Trump Will Get a Deal Done with North Korea

By | 2018-05-25T14:40:58+00:00 May 26th, 2018|
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President Trump’s announcement Thursday that he is canceling the upcoming summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was seized upon by leftists with their typical fervor and malicious glee. Kim has “won,” according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and he must be having a “giggle fit.”

To people like Pelosi, the summit’s cancellation is more proof that Trump is erratic, incompetent, and a danger to world peace.

And yet one has to ask: what sort of person would celebrate the curtailment of a dialogue between two countries armed to the teeth and clearly prepared to engage in a devastating, and possibly nuclear, war? How cynical have Democrats become, when maligning Trump is more important to them than the potentiality of saving millions of lives?

The truth is, Trump’s announcement was not an admission of failure. Not really. It is instead the precondition for eventual success.

The fact that North Korea was brought to the table in the first place, and was willing to consider total denuclearization, is entirely due to the tough line that the Trump Administration took beforehand.

In particular, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley presided over a spectacularly successful international effort to tighten the screws of economic sanctions against the Kim regime. China, too, was mobilized to put pressure on the North Koreans.

The result: a willingness on Kim’s part to denuclearize and to talk in good faith with South Korea and the United States.

Trump’s cancellation of the planned summit is a response to recent belligerent and dismissive statements from Pyongyang to the effect that Kim would not participate, and North Korea would not make concessions unless joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises were scrapped. North Korea’s tone nullified the pacific and optimistic atmosphere that was beginning to form on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

Trump’s cancellation of the planned summit is hardly the last word we will hear on the North Korean question. It is a typically Trumpian bold stroke that is designed to alert the North Koreans to the fact that the United States will not be bullied and insulted, nor will it surrender any of its vital interests.

Kim also needs to understand just how weak his bargaining position is. His country has a tremendous amount to gain from a comprehensive settlement of its differences with South Korea and the United States. The reality is that without such a settlement, North Korea’s prized nuclear and missile programs are a few smart bombs away from total destruction—and the Kim regime itself may be in danger.

In the end, Trump and Kim will meet. Both the United States and North Korea are clearly leaving the door open for future talks.

The Left, therefore, should stifle its spite. Trump may earn his Nobel Peace Prize yet—even though, as he has said, “peace is the prize.”

Photo credit: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

About the Author:

Nicholas L. Waddy
Nicholas L. Waddy, an associate professor of history at SUNY Alfred, blogs at www.waddyisright.com.