Monday, June 18, 2018

Singapore summit real test for 'Juche Idea'

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History is often created in pieces... in the most unexpected circumstances. Or perhaps, under very grave situations. Sometimes, this is also recreated by people who have the will and determination to bring about change.

A miniature, vibrant and politically neutral Singapore, has been chosen to host the first meeting of a sitting US President and the (most feared) leader of North Korea.

This amazing city-state has enjoyed robust ties with United States. Singapore's orderly features, coupled with tight internal security and public order, has made this an obvious destination for the historic Donald-Kim summit.

Only a few days back, serious doubts and uncertainties had prevailed about the possibility of the meeting. A twist in circumstances has trapped Singapore firmly, in grips of frenzy and euphoria. Both President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader (or dictator) Kim Jong-un arrived here today, as the world looks forward to watch the game of nukes and disarmaments.

When sanity and order begin to prevail in leadership, people also begin to pin up their hopes very high. All engines of peace are now needed to be geared up, to function together, in the best interests of human aspirations.

Only a short time ago, a timorous and apprehensively fearful world had watched the events very closely...taking horrific, new shapes in the Korean Peninsula. An angry dictator had obstinately played with human fears and emotions, to draw global attention and sympathy, because DPRK (North Korea) had felt themselves to be cornered, with their backs against the wall. The leader had enjoyed playing his game of hurling missiles, in a direction of his choice.

Kim Jong-un's ability to fondle with live missiles grew out of their nation's imitation of a powerful neighbor's excesses, committed many years ago, in the past history. United States and allies at one point, in the mid thirties, had by design, and cornered the powerful and proud nation of Japan. They had also created an effective economic and naval blockade, nearly eighty years ago.

As a consequence, the Japanese forces retaliated with all their full fury and determination. Both Japan and US had been sucked into the ferocious second World War. Their actions had altered the course of history and the fate of many nations in Asia and the Pacific.

Their actions had also enabled our forefathers and our predecessors to look differently at the world they lived in. The great colonial powers on earth had then, initiated their process of decline. For their acts of ingress, innocent Japanese had to pay the heaviest of price...nuclear carnage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nearly 240,000 lives were lost. We have shamefully continued to carry this moral burden.

Tuesday's momentous summit is set in the most beautiful surroundings of modern day Singapore. We dream to live in an ideal world without conflicts or war. Hope is what sustains us, as we move from one political crisis to another, looking for a breakthrough.

Something, which may sanguinely guide our destinies, to a more peaceful future in the Korean Peninsula, on opposite sides of the 38th. parallel. Truly, we are worried and therefore are very keen to share our anxieties, including our concerns that have remained harnessed with our leaders.

Summits between global leaders have never been a story of wine and roses. They are toxic, thorny, unstable and often precarious, in terms of results. The slow pace of proceedings, in the backdrop of media hype and public expectations, place our emotions on a roller coaster, with a ticklish or touch-and-go situation.

In the past, we have seen that the summit sessions of President Reagan were never his smooth rides, aimed to deliver his statesmanship intact, to the awestruck and bewildered citizens. Media then, was powerful and had generated a hype of gigantic proportions, which simply could not be bridged. Today, I see a similarly orchestrated hype, of equal proportions, that may just not deliver the results, and leave so much more to be desired.

Back in Singapore, Kim Jong-un has opened his innings defensively. St. Regis hotel staff learned to cope up with a lot of Korean men (guests) with identical haircuts, all of them wearing red pins revealing the faces of former DPRK Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Extreme situations create extreme circumstances, making room for extreme measures that are needed to be adopted by leadership across the nations.

Last night, President Trump had unexpectedly opted out of the G-7 joint communiqué, because he did not wish to disappoint his electorate back home, through a show of his weaknesses... particularly before the gazing eyes that would be watching him in his summit talks with DPRK Leader, Kim Jong-un.

Although the US President had agreed with the contents of the language of the proposed draft of the Quebec communiqué, he was visibly offended at criticisms of his newly imposed US tariffs. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had made it a point to speak his mind on behalf of the G-7 members. Certainly, not a good omen for a statesman in waiting.

In this game of nukes, missiles and disarmaments, President Trump has little experience and no exposure. President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev had played this game exceedingly well, and through hard negotiations, delivered messages of hope to their respective countries.

Just as the US President Trump had willfully forced himself out of G-7, he may also choose to do something differently in Singapore, to distract the media attention that is likely to follow every moment of this summit.

Somewhere in the periphery of mind, there exists a lack of acceptance of the fact that a very young and ambitious Korean leader may have rightly stepped into the shoes of the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung. And that, he has performed immaculately well, as he played his cards.

For all reasons of sanity, Kim Jong-un must not be taken lightly. He is a tough negotiator. Patience will determine who blinks first. I also have a feeling, that if the US President does so, he will go down further, to use his natural talents of bullying North Korea's proud leader, in an effort to ridicule his opponent, and to belittle him outside his turf. Such exhibits of personal weaknesses must be avoided, because DPRK under Kim Jong-un is also a nuclear nation.

He has much less to lose in a confrontation. Obviously, Kim is the face of perceivable threat to the civilized world. He will continue to deal with the rest of the world, as the Juche Idea (the DPRK Bible) would inspire and provoke the Emerging Leader, Kim Jong-un, to do so.

Let us look into the history of collapsed summit meetings, in the past century. In the wake of the Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane on May Day, 1960, Nikita Khrushchev had lashed out at the US and President Eisenhower at the summit meeting between the two heads of stat.

Khrushchev's outbursts were too much for the Allied Commander to handle, purely in terms of ego casualty. The President was furious to have received a dressing-down, publicly. Unfortunately, this summit meeting was officially adjourned and scrapped out.

Again, we are reminded of the famous Reykjavik summit between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Michail Gorbachev in 1986. In view of extremely high expectations of people across the world, the summit delivered very little.

Gorbachev was unable to continue down the path to reforms, without assurances about national security. This summit was doomed to end in failure.I am uniquely positioned to write this article because, I have visited DPR Korea in the days it was considered a taboo to do so.

I visited Soviet Union, when the Iron Curtain kept foreigners at a distance. I have also visited China. I had the pleasure of meeting in person, North Korea's founding Father, Great Leader Kim Il Sung, one of the four revolutionary leaders then, who lived to tell their stories.

I have visited their institutions, schools and had the pleasure of sharing moments with their leadership in the hierarchy. I have also seen the likes of Gorbachev in Moscow, and Donald Trump, before he made electoral history in the United States.

I have also journeyed to the famous city of Quebec, located near the estuary of St. Lawrence river. My interest then, lay in watching the rare the blue whales in their natural habitat. And lastly, Singapore has welcomed me on three occasions, as I stopped over on my way to Australia.

These cities are now sprinkled with history's special markings, where global leaders have made their own significant contributions in an effort to change our world.

Quite expectedly, the White House has continued to play its sober tunes in its special low-keyed mode, to avoid creating adrenaline rush, the media keeps on looking for.

They have put up with little or no details about the plan. Neither has North Korea anything to hint at this stage. Habitually, North Koreans always tried to throw in a hint or two when something special is about to emerge. Nothing has been said so far about the planned pageantry and preparation for Tuesday's (June 12) talks.

A permanent, peace keeping mechanism is likely to be drafted between the two leaders on Tuesday, the June 12, 2018. Perhaps, both nations will prefer to normalize diplomatic ties.

North Korea shall move further in a new era, free from sanctions. In return, this neo-nuclear nation will have to give up and destroy its arsenal of nuclear assets. This shall mark the end of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence. And, there will be much more fanfare for public consumption.

In the interest of global peace, we wish the two leaders good luck. I also hope their services needs to be acknowledged. It is up to the technocrats to measure the real success of the Singapore summit.

Both leaders have traversed a rocky path together, to arrive at Singapore to deliver something tangible and lasting. There have been pitfalls and deficits of trust. However, good sense has prevailed and must be allowed to continue to make our world a safer place to live in.

The writer is based in the USA

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