The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Meet

For months and months during the early part of Donald Trump's first year in office, the four constituencies wailed that he was risking "nuclear war" with North Korea, that his aggressive stance toward Kim Jong Un was tantamount to dereliction, that his behavior was grossly "unpresidential," that his taunting of the NoKo dictator had "zero" chance of success. It now appears that they were wrong (as they often are about this president).

Last night the administration announced that Trump and Kim Jong Un would meet to discuss the "denuclearization" of North Korea—something that has eluded the likes of Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and their predecessors. If their meetings bear fruit—and that a very big IF— the results would be good for the region and good for the world.

Gosh ... it looks like Trump the "warmonger" is somehow considerably more effective that the so-called "peacemaker" and nobel peace prize winner who preceded him. Heh.

All of this is very nice, and Donald Trump deserves kudos for putting enough pressure on the NoKos to get them to the table. But the NoKos and Kim Jong Un are not to be trusted.

Trump has garnered praise for this opening from some of his opponents, but those who suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome are predictably negative. Here's the NYT's Nicholas Kristof:
This is stunning: President Trump has accepted an invitation from Kim Jong-un for a summit.

It’s also, I think, a dangerous gamble and a bad idea.

I can’t believe I’m saying that. For many years, over several trips to North Korea, I’ve argued for direct talks between the United States and North Korea, and it’s certainly better to be engaging the North than bombing it. If the choice is talk versus missiles, I’ll go with the talk.

But the proper way to hold a summit is with careful preparation to make sure that the meeting advances peace — and certainly that it serves some purpose higher than simply legitimizing Kim’s regime.

Kim and Trump are both showmen with a flair for the dramatic and unexpected. That would make a summit thrilling — but creates great risks if everything turns out wrong.
So let me see if I've got this straight. A guy who has lobbied for talks with the NoKos for "many years" is now against talks because ... Trump. He's worried that it could all go bad, and it could. He's concerned about process, not results (typical). Something tells me that if Obama and his Team of 2s had accomplished the same feat, Kristof would be ecstatic. But ... nevermind.

One wonders what role China played behind the scenes and how Russia will react to all of this. But no matter—it's better to talk than to launch missiles.

I'm unconvinced that not much will come of this, and that the talks may be used by the NoKos to buy time. But maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump will accomplish what his predecessors could not. Heh ... and the four constituencies keep telling us he's "insane." Maybe that's exactly what brought the NoKos to the table.