Saturday, March 10, 2018

Kim Is Playing Trump for the Fool He Is

There are two ways to view the news that Kim Jong Un wants to meet with Donald Trump in May. One, Trump’s masterful negotiating skill has convinced the North Korean dictator that he has no choice but to submit or be destroyed; Two, Kim is doing what every other world leader has done with Trump since he was sworn in: he’s sucking up to him. Given what we know of Lord Fauntleroy, my money's on the latter.

Seriously, if you truly believe that Kim has had a change of heart regarding the denuclearization of his country then you’re even more gullible than Trump. If anything, what Kim is doing is consistent with what he has been doing since he came to power. Indeed, his father attempted but failed to dupe the Clinton Administration with false expectations back in 2000. Flattering someone with the ego the size of a super nova buys his regime the time it needs to complete the testing on its ICBMs, which most military experts believe are months away from being able to successfully strike the west coast of the United States. While our Doofus in chief is getting played, the lives of millions of Americans will hang in the balance.

This is why you have diplomats: to make sure disasters like this don't happen. Think about it: while Monty Hall is conducting foreign policy like it's a reality TV show, Kim gets what he's always wanted: recognition of North Korea as an equal to the United States. What better way to accomplish that than by standing on the same stage as an American president.

But that's not the biggest danger. Thomas Wright in The Atlantic outlines an even grimmer scenario; one in which Trump virtually gives away the entire Korean peninsula by withdrawing American troops from South Korea in exchange for Kim giving up his nukes. Wright lists three reasons why Trump might do this:
The first is that Trump cares about the direct threat to the American homeland more than anything else. President Obama warned him of the North Korean ICBM threat immediately after the election and he has taken it to heart. He has pursued a unilateral policy and has held open the possibility of a preventive strike without prior approval from Seoul. This is the essence of “America First”—narrow U.S. interests supersede all other concerns. It is a significant conceptual break with traditional American policy since the late 1940s, where the United States treated threats to the homeland and to the allies equally. 
The second is that Trump has always had concerns about alliances in general and the U.S.-South Korea one in particular. Since the mid 1980s, he has argued that America’s alliances are a bad deal. Initially his wrath was focused on Japan and the Arab states but in 2013, he said, “How long will we go on defending South Korea from North Korea without payment? … When will they start to pay us?” In an interview with NBC in 2015, he said, “We have 28,000 soldiers on the line in South Korea between the madman and them. We get practically nothing compared to the cost of this.” Perhaps Trump may think that an end to the ICBM program and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea is a win-win. 
The third is Trump’s ego. He sees himself as the world’s greatest dealmaker. He wants to sit down man-to-man with his rival. He cares nothing about America’s historical obligations and is likely singularly motivated by the ICBM threat. In odd ways, he respects Kim.
Setting aside Trump's respect for Kim - he's always had an affinity for strong men like Putin and Rodrigo Duerte of the Philippines - a withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea would be a disaster, not just for the peninsula, but for the entire globe. Lost in all the bluster about the threat Kim's nukes pose to humanity is the fact that he commands a formidable conventional force that could easily devastate Seoul, a city which sits only thirty miles south of the DMZ and is home to more than thirty million people. Within minutes, Kim could launch conventional rockets that would devastate most of the city. His ground troops could then easily cross over and ostensibly seize control over most of the country. Think Hitler marching into Paris in 1940, only in this case Paris would be a smoldering ruin. At any rate, the 12th largest economy on the planet would be wiped out and the blow to global markets would trigger a world-wide depression.

And all this could easily happen because this president has the intellectual capacity of a gnat, the emotional stability of a four-year old and an inferiority complex the size of the Grand Canyon. The man craves attention and adulation and, I suspect, Kim will dote over him like a father dotes over his new-born son. If the meeting ends up taking place in Pyongyang, expect Kim to pull out all the stops. Trump will witness a military parade the likes of which he has never seen before, and he will be swept off his feet. You think Stormy Daniels is screwing him; next to Kim, Daniels is an amateur.

Deep down I suspect Kim realizes that he could never win a nuclear war; he could start one, but it would mean the end of his country. The whole reason for the nuclear build up was to gain the leverage necessary to force concessions from the West. He has seen first hand what's happened to other dictators who gave up their weapons without getting anything in return, and he doesn't want that fate to befall him. So he's reached out to one man whom he believes is gullible enough to fall for his fake praise and tempting offer. "I give up my nukes and you pull out of the Korean peninsula. Deal?"

It is the sort of offer any rational, thinking president would gladly walk away from. But then we're talking about Trump, so I guess what I'm saying is I wouldn't buy any Samsung flat panel TVs or Hyundai cars next year. You might have a tough time getting them serviced in the future.


Slbe11004 said...

Trump the fool is being played as you say. The meeting, however, likely will never take place. Trump needs to create constant distraction from the astounding incompetence and corruption of his administration that is exposed daily. So he impulsively said “Let’s do it”. His moronic realty show is getting old and people sans his rabid base are sick of it already, hence Lamb’s victory in a republican gerrymandered district that Trump won by 20% less than a year and a half ago.
Can’t wait for 2020 or sooner for this clown to be out of the WH.

Slbe11004 said...

Remember this comment about how the meeting will never take place.
It’s a sure bet that Trump will NEVER do or say anything that directly benefits a majority of the American people or the world. He is a walking incarnation of corruption who works only for himself and his benefactors/bribers, period.