No One Alive Today…

So what happened in Hanoi?

First, and most important, no agreement had been worked out before the Principals arrived, because Trump relies on personal relationships instead of the usual methods of statecraft. It’s simply his style, and in this case it blew up. Trump’s most powerful negotiating tool, the US Military. Is impotent because Seoul is hostage. Sanctions are slow, although they work best against the weak, and NoKo is weak.

Next, Kim overreached, believing that Trump needed an agreement more than he actually did. In the next meeting, closer to the 2020 election, Kim might have a better argument.

Finally, The NoKo is never going to give up their Nukes…well, never is too long. After full integration of North and South economies ala East and West Germany, full amnesty for regime sins, past and present, and assurances that the Kim family can remain in power forever…perhaps then.

I believe that Kim actually wants to stop his country’s periodic national starvation years. He probably overplayed his hand, and the Bromance with Trump will play out somewhat better next time. The sanctions hurt NoKo more than some countries because being so far north, crop failures are endemic, and NoKo must trade its raw material to import food.

Neither side wanted to come away with nothing, but the status quo ante hurts NoKo worse. Neither side is going to start a war, the US is more powerful economically daily and NoKo remains a wart on the globe. NoKo is a Nuclear nation against the wishes of four American presidents, but it can’t eat its Nukes. It can extort food from the South by threatening Seoul, but it is better positioned to negotiate away an unneeded facility or two, even a few Nukes, holding more hidden away

No one alive today will see this played out.

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