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Winning by Losing - The Trump Way

Don't be fooled by South Korean commendations for President Trump; nothing more than flattery and "window dressing" to appease the U.S. president when presented with agreements that he cannot refuse and is willing to accept.

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by Dan Lieberman

Media accounts of the Korean summit portray President Donald Trump's policies as a prime mover and deciding factor in bringing the two Koreas together to peace and reconciliation and a possible end to the Korean War.

The words Nobel Prize are being associated with the U.S. president - a gross distortion of reality. Trump rails against his predecessors for their inept efforts in halting North Korea's thirty years of nuclear activities and advancements, yet, during Trump's one year in office the North completed testing their nuclear developments, accomplished a thermonuclear explosion, and successfully launched intercontinental missiles (ICBM) that could theoretically reach the United States' mainland. In his first year in office, President Trump's blunder and bluster allowed, or more correctly, forced Kim Jong-un to advance his military strength by more than his family achieved in all the decades preceding Trump.

Arrangements to bring peace to the Korean peninsula, predicted in a previous article, Doves Flying Over the Korean Peninsula, have occurred because of President Trump's inadequacies and not because of any abilities. As outlined in the previous article,

South Korea has recognized that its interests are no longer compatible with U.S. interests. After 70 years of active presence and influence on the Korean peninsula, U.S. policies and actions have not made the area stable, stimulated a more belligerent North Korea, provoked its nuclear capability, and led to the menacing destruction of the Korean peoples.

From another perspective, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and signing of a peace treaty to end the Korean War are victories for the North Koreans, who only pursued nuclear weapons to force a resolution of these issues. What value are nuclear weapons to the North other than to counter threats from the United States? Does the North have physical nuclear weapons or only the know-how to manufacture these weapons? If it is the latter, then will denuclearization mean removing only the U.S. nuclear arsenal from the peninsula?

The U.S. pressured with power; the North responded with power, and the South felt the heat. It is no coincidence that the North-South meeting and agreements came about after South Korean leader, Moon Jae-in, met with China's President Xi Jinping in December 2017, a South Korean delegation met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in early March 2018, Kim Jong-un met with China's President Xi Jinping in late March 2018, and the two Korean leaders met in April 2018.

All these meetings were between delegations that had previously expressed hostility. What were the meanings of these hastily arranged dialogues if not to form a suitable plan that satisfied these Asian nations and bring an end to their conflicts and crises? Unless "behind the scenes meetings" included the U.S., and none have been mentioned, China, South Korea and North Korea, without the United States, designed the mechanisms to bring peace between all of them. Don't be fooled by South Korean commendations for President Trump; nothing more than flattery and "window dressing" to appease the U.S. president when presented with agreements that he cannot refuse and is willing to accept. Devoid of any consistent and coherent policy that provides a U.S. solution to the Korean dilemma, Trump will gladly accept agreements that relieve him of responsibility for solving the crisis...

The Korean meetings demonstrate a failure for U.S. interests, whose policies intended to prevent the North from acquiring nuclear weapons, while maintaining U.S. weapons and presence in South Korea as a challenge to China, and as a means to stall reunification and the creation of an economic powerhouse. The latter merges North Korea's mineral wealth and hard working population with South Korea's industrial might and enables a more competitive Korea to combat U.S. industry. How about KIA automobiles at $10,000, FOB included?

Trump would have been smart to offer the North what it eventually achieved; thus preventing Kim Jong-un from further pursuit of the nuclear option, completing development of ballistic missiles, and having the world frightened by the thoughts of impending nuclear warfare. Denuclearization and a peace treaty are only a prelude to reunification and eventual request to have U.S. military forces leave the Asian mainland. 

It is not only in Asia where President Trump has falsified the record.

One of Trump's triumphant tweets claims, "In any event, the United States, under my administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our 'Thank you America'?"

Not so fast! U.S. air power facilitated the eventual drubbing of an overrated ISIS, which had offensive capability only against very weak defenders. However, the Iraqi militias and Syrian militias, including Kurdish fighters, did the vital ground fighting and sacrifices to finish ISIS. Iraq military and its militias fought to Mosul and through Mosul. Syrian army and its militias helped recapture Aleppo, which rejuvenated the Syrian forces, allowed them to expand in other terrain.

Eventually chase ISIS from Palmyra, and allowed a path for the Kurds in their successful showdown with ISIS in Raqqa. Without U.S. air power in Mosul, more Iraqi fighters may have been casualties and the battle might have taken longer, but the outcome would have been the same -- thousands of moderately equipped ISIS fighters could not contain tens of thousands of well-equipped Iraq military.

Ground the U.S. air force in Raqqa and the Russian air force takes its place. It was even possible that the Syrian army and Kurds could have coordinated strategy in Raqqa and eastern Syria, and, with Russian air power, succumbed ISIS in less time, with less destruction, and with less civilian casualties. 

Iran and its allies were wise to solicit U.S. assistance and air force capabilities for defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria. On the contrary, President George Bush rejected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's offer to assist the U.S. in the war against terrorism and Iran's offer of aid for Afghanistan's reconstruction. The result of these neglects - an expansion of terrorism in the Euphrates basin, the rise of ISIS, the revival of the Taliban, and ISIS presence in Afghanistan. Compare Iraq and Syria today with the status of Afghanistan - Iraq is somewhat pacified, Syria has seen much progress in defeating its insurgency, while Afghanistan remains a violent battleground with the Taliban advancing and ISIS becoming more active.
If President Trump wants to take credit where credit is not due, he should also be aware of the debts he owes to the families of those killed in U.S. air raids (in sovereign nations that were not enemy states) and to the Kurds whom he betrayed.

INDEPENDENT, Mythili Sampathkumar New York, 26 January 2018

More than three-quarters of the civilians killed during the four-year war against Isis in Iraq and Syria occurred during Donald Trump's presidency, new figures show. A total of 831 civilians have been "unintentionally killed" over the period, according to the US military's own figures.

Airwars, a journalist-led watchdog of the coalition, has said the number is closer to 6,047 civilians who have been killed since the start in 2014. The group said the number of airstrikes by the coalition, made up almost entirely of US planes, increased by nearly 50 per cent in Iraq and Syria in 2017 compared with the previous year. Civilian deaths rose by 215 per cent.

Due, partially, to Trump's desertion of them, the Iraqi Kurds have lost control of Kirkuk, and the Syrian Kurds have lost control of Afrin province. Once on a path to either independence or becoming a federal republic, the Iraqi Kurds are now entirely subordinate to their own Iraq government, and the Syrian Kurds must contend with a foreign power - Turkey - which is now controlling their movements.

Other failures in Trump's foreign policies include Palestine and Yemen.

Upon entering office, Trump claimed he would resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict. Instead, his policies for resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict have increased destruction of the Palestinian community and increased Israel's oppressive and illegal tactics. On November 29, 1947, the U.S voted for United Nations General Assembly resolution 181, which stated, "The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. “On August 20, 1980, the U.S. abstained in Security Council Resolution 478, which "notes Israel's non-compliance with UNSC res 476 and condemns Israel's 1980 Jerusalem Law which declared Jerusalem to be Israel's 'complete and united' capital, as a violation of international law. The resolution states that the Council will not recognize this law, and calls on member states to accept the decision of the council. This resolution also calls upon member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city."

Despite legal commitment to United Nations Resolutions, and to an organization it founded, President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and is moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The city will be the capital of a state that has no established borders, and is therefore not a nation state. 

Trump's contribution to resolving the conflict in Yemen is to continue supplying Saudi Arabia with aircraft to pulverize the Houthis, allowing the Yemen war to continue with civilians being killed year after year - Trump's gift to the wheelchair industry.

In other regions, U.S. influence has severely declined.

South America has few nations (Columbia, Chile, Peru) that ally entirely with the United States. In Africa, U.S. presence is now represented by coverts forces that operate against Al-Qaeda and ISIS, both of whom seem to expand more than decline. The United States will always have military and economic power to influence and control other nations.

Nevertheless, Trump has succeeded in trending U.S. regional influence to include mainly North America, Mauritius, and The Marshall Islands. President Trump's America first policy has brought America to retreat.

Dan Lieberman edits Alternative Insight, a commentary on foreign policy, economics, and politics. He is author of the book A Third Party Can Succeed in America, a Kindle: The Artistry of a Dog, and a novel: The Victory (under a pen name).


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