We have been living in what is called “splash” news - a blackout of virtually everything else - while pundits parse, praise, and pan the high level meetings, on full display, in the recent President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un summit.
History lesson cautionary tail
But there is a note of caution; though I wish Donald Trump much success, I cannot stop thinking about past “historic meetings” and how they ended.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger went to China to meet with Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese ruthless tyrant and mass murderer, the enslaver of millions. In resolving to restore relations with China, they abandoned Taiwan, a most reliable USA ally. That was considered a “success”.
President Trump and Kim Historic handshake in Singapore
Remember Tienanmen Square demonstrations in USA “ally” Beijing, in 1989? After several weeks of demonstrations, on June 4th Chinese troops entered Tienanmen Square and fired on demonstrating civilians. Estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to thousands.
Remember US secretary of state Madeleine Albright October 23rd, 2000, historic visit to North Korea, where she held unprecedented talks with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, as she began laying the groundwork for a visit by President Bill Clinton to one of the last bastions of the cold war. The two shook hands, and Mr. Kim noting that Mrs. Albright was the first secretary of state ever to visit North Korea said, "This is a new one from a historical point of view. I am really very happy." To which Mrs. Albright responded, "I'm very glad to be here in your beautiful city."
Despite the overtures, the primary concerns of North Korea's missile development programme and its export of missiles to Iran and Syria remained till today.
Then, in 1978, there was the “historic” Camp David Accord, signed after Egypt president Anwar Sadat went to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, to bark his orders at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, demanding full return of the Sinai Peninsula, consisting of 92% of all the land captured in 1967 by Israel’s defensive war and retained in 1973 Yom Kippur War after Egypt lost both wars against Israel. Sadat further demanded and received concessions from Prime Minister Menachem Begin, including promises to establish an “autonomy” for the Arab residents of the “West Bank”. We have been witnessing since then what the promise and establishing of that ”autonomy” has led us to. And for the record, the “normal relations” that were established between Israel and Egypt did not halt the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric, in mosques’ sermons and in schoolbooks, calling for Israel’s destruction.
And then there was the September 1993 “historic” Oslo Accord spectacle, on the White House lawn, with handshakes all around among President Bill Clinton, Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and mass murderer and arch terrorist Yasser Arafat. The media cooed and swooned and seasoned the statesmen and predicted peace at last in the Middle East. The Israelis gave up shrines and towns to Arab control and the Arabs swiftly destroyed them and resumed horrific terror against Israel civilians in markets, buses, beaches, weddings and restaurants, leaving us with etched photos of mangled baby strollers and dead babies still in their cribs.
So best we curb our enthusiasm, while we watch the unfolding.