Liar’s Poker


Here’s how the old joke goes.

Two liars walk into a bar. The first turns to the other and says, “Isn’t this the place that you always told me about?” The second says, “No”.

Liar’s Poker is a fun card game when you and your pals have tired of all of the other card games that require some math. This one is strictly bluffing. What makes it particularly entertaining is that the only person who can’t see your card is you. So everyone else knows immediately how successful you will end up being in your bluff. That’s how the game starts.

That’s pretty much the situation we have in the NK US summit in Singapore.

Both Trump and KJU are liars of monumental proportion. We don’t know whether that condition is the result of choice or disability, but the result is the same. Neither can be trusted with the neighbor’s cat, much less the fate of the free world.

So what happens when both of them are in the same room?

Liar’s Poker.

In this corner, the guy who distains preparation and thinks that he will have this situation figured out in the first minute. Here’s how the Wash Post described Trump.

Nothing compares to the boundless, unruffled confidence of someone who knows so little about a subject that he cannot even tell that what he is saying is wrong. This is why Trump has always been so successful on the international stage, or if he has not, he has not noticed.

In the other corner, the guy who killed his mentor (who happened to be his uncle) and arranged for his older half-brother to be poisoned when he learned of their plot to overthrow him. When his aunt complained, he poisoned her too. He killed another of his uncle’s supporters with a flame thrower. When people in his cabinet are caught nodding off at his meetings he kills them too. He machine gunned one of them and blew the other up in front of hundreds of onlookers with an anti-aircraft shell. He runs your garden variety dictatorship with corruption, torture, prisons, starvation, indoctrination, and censorship. The American prisoner, Otto Warmbier, whose only crime was attempting to smuggle propaganda posters out of the country; was beaten so frequently and severely that he died shortly after his release from NK because his brain ceased to function.

This is a guy who travels with his own toilet in order to prevent unfriendly countries from gaining intelligence about the state of his health. He also brought along his own bulletproof limo. He brought his own food to protect against poisoning. There were three identical jets in his flight from NK to thwart any assassination attempts. Does this sound like a guy ready to trust that the US is going to uphold their end of a deal?

Why are they meeting?

Trump says it’s to build a relationship with KJU.

Is this really the kind of guy we want a relationship with?

Also seems supremely ironic that we’re making extra effort to build a better relationship with a murderer while we are simultaneously burning down a relationship with our closest ally.

The reason the meeting is happening is that it works for both people.

Both like the optics.

In order to get the meeting, Trump had to agree that KJU was the legitimate head of the NK government and reject any previous calls for regime change. What did we get in return? KJU returned some US prisoners that NK had been illegally detaining and they blew up an old nuclear facility that they no longer were using.

Trump gets to strut on the international stage.

KJU demonstrates to the rest of the world that his nukes make him a player, regardless of his past history of despotism.

What’s worse, KJU has now written the script for every other dictator in the world that has aspirations for mutigenerational rule. Just get yourselves some nukes and you’ll be all set. And guess what, KJU knows just where you might be able to buy some.

I suspect that KJU has realized that the world has changed. These days, you CAN run a repressive dictatorial regime and the world is still willing to trade with you. Authoritarianism seems to be the new normal. KJU wants his share of the wealth that would come from opening up his new markets to the highest bidder.

Also if a deal gets made, it will certainly destabilize the Pacific Rim because it will involve some reduction in US presence there. That is something that Trump has already signaled he would be willing to do.

I suspect that we will get some symbolic agreement to formally end the war on the Korean peninsula. That won’t mean much unless KJU also agrees to dismantle both his nuclear weapons, his huge army, his stocks of biological weapons, and his large artillery guns.

More likely is just an agreement to keep talking. That way KJU doesn’t have to give anything up, but Trump can’t enforce anything either.

Any deal, however, won’t be worth the paper that it is written on.

That’s because it’s Liars Poker. It’s all for show. The winner will only have proven that they are the biggest liar.

At this point, it is a race that is hard to handicap.

3 Responses to “Liar’s Poker”

  1. Jeff Beamsley says:

    From the look of things, KJU won this first round of Liar’s Poker. He convinced Trump that he was really a good guy and interested in doing the right thing for his people. Trump showered a ruthless murderous dictator with praise on the world stage. Trump claimed that Kim will do what he promised to do because of the personal relationship he has with Kim.

    So far, however, there are no indications that this “relationship” has extended to anything concrete or independently verifiable by an outside source. When asked about how he would make sure that KJU followed through on his promises, Trump said, “Can you ensure anything? Can I ensure you are going to be able to sit down properly when you sit down?”

    The rest of world is staring slack jawed at the leader of the strongest country in the world boasting about his winning hand when he clearly has nothing.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    In a moment of remarkable self awareness Trump also said, “I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey I was wrong,’” said Trump. He continued,”I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

    Yup that is as close as we are ever going to come to a Trump apology.

    When this “deal” comes apart, as it will inevitably do, then there will only be one question. Whether or not the rest of the world will be able to put the genie back in the bottle.

    That’s exactly what Bush II attempted to do when Clinton left a clear roadmap to stopping KJU’s father from continuing down the nuke path. Bush II in his self-righteous hubris blew that deal up and called NK a member of the axis of evil. Then he invaded Iraq and all bets were off. The North Koreans were convinced that the only thing they could do to prevent the same thing happening to them was to build some nukes.

    When the tissue paper substance of this new “deal” collapses under the weight of the reality of KJU’s repressive regime, rest assured that Trump, if he is still in office, will find someone else to blame.

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