We now know why President Trump canceled the June 12 denuclearization summit with North Korea. It’s because behind the scenes, Kim Jong Un started pulling bad faith power plays and showing disrepect. A White House delegation arrived in Singapore to work out the summit details, and the North Koreans never showed up. Trump’s people also weren’t allowed to attend the alleged destruction of Kim’s nuclear test site. Reporters were, but they didn’t obtain the forensic evidence the White House team demanded to insure it was real. When Kim started attacking Vice President Pence and again threatening a nuclear confrontation, that was the last straw, and Trump told him (in nicer terms) to go pound sand.
Trump’s letter was a masterful combination of “good cop/bad cop” from a single cop, as he thanked and praised Kim on the one hand for destroying his test site and releasing three American captives, while using the other hand to show Kim a fist and remind him that he is vastly outgunned and will be very sorry if he crosses America.
That same deliberately mixed message of “I really love your country, be a shame if anything happened to it” was also conveyed by Trump’s in-person comments, as he made it clear that he hoped North Korea would come around because it would be so good for Kim and his people, while incidentally mentioning a couple of times the size of the US military budget, which was about 24 times North Korea’s entire GDP in 2015, the latest year for which we have figures for North Korea. (Our military budget has gone up since then; I’d guess their GDP hasn’t.)
Liberal pundits and celebrities had a field day mocking Trump, ridiculing the idea of him winning a Nobel Peace Prize, scoffing at his failure at the “art of the deal,” and generally showing an unseemly amount of glee that Kim might continue threatening the world with nukes, as long as it created bad PR for Trump. Bear in mind, these are the people who like to lament that “the adults are no longer in charge,” and by “adults,” they laughably mean themselves.
The ones who weren’t mocking were gnashing their teeth over what one self-appointed diplomacy expert called the “stupendous blunder” of Trump canceling that summit. The general line of “thought” from this crowd was that Trump should’ve done what they would have: kowtowed to Kim’s blustery antics and given him whatever he wanted to get a deal signed. One even claimed we would never be able to force Kim to give up his nukes, but maybe we could get some concessions. You might recognize that leading-with-your-chin tactic from the Iran nuclear deal. It’s also the way Peter Griffin of “Family Guy” negotiates to buy a new suit: “Sir, write down any number on this piece of paper, and I will pay it.”
Gaze upon these hyperventilating “experts” and thank God that they are no longer in charge. If you’re going to exhibit that kind of arrogance and condescension, it’s good to have a record of competence to base it on; yet we all know that their own diplomatic genius is the reason North Korea was able to thumb its nose at us for 20 years while developing nukes and missiles that Trump now has to deal with.
Incidentally, it took all of twelve hours before North Korea realized they’d overplayed their hand, Trump had called their bluff, and they couldn’t roll him the way they’ve rolled all the smug, striped-pants Ivy Leaguers we’ve sent in the past. Their Vice Foreign Minister rushed out a statement reading, “We reiterate to the US that there is a willingness to sit down at any time, in any way, to solve the problem." I’ll bet there is…now.
Sounds as if a number of people made stupendous blunders over the past 48 hours, but Trump showing the backbone to walk away from a bad deal wasn’t one of them.
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