Over the weekend, we looked at the deteriorating relationship between Washington and North Korea, leading to questions as to whether or not Kim Jong-un was about to resume full-scale nuclear weapons development and missile testing. After the thinly veiled threats from the hermit nation hit the news, President Trump fired up his Twitter app yet again to issue some cautionary warnings to that country’s dictator.
….with the U.S. Presidential Election in November. North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised. NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019
In a sign that the North Koreans probably are getting close to walking away from the table, their government released a statement directly insulting Trump. And reminiscent of a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, they threated to insult him a second time. (Associated Press)
North Korea insulted U.S. President Donald Trump again on Monday, calling him a “heedless and erratic old man” after he tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wouldn’t want to abandon a special relationship between the two leaders and affect the American presidential election by resuming hostile acts…
Kim Yong Chol said Trump’s tweets clearly show that he is an irritated old man “bereft of patience.”
“As (Trump) is such a heedless and erratic old man, the time when we cannot but call him a ‘dotard’ again may come,” Kim Yong Chol said.
The North Koreans are claiming that they “have nothing left to lose,” and don’t fear any retribution from the United States for that reason. That’s not entirely true, but it’s fairly close. They are already under so many sanctions from most of the world that it would be tough to take much more away from them. But that doesn’t mean that Kim is out of options.
Up until now, their dictator has been going out of his way to make sure he didn’t insult President Trump, even as he’s clearly been violating their previous agreements in secret and continuing weapons development. But if he’s ready to go back to his old ways, would he do so without a backup plan in place?
There’s one unpleasant possibility on the horizon that we haven’t given much thought to up until now. You’ll recall that Russia and China have recently been teaming up in an obvious challenge to American military and economic dominance. Also, we’ve known since last year that both countries have been quietly violating international sanctions and tossing Kim a lifeline.
Put all of these facts together and it’s hard to ignore the possibility that Kim Jong-un has grown tired of waiting for Trump to cave on the sanctions question. If that’s the case, what if North Korea is cutting a deal to openly become an ally with those two nations, standing fully against us? China and Russia could simply decide to announce that they were lifting all sanctions and will begin openly trading with North Korea and providing them with foreign aid and other forms of relief.
At that point, all of our leverage would be gone and Kim would be left to his own devices. And what would Russia and China stand to lose? If they’re willing to accept that North Korea is now a permanent member of the nuclear weapons club, better to have the madman on their side than ours. That would potentially strengthen the combined military and nuclear might of all three of them.
If you think that sounds crazy, consider the fact that most of the world is supposed to be standing against Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons. But who regularly trades with and assists Iran? Russia and China. They’re both also providing assistance to Venezuela while the west is sanctioning Maduro. It’s not as if they haven’t shown a tendency to team up with bad actors in the past. Also, keep in mind that Kim held his first-ever summit with Vladimir Putin in April of this year.
I certainly hope this doesn’t wind up being the case, but would you honestly be shocked if it plays out this way? If we’re dealing with a new version of the Axis of Evil, Kim Jong-un would be an obvious player for them to recruit.