Here is an interesting coincidence.
It is widely known that the US Democratic Party is against most things the US Republican President Donald Trump does. One example is their consistent criticism of Trump’s North Korea policy. Both the Democratic Senators and Representatives have written letters critical of Trump’s North Korea policy.
A couple of days ago (February 28th), the much-anticipated DPRK (North Korea)-US Hanoi Summit failed. Chairman Kim Jong Un road his train for 60 hours to reach Vietnam. Trump likely flew over 20 hours from Washington DC to Hanoi. Diplomats on both sides worked through the past year to put it together; it was not smooth. In the lead up to the summit, the South Korean President Moon barely contained his excitement like an expectant father waiting for his newborn, peace in Korea. The Vietnamese got a chance to showcase their country and development, and the city of Hanoi as a City of Peace. Undoubtedly many people are shocked when the summit fell apart.
Several analysts speculate that the House Cohen Hearing occurring on the same date (February 28th) as the Hanoi Summit negatively impacted the latter. The actual summit began on February 27th but the 28th marked the more important date for meetings and signing ceremony. While Trump and his coterie were ensconced in summit meetings, Americans were glued to Cohen’s salacious testimony. He said Trump was a racist, conman, and more.
What if the Democratic Party controlled US House of Representatives which controlled the scheduling of the Cohen Hearings scheduled it to coincide with the Hanoi Summit? Further, rather than a closed-door testimony as originally planned, in a stupendous act of Machiavellian upmanship, they broadcasted Cohen’s testimony and all its salacious details to the world. At least, the vast American public was fixated on the salacious details of his testimony, not on the Hanoi Summit. At the least, it distracted the majority of the American public away from the Hanoi Summit.
Here’s the circumstantial evidence: On February 5th, at his State of the Union address, President Trump announced the Feb 27-28 Hanoi Summit. He always boasted that unlike Barack Obama, he would solve the North Korean conundrum. On February 6th, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D) announced, without elaboration, that the Cohen hearing would be rescheduled from February 8th to February 28th.
One theory is that the salacious details about and accusations against Trump coming out of Michael Cohen’s desperate mouth (he is set to go to prison and who knows what else charges may be brought against him) upset and distracted Trump.
As a result, as former State Department official Joseph Yun pointed out, Trump could not make any deal or even a small deal. He either had to go big or walk away with no deal at all. Just any deal would, as he himself said, bring criticism on the summit.
The North Koreans, along with knowledgeable scientists, have all along said denuclearization should be a step by step gradual process. Their nuclear industrial complex, of which Yongbyon may be the center – but not the only center – is big and complex.
In addition, the reason they have nukes, the ongoing war and the insecurity they feel, have to be assuaged through peace building like an end of war declaration and ultimately a peace treaty normalizing relations. Such things take time. Thus, they would rebuff any sharp increase in demand by the US, which was what happened.
North Korea offered to dismantle the vast Yongbyon complex for some partial sanctions relief. The US upped the ante by demanding that they disclose many other and possibly all facilities. And likely further, the US might have said that there would not be any meaningful sanctions relief until North Korea fully denuclearized.
The summit could have been historical. But it became history.
Correction: March 6, 2019
There were two Cohen hearings held by the Democratic Party led US House of Representatives.
1) House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Reform – Open Hearing: Originally scheduled for Feb. 7. Cohen reportedly requested its postponement on January 24th with Democratic Chair apparently accepting it. On Feb. 20th, it was rescheduled to Feb. 27th by the Democratic Chair.
2) House of Representatives, Intelligence Committee Closed Door Hearing: Originally scheduled for Feb. 8 was rescheduled to Feb. 28th on Feb. 6th by Democratic Party Chair.
In both cases, the hearings were rescheduled after US President Trump announced the Hanoi Summit dates at his State of the Union Address on February 5th…
Of note there was a third Cohen hearing in February. This one, by the Senate Intelligence Committee, was held on February 26th.