Trump’s Simplistic View of Diplomacy

What the world just witnessed in Singapore was the devaluation of reality. The bull in the china shop destroyed so much stemware and pottery that the United States will have to take out another loan to pay for it all. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might suggest that the big summit between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump didn’t really happen. But we saw it on TV, so it must have taken place. However, the final product of the event has less backbone than a jellyfish.

The Democrats asked, “Where’s the beef,” While the Trump loyalists were toasting, “Well, Trump did it!” Yes, he took a meeting with the Chairman of a totalitarian nation, who arrests, tortures, kills and enslaves his people, but that never stood in the way of the Donald’s ego. He thinks he will get the Noble Peace Prize for this made-for-TV event, but he failed to get anything of substance from this high-level meeting. It’s pure Trump; lots of talk, lots of words, little substance.

Trump walked away with a two-page letter saying we agree to reaffirm the talks to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. We still don’t know if Kim’s definition of denuclearization matches ours. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. goal of the meeting with the North Korean despot was to get “Permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling” of their nuclear war machine. Mike has now become frustrated with the fair questions concerning that very pronouncement.

When Pompeo, probably suffering from the new orange form of jetlag, was asked about the fact that his words were not in the two-page agreement both leaders signed, he cited the word “complete” and equated it to “permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling” of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. When pressed further, Pompeo barked, “I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous. I just have to be honest with you. It’s a game and one ought not play games with serious matters like this.” Mike, Mike, we appreciate your being “honest” with us but, please, when you negotiate a complex disarmament agreement with another country, you should use precise legal verbiage. Right?

Since Trump returned from his speed-dating session with a dictator in Singapore, he has declared that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. This, we guess, is based not on an agreement but on his perception of a five-hour meeting with Kim Jong-Un. Donald Trump destroyed relationships with members of the G-7 with insults and his lack of understanding about how trade works, and then dashed off to the big summit. He doesn’t have a solid grasp of diplomacy, so he wasted his time and millions of dollars on a giant photo-op.

Time will tell whether a pledge to start a dialog will indeed lead to peace, but there is good reason to cast skepticism over what happened in Singapore. By telling Kim that we would suspend all military activities with South Korea, we gave the autocrat a gigantic win, without getting diddley-squat in return. Trump also hinted that we might pull out all our troops from South Korea. Really? Why would we do that?

When confronted about some of the North Korean human rights violations, Trump replied with praise for Kim Jong-Un as a “tough guy,” a “smart guy” and a “great negotiator.” When Bret Baier of Fox News interviewed Trump following the denuclearization summit, our president declined to condemn North Korea’s record.

International bodies have accused Kim of crimes against humanity, including assassinations of political rivals, public executions and the imprisonment of tens of thousands political adversaries. Trump seems numb to real carnage.

The Donald disassociated Kim from those atrocities with, “Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have – if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 could do that.” I guess their first date went well, judging from Trump’s additional comment, “So he’s a very smart guy, he’s a great negotiator and I think we understand each other.”

Trump believes that everyone is like him and that flattering the other person is all that’s needed. When Trump says something that doesn’t get a response, he assumes he has won. Judging by what we know so far, Trump received a few words on paper, while America appears to have given more than we got. We all hope this is real but, judging by the reaction of Mike Pompeo to a few honest questions about the agreement, maybe the Secretary of State realizes that this is not as it appears.

Trump knows how to pull out of deals, but there is no evidence that he is competent with making pacts, agreements or peace treaties. Without good people like Pompeo, Trump would just be another fat, pompous politician with promises to keep. It’s not bad that he delivers on all his promises, but those promises are terribly destructive. He has made America less great. I am embarrassed by him.

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