fast-moving situation. The talks may not even happen. Former UN ambassador John Bolton, whom Trump is reaching to as an advisor, has advocated using the talks to issue an ultimatum to North Korea: accept U.S. terms or else.

All of this makes the proposed negotiations fraught and dangerous, not the “magic and easy solution” to the dangers of what would, by all accounts, be a catastrophic war.

5. What has not changed, and what IS needed

The interests of the people here—and around the world—not only lie in NO WAR and NO THREATS OF WAR, but in ousting Trump/Pence regime altogether. Whatever happens with these negotiations, and whatever legitimacy Trump may get and seek to claim from this stance and act, it does not change the fundamental nature of this regime as fascist, with all the horrors it portends for humanity.

The only solution is mass political action, ultimately of millions, aimed at driving this regime from power before it can consolidate its power and/or unleash unprecedented horrors on the people of the world. As part of this, there is an urgent need for people to take to the streets to denounce the Trump regime's ongoing threats against North Korea, and to oppose any military action by the U.S.


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