Patterico's Pontifications

5/21/2018

Trump: How Come Kim Jong-un Is Raining on My Nobel?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:53 am

As President Trump prepares to meet with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea tomorrow, the New York Times reports that Trump is rattled by North Korea’s recent statements that they will never denuclearize in return for aid:

Mr. Trump was both surprised and angered by a statement issued on Wednesday by the North’s chief nuclear negotiator, who declared that the country would never trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid, administration officials said. The statement, while a highly familiar tactic by the North, represented a jarring shift in tone after weeks of conciliatory gestures.

On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Trump peppered aides with questions about the wisdom of proceeding, and on Saturday night he called President Moon Jae-in of South Korea to ask why the North’s public statement seemed to contradict the private assurances that Mr. Moon had conveyed after he met Kim Jong-un, the 35-year-old dictator of the North, at the Demilitarized Zone in late April.

There’s a fella on Twitter named Robert Kelly, a political science professor who lives in South Korea, who has some ideas about why Moon might have given Trump a rosy picture of what a summit could accomplish:

The whole thread is worth reading. Kelly goes on to say, regarding Moon’s suggestion that Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize: “It is an open secret in Korea that this was just flattering Trump to prevent him from starting a war. No one actually believes it. My students & colleagues laugh at the suggestion.” He says nobody thought the West would take it seriously.

By the way, Kelly is the guy who was on the BBC when his daughter hilariously stomped into the room and marched around in the background. Remember that?

Trump may not be a reader, but at least he can control his daughter, amirite? I mean, you’re not going to see Trump’s daughter busting in the door and taking over at inappropriate times the way you just saw happen with Kelly.

Someone should do one of those videos where you take Trump’s face and put it on someone else’s body, and redo that video to make it Trump stomping around in the background. Free idea, Trump superfans! I’ve also prepared your retort to the next passage from the NYT article:

The aides are also concerned about what kind of grasp Mr. Trump has on the details of the North Korea program, and what he must insist upon as the key components of denuclearization. Mr. Moon and his aides reported that Mr. Kim seemed highly conversant with all elements of the program when the two men met, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made similar comments about Mr. Kim, based on his two meetings with him in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.

But aides who have recently left the administration say Mr. Trump has resisted the kind of detailed briefings about enrichment capabilities, plutonium reprocessing, nuclear weapons production and missile programs that Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush regularly sat through.

YOUR RETORT: Knowledge is overrated! Bush and Obama were informed, and look where it got them! We need a guy who doesn’t care about the details, but who can go in and Art of the Deal those mother[we regret that we need to bleep half of this word]s into oblivion!

It writes itself. In fact, I can easily keep it going.

Michael Green, a professor at Georgetown University and a leading expert on Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in Foreign Affairs that Mr. Kim was looking for something much larger than Mr. Trump was.

“Trump may be preparing for the wrong game: a two-player round of checkers when Kim is steeling for a multiplayer two-board chess match,” he wrote. “On one board will be the future of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, what Trump came to negotiate. On the other will be what Kim and the other participants know is also crucially at stake: the future of geopolitics in northeast Asia.” Mr. Kim sees himself as a player in that game long after the Trump administration is over.

YOUR RETORT: Pfffft. How many dimensions are these chess games Kim is playing, “Professor” Green? Two, you say? Three, at most? Watch Chairman Un‘s head spin when he starts to realize that Trump is playing [off camera: Mr. Adams! Hey, Scott? How many dimensions is the chess game Trump is playing? OK, thanks!] fifty-nine dimensional chess!

In all seriousness, the problem is intractable. Prof. Kelly may not know much about keeping his daughter under control when he’s on the teevee, but he knows that Trump can be manipulated due to his desire to get the Nobel Peace Prize — a high honor previously awarded to such peace-loving luminaries as Barack Obama and Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Trump’s aides have grown concerned that the president — who has said that “everyone thinks” he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts — has signaled that he wants the summit meeting too much. The aides also worry that Mr. Kim, sensing the president’s eagerness, is prepared to offer assurances that will fade over time.

NO WAY!

The likeliest scenario is an agreement that allows Trump to declare victory, lifts sanctions, and accomplishes nothing verifiable. That’s not progress, but Moon may see it as a better alternative than what looked likely in the days of presidential tweets about “Little Rocket Man.”

Me, I think having an uninformed child representing us is a grand idea. And the people hardest hit, when Trump gets a deal that Obama and Bush could only dream of, will be the damn NeverTrumpers.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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