Okay, admit it. All you who think the man is omniscient —and I think he’s a damned good president— have been slightly off tune. At least on North Korea. Because, we got played.
Just stop it. The man is human and it is normal that he fumbles the ball here and there. Put away your flag emojis, misspelled insults, and reelection slogans and deal with reality. The best thing about it, though? He now knows he got played and is doing something about it. As such we nabbed a Nork vessel last year, legally seized it yesterday, for running the sanctions blockade. A bit of payback for the Pueblo, eh?
The noise on the street here in DC is that the president is tired of the carrot and moving towards the stick with North Korea. I bet Bolton is helping him along.
Trump’s past problem on this issue is that he is a rational man from the business world. Like LBJ before him, who offered North Vietnamese tinhorn Ho Chi Minh a massive economic assistance deal to stop the Vietnam War, he thinks he’s dealing with other rational people as he might across a boardroom or conference room table.
When it comes to communist dictators that is rarely the case. Those guys see no art in a deal they can’t exploit to their sole benefit. Kim and North Korea are no different. As a side note, the president also tends to sometimes overpromise by hyperbole. He did this on the border “wall” too. I know, it’s a negotiating tactic. However, it has a PR downside when the thing goes south.
If either one of those Asiatic despots was thinking of peace and/or the security of their nation, as Trump does for America, then they would have negotiated in good faith. In any case, Ho turned down Johnson by hardly responding and Kim gave good PR to distract from his ongoing nuke program, getting the president to cancel vital military exercises with our South Koreans allies for little in return. The Soviets used to call this gambit maskirovka.
Not long ago, people defended this U.S. strategy by saying, “Well, there’s been progress. Kim isn’t firing any missiles, is he?” Twice recently, the latest being this week, he’s fired missiles and suggested there will be more launches to come. So there goes that.
Sobering, the president has learned a lesson that Chamberlain at Munich, Kennedy at Berlin, and Johnson with Hanoi also learned. Sure, talk to the dictator if you will. But exploit him before he does the same to you.