Kim Jong Un ordered the murder of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, who is newly suspected by some of being a CIA informant.
President Trump’s statement on video seems to mean that Kim Jong-nam would not have been recruited as a spy if he had anything to do with it, implying that it was wrong to do so. It wasn’t wrong,.
The CNN panel was unanimously appalled that Trump would take a side opposite the CIA. For the sake of making it interesting, I’d like to be on that panel. Since I wasn’t invited, consider these thoughts, and marvel at how I reconcile the delicate contradictions.
I’m a big fan of the CIA., and the intelligence community in general. I’m delighted if in fact the CIA recruited Kim Jong-nam, and dismayed if they lost an agent. If the allegation is true, it raises a question of CIA tradecraft. It’s bad to lose an agent right after meeting.
The assassination was first ordered in 2010. So N. Korean agents must have been on Kim Jong-nam’s tail for a long time. (Guardian) How North Korea got away with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam.
My calculus of lies:
- It’s bad to lie to the electorate or an ally.
- Lying to get out of a wedding you don’t want to go to is not nice, but not criminal.
- It’s good to lie to a small child to cushion an emotional blow.
- If you lie to a good person for a good purpose, you’d better be right.
- It’s fine to lie to a criminal, or suspected criminal, for a good purpose. This is actually codified in police work, as “necessary deception.”
So there are many types of lies, but the CNN panel didn’t mention this. Are lies a black-and-white ethical question?
It’s fine to lie to Kim Jong-un, as much and as often as necessary. It looks like Trump is trying to schmooze him. The CNN panel may be using an appropriate lie as confirmation of their opinions of Donald Trump. This is the wrong row to hoe.
Al Gore “invented the Internet.” Joe Biden says that if he’s elected, “we’re going to cure cancer.” I doubt Joe will have anything to do with it. These may be lies or self deception but they drop with little notice. They confirm none of our opinions, though most would like Joe to cut the bullshit.
The best thing about schmoozing is that it is one of the few ways one can build trust when one cannot think of an honest compliment. Diplomacy still requires a personal touch. It is overrated, but undeniably true.
The worst thing to say about schmoozing Kim Jong-un is that it will not work, at least in the short term. To be susceptible to schmoozing, the victim has to be culturally prepared for it. Since Kim Jong-un comes from another culture, where flattery blends into social torture, he isn’t susceptible.
Kim Jong-un is 35 years old. It is possible that if sanctions are successfully maintained for decades, qualities of age may emerge in his outlook. In a future of weakness, he could have some regard for schmoozing long past.
CNN, if you’d like an occasional dissonant note, I’m your man.