Less than a year ago, President Donald Trump was threatening North Korea with “fire and fury.”
Today such threats are completely absent from his remarks and tweets.
Today Trump said, “We will be stopping the war games . . . I think it’s very provocative.” This move has been a central proposal in the People’s Peace Treaty and other petitions and actions that Korean and American and global peace activists have advanced — and precisely for the reason that practice bombing flights are extremely provocative. It was their suspension during the Olympic truce that advanced peace, and their resumption more recently that — together with threatening comments from the likes of John Bolton — impeded progress and temporarily canceled the just-held summit.
But we should not forget the earlier necessary focus on halting the verbal threats coming from Trump himself. That we have moved away from those is the big news.
Yes it’s embarrassing and annoying to watch Trump brag and praise himself falsely and present a false history of the world and of his own recent actions, all of which he did in Singapore following the screening of a ridiculous propaganda video that his team had produced and shown to the North Koreans as well as to the press. But these things are not more embarrassing or annoying than watching humanity actually end in “fire and fury.”
The important thing to notice about Tuesday’s Singapore press conference is that every question from the U.S. media pushed for greater hawkishness, while Trump alone suggested anything in the direction of peace. Last week seven Democratic senators insisted in a letter to Trump that sanctions relief for North Korea await total North Korean disarmament and inspections. Tuesday Trump spoke of sanctions relief as part of the process ahead.
If the U.S. government is going to get out of the way of the peace process that Koreans from the North and South are pursuing, the U.S. public is going to have to actively demand it. The corporate media will not help. The Democratic and Republican “leaders” will not help. Trump will trip over his own ego and willful ignorance if not guided in a useful direction. That such a thing is possible, that the Korean War may finally end, that the U.S. military presence in Korea may actually end — Nobody can doubt these things any longer. And that makes it our responsibility to work for them.