Day: June 12, 2018

Background Briefing: June 12, 2018


Singapore Summit Light on Disarmament

We begin with the choreographed Kim-Trump photo-op that was very light on substance and even lighter on the takeaway, a one-page signed agreement which promised much less than the 1994 and 2006 joint communiques, which has left almost all specialists on Korea and U.S. officials who have dealt with the peninsula considerably underwhelmed. Grace Liu, a Research Associate at the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey, joins us to discuss what was left undone and glossed over and that is some kind of nuclear arms reduction agreement with North Korea in exchange for vague security guarantees offered by Secretary of State Pompeo who declined to describe what they might be. With no substantial action forthcoming on denuclearization the Singapore summit was hardly a victory for disarmament but now that the door is open for more meetings ahead, we will assess whether at the end of the day the best deal that could be arrived at between the U.S. and North Korea might end up looking a lot like the Iran deal which Trump tore up.


Maybe the Ego-Driven Amateur is the Right Person to Pull Off the Korean Deal

Then we speak with Kyung Moon Hwang, a Professor of History and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California who writes a bi-weekly column for the Korea Times of Seoul whose most recent study is “Rationalizing Korea”.  He joins us to discuss how the ego-driven amateur who talked of pristine North Korean beaches as real estate opportunities to build condos, might just be the best person to pull of this deal since clearly over the decades the professionals have failed. We will also look into the frightening signal that a desperately poor country devoting all of its resources to make nuclear weapons sends to the world; if you want respect and to be taken seriously, then get a nuke.


How a Trade War With Canada Could Backfire

Then finally we speak with the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University, Leo Panitch about President Trump’s new best friend the North Korean dictator he describes effusively as “a talented man who loves his country very much” compared to his newest global enemy Canada’s Prime Minister who Trump refers to dismissively as Justin. We discuss how China reaches out to the world by building roads while Trump builds walls.