President Trump’s foreign policy should come with a warning label that it might make some people feel dizzy, faint or confused, and they should not operate heavy machinery after watching CNN (if you watch MSNBC, you probably shouldn’t be trusted to operate heavy machinery at all.) Case in point: the wild swings in our negotiations with North Korea about dismantling their nuclear program.
One minute Kim Jong-Un is threatening to nuke Hawaii, the next he’s meeting with Trump and returning our soldiers’ remains after decades of refusals. He destroys a missile test site, then we hear that he’s ramping up his program. Kim sends Trump letters that Trump says are so beautiful, they made him “fall in love” with Kim; but we’re not easing up on sanctions, even though (in the past week alone), China and Russia urged us to, and North Korea’s foreign minister gave a speech defiantly declaring, "The perception that sanctions can bring us on our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant of us” and “under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first” – while almost simultaneously, South Korea’s President delivered a message to Trump from Kim that he is “determined” to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Feeling dizzy yet? Then try this: Monday, amid all these threats and reversals, the two Koreas began removing land mines from the Demilitarized Zone for the first time since 1953.
If you feel as if you need to lie down (or if you’re a member of the anti-Trump media, and feel your head is in danger of exploding like a faulty 1953 North Korean land mine), then just take two aspirin, turn off the TV and think about this:
No matter what Trump says, as long as those sanctions are in place – and they are – it’s all just a dance. Kim thinks he can keep his partner off-balance because it’s been so easy with all the other pompous diplomats with overly-inflated opinions of their skills (cough, cough, Kerry) that we’ve sent to deal with him for years. Sooner or later, he’s going to realize that no matter how he tries to dip and twist, Trump will outdance him while the sanctions stand guard as firmly as a sharp-eyed chaperone. I bet at the end, it will be Kim who is exhausted and begging for the dance to end. In the meantime, either enjoy the show or sit it out.
The unlikely worst-case scenario is that it ends with Kim still trying to build nukes and missiles, which is exactly what he was doing for years when all the critics who are attacking Trump’s negotiating style were in change of negotiating with him themselves. Say, maybe they should sit this one out, too.