Trump has had a lot of criticism after the summit, with many saying he conceded too much to Kim. I don’t think he did at all myself. The main thing he gave him was a meeting with him, and a couple of days of his time. And he built trust. He thinks that’s important. Previous presidents didn’t think it was important, they proceeded on a basis of distrust. He is trying something new.
The US and Korean flags flying together set the scene for the summit in a striking way - we were looking at those flags for minutes on end waiting for the leaders to enter from either side to shake hands. It had been a bit of a question before the summit - would they fly the Korean flags and so give them legitimacy - well - yes they did. This is a necessary part of that trust and bridge building. Imagine how different it would have felt if they had only flown US flags!
NO IT WAS NOT A BIG ONE WAY CONCESSION TO STOP THE ANNUAL FOAL EAGLE EXERCISES
Many of the journalists are saying he made a big concession by saying he would stop military exercises. Actually, he did not. Ordinary exercises such as soldiers do anywhere in order to stay alert, be prepared for many different eventualities, etc, they will continue.
What he stopped are the annual Foal Eagle exercises. Huge expensive large scale operations. Involving thousands of South Korean troops and US troops and also nuclear capable bombers flown all the way from Guam. The last of those exercises was in April when they did a scaled down exercise which was also postponed to not overlap with the Winter Olympics. US, South Korea Kick Off Annual Military Drill Without US ‘Strategic Assets’
There are normally exercises in autumn as well: What are the US-South Korea war games?.
The next exercise isn’t until autumn, and the next one after that, the big spring exercise, not until ten months from now. He has said he has stopped them conditional on Kim showing clear progress towards denuclearization. If by the autumn he does not show that he is doing this, then the US just resumes the exercises and it doesn’t even skip a single exercise. Or if not then, then they resume next spring and have just skipped a single exercise in the autumn.
Meanwhile, remember, that North Korea has voluntarily stopped all missile tests. This is far more significant than stopping the nuclear tests. It did six nuclear tests - and India did only six nuclear tests too. That may be all it needs to be able to build the nuclear weapons it wants to make. So it destroying the nuclear weapons test site is probably a largely symbolic gesture given that it had finished its program already. Also the mountain was suffering from “sick mountain syndrome” which has affected test sites in Russia, so they would have had to drill a new tunnel, probably, anyway for another test.
So that’s not that significant.
NORTH KOREA’S HALTING OF MISSILE TESTS IS HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT
But stopping missile tests is highly significant. NK stopped just short of the point where it could hit the US with a nuclear weapon. Although it advertised its weapon as able to hit the US, actually that was hype.
It was actually probably a light mock missile that could never have carried the type of nuclear weapon they could have developed by now, which anyway may or may not be light enough to be carried on a missile. We don’t know for sure if they miniaturized their bomb. Experts thought that might have required another year of work.
Whether or not, they had not yet got to the point where they could send a nuclear weapon to the US.
Also, they had not yet proved successful re-entry of their ICBM’s. Their rockets probably disintegrated on re-entry. They probably needed to do a few more tests to have an ICBM that could go as far as the US and also carry a nuclear bomb and survive re-entry. For details see my: North Korean - Likely Used Light Mock Warhead To Fly Further&Not About To Invade South Korea Or US Invade NK
So, NK suspending its missile tests for the whole of this year is very significant to the US. And the US military of course will be well aware of these points.
Not only that. He is going to destroy their missile engine test site. This is a major thing to do. It’s not easy to test missile engines. And the US know about it from satellite photos - they can’t hide it easily either because missile engines when tested are of course very hot and produce masses of hot exhausts.
So, Trump already has a major concession from Kim coming in, complete suspension of all missile tests, also of nuclear bomb tests (largely symbolic), destruction of his nuclear bomb test site (he didn’t let in international inspectors but that may have been due to his reaction to John Bolton’s speech, as that was at the same time, originally he was going to let them in). And he has also said he will destroy the missile engine test site.
This suspension of missile tests continues for as long as the peace process continues - or for ever, if he denuclearizes completely.
STOPPING WAR GAMES IS MORE OF AN INCENTIVE THAN A CONCESSION
Meanwhile he has made what seems a major concession to stop the war games. But it is actually more of a major incentive to Kim to continue with denuclearization, it is also a way of building trust with him, and yet it makes no difference at all to the US until the autumn, plenty of time for Kim to show substantial progress in denuclearization.
I think it is very clever of him. And I’m sure he would have run that at least past his generals before going into the talks. I think his generals have probably known about the proposal for weeks.
As to how Kim destroys the nuclear weapons, that all has to be worked out. It is a very long complex process. Scientifically it has to take several years, probably at least 10, to dismantle all nuclear weapons capabilities. It would take the work of large numbers of scientists and engineers to do it.
But he can make them non operational and his missiles mothballed or destroyed in a year or two. He has several months to the next war games in which to make significant progress. If not the US would just resume them, without even a break.
This is a proposal worked out by a couple of experts, Carlin, a former analyst for the CIA and the State Department widely regarded as one of the top experts on North Korea in the world, and Hecker, former director of the Los Alamos Laboratory for over a decade, worked out independently, not a plan agreed on by anyone but it gives an idea of what is involved.
It halts just about everything in the first year. Roll back in years 2–5 , declare and reduce nuclear weapons, join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) agree not to export any of the sensitive technology. And finally, in years 6 to 10, redirect to civilian programs and eliminate all the missiles, sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBC) (agree never to test nuclear weapons), with the whole thing finished in a decade.
Notice how they make sure that all the nuclear and missile scientists who were involved in the North Korean program are fully employed throughout, with no incentive to start up anything clandestine or to emigrate with their know-how to another country, instead they are fully involved in the complex and interesting technical job of denuclearization. If you want to do it properly you probably do need to take a fair while over it.
But not only that, they have this suggestion of a joint North / South Korea space and civilian nuclear program that starts at the end, once all the nuclear weapons and missiles are gone. That way the nuclear and missile scientists have secure permanent jobs at the end of the program once the denuclearization is complete.
But you do still have dramatic gestures and not just that, major reductions in capability, in the first year. For more details and discussion, especially focused on the idea of a combined civilian space program at the end - see my
- Experts Suggest Trump Kim Summit Agreement Could Include Combined Civilian Space And Nuclear Program For Both Koreas
TRUMP - MOON - AND KIM - AS THE RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME
My post here is quite admiring of Trump - I think he was the right person for the right job here. He got the tone just right. He was statesmanlike, respectful where needed. I’d never have guessed that the reality show host and the candidate for the US election could have carried this off.
Please be aware I am not at all a Trump fan. I think he made the wrong decisions for the Paris Agreement, for the Iran deal, his immigration bills, the Mexican wall, his moving of the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, his refusal to meet the Russians for resumption of the START negotiations on nuclear disarmament and renewal of them, on many topics I think he has made a series of very bad decisions myself. The only other point I agree with about the US administration is their NASA policy visa vi the Moon :).
But in this particular case he seems to be the right person at the right time in the right place. Along with Moon of South Korea and Kim of NK.
Replace any of those three by their predecessors and it could not have been done.
TRUMP AS THE SHOWMAN - NOT AS UNPREPARED, IMPROMPTU ETC AS HE MADE IT OUT TO BE
You need to realize that Trump is a showman and he gives the impression of thinking on his feet and being a freewheeling person who makes up things like that on the spot. But probably he decided this long before and he would of course have run it past Pompeo and his generals.
Pompeo hinted they had several things for the two leaders to bring up - a week or two before the summit, to give the leaders them things in hand to announce on the day. This might have been one of them. Kim agreeing to demolish his missile engine testing site probably another. If so they may have decided both of those a week or more before the summit.
It’s the same also with his tweet about sizing Kim up in the first minute. No way was he going to walk out after being with Kim for one minute. But suggesting he might helped drive up audience interest while building on a common myth about what people who are “good at deals” can do. Perhaps sometimes he gets a good impression of what someone is like in one minute. But it can’t be 100% and he probably often finds that impression is changed later on.
It is clear they did get on well together, from their body language - much more relaxed later in the day, quite serious and tense at the start. But he would never have walked out based on a first impression. That was just showmanship.
He also said he did no preparation. But in another statement he said he had 15 boxes to read through on the flight out. And it is clear that actually a huge amount of work went into preparation. Right down to small details.
THOUGHT THAT WENT INTO THE MEETING
The meeting showed signs of an enormous amount of thought gone into it. Even down to the menu, a combination of American and North Korean food. Probably not the easiest of cuisines to mix.
This is the video that Trump made for Kim which he showed to them on their iPads at the start of the negotiations - and which he also showed at the start of his press conference. He got some stick from it for it’s propaganda style, but seems to have got the tone just right for them - he said anyway that they were all sharing it on their iPads and enjoying it at the start of the discussions.
This sort of thing requires a fair bit of work to do:
I actually rather liked it :).
FULL TEXT OF THE AGREEMENT
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the U.S.-DPRK summit - the first in history - was an epochal event of great significance and overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously.
The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.
COMPLETE DENUCLEARIZATION OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA
Note that it talks about complete denuclearization of the entire peninsula rather than just North Korea.
A natural way to interpret that is that it would establish a nuclear free zone, like the many others there are already in the world, including the entire peninsula.
Map by the United Office of Disarmament Affairs, full resolution and more details here.
However that’s something of a challenge in the Korean situation, and an easier approach might be a nuclear weapons free zone treaty that is signed initially by the two Koreas and whatever other states are willing to join it right away such as Japan, perhaps. It would be a standard UN treaty open ended for other states to join as time progresses, so the US would not have to join it right away or at all, same also for Japan if they don’t want to join it, but it would still have the assurances that the two Koreas need.
North Korea would reaffirm its commitment to become a nuclear weapon state but would take a while to comply fully with its requirements in the treaty, as is only realistic in the circumstances. So they could start that right away. The US could still maintain its umbrella of deterrence even with a nuclear weapon free zone. It would come into play as soon as North Korea ceases to comply with the treaty.
Their third and preferred option that starts with just SK and NK and optionally perhaps Japan and Mongolia as parties to the treaty would have the advantage that ROK (South Korea) has to commit to not letting the US station nuclear weapons in South Korea
"This option would have the additional advantage to the DPRK in that the ROK would be legally bound not to permit the US or any nuclear power to store nuclear weapons in its territory. The US would be legally bound not to store nuclear weapons on the peninsula. Finally, the legal obligations of the DPRK and the ROK would be the same including the inspection procedures after the DPRK has satisfied the other parties that it has met is obligation to de-nuclearization."
It is the best that's possible short of complete worldwide denuclearization as the US can always fly in bombers with nuclear weapons from anywhere, or send in subs with nuclear weapons in the sea in a war situation. There is no way indeed to know if their ships carry nuclear weapons or not unless they permit inspection. The authors favoured this (their third option) as the one that is most likely to be acceptable to both NK and the US of their ideas.
For details of how it could work, and some alternatives such as a treaty with the US, see this special report by experts from the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability
- A KOREAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS-FREE ZONE TREATY AND NUCLEAR EXTENDED DETERRENCE: OPTIONS FOR DENUCLEARIZING THE KOREAN PENINSULA
There are various other options suggested there, but this seems the easiest to achieve, while still being likely to be strong enough to be acceptable to North Korea.
HOW IT WAS REPORTED IN NORTH KOREA
Naturally enough North Korea have splashed pictures over the front page of their state controlled paper. For many Koreans this will be the first time they have seen a photograph of the president of the US. The paper has the full text of the declaration too.
The North Korean version of the summit declaration is near bottom left of that page complete with signatures. I got the photos from this tweet.
Sadly don’t have English translations of the stories. But there are some translations of parts of it given in the report in the Guardian:
Trump, KCNA said, “appreciated that an atmosphere of peace and stability was created on the Korean peninsula and in the region, although distressed with the extreme danger of armed clash only a few months ago, thanks to the proactive peace-loving measures taken by the respected Supreme Leader from the outset of this year”.
“Singapore, the country of the epoch-making meeting much awaited by the whole world, was awash with thousands of domestic and foreign journalists and a large crowd of masses to see this day’s moment which will remain long in history,” it said.
“Kim Jong-un invited Trump to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time and Trump invited Kim Jong-un to visit the US.
“The two top leaders gladly accepted each other’s invitation, convinced that it would serve as another important occasion for improved DPRK-US relations,”
We also now have the 42 minute video aired on their state media of the summit. It's in Korean. You can show the auto translation via Settings, switch on subtitles and then switch on auto translate and select English - but it's rather hit and miss for such different languages as Korean and English.
CHANGE OF TONE TOWARDS AMERICA IN NORTH KOREA
There's been a major softening of tone in the last few months that's going to make it much easier for them to start working towards denuclearization in North Korea.
NOTES FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE
These are some notes I took while watching the press conference, with light editing, of things that Trump said.
- Trump says they are going to stop war games in SK so that's a major concession for the US - to stop all military exercises - which also means they save a lot of money - and they appreciate it a lot. Kim said they would keep their 28,000 US military in SK for no, reassuring SK. But he said also that long term he wants to withdraw them as with US presence everywhere, outside the US so he gave advance warning that's something that may happen some time down the line.
- They discussed verification and it will be verified. A combination of American and international inspectors
- They discussed human rights relatively briefly - they will be doing things - the past were different times and this is a different leader in NK. The abduction and fate of Christians also came up
- Trump says he will go to Pyongyang - capital of NK, when the time is right. (Separately earlier in the day said Kim will come to Washington).
If you worry about his safety - remember Mike Pompeo has already been to Pyongyang twice and Kim's second in command has gone to Washington to meet with Pompeo there.
- Says they are going to have embassies in each other's countries. Asked how long that would take he said it is a process but will be soon.
- He acknowledges that scientifically denuclearization takes years, but at certain point it is irreversible. Sanctions will be removed once it is clear that it is no longer an issue. [This encourages rapid early progress on sanctions]
- They are going to blow up their missile engine testing site, which the US know about from their satellite images and the heat signatures.
- He brought up the civilians issue himself, that though he threatened war - it is not a good option - he said that Seoul has 38 million people, far more than New York and is close to the border with North Korea, he thinks they would have had millions of people die in a war with NK, could be 30 million. I’m not sure of that - the figure seems to be 25.6 million seoul population. Anyway by comparison New York city is 8.4 million.
Whatever the exact number, vast numbers would die. I was interested to hear him say this, as there were many hawkish statements from the Trump administration last year that never mentioned the civilians in SK, now at last they do and acknowledge it as an issue as many of the critical journalists had said at the time.
- He said the Korean war will soon be ended, and South Korea and China are going to be involved in signing the treaty.
- He mentions the dream of reunification of the two Koreas and that they are talented hard working people, and says this bright future is within reach.
- He says that Kim agreed to repatriation of remains of people who died in the Korean war - American heroes - says it is one of the top things he is asked and they are going to work on it right away. This is something that they did before but there was an interruption in it, some years back. The researchers know where many of the remains are and so it should be straightforward to repatriate many of them.
- On denuclearization, he says as soon as chairman Kim gets back he is going to begin a process. He was no more specific than that.
- Said he thinks Kim is genuine about it - you can't know for sure and maybe 6 months from now he'll be saying different, but he thinks he is genuine about it and the commitment to denuclearization.
- Said that they would drop the sanctions once the nuclear weapons threat is removed - not at complete denuclearization. He is told that scientifically that would take many years- things that have to be done in a particular order and take time. But once the process begun and reached a point where they are no longer a threat.
You can watch it here:
TRUMP’S COMPLEMENTS ON THE NORTH KOREAN PEOPLE
Trump complemented them as hard working, and talented. They also have great resources of minerals that are barely exploited - potentially a very wealthy country.
Trump also talked about how great their beaches are :). He talked about how they would be ideal places to build a luxury condo, saying how he noticed them in the background during missile tests.
(Are we going to get a Trump Tower in North Korea? Hamhung is a large city close to nice beaches on the East coast of North Korea).
Hamhung Beach - North Korea (on their East coast).
In a future with North Korea become a wealthy peaceful democracy like South Korea then why not? Actually Kim Jong Un has been trying to promote this already, don’t know if Trump knew that see North Korea Beach Resort, Wonsan, Announced By Leader Kim Jong Un
It’s also apparently a great place for surfing
REUNIFICATION - MAYBE THEY HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAN YOU’D THINK WITH COMMON CONFUCIAN PRACTICES AND IDEAS
On the face of it they seem very different. The NK dynasty of leaders rather than a democracy, and a kind of worship of the leaders themselves, and respect for older people and ancestors. It’s based on Confucianism. That’s an ancient religion, if you don’t know, that originated in China, highly respects learning and education, and it is to do with finding order and harmony and a form of heavenly state in this very lifetime, rather than in another life afterworlds like many religions.
It also is very hierarchical with respect for older people and ancestors. You may have noticed that Kim arrived nine minutes early for the summit while Trump arrived only a minute before. That was his way of showing respect to Trump as the older of the two, as a young man himself.
It doesn’t stress the individualism of Western thought. It's a much more communal way of thinking, you are part of a society, much more than you are someone striking out on your own.
It’s not actually communism - it started off communist but drifted far apart and they would not call themselves communist. They have their own philosophy. Russia and China would also not call them communist any more. Westerners tend to equate communism with totalitarianism and misleadingly call them communist.
It’s a totalitarian dictatorship but not communist.
Anyway - but it’s based on Confucianism as well. And apparently that is pervasive in South Korea too. Even the particular brand of (Neo) Confucianism that’s most popular in NK, Cheondoism, has over million followers in SK (out of 51.25 million, so about 2% of the population). Meanwhile, 12.9%, of North Koreans follow Cheondoism - with a total population of 25.37 million that makes it 3.27 million.
But there is more to it than that. Though only a few South Koreans percentage wise would say they are Confucian if asked, they would still say they perform many Confucian rituals and follow Confucian ideas even if they say they are Buddhist, or Christian or non religious. See Korean Confucianism - Wikipedia
So - they have a lot more in common than we would think perhaps. It might well be a unifying factor that helps with eventual reunification of the two Koreas.
To us this loss of individuality and deference to society and ones parents and ancestors may seem strange. But I think many Asians might see it the other way around that in the West we have lost a communality which seems natural to them, and become a society which highly emphasizes individualism.
Whether it is good or bad, and I do think there is a lot that's good in it, I wonder if our individualism is as natural as it seems to us? At any rate, their sense of communality seems to have a lot more to do with confucianism than communism.
This is just me trying to get an idea of what the difference might be: communism is in principle (if not in practice) to do with putting everyone on a very equal playing field while for confucianism it is very uneven and dynasty is important, and also communism doesn't have the filial piety or respect for ancestors.
This is an interesting article by Levy on development of Neo Confucian ideas in Korea and how NK used it (has links to the pdf).
WHAT ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS
Trump said he did touch on human rights in his discussions with Kim and this will have to be resolved as they continue down the road to peaceful rejoining of the international community and eventual long term reunification with SK.
In the near term international pressure can do things right away. Already is doing things. See the Amnesty International article here: North Korea: Is Change Really Around the Corner? This is more about that case of the north korean father whose wife and child ended up in detention in NK after trying to escape but were released after international pressure: A North Korean father hopes President Trump will help reunite his family
But eventually it has to deal not just with some particular cases, however tragic. There has to be a complete end of human rights violations in North Korea.
End up with a unified Korea perhaps, under a democracy, but a strong element of Confucianism in how the society is run, and with the Kim family still playing a very significant role in North Korea.
So, if it does go all the way to reunification eventually, what happens to people who have done crimes against human rights?
We need to encourage regimes to do this change peacefully, not punish them for it. Yet their members have done awful things against human rights that normally would put them in prison for life. In places with the death penalty they would probably face execution. South Korea still has the death penalty Capital punishment in South Korea - Wikipedia but according to Amnesty International it is “abolitionist in practice”
“Amnesty International considers South Korea to be abolitionist in practice, as it has not carried out any executions since President Kim Dae-jung took office in February 1998. President Kim himself had previously been sentenced to death in 1980. However, death sentences are still handed down with currently 57 people remaining on death row.” South Korea: Death penalty abolition setback by Constitutional Court ruling
The situation remains like that as of 2018 South Korea - Amnesty International so that makes it two decades without the death penalty imposed in practice.
North Korea of course still has the death penalty. North Korea - Amnesty International
The existing regime has to be given incentives to let it happen, indeed encourage the transition. If they are all going to end up in prison (though hopefully not executed), once it becomes a freer country with human rights assured - that seems likely to prevent it ever happening peacefully.
Trump was asked what are they going to do about human rights. And he said that they would do things about it. But to do something about it in a thorough way it needs to be part of a carefully thought out transition. It can’t be done by just slapping the entire North Korean dynastic family and their generals and government into prison or executing them. There is no way they can agree to that, if that’s the proposed solution.
So how is that going to happen? It’s a reasonable question.
Well we have one example with South Africa with the end of apartheid. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa) - Wikipedia. The idea was to present the truth of what happened, on both sides, and then the ones who did the crimes against human rights asked for amnesty.
There’s been a similar event already for the Jeju uprising, a communist insurgency, in an island in South Korea, violently put down by the South Korean government. Up to 10% of the population of the island died. South Korea eventually acknowledged what had happened (it had long been suppressed) sixty years later, and investigated it properly with a similar truth commission, the Jeju 4.3 Committee - Wikipedia They established that at least 14,028 were killed.
Perhaps a similar process could help heal the past and let us move on in North Korea. With either a general amnesty or an amnesty with a truth commission where the worst offenders get prison sentences - depending on proportionality of the offence.
In the case of Korea - that might also be coupled with similar formal amnesties by the North Koreans in the other direction towards America for US war veterans from the Korean war. Towards the end of the war the US bombers particularly were bombing cities and even villages, destroying houses, forcing people to live underground and killing hundreds of thousands to millions of innocent civilians. They are arguably war crimes.
To grant an amnesty for those war crimes, even though there is no practical possibility that they could be prosecuted as such anyway - it could help the North Koreans to turn around their own perception of America.
Kim has already changed the propaganda to say that they need to like the Americans. Telling them that this is the key to their future prosperity. As a young man the Korean war is a long way into his past. But to do this extra step may help with the transition.
- What can a Trump - Kim summit achieve?
- Experts Suggest Trump Kim Summit Agreement Could Include Combined Civilian Space And Nuclear Program For Both Koreas
written before the summit.
DOOMSDAY DEBUNKED ARTICLE
This is part of the series of articles I write to help people who are scared of various sensationalized doomsday scenarios - sometimes to the point of being suicidal. Often young children still at school, early teens, who are terrified the world will be destroyed by a nuclear war, hit by an asteroid or they find junk stories saying it is going to be hit by a planet or an entire solar system in the next week or month or whatever. And many other bizarre things you wouldn't believe if you haven't seen them - which go right to the top of Google News. To them reading it on their mobile device, it is just "news" especially to the more naive and young ones. It's just awful what this flood of fake doomsday news is doing for them. Young children not able to study, can't concentrate at school, as soon as they go home they want to spend all their time searching for these stories, lose friends often end up needing treatment by health professionals, getting obsessed about these fears they can't shake off, many end up suicidal.
Any journalists reading this, or anyone to do with Google News, Apple News, Facebook Trending, or the decisions about which channels and videos can run ads on YouTube - do give attention to these people, you can make a huge difference by changing some of your policies. And the same also for sensationalist stories in the mainstream press too.
If you bear in mind that some of your readers may be young teenagers as young as 13 and we hear of others even younger, eight year olds who have got terrified of a "news" story. Not even been reading for long. Bear in mind there may be a reader like that who is on the point of suicide reading your story, and you may moderate the tone a little. Just a bit less hyperbole. At that age especially, but also many adults too, are not good at detecting hyperbole - like saying "I could eat a horse". They read a story saying the US could be turned into radioactive dust in a nuclear war - and they think that is literally what is meant, the entire country become radioactive dust. They read a story about the Doomsday Clock - you wouldn't begin to guess how much that is misunderstood, thinking that 2 minutes to Doomsday means a literal end of the world that could happen within 2 minutes at any time. It is just because of use of vivid metaphors and hyperbole. This BTW is my Doomsday clock debunk, one of the most misunderstood announcements in the non sensationalist press amongst young children:
Anyway more of my debunks here:
More debunks: List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date (List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date. by Robert Walker on Science 2.0 posts)
Search the debunks using e.g. site:Debunking Doomsday Nibiru - Google Search (site:debunkingdoomsday.quora.com Nibiru - Google Search)
Twitter feed: DoomsdayDebunked (@DoomsdayDebunks) | Twitter (DoomsdayDebunked (@DoomsdayDebunks) | Twitter)
Facebook group Doomsday Debunked (Doomsday Debunked) has been set up to help anyone who is scared by these fake doomsdays.
TOP NEWS WITHOUT THE FAKE SENSATIONALIST NONSENSE
I’ve done a custom search engine to search top mainstream reputable news sites. Various versions, see:
Search Top News (Search Top News)
You can also make your own custom search engines like that - easy to do in Google, I explain how I did it in New: Google News Without All The Nonsense - Top Astronomy News - Top Space Mission News - Top Science News - Top News (New: Google News Without All The Nonsense - Top Astronomy News - Top Space Mission News - Top Science News - Top News by Robert Walker on Debunking Doomsday)
IF YOU NEED HELP
If you are suicidal don’t forget there’s always help a phone call away with the List of suicide crisis lines - Wikipedia (List of suicide crisis lines - Wikipedia)
SEVEN TIPS FOR DEALING WITH DOOMSDAY FEARS
If you are scared: Seven tips for dealing with doomsday fears (Seven tips for dealing with doomsday fears by Robert Walker on Debunking Doomsday) which also talks about health professionals and how they can help.
Do message me on Quora or PM me on Facebook if you need help. There are several others in the group who are available to support scared people via PM and who can post debunks to the group. See our debunkers list. (debunkers list)