Recently, notorious Neocon Senator Lindsey Graham, one-time opponent of President Trump, said Trump should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the recent détente between the two Korean presidents Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, two former enemies. In fact, this detente looks like a modern miracle and is a big relief to all peace lovers everywhere.
But what was Trump’s role in this détente? Can he re-invent himself as a peacemaker so soon after his ignominious Tomahawk missile show in Syria based on a “chemical weapons attack” that increasingly seems never to have happened (as described in our commentary here)?
There are various news reports favourable to Trump’s being nominated for the peace prize, but none of these news outlets seemed able to articulate specifically what Trump had done to bring about peace. The site Stuff of New Zealand thought that it was high time that a non-left-winger got the prize and reminded that Obama had been awarded it based solely on promises that were left unfulfilled. But is this a valid reason to turn around and award the prize to a right-winger just because he is a right-winger in a position of power at the time peace happens to break out?
Bloomberg posts an article featuring former enemies Kim and Moon both smiling from ear to ear in a semi-embrace but suggests that not they, mind you, but rather Trump and Kim are the ones to decide together whether there shall be peace. However, if the spat is between the two Korean presidents, why does the world need Trump, who does not live anywhere near Korea and has already recklessly threatened to destroy North Korea, an act that would cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Koreans, north and south, as well as American servicemen? What does peace between north and south have to do with a leader whose country is at a safe distance from the two countries and has done nothing but recklessly threaten, impose sanctions and insult the leader of a nuclear-armed state?
Business Insider admits that the peace has not been won, reminds us that Trump’s role so far consists of sanctions against N. Korea, and that Trump has thanked Xi JInping for his “great help in paving the way.” But it seems to advocate that Trump, and no one else, should get the prize if North and South Korea can bury the hatchet.
So all we have is a president who has taken the advice of a more sane and wise leader warning him not to pursue his former reckless policies, and for this supposedly deserves a peace prize. The sane and wise leader who persuaded him to think twice about provoking a world war, gets nothing (except perhaps for a withering trade war).
Well, belligerence seems to be the Western way. So let us look at what is being done in the East. We had previously posted a commentary about Xi Jinping, who abhors the limelight and just quietly achieves the elimination of poverty in his own country while also tackling the poverty problem of Africa.
We also have another world leader who was involved in intervening between Kim and Trump and that was Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Both of these leaders have vested interests in preventing nuclear war in the Korean peninsula, which borders their countries. They have legitimate concerns about nuclear fallout affecting flora and fauna as well as their people, and about the mass migration that would be triggered by a horrific war. None of this would affect Trump’s supreme comfort at home in New York or Washington, DC.
By contrast, in September 2017, Vladimir Putin, who needs peace in the Koreas, hosted the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The presidents of China, South Korea, Japan and others, as well as representatives of North Korea, attended.
If you, Dear Reader, were unaware of this forum, held in Vladivostok last year, you have your Western media to thank for your unawareness, which they lovingly cultivate with their editorial policies. In fact if you do a search in the English language right now you will find that almost every mention of this Eastern Economic Forum is at news sites only in Asia, ie, China, Russia, Thailand, India, Mongolia, Vietnam, etc. There is one notable exception and that is The Diplomat, a Western notoriously Neocon site that absolutely insulted the forum, in an article making reference to the “emptiness of the Eastern Economic Forum,” but without articulating why they thought the forum was empty. Empty? In fact, between 4,500 and 6,000 people attended, representing over 60 countries, and they travelled all the way to Vladivostok in Siberia, a very long trip for all attendees no matter where they came from. Why did they come? Because they know that Russia and China offer things that the West refuses to offer, such as security, stability, peace and prosperity in Asia. (A list of the many high-profile attendees, including the presidents of Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan, the governor of CA and members of European governments, is shown in the Russian government’s English-language publication “Round-up of the EEC 2017”). But to find information on the discussions held in this very important forum, we had to go to this Russian-language site (unfortunately modified since originally posted. See below).
And here is the vital information you did not find in the Western press.
The representatives of various Eastern countries, notably Putin and Xi, addressing in part the dire needs of the Korean peninsula, proposed a massive infrastructure project, financed by the richer members of the forum, that would include the following (details of this project were later scrubbed from the site, apparently because US-imposed sanctions made the project infeasible. However, we found links to other sites with these details):
1—A power grid covering inter alia the entire Korean peninsula and possibly extending to Japan. The site (http://www.sib-science.info/ru/news/energeticheskoe-koltso-17102016) describing this project has no English version available.
2—A railroad running through North Korea and South Korea and connecting to the Russian railroad leading to Europe (https://tsargrad.tv/articles/nachalas-li-v-koree-novaja-istorija-otvet-poka-ne-opredeljon_128648. Though details are gone from the EEF site, Moon Jae-in just last week proposed to North Korea that the railroads of the 2 countries be re-connected, and specifically with high speed rail, as originally proposed at the EEF. The connection to the trans-Siberian railway is still likely).
3—A gas pipeline running from Russia through North and South Korea (details here in Russian, from Nov 2017.)
4—A maritime shipping route via the North Pole to replace the current route, cutting off thousands of km and affording significant savings in time and money. This was one of the 4 cardinal points of the EEF, but since the EEF site was modified, no sites were found showing this as part of the discussions at the forum. Nonetheless, the northern sea route has long been part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and is described here.
The description of this 4-part project also disappeared from the Russian web page just recently (the rest of the content remained intact, as indicated above, other sites showed them in individual reports linked respectively above), most likely because the Kremlin realized that US sanctions rendered these projects infeasible.
And what was Trump’s contribution to these projects? At the time these projects were being discussed, he was stepping up joint military exercises as a confrontation to North Korea off the Korean coast, involving South Korea, and cutting off relations between the 2 Koreas. Then in November 2017, the US urged all nations to sever ties with North Korea.
Most likely, both Putin and Xi, during their many phone contacts with Kim Jong-un, persuaded him to re-establish ties with South Korea and abandon his nuclear projects. They also must have reminded him of the potential benefits of the 4 projects discussed at the September 2017 meeting of the EEF, holding these out as an enticing incentive to cooperate with the West.
Putin has shown a specific and successful modus operandi in dealing with difficult national leaders. He displayed this MO, for example, in his dealings with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
When it comes to diplomacy, there is no other national leader quite like Putin. Even though Turkey had recently shot down a Russian jet over Syria, when Putin learned that a coup was planned against Erdoğan in July 2016, he is said to have warned the president – who was then in a plane headed for a Turkish airport – that there was a plot to kidnap and possibly kill him. So the president diverted the flight elsewhere and the coup was quelled. From then on, Erdoğan came to trust Putin and realized that, despite major differences, he owed him a favour. On top of forgiveness for the shoot-down, Putin offered 2 incentives: resumption of a plan to build the Turk Stream gas pipeline through Turkey – a lucrative deal for the country, and Turkish participation in the Astana peace negotiations, along with Iran and Russia, and in the joint decisions made by that group regarding the post-war fate of Syria.
In view of the above background on Putin’s modus operandi, it is more than likely that Putin, negotiating behind the scenes, also proposed to Kim Jong-un that, if Kim should give up his nuclear ambitions, then in addition to being spared an invasion by the US, North Korea would have the opportunity to participate in the 4 infrastructure projects discussed at the EEF forum. This would be a tremendous windfall enabling the impoverished country to take its place beside the Asian economic powerhouses of the region like South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. Kim had shown before by his actions that he was not cowed by Trump’s threats. Therefore, most likely the only thing that swayed him to cooperate with the rest of the world was the prospect of prosperity for his country.
Thus it seems unlikely that Trump had much or anything to do with changing Kim Jong-un’s mind.
So in view of all of the above, should Donald Trump get the peace prize? Despite his threats and his insults levelled at Kim, he might indeed be worthy of the prize. How?
By lifting the sanctions against North Korea and allowing the country to participate in the EEF project outlined above.
That’s all he has to do to deserve the prize. And if he can articulate to US lawmakers and to the public (preferably by a more-serious method than tweeting) that the sanctions against N. Korea and also against countries participating in the infrastructure projects benefitting the N. Korean people, must be lifted in return for Kim’s abandonment of his nuclear plans, then the prize is as good as his.
The ball is in Trump’s court.
As proof that we did indeed visit a Russian site with full details of the 4-part EEF project, we will be glad to send any interested party a now-deleted chart from that article that we had the foresight to copy. Just send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.