Tag Archives: North Korea

Emil Guillermo: Trumping Kim Jong Un’s “bomb” claim in news cycle, Trump says, “China should solve that problem.” So a Trump presidency’s foreign policy on a big issue like N.Korea is essentially a business solution: You outsource it. And then he tells CNN, he’d get Mexico to help pay to build his wall or tax their trade. Talk radio campaign stuff.

It’s all business with Trump. China can handle North Korea? “They can handle it so easily,” he says to CNN. “They’re taunting us.” Trump’s answer is to use the leverage of taxing trade.

Trump laughs at the politicians who think he’s kidding. And then on his wall along the Mexican border, says Mexico will have to pay for it. Or he’ll put tariffs on trade. Everything is easy with Trump. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy in real life.

Emil Guillermo: U.S. disputes Kim Jong Un’s bomb size. Yes, it’s come to that. When is an H-bomb a Hoax bomb? When it lacks the visual punch of a hydrogen fusion explosive and more of the smaller footprint of an atomic fission bomb. But either is a big birthday candle for Kim who turns 33 on Jan. 8.

When is an H-bomb a Hoax bomb?  The U.S. says the size is inconsistent with hydrogen bombs, and more like fission type atomic bombs.  So a bomb isn’t always a BOMB.

And this may be Kim’s way to have one foot in the news cycle, a step ahead of Donald Trump.

Dennis Rodman’s apology for outburst on Kenneth Bae might still produce a “silver lining”

From CNN and Reuters, snippets of the Dennis Rodman apology:

“I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae’s family,” Rodman, 52, said Thursday in a statement released by his publicist Jules Feiler. “I want to apologize to my teammates and my management team. I also want to apologize to Chris Cuomo.”

 “I embarrassed a lot of people,” said Rodman, who traveled to North Korea with other former NBA players for a basketball game against a North Korean team. “I’m very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry.”

He said the day of the interview had been “very stressful.”

“Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates,” he said, adding that his dream of “basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart.”

“I had been drinking,” he said. “It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed.”

 

I still feel Rodman may have inadvertently given the Bae family some hope. I know the family is outraged, but more people know about Kenneth Bae today than did after Bae’s mother went to visit Bae in North Korea last month.  That was a :30 second blip on the news, if that.

Now people are at least  wondering about Bae and talking about him in a way that could force real diplomatic action.

As silver linings go, it’s an odd one. But when dealing with North Korea, you take your silver linings where you can get them.

 

 

 

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Defending the Worm? Why we shouldn’t beat up Dennis Rodman too much

An old pair of Dennis Rodman Converse high-tops, the ones emblazoned with that weird sun shape, are somewhere in my Smithsonian called a garage.

I didn’t have Jordans. I had a pair of Rodmans.  So you know, I have a passing appreciation for the style and basketball ability of the old Rodman.

That was the Rodman of the NBA. Not the UN.

Known as “The Worm,” Rodman was valued as a tough guy defender and rebounder. That’s all.  He didn’t score points. Wasn’t his job.

That’s the way we should see him in his role as Diplomat Dennis.

The guy’s  no Madeleine Albright.

And after his history making trip to North Korea, he’s certainly not scoring points for himself, or Kim Jong Un for that matter.

But he’s grabbed the media’s attention, and in doing so, he’s created the chance for us all to see what truth, if any, we can glean.

So much isn’t known about North Korea in the U.S., we can hardly stand it when even an aging pop/sports star gets a glimpse behind the curtain. No one gets that kind of access to the country or its leadership. With or without a jockstrap.

That’s why blasting Rodman for not knowing the contents of your standard CIA dossier or for his inability to recite the human rights violations of the North Korean government, just seems—to mix sports metaphors—like piling on.

It would be better to just ask him without judgment all that he saw. Dennis’ world is part fantasy, after all. I mean, the guy did date Madonna.

Instead of berating him for his ignorance of the evil of North Korea, because of his unique trip, we should be happy getting his different look of a country that’s generally under cover.

And then, most certainly, juxtapose it with what we know of the ongoing misery of a starving nation, and the refugee situation along the China border. Rodman doesn’t refute that. Rodman was never known for his articulation.  Just by going there, he accents the contradictions in North Korea.

Remember Rodman was never the scorer. Just the rebounder. Kim Jong Un may be using Rodman. But this odd pairing, only puts the issues of the North Korean people back on the mainstream radar, where North Korea seems to come into focus only when it lets out a little steam with a nuclear test.

Now, thanks to Rodman, it’s time for the human rights activists and the North Korea specialists to make their points and score.

The Worm has done his job.

Remember, he’s no Madeleine Albright.

 

Wake of the week: Kim Jong-il still dead

Kim Jong-il is still dead.  Let’s all have a meal?

There are just three ways North Korea can go after the death of the despot. .

It can get worse. Much worse. Or it can get better. But not that  much better. Or it can stay the same. That’s probably the best of the three options. No heavy lifting required by the U.S., China. The U.S. doesn’t know what to do. And China likes to keep an ideal vision of repression around as it develops its hybrid capitalistic communism.

So it doesn’t look great for North Korea. But we can always hope for a little bit more.

http://aaldef.org/blog/yearning-for-a-north-korean-spring.html

Unlikely that Kim Jong-un is the “Un-Kim Jong-il.

Although, he seems to have a similar hair-thing going on.

What I find strange is that food has become a bargaining chip as governments try to assess the future.

People are starving over there.  The warnings have been out for sometime by UNICEF about the gravity of the situation.

Putting any plans for food aid on hold while the U.S. comes up with a political strategy, isn’t very humane.  Get the people something to eat.  Food first, then politics. 

www.aaldef.org/blog

Happy Holidays to all. I like Christmas, maybe even more than Tim Tebow. But I respect your holiday too.

New things coming up in 2012 on the amok.blog

Thanks for checking in.

Ling and Lee are free: All it took was a former president

If you were wondering where Al Gore has been in the  diplomatic effort to free his two employees jailed in North Korea, Bill Clinton provided you the answer.

Gore wasn’t big enough.

It takes a former president with with enormous global charisma to do what was needed to produced  Laura Ling and Euna Lee. the two journalists with Gore’s Current TV found guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in North Korea.

Jimmy Carter wasn’t big enough. Bush I and II? Are you kidding?

The North Koreans wanted Bill Clinton over for dinner.  And they got him.

Once I heard Clinton was heading to see Kim Jong Il, I knew it would be just a matter of days that the pawns in question  would be produced, safely in all  his high drama.

Now the question is what does the U.S. give up in exchange. Clinton is a start, but it’s just the beginning to a real transition to…..?

It’s unclear. Currently, there are no official diplomatic ties between the U.S. and North Korea. So Clinton going as an unofficial offical keeps the status quo both in check, but potentially in flux.  Obama and Clinton can maintain their hardline. But Kim Jong Il gets to show all his people that he still has standing, with or without nukes. He’s got Bill Clinton over for kimchee  and a photo op.

Americans are supposed to be puzzled as to what’s next.

But if you’re in North or South Korea, you’ve got to be in awe.

If you’re starving in North Korea, you have hope today.  U.S. recognition brings the possibility of change.  If you’re in Seoul, you have to worry.  If you’re in either country and you  doubted the power of his hairness in North Korea, you are simply starstruck. The guy who looks like he’s on his death bed still has some juice. He got Bubba to stop b,  and all the players got a little something.

Clinton got to ride into the sunset the hero. You think Clinton hesitated to be in that role, one-upping both his wife and the current president (both of whom were admittedly hamstrung).  Clinton’s stock rises.

It certainly was worth it to Kim Jong Il.

And Laura Ling and Euna Lee ?

They now come home safely, with the story of their lives.