President Trump attitude toward his meeting with Kim Jung Un reflects his business acumen as a corporate CEO. Barbara Ehrenreich in Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (2009) defines this corporate behavior which came into being in the 1980s. Ehrenreich historicity declares that corporations had once been task-oriented entities, created in the nineteenth century through charters to perform specific projects like canal or railroad building. The word "corporate" still suggests a group engaged in some collective undertaking--beyond making money for shareholders--and well into the postwar period corporations continued to define themselves in terms of their products and overall contribution to society. But with the advent of "finance capitalism" in the 1980s, shareholders' profits came to trump all other considerations, even pride in the product. Harvard Business School's Rakesh Khurana, who has chronicled the decline of professional management, traces the changing conception of the corporation through policy statements made by the Business Roundtable. In 1990, this body representing America's large corporations stated that "corporations are chartered to serve both their shareholders and society as a whole," including such stakeholders as employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. In 1997, however the Roundtable explicitly denied any responsibility to stakeholders other than shareholders, stating that "the notion that the board must somehow balance the interests of other stakeholders fundamentally misconstrue the role of directors." Relieved of any concern for employees, customers, and "society as a whole," corporations degenerated into mere "aggregations of financial assets" to be plundered, dis-aggregated, or merged into one another at will. Some management thinkers even began to describe the corporation as "a legal fiction, a ghost of the mind," because the product was increasingly incidental and the bonds between corporate employees were increasingly fragile. Business advice books like Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive stressed that in the new corporate setting it was every man for himself.
High-level managers came to realize that they were no less expendable than anyone else. A hostile takeover or sudden decision to eliminate a product line or division could send them packing at any time; even CEOs were being churned in and out of their jobs. But the higher-ups had one great advantage over the average employee living under the threat of layoffs: because they were increasingly rewarded with stock options--and often with golden parachutes--they stood a chance of striking it rich in the ongoing turmoil.
The combination of great danger and potentially dazzling rewards makes for a potent cocktail--leading, in this case to a wave of giddiness that swept through America's managerial class. Rejecting the old slow, thoughtful methods of professional management, American managers became enamored of intuition, snap judgments, and hunches. Hesitating or spending too long on a decision was now condemned as "over-analyzing" or "over-intellectualizing." The only workable "paradigm" was change itself, and the only way to survive was to embrace it wholeheartedly or, "thrive on chaos."
However before embarking on his trip to Singapore, in spite his of short attention span, Mr. Trump should have at least given a cursively perusal of James Bradley's The China Mirage: The Hidden History Of American Disaster In Asia (2015), especially chapters 12 and 13. Bradley writes that in 1986 Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas coauthored a book entitled The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made, about Henry Stimson's ideological descendants, the official most responsible for the creation of the post-World War II national security state. The six Wise Men were Dean Acheson, Charles Bohlen, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, Robert Lovett, and John McCloy, all of whom had served one or more U.S. presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson and who first coalesced as a group under Harry Truman. Truman relied upon the Wise Men for foreign policy advice, and they became the architects of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and Cold War containment policy.
Isaacson and Thomas's book deals mostly with how the Wise Men contained the Soviet Union in Europe. Left out of their tale is the disastrous course the Wise Men pursued in Asia.
LOCATION & PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING TO A WESTERN COLONIAL DOMINANCE
CHINA LOBBY & LIES
Korea--due to its location--was the crucial keystone in North Asia. It was Japan's occupation of Korea that had allowed it to invade China. On August 10, 1945--the day after the second atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki--Wise Man John McCloy divided Korea for the purposed of accepting the surrender of Japanese troops. He drew an imaginary line at the thirty-eight parallel. Above the parallel would be a new country called North Korea dominated by Russia; below it would be the U.S. ally South Korea. No Wise Man thought to consult the Korean people about this division of their ancient land.
Koreans were even more outraged to learn that U.S. official would govern South Korea with help from the Koreans' former Japanese colonial masters. North Koreans watch uneasily as South Koreans who had cooperated with the Japanese occupation now helped the United States gain influence on the Korean Peninsula; Koreans had just suffered forty years of Nazi-like domination by the Japanese. North Korean leader Kim Il Sung had begun his military career fighting the Japanese in the spring of 1932, and his government was first of all, and above all else, anti-Japanese.
A major concern of Dean Acheson's was reinvigorating the world economy after the devastation of World War II. In Europe, the U.S. would adopt a program of economic aid called the Marshall Plan; in Asia, it was known as the Policy for Asia, National Security Council Document 48/2. According to NSC-48/2, Japan would become Asia's industrial economy, fired by U.S. companies. Washington would "connect up" other Asian economies to Japan's and keep them in subservient roles as suppliers to Japan's industrial machine and as markets for Japanese goods (thus isolating and containing China). The Wise Men opposed the industrialization of the rest of Asia, the former and current colonies of Japan, the UK, Holland, the U.S., and France. Instead, their plan called for Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries to be the supply/consumption machine within the U.S.-Japanese orbit. The American military would provide an umbrella of security for
Japan and keep the other Asian countries in line.
The Wise Men didn't understand that their Policy for Asia looked to many Asians alarmingly like imperial Japan's recent attempts at empire. To them, it was as if the U.S. was green-lighting another era of Japanese dominance with American backing. When North Korean leaders realized that Washington wanted Japan to once again dominate Korea, they perceived a mortal threat.
PRIMING THE US ECONOMIC PUMP
In 1950, despite the Marshall Plan and the Policy for Asia attempts at stimulating the global economy, the Wise Men saw that Germany and Japan were still not performing adequately, thus threatening to slow growth in the United States. Acheson analyzed the U.S. economy during World War II, when massive production of armaments for use around the world had provided a powerful stimulus. A good friend of English economist John Maynard Keynes, Acheson wondered if a huge Keynesian expansion of U.S. military spending could prime the world wide pump.
Acheson's top secret policy was laid out in National Security Council Document 68, or NSC-68, which called for something new in American history: an enormous U.S. military encircling the globe to protect the "war-making capabilities" of its allies, a euphemism referring to countries with resources that American industry needed to manufacture arms to contain Communism worldwide. The Constitution was written by men who feared the corrosive effects of a large standing army under a powerful executive, but with NSC-68, Acheson was tilting government funds away from domestic programs and toward a military stimulus.
CROSSING THE THIRTY-EIGHTH PARALLEL MEANS WAR TO AMERICANS
North Korea crossed the thirty-eighth parallel in force on June 25, 1950. Bruce Cummings wrote, "The North Koreans attacked the South because of fears that Japan's industrial economy and its former position in Korea were being revived by recent changes in American policy. For many North Korean soldiers, this fighting was the continuation of their recent war against the Japanese.
The Wise Men misinterpreted an incident in a small Asian civil war as a challenge to their global containment policy, incorrectly concluding that Moscow--working through Beijing and Pyongyang--had ordered the crossing, when it was only a North Korean action.
Cummings concludes: "The Korean War was the crisis that finally got the Japanese and West German economies growing strongly, and vastly stimulated the U.S. economy American defense industries hardly knew that Kim Il Sung would come along and save them either, but he inadvertently rescued a bunch of big-ticket projects....
The Korean conflict (would transform) the United States into a very different country than it had ever been before: one with hundreds of permanent military bases abroad, a large standing army and a permanent national security state at home."
PRESIDENTS TO BLAME: THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
Bradley posits that there are remarkable parallels regarding events in Asia during the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Both presidents saw Japan launch surprise naval attacks. Theodore Roosevelt had considered the Japanese to be good Asians in 1904, but when Japan repeated its strategy thirty-seven years later, Franklin said it was a day of infamy.
Both Roosevelts would shape America's relations with Asia, believing that China was destined to be changed by Christian and American influences. Both made their Asian policies in secret, consulting neither their State Departments nor those few men around them knowledgeable about Asia. A Harvard-educated Japanese baron guided Teddy's approach. A Harvard-educated Chinese financier shared sandwiches with Franklin in the Oval Office and convinced him that an Americanized New China was near.
The Roosevelt cousins' attitudes toward Asia continued to ripple throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Today the executive branch dispatches troops overseas without congressional declarations of war. In 1900, Teddy cheered from the sidelines as the first U.S. troops ever dispatched to Asia without consulting Congress landed on the shores of China. Today the executive branch uses deadly drones with almost no congressional oversight and no judicial complaint.
Some may resist the uncomfortable historical connections between Teddy and Pearl Harbor; they may not think that FDR has anything to do with the later domestic political pressure on presidents not to lose an Asian country. After all, Theodore tossed Korea to the Japanese over a century ago, and it has been seventy years since Franklin chose Chiang over Mao. And while American historians do their best to whitewash the Roosevelts disaster, memories are long in Asia.
TRUMP AND THE ARROGANCE OF AMERICAN POWER FROM WEST TO EAST
Because Trump is a bigot and New York Racist (believing that the City has no place for Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Asians, but will tolerate Jews--because they are rich--these Others don't belong) with the intellect that belongs in "the golden age of white men," he has not observed what John Naisbitt wrote about the changing face of Asia in Megatrends Asia: Eight Asian Megatrends That Are Reshaping Our World (1997). Although "megatrends" seem to have gone out of fashion as economic indicators, Naisbitt's predictions still have validity, especially for arrogant White men like Trump who still view Asians as coolies.
Naisbitt in "From West to East," advises that most Asian business-people in international commerce adopted an English name to accommodate Westerners--Stan Shih, Ronnie Chan, Jimmy Lai, and on and on. His advice to Westerners for the future: get used to Asian names as soon as possible, because more and more Asian business-people are dropping their English names.
Through its dominance in markets, technology and capital since the Second World War, the West had an overpowering influence on the world, especially on Asia. The world used to mean the Western world, but a confluence of circumstances is converging to forever alter the global balance of power. Today, global forces are forcing us to confront a new reality: the rise of the East. It is becoming apparent to the East and to some in the West that we are moving toward the Easternization of the world. In the global context, the West is still important, but no longer dominant. The global axis of influence has shifted from West to East.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And before the break, a quick aside on international relations and summits - China and the U.S. regularly spar over trade and foreign policy and now supercomputers. The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory this past week unveiled the aptly named Summit. Oak Ridge says it's the world's most powerful and smartest scientific supercomputer, taking the top spot from China. The last time a U.S. supercomputer held the crown was in 2012. And get this - Summit has a peak performance of two hundred thousand trillion calculations per second or 200 petaflops - peta what?
OK. Here's an easier way to think about it. If every person on Earth completed one calculation per second, it would take the world population 305 days to do what Summit can do in one second. Whoa. But maybe the United States shouldn't gloat too much about having this computer. China might not have the speediest supercomputer in the world any longer, but according to an industry ranking of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world, China has the world's most supercomputers overall, with the U.S. in second place.
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Naisbitt insists that Global political, economic and cultural forces are reshaping the world. It is no longer just what America and Europe can do. It is what America, Europe and Asia can do together to reshape the world. When Latin America and Africa are integrated at a later stage, there will be total and complete integration of a world system, the single-market global economy.
Only thirty-five years ago East Asian economies, including Japan's contributed 4 percent of the world's output. Now they contribute 24 percent, the same amount as the United States, Canada, and Mexico. By the century's end, if current trends are played out, these economies will be responsible for one third of the world output. The World Bank estimates that Asia will account for half the expansion in global trade. The rise of the East began with economic power. Political clout and cultural influence will follow.
WHY TRUMP FEELS THAT HE CAN IGNORE NAISBITT’S JEREMIAD
John Newsinger in Wars Past and Wars to Come (November 2015) hints at why Trump thinks that he can afford "not" to take Kim Jung Un or North Korea seriously: Wars to Come Strategy. Using the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as models, Newsinger overlays them as to methodology. He comments that via a "stab in the back" myth as it was constructed for Iraq and Afghanistan [has already been constructed for North Korea]. Don't forget Trump has threatened to "walk out" on negotiation with Kim Un, if he "gets the feeling." Old strategies from the Vietnam War is to be abandoned by the U.S. military. Newsinger posits that the reality is now somewhat different. What we have seen is a significant shift in U.S. strategy, from full-scale invasion and occupation--which proved too costly, too unpopular, and positively counter-productive--to going back to more traditional methods of intervention. The counterinsurgency turn has proven to be remarkably short lived, an intellectual revolution that crashed and burned almost as soon as it took flight. Instead of committing large numbers of troops on the ground, the United States is waging war across the world by means of special forces and aerial bombardment, whether carried out by drones and conventional aircraft, or by supporting [South Korean military] proxy armies in the fight against U.S. enemies. This is more cost-effective and invites less political fallout. These are wars to come.
North Korea is indeed a war to come in Trump's mind. Trump with his arrogance has listed North Korea as weak and the U.S. military as all powerful.
Frantz Fanon cautions against listening to the lure of the West in Wretched of the Earth: As [North Koreans/Asians] see it, the bankruptcy of the bourgeoisie is not apparent in the economic field only. They have come to power in the name of a narrow nationalism and representing a race; they will prove themselves incapable of triumphantly putting into practice a program with even a minimum humanist content, in spite of fine-sounding declarations which are devoid of meaning since the speakers bandy about in irresponsible fashion phrases that come straight out of European treatises on morals and political philosophy. When the bourgeoisie is strong, when it can arrange everything and everybody to serve its power, it does not hesitate to affirm positively certain democratic ideas which claim to be universally applicable. There must be very exceptional circumstances if such a bourgeoisie, solidly based economically is forced into denying its own humanist ideology. The Western bourgeoisie, solidly based economically, is forced into denying its own humanist ideology. The Western bourgeoisie, though fundamentally racist, most often manages to mask this racism by multiplicity of nuances which allow it to preserve intact its proclamation of mankind's outstanding dignity.
The Western bourgeoisie has prepared enough fences and railings to have no real fear of competition of those whom it exploits and hold in contempt. Western bourgeois racial prejudice as regards the nigger and the [Asian] is a racism of contempt; it is a racism which minimizes what it hates. Bourgeois ideology, however, which is the proclamation of an essential equality between men, manages to appear logical in its own eyes by inviting the sub-men to become human, and to take as their prototype Western humanity as incarnated in the Western bourgeoisie.
Fallout from the G-7. The North Korea summit. The GOP’s immigration feud, top reporters open their notebooks and share what to look for in the week ahead.
Jeff Pegues, Justice and Homeland Security Correspondent CBS News. (@jeffpeguescbs)
Nahal Toosi, Foreign affairs correspondent at Politico. (@nahaltoosi)
Molly Ball, National Political Correspondent for TIME. (@mollyesque)
Politico: "Nixed Iran nuclear deal looms over Trump’s North Korea talks" — "Days before President Donald Trump embarked on a North Korea summit meant to solve one nuclear crisis, Iran hinted at another.
The Islamic Republic announced last week that it has expanded its ability to enrich uranium, a key ingredient for nuclear weapons. The move came just weeks after Trump abruptly quit the Barack Obama-era deal that largely dismantled Iran’s nuclear program, and it could be a first step toward an eventual Iranian dash to a nuclear bomb.
Iran probably didn’t time its move to throw a stink bomb into Tuesday’s summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, experts say. But the news served as a vivid reminder of how the troubled Iran nuclear deal will haunt Trump’s talks with Kim.
The North Koreans are certainly watching."
TIME: "Donald Trump’s Campaign to Discredit the Russia Investigation May B..." — "In a warren of low-ceilinged rooms on the ground floor of the West Wing, down the stairs from the Oval Office and next to the Situation Room, Donald Trump’s lawyers are waging war.
They’re locked in battle with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, who has indicted 19 people over the past 13 months, five of whom have pleaded guilty. Now he is homing in on the investigation’s most powerful subject: the President, whom Mueller wants to testify under oath about what he knows.
It’s a dangerous moment for Trump. If he agrees to talk, the notoriously undisciplined President risks making a false statement, which could be a crime like the one that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment. But if he refuses, Mueller could issue a subpoena, instigating a long, high-profile court battle over whether Trump could be forced to testify. The two legal teams–Mueller’s squad of top prosecutors and Trump’s rotating cast of advocates–are haggling over what an interrogation would look like: how long it would be, what topics would be on the table and whether the session would be recorded. Before the President talks to investigators, Trump’s team wants to see the authorization letter that established Mueller’s authority, according to Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. They are also demanding the special counsel’s report to be issued within 60 days of any interview."
This program aired on June 11, 2018. http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2018/06/11/whats-to-come-this-week-in-t...
The U.S. President, the North Korean leader and their delegations are gathered in Singapore for nuclear non-proliferation talks, President Trump fresh from a contentious and unusual gathering of the G7 big industrial democracies… sniping over tariffs and trade echo from the Quebec confab… Trump wants Russia back in G7 as his old campaign chief faces more Russia-related charges. Women nominees emerge from primaries and lead the Trump resistance.
This hour, On Point: Reporters open their notebooks, and look at the week ahead.
- Ray Suarez
NAFTA & FEAR