Yesterday we noted how subtle (and not so subtle) messages have been coming out from Beijing China admitting how the party of Chairman Xi underestimated the cunning fortitude of U.S. President Donald Trump. Today, a stunning visual is broadcast from inside North Korea which follows the same general outlook.
Remember, nuance and subtle optics are very significant in Eastern projections of political brand messaging. When they present a nationally broadcast message every grain of sand on the optical beach has been thought out, considered, staged and carefully placed by hand with great forethought toward the intended audience. The optics are everything. [That’s also the reason why POTUS Trump used a video presentation (specifically for Kim) at the end of the Singapore summit.]
In an unprecedented international broadcast, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un delivers a message not just to his people, but more specifically to the international community. The backdrop, the venue for the message as broadcast, reflects a stunning shift for the country of North Korea. Notice the background message is ‘economic‘: Business attire; business office etc. The guiding hand of Chairman Xi is visible, and the transmission is full of messages highlighting the influence of the Trump Doctrine.
It is critical to remember that Chairman Xi (Beijing China), is still the leading influence agent over Chairman Kim (DPRK). That nuanced/subtle (hostage/captive) influence message is also inherent in the background of this broadcast. As the U.S. -vs- China confrontation continues, this video message provides additional support that Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping is no longer underestimating the cunning of POTUS Trump.
Discussions of these geopolitical messages need to be entirely separated from the propaganda explanations provided by U.S. media. U.S. corporate media, advocates for extreme globalism, spin everything into a criticism of President Trump; however, the message here from Kim Jong-un is far more consequential.
Chairman Kim is talking about security issues, denuclearization, weapons, military exercises etc. However, the bigger background message is centered specifically on the economics. Broadly speaking President Trump’s doctrine is: the strategically applied use of economic influence to achieve national security objectives.
That Trump Doctrine, a radical shift in the deployment of U.S. geopolitical influence, is the entire reason why Chairman Kim Jong-un is engaging this speech; in this venue; in this business manner; for this domestic and international broadcast.
Remember also, the clock is ticking…. the deadline for U.S. and China trade negotiations is March 1st, OR ELSE, a massive round of devastating (for China) tariffs kicks in and almost everyone agrees the Chinese economy cannot sustain itself under that pressure. So Chairman Xi needs to use his hostage, Chairman Kim, in this negotiation period.
[*Important point*: South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the primary point of contact for Chairman Kim, is ideologically the Asian political equivalent of Barack Obama. So that interpersonal dynamic also overlays the issues with a unified Korean peninsula.]
The full video as originally broadcast from North Korea is even more insightful.
The influence of the Trump Doctrine is clearly on display.
Things are really going at a rapid pace now….
“Peace is the prize” ~ President Donald Trump
The nature of the Trump foreign policy doctrine, as it has become visible, is to hold manipulative influence agents accountable for regional impact(s); and simultaneously work to stop any corrupted influence from oppressing free expression of national values held by the subservient, dis-empowered, people within the nation being influenced.
There have been clear examples of this doctrine at work. When President Trump first visited the Middle-East he confronted the international audience with a message about dealing with extremist influence agents. President Trump simply said: “drive them out.”
Toward that end, as Qatar was identified as a financier of extremist ideology, President Trump placed the goal of confrontation upon the Gulf Cooperation Council, not the U.S.
The U.S. role was clearly outlined as supporting the confrontation. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates needed to confront the toxic regional influence; the U.S. would support their objective. That’s what happened.
Another example: To confront the extremism creating the turmoil in Afghanistan, President Trump placed the burden of bringing the Taliban to the table of governance upon primary influence agent Pakistan. Here again, with U.S. support. Pakistan is the leading influence agent over the Taliban in Afghanistan; the Trump administration correctly established the responsibility and gives clear expectations for U.S. support.
If Pakistan doesn’t change their influence objective toward a more constructive alignment with a nationally representative Afghanistan government, it is Pakistan who will be held accountable. Again, the correct and effective appropriation of responsibility upon the influence agent who can initiate the solution, Pakistan.
The process of accurate regional assignment of influence comes with disconcerting sunlight. Often these influences are not discussed openly. However, for President Trump the lack of honesty is only a crutch to continue enabling poor actors. This is a consistent theme throughout all of President Trump’s foreign policy engagements.
The European Union is a collective co-dependent enabler to the corrupt influences of Iran. Therefore the assignment of responsibility to change the status is placed upon the EU.
The U.S. will fully support the EU effort, but as seen in the withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the U.S. will not enable growth of toxic behavior. The U.S. stands with the people of Iran, but the U.S. will not support the enabling of Iranian oppression, terrorism and/or dangerous military expansion that will ultimately destabilize the region. Trump holds the EU accountable for influencing change. Again, we see the Trump Doctrine at work.
Perhaps the most obvious application of the Trump Doctrine is found in how the U.S. administration approached the challenging behavior of North Korea. Rather than continuing a decades-long policy of ignoring the influence of China, President Trump directly assigned primary responsibility for a reset to Beijing.
China held, and holds, all influence upon North Korea and has long-treated the DPRK as a proxy province to do the bidding of Beijing’s communist old guard. By directly confronting the influence agent, and admitting openly for the world to see (albeit with jaw-dropping tactical sanction diplomacy) President Trump positioned the U.S. to support a peace objective on the entire Korean peninsula and simultaneously forced China to openly display their closely-guarded influence.
No longer is it outlandish to think of North Korea joining with the rest of the world in achieving a better quality of life for its people.
Not only is President Trump openly sharing a willingness to engage in a new and dynamic future for North Korea, but his approach is removing the toxic influences that have held down the possibility for generations. By leveraging China (through economics) to stop manipulating North Korea, President Trump is opening up a door of possibilities for the North Korean people. This is what I mean when I say Trump is providing North Korea with an opportunity to create an authentic version of itself.
What ultimately comes from the opportunity President Trump has constructed is entirely unknown. However, the opportunity itself is stunning progress creating a reasonable pathway to prosperity for the North Korean people. Chairman Kim Jong-un has the opportunity to be the most trans-formative leader within Asia in generations; but it is still only an ‘opportunity’.
Whether Kim Jong-un can embrace openness, free markets and prosperity is yet to be seen. Freedom is a precariously scary endeavor because there’s always a danger loosening the grip on control can lead to fear, which can lead to even tighter more authoritarian, control. (continue reading)