“Kim Jung Un loves his people.”
The United States has never had the moral authority it acted as though it deserved, or even pretended to have, but it used to have some, no matter how much our human rights record suffered during the Iraq War.
Barack Obama built back our moral-standing up to something approaching respectable. Last night, Trump brought the entire thing crumbling down, with glee, seeming to not only overlook North Korea’s human rights abuses, but strangely, take “pride” in dealing with the “reality” of North Korea, and treating North Korean leadership (as opposed to its oppressed people) with respect.
Hallie Jackson of MSNBC confronted Trump on some of his compliments toward Kim Jung Un, noting that Trump was talking about a man who killed his half brother, his uncle, and puts political prisoners into concentration camps. Trump talked about how extraordinary Kim must be, because at age 26, he was called upon to lead the nation. Trump said he may have done it “tough,” and “not always nice” but did it effectively, and that Kim loves his people. We know that Don has no problem with “tough” and not always nice.
The statement went out over North Korean state run media. All media in North Korea is state run. Imagine the devastation the average North Korean who believed that the United States could demand real change. Not that many North Koreans know much about the world at all.
There is astronomical danger in attempting to bring in outside news to this most closed dictatorship. Nicholas Kirstof just noted to Lawrence O’Donnell that if you are caught with a media device able to pick up South Korean, (or any non-North Korean) media, you are sent to a prison camp, along with 3 generations of your family. That means your children and your parents go to jail with you, or your children and their children. These camps regularly starve people or work people to death.
Trump loves this guy, he thinks Kim is someone who is a great negotiator, very bright, wants to do the right thing, and can be trusted. Not only that, but Trump is granting Kim the ultimate political capital, legitimacy, not just around the world, but in his own country, where he may otherwise face being overthrown any day by an enlightened group, one that wants North Korea to look more like South Korea and its gleaming skylines, and shining freedoms.
But, this is who we are now as the United States. “We’re America, Bitch” is the Trump doctrine, we’re told. Trump loves ruthless dictators who can skim profits off the public treasury and give Trump a cut. He carries a noticeable contempt for incorruptible, polite, scrupulous ministers from centuries-old allies. This is who we are in 2018 under Trump, and will be until he’s gone, because if these last 4 days have shown us anything, Trump is getting worse, not better.
As I look around at the Trump voters that surround me, it doesn’t seem quite so strange to think “this is who we are,” because this is definitely who they are. It’s just amazing when compared to who we used to be.
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