I should be back later today with a longish piece about Roger Stone, Russiagate, and related matters. In the meantime, a brief note about North Korea: I am quite certain that talks will resume -- and that there will be a breakthrough.
But it will happen closer to election time.
Donald Trump wants to brag that his party gained
seats in the mid-terms. And yes, I really do think that the "blue wave" is actually going to be a red victory parade.
According to this story
, the summit ended because Kim Jong Un said insulting things about Mike Pence
. The tale is more complex than that, of course, but in the end, the deal-breaker came when Pence's feelings were hurt. But if Trump was willing to forgive being called a "dotard," he surely could have forgiven a gratuitous remark about Pence being "ignorant and stupid."
And why on earth did Kim make such a gratuitous remark, anyways? I think that someone told
him to do so.
It should never be forgotten that North Korea's program is, in a very real sense, of Russian origin. You may recall this post
from October of 2017, in which I linked to some important background information.
North Korea's rapid advance in nuclear development owes much to Russian aid. See here:
Elleman has analyzed North Korean medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles of the Hwasong 12 and 14 types, whose extended range holds the potential to hit the United States. He concluded that the surprisingly fast development in the last two years has only been possible with the help of foreign suppliers, meaning countries from the former Soviet Union. Even the German missile expert Robert Schmucker from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) agreed with Elleman's analysis, although he avoided any explicit accusations.
Experts believe that the one-chamber engine used in the latest Hwasong missiles is reminiscent of the Soviet RD-250 rocket engine, which had two chambers and was developed in the 1960s.
It is difficult to prove whether the RD-250 was also manufactured by Yuzhmash. Vitaly Zushtchevski said that they received these engines from Russia, where they were "produced in low quantities." Elleman suggested that they were also made in Ukraine. In his IISS study, he wrote that "hundreds, if not more" RD-250 engines have remained in Russia, as well as in Ukraine, adding it is also possible that Moscow is Pyongyang's supplier.
After intensive study, Elleman, a former consultant at the Pentagon, and other specialists would report that they had detected multiple design features in the new North Korean missile engine that echo those of a 1960s-era Soviet workhorse called the RD-250.
There is no record of Pyongyang's obtaining blueprints for the Russian missile engine, and experts disagree on whether it ever did so. But the discovery of similarities has focused new attention on a question that has dogged US analysts for at least the past two years: how has North Korea managed to make surprisingly rapid gains in its missile programme, despite economic sanctions and a near-universal ban on exports of military technology to the impoverished communist state?
Many weapons experts say North Korea's startling display of missile prowess is a reflection of the country's growing mastery of weapons technology, as well its leader's fierce determination to take the country into the nuclear club.
But others see continuing evidence of an outsize role by foreigners, including Russian scientists who provided designs and know-how years ago, and the Chinese vendors who supply the electronics needed for modern missile-guidance systems.
When I first posted these words, I was thinking in terms of Russia engineering a nuclear exchange between North Korea and the United States. Perhaps that particular theory was a little too apocalyptic. But it is not unreasonable to suggest that Russia pressured Kim and Trump to hold off
on the summit.
A successful summit now would certainly help the GOP's chances in the fall, but a successful summit in September would have much greater impact. If Trump can pull off a last-minute coup, his party will gain a windfall in the election.
The current "spygate" canard should also be seen purely in terms of the mid-term elections. Do not think for one minute that Trump truly believes
the nonsense he has been spewing.
This administration is all about the manipulation of democracy, and Putin is helping.