Let’s Just Buy Them

I wonder if anyone of the U.S. representatives that has bargained with North Korea in the past has considered, or even offered, to just buy their nukes to get the process started.

The estimates I’ve seen for the total cost of Kim’s nuclear program are between $1-3 billion. To the U.S., that’s spare change, so why not just buy them?

NK is thought to have about 60 nukes. Offer $500 million cash for each complete warhead successfully delivered to Oak Ridge for decommissioning. That’s $30 billion total, giving Kim at least a 1000% return on investment if he spent $3 billion to get them. An infusion of cash nearly three times his country’s GDP (12 billion) would be hard to turn down, even if he just uses it to build better torture chambers and more statues of himself.

To us, it would be completely worth it, even if we paid twice that. $60 billion is a bargain to avoid a nuclear exchange, and $30 billion is a steal.

Kim could try to game this. He could turn over 50 or so older warheads, collect $25 billion, and keep 10 or more modern ones, losing very little capacity to strike. But we could combine the offer with insistence on unrestricted inspection, not shipping or paying for them except all at once after confirming we have all of them, and sweeten the deal by placing zero restrictions or expectations on how the money could be spent and signing a peace treaty. Now that would be something.

In any case, as complicated as that would be to arrange, all that would really only be Step 1 of disarmament. Next would be deals for the missiles, the reactors, the technology, the facilities – all the apparatus to start it all easily would have to be destroyed and then constantly checked forever afterward. That’s what Trump can’t understand. This is not like buying a hotel. I struggle to come up with a sufficient parallel. The scope of Superfund comes to mind.


Trump is played again

The master dealmaker just got played by a ruthless dictator 35 years his junior. This worse than I could have imagined; Trump gave away a meeting with a US President and major military exercises in exchange for… nothing. He threw South Korea and Japan, close allies for over sixty years, under the bus… for nothing.

Oh, wait. He did get something. Ego-stroking attention, and distraction from Mueller.

When Chamberlain left his last meeting with Hitler in ’38, he carrid triumphantly a piece of paper in his pocket that Hitler had signed, pledging their mutal desire for peace. Hitler commented to Ribbentrop after that the paper was of no significance. Guess what happened a year later.

You cannot count on a dictator to behave. Diplomacy, to them, is simply manuvering into a more advantageous position to maintain and exert their power. This is exactly what Kim has done. Now he is in a much better position to bargain with China.

Shitting on Canada and the rest of our Western allies over the weekend over tariffs and Russia wasn’t enough, I suppose. Now our Eastern allies are pissed too.

At what point does this kind of incompetence cross over into open treason?

Is it on or not?

I am still not convinced the summit is going to happen – and certainly not the way Trump wants it to – even though Kim and Trump are in Singapore right now.

When you’re an absolute dictator, you are worried about only one thing – maintaining power long-term. So the summit is in the end about power maintenance for Kim.

I have five bucks on a sudden withdrawal by Kim to make Trump lose face (which I have mentioned before), get points with China, and unsettle the South as part of a long con to get sanctions lowered for essentially nothing in return.

Hitler had three “summits” with Chamberlain in 1938.


One commissioner in particular, Justice Kennedy wrote, had crossed the line in saying that “freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.”

Justice Kennedy wrote that “this sentiment is inappropriate for a commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.”



The above statement that Kennedy is ruffled about is an correct statement of fact, as any historican of religion could testify. It is not a “sentiment.” One could also, say, accurately, that religion has been a great force for good. However, I doubt Kennedy would have had a problem with that particular “sentiment.”

Trump folds on NK

Probably the only reasonable decision I’ve seen him make, and it was forced. He badly misplayed the whole affair and this was the only halfway-decent way to extract himself.

Increasingly, I am thinking that he may resign before this is all over. Impeachment is not politically possible.

It’s a trap

The North Korean peace overture is almost certainly a trap. Trump is a fool to accept a summit.

The mechanism is simple. Arrange the meeting on tantalizing terms… then cancel abruptly on the eve of it, or walk away during, claiming Ttump was an arrogant pompous ass that insulted NK sovereignty and acted in bad faith. Trump will try to spin it, but fail. Kim looks powerful and in charge. NK and China 1, US and SK 0.

Hell, it might not even have to be a lie… Trump may screw it up without help.

Most repair work done – further thoughts

I have restored most of the past content after the hack. I have also done a few more things under the hood, such as turning comments back on again. I feel a lot more talkative than I did last year, so I think I’ll be posting far more often! Registering is still required to keep spam at bay.

My About page is still missing, as are some minor associated pages. I will fix this in the comng days.

So, updates.

My son L is almost three. He’s great. Another, M, is on the way, due in May. So that is all wonderful. H is still very sick, but hanging in there.

In a post from last July I expressed a lot of depression about my career. Most of that problem is addressed, and I feel much better about the status of my research agenda now. It really helps to switch between projects when one stalls out.

Trump remains odious. If he fires Mueller, I wonder if the university would frown upon me joining a march on Washington. That would seem the only appropriate response.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a beautiful game. If you don’t have a PS4, it is worth the whole console for just that one game.

I have starting reading Greek again, this time boning up on Attic to prep for what should be a strong article. It is like visiting an old friend one hasn’t seen in awhile.

Some of my graduate students are starting to produce some impressive work that is headed toward publication. That has me excited and engaged.

I have some medical problems that are drastically improved after a long period of reduced productivity. Mostly fatigue and blood sugar stuff. As it turns out, if you get regular sleep and don’t eat tons of sugar, those problems largely resolve! It is incredible how dense I am.

That is all for now.