Did the North Korea summit help or hurt the United States? | The Tylt
Did the North Korea summit help or hurt the United States?
The Washington Post editorial board was scathing in its review of the summit, saying it was not just a failure in terms of negotiations, it also had the unintended effect of softening Kim Jong-Un's public persona.
Early in the summit, Trump dismissed concerns that Kim was involved in the brutal treatment and death of American citizen Otto Warmbier. Trump also sat across from Kim as an equal, an image many felt was detrimental to international relations.
The failure of President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un revealed the fundamental weakness of Mr. Trump’s strategy for addressing the growing nuclear threat from North Korea. The president supposed that his personal and improvisational diplomacy, featuring unwarranted and unseemly flattery of a murderous tyrant, would make possible the substantive steps toward disarmament that the regime has resisted for decades. Instead, he was presented by Mr. Kim with a patently unacceptable offer that left him no choice but to walk away.
Some, including columnist Henry Olsen, believed the summit actually showcased Trump's strength. Hoping to get a deal for total denuclearization, Trump was met with an offer from North Korea to shut down one of its nuclear facilities in exchange for the suspension of all sanctions on the country. The deal included no promises to destroy the county's current stockpile of weapons or shutdown any of its other facilities.
Rejecting it out of hand shows that Trump was serious in this instance. “Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times,” the president said at a news conference. The fact that Trump could do that will send a clear message to Kim and other governments he is negotiating with that he won’t let ego get in the way of getting a good deal for the United States.
This in turn will bolster, not diminish, his popular standing at home. His backers will see their judgment vindicated: Trump took a risk, didn’t get what he needed and was shrewd enough to call off the meeting. Those who aren’t invested in their hatred for him might begin to see him in a different light. After all, they had just been told incessantly that Trump couldn’t do what he just did. Perhaps they will begin to see him as what he has always said he was: a negotiator who knows how to wield carrots and sticks, flattery and straight talk, as needed to get a deal done.
Former U.N ambassador and current national security advisor John Bolton made the rounds to Sunday morning talk shows defending the president's actions in Vietnam.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well I don't consider the summit a failure. I consider it a success defined as the president protecting and advancing American national interest. There was extensive preparation for this meeting. Extensive discussions between the president and Kim Jong Un and- and the issue really was whether North Korea was prepared to accept what the president called "the big deal," which is denuclearize entirely under a definition the president handed to Kim Jong Un and have the potential for an enormous economic future or try and do something less than that which was unacceptable to us. So the president held firm to his view. He deepened his relationship with Kim Jong Un. I don't view it as a failure at all when American national interests are protected.
When pressed by "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan on whether he agreed with the president's actions, Bolton repeated the president's opinion that the summit was not a failure. Bolton said, "I'm the national security advisor. I'm not the national security decision maker."
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff appeared on "Face the Nation" later in the program and directly contradicted Bolton's claims. Schiff felt strongly the president had given up far more than he had gotten during the summit and placed the United States in an unnecessarily precarious situation.
REP. SCHIFF: Well I was struck by one thing in particular and that is when you asked him whether the president had given up anything by going to this summit and walking away empty handed and his answer was that the president didn't believe so. And you asked him, well do you believe so and he said well what the president believes is all that matters. He couldn't even agree with his own president but course- of course the president did give up a great deal by going to that summit, by enhancing Kim Jong Un's prestige on the world stage, by giving up those military exercises in the last summit and getting nothing for it. And this is, I think, the result of a president who is not prepared for these kind of negotiations, a staff that is not well-prepared, and that is essentially flying by the seat of its pants and it has real world consequences. Those reactors continue to spin on, as you point out, producing more material that can threaten us and our allies. And I think that this was a spectacular failure but made all- all the worse by the president's obsequious comments when it came to the murder of an American citizen, Otto Warmbier.