In the sixth Star Trek film, The Undiscovered Country, Ambassador Spock tells Captain Kirk, “There’s an old Vulcan saying – only Nixon could go to China.”
The line was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, suggesting that Nixon going to China was so symbolically significant that it had even become a saying among an alien race centuries in the future.
The Nixon-going-to-China reference has also been cited a bunch of times in recent days, since it has been announced that Donald Trump appears to have accepted North Korea’s invitation for the US President to attend a talk with Kim Jong-un. The seemingly sudden onset of diplomacy and de-escalation seems to have caught most commentators off-guard.
It seems, on the surface, to be a positive development, with the historic meeting tentatively scheduled for May.
If all is as it seems to be on the surface (and that is by no means certain), then President Trump deserves a lot of credit: his bullish, unorthodox way of dealing with the North Korea situation so far appears to have created a very fast result, with the Communist regime talking about de-nuclearisation and seeming keen to talk.
Again, however, that is assuming that all is as it seems to be on the surface.
Which we can never be sure of.
We’re told that Kim Jong-un’s offer to de-nuclearise is being put forward only on the condition that the regime has ‘security guarantees’ – that is to say that it won’t be attacked or ‘regime-changed’ in the event of it giving up its nuclear programme.
I – and I imagine most reasonable people – would like to see the North-Korean regime gone (there’s nothing good about that regime). But if I was in Pyongyang I would not be willing to trust the United States’ word on ‘security guarantees’.
After all, Saddam let the weapons inspectors in – and ended up hanging in the gallows. Gaddafi willingly dismantled Libya’s WMD programme – and ended up being targeted by NATO drone-strikes.
No one at this juncture seems entirely sure what’s going on beneath the surface. It could be that Kim Jong-un is simply out of options and genuinely fears an imminent US attack. Or it could also be that the North-Korean regime could be simply stalling for time.
That being said, perhaps the best route for the North-Korean regime would be to de-nuclearise, ask for Washington’s word, form better relations with South Korea, and put its own security entirely in the hands of China – so that China becomes Pyongyang’s guarantor.
I don’t know if China would even be willing to take that position, but in that scenario the United States would have a very hard time moving against Pyongyang – especially if the nuclear weapons programme is gone.
If this meeting does go ahead in May, it’s going to be very, very interesting.
There’s a number of things to consider.
One is that the North Korean regime’s long-term commitment to developing a nuclear weapons programme doesn’t seem like something it would give up on easily. Another is that the US Neo-Cons’ involvement in covertly helping Pyonyang to accelerate its weapons programme suggests that people other than Trump in the US wouldn’t want North Korea to de-nuclearise, particularly if we accept the widely-held premise that US interest in North Korea is really all about China.
Another is also the view held by some that America’s focus on North Korea is also married to Israel’s concerns about North Korea – and that Israel’s concern is North-Korea’s relationship with Iran.
Something else I want to mention here.
I don’t do this often, but I want to share a message I got from someone yesterday. I get sent thoughts, theories and ideas reasonably often here and usually don’t reproduce them; but this one really stuck in my mind even after I initially dismissed it. The reader, who I only know as ‘Greg’ (and who claims to work in ‘crisis management’), emailed me his ‘theory’ or prediction about what he thinks is going to happen in May.
For the record, he isn’t psychic – so definitely take this with a big pinch of salt (he has also sent me predictions before, which turned out to be completely wrong). But since he told me his theory, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head – so I’m putting it out there now and hopefully I’ll stop thinking about it.
Here it is. According to him, President Trump goes to Pyongyang for a state visit and a meeting with the North-Korean leadership. While in Pyonyang, Trump is assassinated. As far as everyone is concerned, the President has been assassinated by the North-Korean regime. The US immediately retalliates militarily against North Korea and the regime is destroyed, after which the US will militarily occupy that country for an indeterminate period – putting the US into a fast-brewing conflict with China, which doesn’t want the US occupying North Korea.
But that’s only part of it. According to, let’s call it ‘Greg Theory’, the assassination will have actually been carried out by US Deep State operatives who will see Trump’s visit to Pyongyang as the perfect opportunity to get rid of him – and have it look like a US enemy state did the deed. Mike Pence then becomes President.
The conspiracy is perfect because it kills two birds with one stone – removing Trump and occupying North Korea.
To clarify, that’s not my theory – but I thought it was hair-raising enough to be worth sharing.
I doubt that’s what’s going to happen; and I’m not subscribing to this prediction. For one thing, I doubt President Trump will go to Pyongyang – the meeting, if it happens, will more likely happen in South Korea.
I also am not entirely convinced that the US ‘Deep State’ has any interest in getting rid of Trump either: the military-industrial complex certainly wouldn’t have any interest in that and neither would the bankers or the billionaire class.
But – on the off-chance that anything of the sort actually happens – I figured it would be good to have had it called out ahead of time somewhere.
Getting back to the Star Trek reference that we opened with, that film – The Undiscovered Country – was all about the decades-long bitter enemies (Humans and Klingons) reaching out to negotiate peace and forge a new relationship.
In the original generation of Star Trek under Gene Roddenberry, the Klingons were written to reflect the Soviet Union and the Cold War. By the time of The Undiscovered Country (1990), the Berlin Wall was coming down and the Cold War was apparently ending.
In this film, when Spock says the line about Nixon going to China, he is actually trying to convince Kirk (who has been requested by the Klingons) to go meet the Klingon leaders to open the negotiations and take the first step. Kirk, who has fought and hated Klingons for decades, is against this – but Spock convinces him of the need for peace and new beginnings. And Kirk is the only person fit to go – precisely because he is so known to the Klingons and has such an adversarial relationship with them, they respect him as a formidable enemy.
Of course, it isn’t so straightforward. When he meets with the Klingon leaders, a false-flag attack immediately unfolds – the Klingon leadership is brutally wiped out in an attack made to look like it has been carried out by Kirk and the Enterprise. The hope for peace is destroyed and Kirk is taken by the Klingons to pay for his crimes.
The clip below shows the first part of the attack: and shows the false-flag agents carrying out the assassinations while a bewildered Kirk, Spock and co try to figure out what’s going on.
As the film goes on, Spock’s investigations uncover that the false-flag assassination/attack was a conspiracy carried out by a cabal of both human and Klingon officers who were opposed to any peace or reconciliation between the two powers.
I’ve said a lot about The Undiscovered Country here not just because I’m an insufferable Trekkie, but because ever since the potential Trump/Kim-Jong-un meeting was announced, I haven’t been able to get this film out of my head. I recommend watching this movie to anyone who’s never seen it before (the ‘guess who’s coming to dinner?’ scene alone is probably a taste of what any real-world Trump/North-Korean-regime meeting would feel like).
Curiously, and in keeping with previous discussions about ‘predictive programming’ in Hollywood films (such as how a very Trump-like villain featured in Captain America: The Winter Soldier – which was all about a fascist secret-society making its final bid for world domination), this potential meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un appears to be a fulfilment of the ending to a movie that is culturally prevalent in North Korea. The North-Korean propaganda film The Country I Saw ends with a fictional American president coming to North Korea and finally consenting to treat the regime with respect and as an equal.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program, covers this in an article here from 2012.
In fact, successive US Presidents have been invited by the North Korean state to go to Pyongyang: this is simply the first time a President appears to be agreeing to it.
But let’s get back to reality.
If we take everything for now at face-value and assume that all is as it appears to be (whatever that means anymore), the best-case scenario is that North-Korea is sincere and intends to de-nuclearise, that the United States will agree to not plot against the regime if it discontinues its weapons programme (and that the United States will honor that agreement), and that the Korean War officially ends with some kind of peace treaty or agreement and that North and South Korea begin a gradual process of normalisation (along the lines of the Sunshine Period) over a number of years.
As things currently appear, it does – remarkably – seem like that set of scenarios is now a possibility.
If, in the next few months, this all does result in a de-escalation (and possibly even an official end to the Korean War with the signing of a peace treaty), then the largely anti-Trump MSM in America really would need to credit the US President a great deal for his part in diminishing the pereceived North Korea threat – especially if it is accomplished without any need for actual conflict.
I would certainly give him a great deal of credit: I don’t praise Donald Trump every often, but I believe in giving credit where it is due (and that if you criticise someone’s bad points, you also have a duty to praise their good points when they appear). And if the accomplishments of Trump’s first term in office includes a peaceful resolution to the North Korea situation, then that’s a hell of a big deal to include on his record.
The South Koreans would also deserve credit too, of course: and it is South-Korean diplomacy (which seems to have been going on despite – and not because of – the United States) that appears to have played an equally big role in bringing things to this juncture.
The question, as ever, is whether or not you believe that all is as it appears to be.
Read more: ‘Does the US Want North Korea as the New Iraq?‘, ‘North Korea & the Sunshine Policy‘, ‘North Korea: The Dystopia With a Right to Defend Itself‘, ‘The Life & Death of Gaddafi’s Libya‘, ‘Turkey, Erdogan, the Gulenists & the Age of Universal Deceit‘, ‘What if the Iraq War Had Never Happened?‘…
More: ’50 Years of STAR TREK: A Psychological and Cultural Celebration of Rodenberry’s Vision’, ‘Predictive Programming: Trump, the Alt-Right, Nazis & the Weird Reality/Reality-TV Overlap‘, ‘On Mythology & Immortality: A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy‘…
“Gaddafi willingly dismantled Libya’s WMD programme – and ended up being targeted by NATO drone-strikes.”
We would point out that Ghaddafi was building up Libya. This is something that Kim is not doing in North Korea. He makes certain to feed his army so that they do not overthrow him. But, the common people do not fare so well.
You’re right, of course, larryzb. I wasn’t making a comparison in those terms – only in strategic/defense terms. Kim Jong-un is definitely no Gaddafi and North Korea is no Libya.
I’m in no doubt that North Korea is more about China that achieving any kind of peace from the Americans side. The only thing stopping the US from invading or attacking North Korea is the fact that China have clearly stated they would come to their defence should this happen. They would not however, help them if they attacked the US. So while the Americans think China has not done enough to contain the North Koreans I’d say they basically threatened both sides and scared the shit out of them thereby forcing both sides to rethink the way forward.
As for Gregs Theory he’s not the only one to think that Trump might need extra security in Korean (either North or South). When I first heard the news I had the same thought…is this how they get rid of the monkey on their back? I didn’t however go much further into the consequences of such an act, unlike Greg.
So if two completely random, and dare I say insignificant people can think it, are we stupid enough to believe that people with a lot to loose in Trumps world wouldn’t think it too?
‘Insignificant?’ I hardly think so.
If you also think Trump might get knocked off in Korea, that’s worrying. I hope you’re both wrong – nothing good would come of that for anyone.
On the subject of China, of John Pilger is right and the US and China are going to be in conflict sooner or later, I don’t even know who the ‘Good Guys’ would be anymore. The last thing we need is a Chinese World Order to replace the New American Century. But, I guess, what we do need is a Balance of Power – so that no power or agenda is allowed to have total domination.
I was an avid Star Trek fan when it first appeared on TV. It appeared so Futuristic. With the advances in movie technology, it now looks so chintzy and amateurish.
Nevertheless, the idea humans could evolve and civilize, overcoming the things that dive us was hopeful and promising. It now appears humanity is retrogressing.
For those who are interested, the full 1991 movie, ‘The Undiscovered Country’ can be seen here:
Yep, humanity is very much retrogressing. Professor Stephen Hawking (who appeared in different Star Trek shows himself a couple of times) recently spoke about how human beings are “getting stupider” with each passing day – and that we don’t have much time left to fix our situation.