Pay Small Heed to Appearances
By Karl Pomeroy
Written for Quemado Institute
October 12, 2017
As US-Russian and US-North Korean relations seem progressively to deteriorate. diplomatic relations between Moscow and Pyongyang continue to improve. This trilateral dynamic is right on target for my prediction over the last six months: that peace would be achieved between the West and North Korea through a Putin-Trump “good cop bad cop” tactic.
Every barb US President Trump slings at DPRK leader Kim Jong Un further drives Kim toward friendly relations with Putin. Indeed, every threat of military action Washington delivers to Pyongyang helps cement the latter’s alliance with Moscow. Apparent escalation of American hostility toward Russia, as is evident in manufactured tensions such as the closure of the consulate or skirmishes in Syria, further encourages this east Asian alliance.
The end result will be a reduction of Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program and a peaceful assimilation of North Korea’s economy and foreign policy into the broader Asian sphere.
It will look like Trump was the bad guy, and that Putin effected this North Korean miracle in spite of the belligerence of the US President. Not so. Good cop and bad cop work simultaneously to accomplish a single goal. It’s just that the bad cop has to be willing to sacrifice his image, which Donald J. Trump definitely is.
The American President cares only about results, and is willing to let the credit go to Putin.
Adam Garrie, in an article today at The Duran (North Korea recognises that Crimea is part of Russia on 69th anniversary of Moscow-Pyongyang relations), reports further major steps toward cooperative relations between Russia and North Korea:
“Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are currently celebrating the 69th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The Soviet Union was among the earliest supporters of Pyongyang and Russia remains an important neighbour to North Korea, even though recent events in the wider world have put a mild strain on relations.
“Earlier today, the Russian news agency Tass released an interview with the DPRK’s Foreign Minsiter Ri Yong-ho, who generally spoke positively about the sate of relations between the neighbouring states.
“In the last hour, Pyongyang announced that it has officially joined the list of countries that accept reality and understands that the Crimean peninsula is an integral part of the territory of the Russian Federation. …
“The move by Pyongyang is a gesture of good will that indicates, as stated in the North Korean Foreign Minister’s Tass interview, the willingness of Pyongyang to begin cooperating in Russia’s peace process for East Asia which includes tripartite cooperation between Moscow, Pyongyang and Seoul. Additionally, Pyongyang has stated that it recognises the Kuril Islands (partly claimed by Japan) as Russian territory.
“Earlier, Ri Yong-ho stated that Pyongyang’s only reservation in respect of the tripartite economic cooperation proposals, first made last month by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is that North Korea is unwilling to progress in such deals until the US de-militarises its positions in the region and stops threatening the DPRK with war.
“The move today, is therefore indicative of the desire of North Korea and Russia to work together to overcome regional obstacles in the way of peace and cooperation. The primary obstacle is and remains the United States.”
I would add that the primary obstacle appears to remain the United States, but that in reality Trump will prove instrumental in bringing peace and cooperation between North Korea and the world at large.