I don’t want to be one of the crazies talking about WWIII, but this breaking news tidbit shows a clear escalation in the stakes of the foreign policy game. The Eastern Economic Forum is next week, September 10 through 13, and Kim Jong-Un is getting onto an armored train and going for a confab with Vladimir Putin. Talk about two monsters in one room, this is it. Putin’s got a war he can’t win, Kim has a country full of starving, terrorized people, and the two are thinking of allying their interests to mutual benefit. New York Times:
On Wednesday, the White House warned that Mr. Putin and Mr. Kim had exchanged letters discussing a possible arms deal, citing declassified intelligence. A White House spokesman, John F. Kirby, said high-level talks on military cooperation between the two nations were “actively advancing.” U.S. officials declined to give more details on the state of personal ties between the leaders, who are considered adversaries of the United States.
The new information about a planned meeting between them goes far beyond the previous warning. The intelligence relating to the plans has not been declassified or downgraded by the United States, and the officials describing it were not authorized to discuss it. They declined to provide details on how spy agencies had collected the information.
While the White House declined to discuss the new intelligence, Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said in a statement that Sergei K. Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, traveled to North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to try to persuade Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia. […]
At other times since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have released declassified intelligence to try to dissuade North Korea, China and other countries from supplying Russia with weapons. U.S. officials say White House warnings about planned transfers of North Korean artillery shells stopped previous cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.
Kim Jong-Un was universally recognized as the most unstable and narcissistic leader in the world, until Donald Trump came along and toppled him from that perch with ease. Pre-Trump it wasn’t thought that anybody could make Kim seem measured and reasonable but Trump was able to achieve that very thing.
Meantime, Kim is having a blast showing off his collection of weaponry and military equipment that includes ballistic missiles banned by the United Nations. Minor point, that.
This is serious business. Sergei Shoigu’s recent visit to North Korea was the first by a Russian defense minister since the Soviet Union split apart in 1991. Shoigu carried a letter from Putin to Kim, according to the Korean Central News Agency, which “expressed his views on the issues of mutual concern in the struggle to safeguard the sovereignty, development and interests of the two countries from the highhanded and arbitrary practices of the imperialists and to realize international justice and peace.”
That translates simply as Vlad needs help taking over the world and Kim is the logical go-to gangster to have a sit down with.
In June, Mr. Kim sent Mr. Putin a message on Russia’s national day in which he pledged to “hold hands” with the Russian leader and promised that the Russian people would have North Korea’s “full support and solidarity” for their “all-out struggle,” according to the KCNA.
“The strengthening of the Russia-North Korea alliance comes at an opportune time for two countries with very few allies and a shared adversary in the United States,” said Jean H. Lee, a recent senior fellow on the Koreas at the Wilson Center. “It’s the resurrection of a traditional alliance that serves the strategic interests of both Putin and Kim.”
China has also been talking to North Korea. We have a polarized United States, with one third of the electorate, apparently, eager to throw in with Putin, Kim, Xi and whatever other dictators that Donald Trump and right-wing media tell them are great guys.
If you’re standing in the kitchen, the thermostat just went up several degrees.