Biden Talks with Kim Jong Un

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Early in the morning, on a Tuesday, North Korea time, president Joe Biden puts in a call to the ruler of that country. The call is made through a top secret video link that had been cleared days before by people on both sides. The stated topic is nuclear weapons.

Biden – Good morning to you.
Kim – Good afternoon to you.
Biden – Thank you. Kim… you keep firing the missiles… and I’m worried that you might make a mistake.
Kim – I won’t.
Biden – Mistakes can happen to the best of us. We understand you want to be acknowledged… and believe me, we do. We have no intention of harming you or your country in any manner.
Kim – Then lift the sanctions.
Biden – I’m getting there. Kim, it costs a lot of money and effort to build those weapons… money that can go to more productive uses. Let’s discuss the war in Ukraine for a moment. Your friend Putin has talked about firing his missiles at us… but he won’t. You know why?
Kim – You will fire back.
Biden – Exactly. If a city in the West burns, then Moscow and St Petersburg will burn… but Beijing and Shanghai will burn, too. People in Moscow, with their skin falling off because of radioactivity, will go hunting for the man responsible for such atrocity. ‘Where is Putin?’ the angry people will say. And they will find him. I don’t have to tell you what will happen to him when they do.
Kim – You think the same will happen to me?
Biden – Worse. If you hit us, China won’t risk their country to defend you. They have bigger plans.
Kim – Why would the West hit China if Putin hits you with a missile?
Biden – Because they are Putin’s accomplice, and if we let them stand they will continue his war to dominate the world.
Kim – You are wrong, China wants every nation to be free.
Biden – If you want to believe that, good luck. Let me ask you, do you think your people are free?
Kim – Yes.
Biden – Can they say anything they want?
Kim – They understand they must sacrifice… for our glorious future.
Biden – How long, Kim?
Kim – I don’t know.
Biden – Got you. I’ll get to the point. Our present strategy with you is not working. You keep building more weapons and like I said before, I really think you will make a mistake. So here’s my proposal. We would have to work with the United Nations to have it approved but here is what I have in mind.
Kim – I’m listening.
Biden – We would lift all economic sanctions on you… so you could trade with any nation in the world… so long as you abide by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). That way businesses from anywhere could go into your country and employ your people, create goods and services, train your workers, relieve hunger and slowly begin the process of lifting your GDP.
Kim – I will not stop building nuclear weapons.
Biden – We wouldn’t ask you to stop.
Kim – No?
Biden – What we would ask you is not to sell your expertise in nuclear weapons to anyone.
Kim – Hmm. But France does it?
Biden – Yes but they are a mature and responsible nation. Kim, you have to prove yourself first. We can’t have you – in your desperation – selling nuclear expertise to anyone you want.
With this offer, you would have the chance of developing your nation. Technologically, industrially, scientifically. And you and your people will benefit.
Now, we know that you will be tempted to cheat, let companies into your country and then, secretly, try to sell your nuclear expertise to others. But we would have to insist with the companies willing to go into North Korea, that if you violate the agreement, they will have to stop doing business with you immediately.
So you must decide. Again, the United Nations would have to approve this.
I think your people would be very grateful if you agree to this idea.
Kim – I’ll have to think about it.
Biden – Of course. Think of what the West did for China when we went in with all our companies. China, on its own, would not be where they are now without the West. Sadly, they’re now choosing to deny our contributions to their development and think they have all the answers.
Eventually, your political system will have to change to take maximum advantage of what the rest of the world has to offer, but that will take many years, more than your present life expectancy… so you will die while still in power.
Kim – I’ll have to think about it.
Biden – Take your time. One final note. Ukraine will win the war against Russia. The winds of freedom are blowing and they have reached Iran. I predict that the mullahs will fall and a woman will emerge as leader of that country. And they will be pro western.
That will stop Iran’s interference in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and create conditions for more positive political changes throughout the Middle East.
Kim – I predict the mullahs will repress that protest movement.
Biden – Time will tell. So that’s all I have for you today. Hope you consider the proposal.
Kim – I will.
Biden – Oh, almost forgot. I was thinking of sending you a present…
Kim – What?
Biden – A pair of my favorite aviator glasses.

Kim laughs.

Kim – I won’t be able to use them when I meet with Putin or Xi but send them anyway. I’ll use them when I go fishing.
Biden – Okay. Have a good day.
Kim – Good night.

North Korea Shoots a Missile over Japan

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Kim Jong Un gets a call from Xi Jinping early in the morning.

Xi – Good morning.
Kim – You’re calling about the missile I shot over Japan.
Xi – Yes.
Kim – It went very well.
Xi – I’m not calling to congratulate you.
Kim – I see.
Xi – You’re a fool.

Pause

Xi – Suppose the missile had been loaded…
Kim – It was not.
Xi – Suppose it had been… and it malfunctioned, which we all know can happen… then it would’ve fallen on Japan. Then what?
Kim – It wouldn’t have happened.
Xi – Missiles malfunction… yours are no different. Please answer my question.

Pause

Xi – Were you there to inspect the missile before it was launched?
Kim – No.
Xi – Then any nuthead could’ve loaded it with an explosive… without you knowing.
Kim – We have strict security protocols…
Xi – Yes, and people willing to circumvent them.
Kim – No. They are fail proof.
Xi – When it comes to humans, there’s nothing fail proof.
Kim – Look, I had to do it.
Xi – Why?
Kim – The world forgets me unless I fire some missiles. Otherwise it’s you, and Putin and Modi and Biden, the English and the European Union getting all the attention.
And now Iran, with all the women protesting. You think they’ll be able to push out the ayatollahs?
Xi – I’m watching carefully. But let’s not get off track. Aside from your bombs and missiles, why are you not getting any attention?
Kim – Because we don’t produce much?
Xi – That’s right. I’m your main trading partner but if you ceased to exist, if you went up in a cloud of smoke, I could get everything I’m getting from you elsewhere.

Pause.

Xi – And it doesn’t have to be that way, does it?
Kim – I’m following a policy of Self Reliance, just like you are.
Xi – Yes, but we first opened up to the West so we could learn from them and then build on that.
They came, showed us what they have, we paid attention, learned, copied and became creative enough that we’re seen as the ‘factory of the world’.
Kim – But you had the huge market to entice the West, so their eyes widened with the expectation of riches… we don’t have that size market.
Xi – Look at Vietnam, they’re attracting more and more investors who are worried I’m getting government more involved in how Chinese businesses are run.
Kim – Vietnam is four times as large as we are…
Xi – That’s not it. You’re about the size of Taiwan and look at where they are.
Kim – I know what you’re saying… become more productive… open up to world markets… learn from them. Copy, steal, just like you did… and then create.
Xi – Yes.
Kim – But I’m afraid I’ll lose power.
Xi – The Communist party still rules Vietnam, and yet they’ve opened up and now they are richer and better educated. If your people are important to you, take some chances. Look, on October 16th, just 11 days from now, the 20th National congress of the communist party will convene. I am expected to be unanimously reelected for a 3rd term. And I forbid freedom of speech and have everyone on surveillance. Still, somehow, the people… most of them, are happy. So it can be done.
Kim – Congratulations.
Xi – Thank you. My point is you need to take chances.
Kim – The United Nations and America have put all these sanctions on me… because they don’t want me to have nuclear weapons…
Xi – They don’t trust you… but if you stopped the bomb building and let them in so they could make a ton of money, then, when the time came, you could say, ‘I’d like to get back to building bombs’.
Kim – That’s what you did.
Xi – We did our first nuclear test in 1964, well before the West came along. But they didn’t complain when we kept building them, after they came in. They were making a ton of money. Of course, we added that we needed to defend against Russia. Just in case. But times have changed.
Kim – Clever.
Xi – It’s politics. The key is to let the West make money. I think Putin failed on that. With the making of money comes the transfer of knowledge and other skills. Putin has the art of suppressing freedom, he’s got that down, but if he had let more western companies go into Russia and make lots of money, instead of favoring his inside group, then he wouldn’t have felt threatened. He would’ve stayed in power for ever.
Kim – You don’t think he will?
Xi – He’s on his way out. I hope it’s not violent.
I think you need to take the initiative and say to the world, ‘I’m putting all nuclear weapons development on hold. I will not do any more tests and will let UN inspectors come by and check. Please lift the sanctions.’ See what they say.
Kim – I would still forbid freedom of speech and keep high surveillance of the people.
Xi – Yes. You could say, ‘I’m trying the Chinese model’.

Kim laughs.

Kim – What do you think of Ukraine?
Xi – I’m worried about them. They’re making people think of liberty in a whole new way. Which is why I’m against them.
Kim – You think they’ve had an effect on the women in Iran?
Xi – Definitely. It doesn’t help that the ayatollahs are selling drones to Russia to kill more Ukrainians.
Kim – You think the Iran Nuclear deal will be revived?
Xi – The West would be fools if they did.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

This piece was edited on 10/6/22, to include the time when China first tested a nuclear weapon.

The Butcher of Moscow

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He was sitting at his desk in his bunker when the call came in. The general he had summoned had arrived. Putin reached over to the photo of Josef Stalin he kept on his desk and put it in one of the drawers.
The general stepped in. Putin signaled for him to take a seat across. The general did.
Putin – Good to see you.
General – Pleasure as always, Mr President.
Putin – Wanted to hear from you directly how are things on the front.
General – There has been much resistance as I detailed on my report from yesterday but I’m confident we will prevail.
Putin – How long?
General – That’s a hard question to answer.
Putin – A guess…
General – It could go on for months… with the West providing so much equipment.

Putin looks off as he nods.

General – Their morale is high… they’re good fighters. It’s their land we’re taking over…
Putin – No, General, it’s our land.
General – I meant they’ve been there for a long time… and they’ve been able to put up with a lot of killing.

Putin leans forward, intertwines his hands.

Putin – Do I look like I’m having trouble sleeping?
General (scrutinizing briefly Putin’s face) – Mr President, your expression looks fresh and healthy.
Putin – You know why?
General – You’re convinced you’re doing the right thing?
Putin – Yes… God is on my side.

The General nods.

Putin – The Russian orthodox church says I’m in the right and that’s good enough for me.
Are you a believer?
General – I am.

He had prepared himself for the question.

Putin – I don’t want to keep losing Russian soldiers… so I may have to use nuclear weapons.

The General flinches, surprised by the statement.

Putin – Even though I think that a long war will eventually work to our benefit… carefully placed nuclear weapons would make a big difference. The war is raising energy prices, fueling inflation, creating food shortages, lowering morale throughout the West. Do you follow the capital markets in the West?
General – Not regularly, Mr President.
Putin – They’re panicking, selling and selling, the likelihood being that they will go into a recession… even a depression… which would erode support for Biden and his people. All of which makes it more likely that America will see more political divisions and increase the possibility that Trump will be reelected in 2024.
General – That would be good for us?
Putin – Of course. He’ll agree to the superpowers carving out spheres of influence and we’ll all live happily ever after. I will do everything possible to see him reelected… but I can’t wait that long. Nuclear bombs in Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa… will send a clear message. Surrender immediately. Or else… more will be on the way.

The General looks down at the ground for a moment, gathering his thoughts.

General – Wouldn’t that be killing a lot of innocent people?
Putin – Innocent? If they’re collaborating with the enemy they’re not innocents.
General – But don’t you think the West will figure out you’re planning a strike and do something about it?
Putin – Maybe. But they have a lot of people to consult before they make a decision. I can make my choice quickly.
General – They may have a plan ready to go…
Putin – Perhaps. But I’ll take my chances.
General – That would be a big chance you’d be taking. It would change the history of the world.

Putin nods as he narrows his eyes.

Putin – I hadn’t thought about it that way… but it definitely would. Still, the Japanese were able to rebuild.
General – Too many innocent people would be killed or burned.
Putin – There are no innocent people in this war…
General – The children…

Putin shakes his head as he looks directly at the general. Why is he having to repeat himself?

Putin – Do you think the West will give planes to Ukrainians?
General – I’m sure they’re thinking about it. The Czechs already send in helicopters and are repairing them too. With planes they could hurt us badly.
Putin – Another reason to drop the nuclear weapons.
General – But the West may respond by using nuclear weapons on our troops and that would be it.
Putin – I don’t think they would. They would think it inhumane… or wrestle with their conscience. Advantage Putin. For I would not hesitate to fire on Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam…

The General looks off for a moment,

Putin – A lot of killing, you think?
General (now looking at Putin) – That’s… destroying the world as we know it…

Putin is struck by the statement.

Putin – The world as we know it…? Interesting. General, I detect a certain pro-Western bias…
General (puzzled) – How so?
Putin – What about China, India, Africa, South America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia… aren’t they important engines of growth?
General – Of course, but the cities you mentioned are at the cutting edge…
Putin – No, general… they’re decaying cities, filled with corruption, greed, moral decay and perversion… but you don’t seem to get that.
General – I do… but there’s a vitality there that enriches our world…

The general catches himself. He had forgot caution.

Putin (eyeing the general carefully, speaking deliberately) – I’m not just fighting for Russia, general, though I’ve warned them… said it again and again… do not encircle me with NATO. I must have my Ukraine. How many times do I have to repeat it?
I’m fighting for a new world order… so the nations of the East and South can emerge… and shake off the shackles of unrestrained capitalism…

The general nods uncertainly.

General – If we attack… wouldn’t they destroy Moscow, St Petersburg… so much life, so much history?
Putin – I would get to them before they get to us.
General – How can you be sure of that?
Putin – I am sure. That’s why I have ruled this nation as long as I have. That’s why people believe in me.
But rest assured, general, it won’t come to that. If the West chooses to use nuclear weapons against our troops in retaliation, then there will be nothing left in Ukraine… and I will take it over and rebuild.

Putin sits back in his chair, taking his time.

Putin – General… your pro-Western bias worries me… I believe that’s made you less effective on the battlefield.
General (quickly, emphatically) – I assure you it has not. What I said is simply an acknowledgement that the cities you mentioned are creative centers… I believe in Russia’s importance in the world, Mr President…
Putin (ignoring him) – Which may be why we’ve not gained more territory.
General (urgently) – Mr President, I have given the war effort and our conquest of Ukraine all of my energies, day and night…
Putin – But your attitude would easily lead to a lack of conviction… in ways not easily detected…
so be quiet, please.

Pause.

Putin – I hate to do this, dear sir… how long have you been in the armed forces?
General – Thirty five years, sir… and proud of it.
Putin – It may be time for you to retire.

The general’s heart sinks. He closes his eyes.

Putin – You have been obedient and loyal… but maybe it’s time for you to spend more time with your family.
General – But why, sir?
Putin – I don’t think you have the commitment I need to have my orders followed unquestioningly. I don’t get that you’re hungry for victory.
General – That is not true.
Putin – Be quiet.

Leaning forward, the general rubs his face. His eyes now moistened.

General (choosing to fight) – Don’t you think it’s good for Russia that you hear different opinions? For instance, our soldiers’ morale has been low, that has affected performance on the battlefield.
Putin – And what have you done about it?
General – I’ve told them that we must sacrifice for a greater Russia. I’ve joined them in the front lines… stood side by side with them… they just don’t believe me. I’ve proposed they be given bonuses…
Putin (firmly) – The morale of our troops has been low because you lack commitment, general. That is why.

The General looks off, feeling defeated.

Putin (softly, almost caringly) – You’ll be placed under house arrest effective immediately. Return directly to your home. A security detail will follow you. You may leave now.
General (pleading) – I don’t deserve this, Mr President.
Putin – That is my final decision.
General – Will you please reconsider?
Putin – Didn’t I just say my decision was final?

The General stands, salutes energetically and exits.

On the way out, he thinks to himself, ‘And what do I tell my children that I did for mother Russia?’

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts