The Great Deal-Maker tackles North Korea

The Great Deal-Maker, Making America Great Again. First day in office, he hands China — for nothing in return — a gigantic geopolitical boost. The TPP deal we’d painstakingly negotiated with key Asian nations, to set the regional terms of trade to our advantage and stymie China, Trump cancels. China’s rulers high-five each other and chortle.

Then on to the Middle East. Actually bragging that he’s removed an obstacle to peace by taking Jerusalem off the table. What The Great Deal-Maker took off the table was one of our own biggest bargaining chips. Making a peace deal virtually impossible.

All leaders face the problem of residing in a bubble insulated from reality. Trump’s never had much grip on it, and now everyone — his flunkeys, GOP politicians, foreign leaders — see this fool can be played by means of fawning flattery, the more cringeworthy the better. Feeding his delusion that he and all his doings are the greatest. Don’t need no stinkin’ policy briefings, etc. Gets all he needs from his instincts. And Fox Fake News.

So on to North Korea.

I’ll say this much: negotiating is better than a military strike that could well bring about the very thing we should ultimately be aiming to prevent. Not North Korea having nukes, but using them.

Normally, a summit meeting between leaders is preceded by substantive negotiations, adumbrating a deal, to ensure a successful outcome. Then the leader is thoroughly briefed with a clear grasp of all the ramifications and well thought-out responses to whatever the adversary might say. But this isn’t Trump’s style. Don’t need no stinkin’ policy briefings. The Great Deal-Maker will just trust his great instincts and wing it. Greatly.*

Meantime, The Great Deal-Maker has (yet again) already given away — for nothing — one of our biggest bargaining chips. A sit-down with the president of the United States is a huge coup for Kim Jong-un, legitimizing and exalting his status. That might have been dangled to Kim as an inducement to make a deal. Instead, he’ll come to the table having already gained a key objective.

The idea of Trump, unprepared, comprehensively ignorant of world affairs and realities, with his unmediated rat’s-nest of wrong instincts, negotiating directly with Kim Jong-un, is frightening. What else will he give away (removing sanctions — and our troops from South Korea?) in order to brag again about a supposed great triumph? The fool will be played, and rolled.

Trump will come out saying he and Kim got along great. And why not? Birds of a feather. North Korea will be our new friend.

Sure, Kim will agree to give up his nukes. Praise The Great Deal-Maker! Raise the champagne glasses! Kim will pocket all concessions and agree to ditch his nukes — but won’t do it. We’ve seen exactly that movie before with duplicitous North Korea. And Trump won’t nail down the nitty-gritty verification safeguards any North Korea deal should require. Rolled.

The sensible policy toward North Korea would have been to ignore it. It was insane to draw a line in the sand, declaring we won’t allow it having nukes, when it does have them and we have no plausible way to alter that. And the saber-rattling was pointlessly juvenile. Kim surely knows we have the capability to obliterate him. Deterrence was always our implicit policy and nothing more was needed.

Teddy Roosevelt had it right: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Trump speaks loudly and gives away our sticks.

*Crudely firing Secretary of State Tillerson, ostensibly over North Korea policy, was always on the cards since Tillerson called Trump a “moron” (actually “fucking moron”). Everybody sucked into Trump’s orbit gets chewed up and spit out.

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