I'm a crime writer. I have a cynical mind. And when something smells, I immediately think dead body. And there is a powerful stench coming off this latest announcement that North Korea's Kim Jong-un has invited Trump to talk peace.
Okay, that's not the stinky bit. It's this: Kim Jong-un "understands that the routine joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. must continue."
Whoa. That's a rotten bit of flesh buried in the basement right there.
Does Kim Jong-un strike you as a guy who understands stuff? Has he striven to give the Western world the impression that he's a guy who understands stuff? This is a statement so utterly out of character that I'd have trouble putting it in a novel without getting slammed by readers.
It's a complete about-face, which is always suspect in the spy game. I have another theory as to what is really going on here. Brace yourselves.
The public animosity between Trump and Jong-un wasn't real. The 'little rocket man' stuff was a magician's trick to keep our attention on the wrong thing. It was pure theatre--little boys taunting each other on the playground. They love their egos and nothing else. Not even their countries.
But they have nukes! Yes, they do and they love showing them off. Trump is next up in the Hit Parade apparently. He's arm-twisted the Pentagon into giving him a military parade. It's fun to show their nukes off; it's less fun to blow everyone up who follows you on Twitter.
That Twitter war offered us a clue, however. Why did they think they could get away with it? I mean, the usual deal is we don't say certain things because of consequences. The prevailing theory is that Jong-un and Trump are unhinged and act without thinking of the consequences. But if that was true then there would be no hope of reasoning with either of them and we'd be in fear of a nuclear winter right now given the insults they've lobbed at each other.
My theory is that these boys didn't think of the consequences because they knew there wouldn't be any.
Let's cut to the chase because it's Friday afternoon and wine awaits.
1. Putin is the Papa Bear behind the Trump/Jong-un relationship. He told them to squabble. He told them to make up. They could get away with their taunts because they both knew the other wouldn't do anything about it. Trump knew Putin was sitting on Kim and Kim knew Putin was sitting on Trump.
So now the leap is not so great from "stand-off" to "hey, let's talk, buddy." Putin wants them to make up, at least in public--hence Kim Jong-un's sudden about-face. But what's in it for Putin?
2. Well, he went to great expense to put Trump in office and so far the Trump Administration is working out really well for him. (Trump is Putin's Employee of the Year) Putin wants Trump in office in 2020 but Trump is so spectacularly incompetent, he'll have to win the Nobel Peace Prize to pull it off. So....
3. Enter Rocket Man, the nukes, the "tensions" and the stunning about-face to talk peace with his nemesis. Jong-un goes along with the show because he depends on Russia, he wants Western recognition and he wants the sanctions lifted. And more importantly, he loves the attention.
4. As the curtain goes down, the boys will shake hands and make up because Papa Putin tells them to so Donald can win the Peace Prize and the presidency. The End.It lacks the panache of a Bourne conspiracy but I'm going to put it in the novel anyway. I've kept copious notes on the Trump-Russia Affair, hoping to turn these real-time historic events into a political thriller once the dust settles. Except that the dust shows no sign of settling. There's always a new layer.
For further reading check out: The Diplomat Russia's Relationship with North Korea. It's Complicated.
And because we gotta laugh, check out Keith Olbermann of GQ: The Resistance on YouTube for some of the wittiest, in-depth, take-no-prisoners reporting on the Trump Administration that I've seen. God bless free speech!
Happy March, folks.