We have been so conditioned by a lying media and political class to distrust everything we see that even now, the image of Kim Jong-Un walking with confidence alone across the border between the two Koreas to meet his counterpart from the South President Moon Jae-in creates more confusion than it does relief.
While the Twitterati are exploding with praise for President Trump, the reality is that the statesman here is Kim. Trump deserves credit, a lot of credit, and the South Korean government has expressed their gratitude, but ultimately it was Kim who chose peace through strength rather than the U.S.
The question is why?
Now I know that nuclear non-proliferation is one of Donald Trump’s major policy objectives. He feels very strongly about it and has for decades.
But, last month I also told you that after months of bellicosity, sanctions and pressure, the U.S. was finally willing to sit down and negotiate with both North Korea and Russia once it was revealed to the world that the state of the board had shifted against us.
North Korea had nuclear weapons. The Russians had hypersonic ones. Both were capable of unacceptable losses to all sides.
And Trump knows that there is only so far you can take these things before it’s time to declare victory and cut a deal.
Remember, we only negotiate when we are losing, folks. The first rule of politics is, “Never attack down.” It’s corollary is, “Don’t negotiate with weaker parties, dictate terms.”
And this is why Kim now stands as the statesman here. The Koreans wanted this. The South Koreans elected Moon to unify the peninsula. And Kim saw the opening presented by Moon’s overtures for peace. He rightly read the situation after declaring North Korea a nuclear power.
But, he also sees the need for the U.S. to save face. To still look like this victory is equally shared. That’s not called surrender.
It’s called statesmanship.
Trump’s Bluff Called
I’m sure that there are lots of moving parts to this historic moment we’ll never be privy to. How much of Trump’s personal cache with Chinese Leader Xi Jinping held sway here.
Where Trump deserves the most credit is in simply changing the culture in Washington. I never for once believed that we would go to war with North Korea. So, the whole ‘maximum pressure’ thing is good marketing but it wasn’t what got the job done.
I get that Trump projected that aura. Again, it’s good marketing to Americans who like to believe that moralistic bullying is both effective and justified. This is the essence what we’re seeing from Trump’s base today.
But, that’s the show. That’s not the reality. The reality is that North Korea has a nuclear weapon. And once that became reality, decades of military projection and geopolitical stasis had to change.
They think Trump won and Kim lost. But, the reality is that all good deals have winners on both sides. The May 12th summit between Trump and Kim will reveal just that or that the U.S. was never serious about any of this in the first place.
This fits with Trump’s stated goals of wanting to scale back the American empire. So, to the MAGA crowd, I say, “Yes. Trump is a winner here.” Not over North Korea, who along with China and Russia are the clear winners, but over the Deep State and the foreign policy ‘experts’ on K-Street.
Trump will talk a good game from here on out. He has his war cabinet in place to put up a good show. But, there comes a point when the Emperor is revealed to have no clothes. And the leaders of the two Koreas just pointed that out by simply taking a walk together and shaking hands.
The onus is now on Trump to show whether I’m wrong and he’s still in charge of his own White House. He told Rand Paul this week he was and got the recalcitrant Senator to back Mike Pompeo’s nomination as Secretary of State.
But, I remain incredibly skeptical. There is no appetite for peace in U.S. foreign policy circles. And his own volatility is too easily manipulated into terrible decisions in the Middle East.
I know he sees North Korea without nuclear weapons as the stepping stone to taking out Iran. Because with North Korea sans nukes that means Iran is without nukes. And from there ‘maximum pressure’ can be applied to them.
This is why he won’t re-certify the JCPOA in May. He is pursuing the same strategy with Iran that he did with North Korea, regime change or else. In effect he’s doing the same to Russia, allowing his war cabinet to ratchet up the fighting in Ukraine and Syria.
Because as we stand on the edge of a new era in geopolitics, one in which Korean unification changes the board, the man who took the risk showing strength and leadership by walking across the battlefield to make it happen wasn’t Donald Trump.
It was Kim Jong-un.