4 May 2018   Leave a comment

I always want to make sure that the readers of this blog are always up to date on the latest acronyms in world politics.  Everyone should remember “CVID”.  This gem comes to us from the US State Department Briefing on 3 May 2018:

QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo yesterday during swearing-in ceremony said that he seeks permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s WMD. He actually said this several times during his nomination hearing, when he was in Jordan with the Japanese foreign minister. So this is quite different from the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement, so is this a higher bar for North Korea, or is it essentially the same?

MS NAUERT: We’re calling it CVID now. So because the State Department, the government likes acronyms so much, we’ve got a new one: CVID – complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. That is our policy and that is the policy of Secretary Pompeo.

Okay. Let’s —

QUESTION: Wouldn’t that be PVID? You add another addition of PVID.

MS NAUERT: Yeah, I don’t have anything on that for you. I don’t have anything on that for you today.

QUESTION: You don’t have – what’s the difference, CVID and PVID? Permanently —

MS NAUERT: I think our government policy has been very well known and explained a lot of times on how we are approaching negotiations with North Korea, the importance of that. Look, we would not be at this place where we are today without the maximum pressure campaign. If anything, if there’s – I’ve spoken more about our maximum pressure campaign than anything else in the past year-plus since I’ve been doing this job.

QUESTION: PVID means permanently —

MS NAUERT: We are seeing tremendous progress. We’ve gotten to this point where we can sit down and have conversations – we certainly hope and are looking forward to it – between the President of the United States and Kim Jong-un. And we are looking forward to what they have pledged, which is exactly that, denuclearization. Let’s move on to something else.

No matter what the acronym, the idea that North Korea would agree to CVID/PVID absent a complete disengagement of American troops and alliances in the Korea peninsula is lunacy.

But President Trump has often talked about removing US troops from South Korea, even before he ran for office.  He is not the first US President to think about the matter:  President Carter make reductions in the troop levels and President George W. Bush removed some troops to use them in the invasion of Iraq.   Mr. Trump believes that the troops are not necessary to maintain the peace on the peninsula and that South Korea and Japan should pay for the troops if they wish an American presence.  The New York Times is reporting that Mr. Trump has ordered the Pentagon to conduct a study on possibly removing some of the troops.   The South Korean government is sending mixed signals about such as move.  Moon Chung-in, a special adviser to the South Korean President for unification, foreign affairs and national security remarked that if a peace treaty were signed between North and South Korea, US troops would no longer be necessary.  Later, another official, Cheong Wa Dae, made this statement: “The government’s position is that the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is playing the role of a mediator between major powers surrounding the country, such as China and Japan. It is the government’s stance that the USFK is needed.”

US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, said on Friday that Mr. Trump is not considering a draw down of troops.   The New York Post is quoting Bolton on the matter: ““The New York Times story is utter nonsense. The President has not asked the Pentagon to provide options for reducing American forces stationed in South Korea.”  The Military Times is reporting that Chief of Staff, John Kelly, is also opposed to troop reductions in South Korea.  Troops reductions are only one of the contentious issues likely to come up in the summit between Trump and Kim.  There are also matters of a potential peace treaty between North and South as well as the status of the current sanctions against North Korea.  It is difficult to believe that all these issues could be resolved simultaneously.  They are likely only to be conducted in a series of iterated steps over a very long period of time.  That process might have a high chance of success but whether it is something that could be politically sustained without a certain outcome for an extended period seems unlikely to work in the US political system.

US Bases in South Korea                                                                                                                     US Military Bases Near North Korea

                          

 

Maj. Danny Sjursen (US Army) has written a critique of the legislation being proposed by Senators Corker (R-TN) and Kaine (D-VA) to replace the current hodgepodge of Authorizations to Use Military Force (AUMF) that have been passed to legitimate US troops engaged in combat missions in what was once called the “War on Terror”.  These AUMFs are ersatz versions of the constitutional requirement of a Declaration of War which needs to be passed by both Houses of Congress and subject to a veto by the President.  Sjursen describes the legislation:

“It would essentially rubber stamp the president’s authority, for instance, to continue the ongoing shooting wars in at least seven countries where the U.S. is currently dropping bombs or firing off other munitions. Worse yet, it provides a mechanism for the president to declare nearly any future group an “associated force” or “successor force” linked to one of America’s current foes and so ensure that Washington’s nearly 17-year-old set of forever wars can go on into eternity without further congressional approval.”

Moreover, the language of the legislation is especially terrifying for civil liberties in the US.  Jon Schwarz, writing for The Intercept, examines the loophole which may allow the President to designate at will any group he or she decides is “associated” with terror groups:

“Here’s how it works: The Corker-Kaine AUMF codifies an expanded list of entities against whom the president is authorized to use force. They are “the Taliban, al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and designated associated forces.” The associated forces designated by the bill are Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; Shabab; Al Qaeda in Syria; the Haqqani Network; and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

“Then when the bill is passed, the president is invited to designate additional “associated forces” to the list. And going forward, the president can add more at any time. All he needs to do is inform “the appropriate congressional committees and leadership” that he’s doing so.

                                           

There apparently is no way for Congress to restrict the power of the President to designate an “associated” group.  This legislation should be soundly defeated.
On this day in 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed an agreement implementing the first step of Palestinian self-rule as articulated in the Oslo Accords of 1993.  The incredible hopes raised by that event no longer exist.  Both sides accuse each other of bad faith and lack of adherence to the Accords.  Today, 24 years later, the idea of peaceful coexistence between two states–one Israeli and the other Palestinian–is impossible under current conditions and the trajectory of relations between the two sides is becomingly increasingly hostile.
The Meeting in Cairo hosted by Hosni Mubarak

Posted May 4, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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