After Singapore, Are We Safer — and What Next?

David Finkel

“LITTLE ROCKET MAN” is now, in Donald Trump’s tweetworld, “the very talented and smart leader who loves his people.” Even better, when Kim Jong-un speaks, “his people sit up and listen. I wish it was like that here.” Indeed.

To be fair, Trump is not solely responsible for the twisted form the debate over North Korea has taken after the Singapore summit. While he proclaims that the “North Korean nuclear menace” is over, leading Democrats seem to be channeling their inner John Bolton, denouncing Trump for giving Kim respectability and suspending provocative war games (yes, that’s what they are) without getting tangible concessions from Pyongyang.

Let’s state the most important fact first. Yes, after Singapore the world is a little safer, because the main threat of catastrophe on the Korean peninsula has receded: the immediate danger that the United States, as Bolton advocated, would launch an attack on North Korea — or that the North Korean military might mistake a too-well-simulated U.S. attack for the real thing, with incalculable consequences. That the United States was the most dangerous potential aggressor remains, of course, unstated in post-summit punditry.

As for the summit itself, who got “played” by whom? Both principals got what they wanted: Kim Jong-un got a measure of international recognition and an implicit promise of relaxed sanctions -- almost surely, China and Russia will unofficially be letting up on sanctions enforcement --while Trump got his big-time photo-op and press conference (and maybe long-term dreams for Trump Towers and resorts on those fabulous beaches).

The aftermath is less clear. North Korea is now, in fact, a proven nuclear-armed state, and the question is whether the United States will accept that reality in fact, although obviously not officially. The delusion of “complete, verifiable and irreversible de-nuclearization” is a fantasy that can only...

Eric Blair
June 12, 2018

It is encouraging to read about the creativity and militancy of workers and unions in other countries. Even better is to read about workers and unions who are taking on and defeating the very same corporations that are undermining the labor movement in the U.S. Perhaps, those workers and their unions are demonstrating strategies and tactics that could be implemented here to help reinvigorate the labor movement. That’s the inspiring proposition of Carolina Bank Muñoz’s latest book, which tells...

Mike Parker
June 12, 2018

California has a "top-two primary" where all candidates run on the same primary ballot and the top two face each other in the general election. So it makes for a lot of maneuvering. Even if a district is overwhelmingly Democrat, for example, if the Republicans only have two candidates but the Democrats have many, it is possible for the runoff to be between two Republicans. And in the fall, while candidates are identified by registration there are no party ballots or lines.

Gayle McLaughlin, who is...

Michael Löwy
June 1, 2018

The passing away of Joel Kovel is a great loss not only for us, his friends and collaborators, but for the broad international ecosocialist movement, of which he was a towering pioneer.

I first met Joel at an International Marxist Conference at the University of Nanterre (Paris), convened in 2001 by my friends of the Journal Actuel Marx. We immediately sympathized, and found a common interest: the urgent need to bring together the “Red” and the “Green”, under the aegis...

Steve Early
May 28, 2018

In a political culture shaped by big money, entrepreneurial candidacies, single-issue campaigning, and union dis-unity, you can run but not hide from crowded fields of Democrats. In many current primary races, they are all claiming to be “progressive,” even as they raise and spend millions of dollars competing against each other—money that might have been better spent on actual movement building?

Eric...

A. Smith
May 26, 2018

Left-wing analyses of capitalist ideology insightfully expose how personal responsibility is deployed to blame marginalized populations for what are actually consequences of oppression. The implications of this critique for body odor medical conditions, however, are rarely spelled out.

Since the early twentieth century, corporate advertising has invoked norms of personal responsibility and body shaming to disseminate the myth that all people have the ability and obligation to become odorless through...

Yasemin Dildar
May 18, 2018

“If one day our nation says ‘enough,’ then we will step aside,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week in a speech to Turkey’s Parliament. Soon after the speech, #Tamam (“Enough”) became a trending Twitter topic worldwide with over 1.5 million tweets posted by the end of that night. Social media has become the primary platform for opposition against the government in Turkey since mainstream media is almost completely controlled by the government. However, Erdoğan’s...

Dan Clawson and John Fitzgerald
May 8, 2018

Educators for a Democratic Union (EDU) is the progressive caucus in the Massachusetts Teachers Association in which several Solidarity members are active. Four years ago, EDU ran a candidate for president largely as a vehicle to make connections with those we couldn’t easily reach. As a result of an effective campaign, an unsuspecting old guard, and a disgruntled membership, Barbara Madeloni won a two-year term. She ran for re-election in 2016 with a running mate; she won again, but her running...

A Statement from the Steering Committee of Solidarity

DONALD TRUMP’s WITHDRAWAL of the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement has set a path toward another Middle East war. It is not necessarily a war that will erupt right away or in the short term, and it may be averted if the United States is politically isolated and there’s a mass revival of an international antiwar movement. That’s what every sane person, and certainly every socialist and peace activist, should hope and work for.

Nonetheless, the course now is set toward...

Song Ho-joon
May 4, 2018

In November 2016 candlelight vigils began to flare up in South Korea. Millions of people joined the movement and within a couple of months they succeeded in ousting the ultra-right wing Park Geun-hye administration. The advent of the Moon Jae-in liberal government created a new political environment in which gaining some reforms within the system seemed to be possible. This new milieu generated a concern among labor activists about how they had to carry out their revolutionary goals. Applying a theory...

Shannon Carter
May 1, 2018

Increasingly, leftists in North Texas are finding one another and, in doing so, discovering ways to work together to fight ongoing injustice and oppression in all its forms.

Nowhere in this notoriously conservative area has this alliance-building seemed more evident than Solidarity Day School in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, March 10, 2018, the first in what we hope will become a quarterly series of Day Schools for local leftists, movement activists, and organizers, all with differing levels of familiarity...

All Webzine articles