Prachatai / Flickr kim jong un military...
Prachatai / Flickr

With name calling and threats passing back and forth between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump like notes in a 7th grade classroom, North Korean government officials have been quietly trying to arrange talks with Republican-linked analysts in Washington, in an apparent attempt to make sense out of Trump and his confusing messages to Kim’s regime. Washington Post:

The North Koreans at the meeting [in Bern, Switzerland] displayed an “encyclopedic” knowledge of Trump’s tweets, to the extent that they were able to quote them back to the Americans present.[…]

But the questions have since become more specific. Why, for instance, are Trump’s top officials, notably Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, directly contradicting the president so often?

“The North Koreans are reaching out through various channels and through various counterparts,” said Evans Revere, a former State Department official who dealt with North Korea and is a frequent participant in such talks. There are a number of theories about why North Korea is doing this.

“My own guess is that they are somewhat puzzled as to the direction in which the U.S. is going, so they’re trying to open up channels to take the pulse in Washington,” Revere said. “They haven’t seen the U.S. act like this before.”

That’s because nobody has acted like this in a very long time, since Caligulia was Emperor of Rome, to be precise. And Caligulia didn’t tweet.

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