I was surprised that North Korea did not ring in the new year with another weapons test after giving Trump an end-of-the-year demand to give them what they want, but they've now taken one official step toward resuming tests.
Representatives for North Korea at the U.N. say the country is no longer bound by any commitments to end their tests and that includes nuclear weapons tests, not just ballistic missiles.
GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States' failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and "brutal and inhumane" U.S. sanctions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set an end-December deadline for denuclearization talks with the United States and White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said at the time the United States had opened channels of communication.
O'Brien said then he hoped Kim would follow through on denuclearization commitments he made at summits with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The rhetorical position of the United States is that Kim Jong-un should "follow through" on commitments that Kim never actually made.
Trump declared great progress where there was none and that provided cover and an opportunity for China, Russia, and North Korea to reengage with each other and the rest of the world with the credibility of the United States President making it all possible. Trump's unquenchable thirst for a good headline in a sea of bad ones enabled Kim to travel the world and smile for the cameras in a major propaganda coup that saw his world approval rating soar while Trump's continued to sour. The Pew Research Center recently found that the rest of the world has less faith in Trump than in Chinese President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin.
North Korea's peaceful overtures are obviously made in bad faith, but it's also true that Trump lowered himself and the United States to a position where the North's bad faith seems almost as plausible as our own bad faith.
In other words, North Korea is full of shit, but so are we under Trump.
It could take years for the next administration to even decipher and parse the events of the past few.