While the opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics kicked off with a bang on Friday under the theme of peace, not-so-hidden in the crowd were the stony faces of both US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen.
Though the two officials cheered and waved their hands as American athletes entered into the stadium, their reactions were far less rosy when the North and South Korean teams marched together under a unified flag.
Speaking to Sputnik Radio’s Loud & Clear, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, said their decision to sit down while just about the entire arena cheered “was an embarrassment.”
“It was an important moment and clearly the United States showed the entire world just how out of touch we are with our fellow human beings who yearn for peace,” Gagnon said. “Watching that whole beginning Olympic ceremony and seeing the clear love that exists between the people… in those moments it was beautiful and for Pence and his wife to just diss that and essentially ignore it was an embarrassment for the United States.”
“And I’m sure people all over the world are saying that we’ve got to stop following [the US] over the cliff into endless war,” he added.
Gagnon later pointed out to show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that both Pence and his wife could have easily moved after they realized they would be sitting one row in front of the North Korean delegation.
But aside from Pence’s snobbish behavior, Gagnon says that the invitation offered to South Korean President Moon Jae-in by Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un’s sister, to visit Pyongyang for a summit shows a thawing in relations.
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”[Moon] is clearly showing that the South Koreans are recognizing, along with North Korea, that they have to [engage in talks] in spite of what the US says,” Gagnon said, before adding that the “US is really becoming irrelevant in the world today because of our attitude and arrogance.”
However, Patrick Lawrence, author of the book, “Time No Longer: Americans after the American Century,” noted that South Korea’s attempt to ease tensions is by no means an attempt to do away with its US ties.
“Moon has always been quite single-minded about an approach to [North Korea]… it takes quite a lot of courage for a South Korean leader to plant himself against US policy,” Lawrence told Kiriakou, before noting that the official “isn’t eager to alienate the US.”
Lawrence added that Moon’s “dedication to [easing tensions with Pyongyang] supersedes what is probably a desire to a continuing friendship with Washington.”
Nonetheless, Gagnon believes that Moon’s decisions are really just in response to the Trump administration’s “unstableness.”
“There is something much different about Trump and that’s the ‘fire and fury,’ the threats, the arrogance, the unstableness of his administration and of himself,” he told Becker. “I think Moon really has to be looking at that, saying ‘we can’t be confident that the US isn’t going to unleash war and we’ve got to use every possible opportunity to bring some sanity and stability to the Korean Peninsula.'”
It’s unclear at the moment when the