I’ve been wondering the same thing as TPM Reader GG all day long. It’s a whole other issue that the President’s private criminal defense attorney shouldn’t be opining, seemingly on his behalf, about high-stakes national security issues. But this comment … Rudy told a conference in Tel Aviv that “Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”
What is going on with Team Trump appearing to go for the most inflammatory possible language in relation to Kim? Between Bolton’s Libya nonsense and Rudy’s “begging on his knees” remark, surely we have to note a pattern of extreme provocation that seems laser-focused on upending the summit.
With Libya it was dumb enough, since everyone even passingly familiar with North Korea knows that the Libya is its nightmare scenario (and they said as much publicly). But now the kneeling thing – kneeling in Korea is a ritualized pose, way more than in the US. If someone kneels in front of you it’s a significant act indicating total capitulation. Chaebol titans have caught hell recently for forcing employees to kneel before them, but the practice has been around for literally centuries. It’s a direct reflection of a power imbalance in a ritualized tableau. If I had to pick a particular pose and say “yeah, that would piss Koreans off” then kneeling is pretty damn high on the list. There is no way in hell Kim wants his people with a mental image of him kneeling before Trump as a beggar, especially with a kneeling pose template already in their cultural framework.
So what the hell is happening here? Are they trying to get Kim to call off the summit? Once was weird, but TWICE they happen to push a cultural hot button – this can’t be pure coincidence or stupidity, can it?
My best guess is that this isn’t planned but rather a by-product of the Trump milieu’s addiction to dominance politics and wannabe mobster talk. But there’s another possibility. Rudy and Bolton are close. They’ve both been on the payroll of the Iranian exile cult which advocates for regime change. I would not be surprised that this comes from that direction.