American diplomacy is paralyzed | Eurasia Diary -

13 July, Monday

American diplomacy is paralyzed

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Andrei Lankov is the world's leading specialist in North and South Korea. In connection with the crisis between the US and the DPRK, he recently visited Washington, where, in addition to speaking at the conference, he actively communicated with officials and members of the expert community. I will not hide, I was more interested in the situation in Washington than in the DPRK and ROK (Republic of Korea), so the lion's share of my questions related to the situation in the US capital.
The situation is very simple and, at the same time, paradoxical. The bottom line is that initiators of Rashagate do not care about Russia. Just as we have a war in Ukraine and Syria intended for the internal user, Rashagate is aimed at the internal user in America - first of all, the inhabitants of the Biblical belt - the American outback. The biggest part of the 36% of those who support Trump live there.
The American political class - the top of both Republicans, and the Democrats - sharply opposes Trump. You can write long time about the reasons (and it's absolutely not in Russia). They would have long ago been ousted by impeachment, both Democrats and Republicans, but they can’t do this for a completely trivial reason. Because the voters of many Republican congressmen live in the Bible belt. If they vote for Trump's impeachment, they will lose the votes of their electors, their political career will be over, and they do not want it.
What political class can do? They can try to persuade and reconfigure the Trump Biblical belt, explaining to him that Trump was sold to the Kremlin, and he is a KGB agent. The Bible belt is hard to convince. Firstly, the evidence is weak, and secondly, well, they love Trump - he is for white, against foreigners. Try to explain to the lover that his object of adoration is bad. Even with having good evidence it is difficult to do...
So, Rashagate has nothing to do with Russia. Another thing is that it influences the relations of the USA with the Russian Federation and makes any steps of the US towards the Russian Federation difficult.
Meanwhile, Trump's stay in power does threaten chaos and catastrophes. But not because he is a KGB agent.
The Threat of Chaos
Of the three dozen prominent American officials and "political intellectuals" with whom A. Lankov met, only three spoke loyally about Trump. All the others spoke about him sharply negatively. The top of the American ruling class is the bureaucratic and political elite, is sharply opposed to Trump.
Initially, the case was in Trump's unilateralism (a doctrine that supports unilateral actions). The American ruling class does not support the Trump's idea of the nullity of multilateral treaties concluded by the United States, and that America is not obliged to observe them, but must build unilateral relations with all countries. The political elite consider this position irresponsible. This caused a fundamental divergence. But now things have gone much further.
The top of the Republicans often refuses to work on the structures of the administration. For his part, Trump does not trust diplomats, employees of the State Department. He believes that they are not capable of anything, and that the US State's foreign policy should be managed, not by the State Department, but by businessmen and the military. As a result, many heads of departments of the State Department and US ambassadors are not appointed. Their place is occupied by deputies. But these deputies do not have the necessary powers. Because of this, American diplomacy is paralyzed. In particular, as in Korea, out of 4-5 responsible diplomats, who should work in this direction, only one is appointed.
But the US foreign policy machine is not able to work for another reason. Trump not only does not trust diplomats, he does not trust reports of American intelligence. Trump draws his ideas about what's happening from the messages of one single channel he trusts, Fox News. On this account, the CIA (CIA) leadership released a joke that in order to somehow influence Trump, they need to create a CIA News channel.
Trump is constantly threatened with strikes on the DPRK. This is not the joke. If Trump accepts this decision, the army will be obliged to carry it out. But the army is against the war. Defense Secretary James Mattis is trying to convince Trump not to fight.
The reasons for the position of the army: they do not want to incur serious losses. Meanwhile, according to estimates of the military, the war with the DPRK can lead to losses of about 280 thousand people in Korea and the US, for example, because Seoul, in which live 25-27 million of South Koreans - 50% of its population - is in the artillery fire zone North Korea. His pressure with the remedy of the USA and the Southerners with most optimal scenario will take a few hours, during which time Seoul will be partially destroyed. In addition, scenarios that were lost in military games often led to a nuclear war, and in this case an atomic strike will be made on Seoul and one million people will be killed there, not to mention the subsequent losses and destruction.
At the same time, the DPRK regime feels confident, large-scale market reforms are being carried out there in agriculture and industry in the spirit of the NEP, as a result of which the economy grows by 4-6% per year, the threat of hunger, is eliminated. The standard of living has also grown significantly, although in general the country remains poor. In the military field pressure increases. This applies, first, to any freedom of speech (more precisely, to freedom to watch foreign films and sing songs not approved by the authorities), and secondly, to appointments. Kim Jong-un does not trust the military very much, he is afraid of a military coup. Therefore, the term of the military in high office is on average about 10 months. But in general, as far as the armed forces, they are developing and are very successful in developing their missile systems, so the regime is not going to capitulate.
Given that Trump paralyzed American diplomacy and does not cooperate with intelligence, but is quite aggressive, his actions pose serious threats to the United States and the planet. The question arises of his removal from office, in connection with the inconsistency of the post. However, the impeachment of Trump is currently impossible for the reason mentioned above.
Foreign policy: who is after Tillerson?
Several people in the administration keep the US from active military operations. This is the above-mentioned Mattis, as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. However, after Tillerson sharply expressed in an address to the president, he is likely to be dismissed. Therefore, it is very important who will replace it.
Several candidates are considered, among them John Bolton, US ambassador to the UN in 2005-2006, and Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN at the moment. Bolton is known as a supporter of the toughest line against the DPRK and Iran. And his desire for decisive action in relation to these countries can lead to realization of Trump's dreams, as it coincides with them, at least, with regard to the DPRK.
True, it is worth mentioning an alternative point of view. It consists in the fact that the US does not intend to inflict attacks on the DPRK, they only frighten them, thus seeking to influence Beijing. But this is only the version. 
Mikhail Magid,
publicist, specialist in the Middle East,
specially for Eurasia Diary

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