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The Elephants in The Room

February 28, 2019 Cheeto Fraud Impeach

Normally, the saying goes "The Elephant in the Room." However, recently in Hanoi, Vietnam, there were two elephants in the "room"-Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump. The author was in Hanoi several days before the much-heralded summit meeting where everything was abuzz. An Irish friend and long-time Vietnam hand referred to it as the circus coming to town which is appropriate given the Vietnamese love of the circus following years of Russian influence after the Vietnam War.  

Most definitely the Hanoi of today, as compared to that of over twenty years ago when the author first visited, is a very different place. During most travels of that time, the objective was to develop a long-standing, successful commercial relationship with the Government of Vietnam which did happen. Moreover, about the same time period, the author's UK company also developed a commercial relationship with North Korea during the "sunshine days" when South Korea was seeking to normalize relationships with their northern neighbor during the reign of Kim Jong-il, the father of Kim Jong Un, and pioneer of North Korean ersatz hair styling.

One day a North Korean and naturalized U.S. citizen approached us regarding an opportunity to conduct oil exploration in North Korea. He had heard we were active in Mongolia and Russia which demonstrated either no small measure of an adventuresome nature or a lack of sanity. The gentlemen had been trained in North Korea by the Japanese to be a kamikaze pilot though he had never been in an airplane. Trainees sat on a wooden board with a stick which simulated aircraft control to practice only take-offs as there would be no landings. Fortunately, the war ended before he made his flight and had the traditional cup of sake before take-off.

The diminutive size of the North Koreans was beyond belief as they all seemed to be emaciated dwarfs with the exception of those in the military. When our people would visit Pyongyang, the North Koreans would order huge quantities of food in elaborate banquets to then take home afterwards for their families. Recently, the day before going to Hanoi, my Irish friend and I hosted a sixty-year-old Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh City who had lived in North Vietnam during the war and he came up to perhaps my waist. Today, the post-war generation of Vietnamese look like a different group of people demonstrating the miracles of proper nutrition. On the other hand, their neighbors in Thailand are enjoying the tastes of fast food and developing somatotypes similar to that of Kim Jong Un.

At the end of the day, we performed our minimum obligation in North Korea and secured a South Korean established oil company to fund future oil exploration activity but their northern brothers retreated back into their historical paranoid state. Since that time, there have been no meaningful commercial interactions between the two countries.

The stated agenda of the Hanoi summit is to wean Kim Jong Un away from his great love of nuclear weapons. However, many more knowledgeable folks doubt that will ever happen as they are about the only toys the people of this miserable society can look to with a measure of pride. After all, we are talking about the titan, shown below, admiring his nuclear weapon when a few years ago he assassinated his uncle with a canon.

A more logical explanation for Kim Jong Un's selection of Hanoi as a summit site may be two-fold: (1) He could travel there in his personal train with plenty of Bordeaux wine and foie gras though it takes almost three days, and (2) He can personally see how the Vietnamese can have a roaring economy while the Communist party maintains absolute control of the military, the state and the press. Reporters Without Borders rank the press freedom of Vietnam to be just above that of North Korea which is in last place. There are some Americans that would like some insight as to how you can accomplish that ranking. However, if you ever seek boredom read the Vietnam News. Kim Jong Un's diet resulted in him achieving a height of 5'7" which exceeded his father's height of 5'3". He and Vladimir Putin are the same height with Kim enhancing his image with platform shoes and Putin by failing to wear a shirt.

The World Bank is forecasting that the GDP of Vietnam will grow by 6.6% in 2019 which makes it one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world and a multiple of that of the U.S., albeit a much larger economy. A strong work ethic in Vietnam coupled with maturing nearby economies, aging populations and higher costs have brought considerable foreign investments into manufacturing operations in Vietnam. Further, the trade war with China has encouraged Chinese investment in Vietnam to avoid tariffs that would be imposed by the Trump administration. It is most likely that at least one of the recent Hanoi visitors paid a visit to Ho Chi Minh's tomb. Nearby, there is a large statute of Lenin to keep Uncle Ho company. Given the true nationalist nature of Ho Chi Minh, it is most unlikely he would have approved of his Soviet-style tomb.

It is certain the two leaders will have returned home with different impressions and take-aways from the summit. It also goes without saying that each will present a different account of the success of their respective missions. At a minimum, we can hope that Kim Jong Un returns with an impression that economic development can build a stronger nation for the benefit of his people. Food and comfort create stronger societies as compared to nuclear arms that potentially protect a country in which few people would want to even visit other than the nostalgic folks of South Korea.

Find tranquility listening to the soothing sounds of singing bowls, gongs and temple bells. The bowls and bells have been used for centuries for healing and meditation purposes. The gongs help the participant to 'bathe' in meditation sound waves.
All are hand-forged in Thailand.

Tibetan Singing Bowl
with Stand 4.1"
Tibetan Singing Bowl
with Stand 4.7"
Tibetan Singing Bowl
with Stand 5.3"
Tibetan Singing Bowl 5.4"
Tibetan Singing Bowl 4.7"
Gong on Stand
Elephant Temple Bell on Stand
Elephant Temple Bell on Stand

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