America • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post

Trump’s Historic Moves in Korea

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Everyone has seen the historic images on TV—with the upcoming 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon and Richard Nixon’s call from the Oval Office. I remember watching it in awe as a young child, on July 20, 1969.

We recently had another historic first that was widely viewed—the president of the United States stepping into North Korea and the Communist dictator stepping into the South—but those pictures can’t fully capture the true significance of the moment.

Donald Trump’s trip from the floodlit halls of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan to the overcast gloom of the Korean Peninsula’s Joint Security Area had to be undertaken in secret. Unlike so much of the theater and ritual in modern international politics, this was 100 percent authentic.

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is one of the most tense, dangerous locations on Earth. Two standing armies—the North Korean People’s Army (KPA) and the United Nations Forces led by the United States and South Korea—stand toe to toe on war footing, with an armistice in place since June 27, 1953. Miscalculations and provocations have resulted in armed exchanges over the years, and both militaries have been prepared to return to full-blown war at a moment’s notice.

When President Trump stepped out over the Demarcation Line, he did so alone, boldly marching out to meet with Kim Jong Un and his fussing retinue. This was not a Hollywood moment where if it does not go well there is another take . . . this was literally life and death.

It was just yards from this spot that North Korean guards kidnapped a group of American soldiers in 1976 and hacked two of them to death with an ax as a “show of force.” That’s how touchy they were about the American troops trimming a tree that changed border post sight lines—23 years after the truce. To say that the Joint Security Area is a place where pulses run high would be a gross understatement.

Even through the television screen, it was obvious that the North Korean soldiers were completely unaccustomed to and unprepared for the kind of openness and civility that the event demanded. Newly minted White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham had to physically struggle with the Communist guards inside a South Korean meeting hall, putting her body on the line to get them reluctantly to allow American reporters through.

This was cutting-edge diplomacy, and Donald Trump was right there on the front line, both figuratively and literally. And with the political stakes so high, it required both moral and physical courage. I’ve walked the same ground, seen the same scene, and felt the palpable tension in the air.

I have it on good authority that several advisors urged the president not to make this attempt. Certainly no other president since the partition of Korea would have gone through with it.

But Donald Trump did not leave private life to follow in the timid footsteps of conventional politicians. He was not elected to “stay the course,” but rather to change direction and devise a whole new approach—to make things happen.

As it has in the past, President Trump’s boldness paid off. Democrats are complaining that his historic steps into North Korea were a mere “photo op,” but the real significance of the visit goes deeper.

For more than 60 years, no U.S. president has even had an opportunity for a gesture like this. Their options were just two: “get tough” by escalating sanctions, increasing military patrols, and so on, or seek “reproach” by trying to appease the hermit Stalinist state with economic aid. Both strategies have been tried repeatedly over the years, but neither has worked.

The peninsula remains divided, the North Korean people are still enslaved by their government, and the Kim regime has possessed nuclear weapons since the George W. Bush administration. But the old strategies that created the problems and failed to achieve progress cannot be expected to resolve them. In situations like this, fortune favors the bold.

Think of Nixon’s famous trip to China, or Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev’s trip to the American heartland in 1959. Both trips would have been impossible for their predecessors. Neither of these bold moves achieved some great diplomatic breakthrough in and of themselves, but they each broke down intangible walls that made peace and cooperation possible in the long run.

President Trump’s steps into North Korea will have the same kind of impact—we don’t know exactly where the road may lead, but we can be confident that we’re headed in the right direction. In some way, North Korea’s self-imposed isolation from the free world changed forever when Donald Trump took that short, momentous walk across the border.

That moment in time, captured for all the world to see, was a risky but confident step forward by President Trump that will change the course of history.

Photo Credit: Handout/Dong-A Ilbo via Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post • The Media

Donald Trump the Statesman

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

When Donald Trump took office, his predecessor warned him that North Korea was going to be his biggest international headache. Within months of receiving that warning from Barack Obama, the Trump team was faced with escalating nuclear threats from Pyongyang. The world braced as a nuclear standoff appeared to unfold and as President Trump moved U.S. forces into the region, issuing threatening tweets in response to escalating North Korean provocations. 

Meanwhile, the hateful Left and its allies embedded within the so-called deep state, decried the president’s supposed “warmongering” against North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Once Trump stunned the world and met with Kim in Singapore last summer—without preconditions—those same Leftists and deep staters insisted Trump was appeasing an intractable dictator intent on acquiring nuclear weapons to use against the United States and its allies. 

In reality, Trump was pursuing an America First strategy that used all the tools of statecraft available to his—tools most of these “experts” had forgotten how to use. 

Those Who Want Respect Give Respect
For too long, American policymakers had an all-or-nothing view of foreign policy. Either the United States got everything it wanted through force or it got nothing. Threats, such as those from North Korea, festered. 

This was odd, considering that the United States, as the reputed global hegemon, had many other tools beyond the military that it could use to mitigate and deter threats. Trump, a man who until a few years ago was a real-estate-tycoon-turned-reality-television personality, somehow grasped this basic fact better than the supposed wise men and women who have spent their lives working in foreign policy. 

Trump did use military brinkmanship, and willingly, but he also was willing to consider other methods—notably sanctions and public diplomacy through his unpopular but effective tweets—to force Pyongyang to calm down. Once calm, Trump then offered Kim Jong-un the olive branch. Ever since the Singapore summit last summer, the situation between the West and North Korea has been improving.

Ignorami of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party
Unlike the foreign policy establishment, Trump is not beholden to the predominant theories and assumptions that most “experts” hold close. This might frustrate the elites, but it does allow Trump greater flexibility to achieve the ultimate objective: the mitigation of the North Korean nuclear weapons threat and, therefore, the reduction of the risk of war.

Since the North Korean nuclear threat became prevalent during the 1990s, the permanent bipartisan fusion party that runs Washington has been unable to do much in the way of ending that threat—while watching as Pyongyang worked itself closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. Trump may not have permanently ended the North Korean threat, but he did stop all North Korean missile tests for more than 400 days. Even after the setback that happened during the second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam, there was only one North Korean missile test and it was conducted by a shorter-range missile than the ones that Pyongyang was launching before Trump met with Kim in Singapore last summer.

The people in Washington who run our foreign policy establishment fancy themselves statesmen (and women). They are not. These individuals are beholden to stodgy ideologies and methodologies formed in the previous century. While not everything they believe is wrong simply because they believe it, much of it is wrong nonetheless. North Korea is a terrible place run by an evil regime, true. It is undeserving, certainly, of the attention of the West. But simply ignoring the problem is not really a workable solution. By isolating North Korea, America has turned a festering threat into an implacable foe. 

These Are Not Real Foreign Policies
Virtue-signaling and thumping our chests at Pyongyang has done little to dissuade the Kim regime from pursuing its malicious foreign policy objectives. 

At the same time, the United States (and our regional allies, including South Korea and Japan) cannot afford a major war with North Korea right now. Should a conflict with North Korea erupt, it will also galvanize both Pyongyang’s main benefactor of China as well as Russia against the United States. 

It remains to be seen if the Trump Administration’s North Korea policy will work in the long-run. For the moment, however, North Korea is nowhere near the threat to the United States and our allies that it was just two years ago. This is explicitly because President Trump did not listen to the “experts” in foreign policy. Instead, he followed his instincts. Whatever happens next, the Americans will be dealing with North Korea from a much better position than the one in which the Obama Administration left us.

Far from being the Neville Chamberlain in Munich moment the NeverTrump buffoons had hoped for, the Trump-Kim relationship appears to have blossomed along similar lines to that of the Reagan-Gorbachev relationship. Thus, Trump is turning out to be a solid statesman. We are lucky to have him as president as opposed to those proud members of the permanent bipartisan fusion party who are running against him in 2020. 

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Center for American Greatness • China • Deterrence • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • military • North Korea • Post • Russia • Technology

Washington Is Still Not Getting Space Force Right

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

At this year’s Space Symposium in Washington, D.C., Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan opened his remarks by indicating the United States government takes seriously the threat that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea pose to our country’s space systems. We rely too much on satellites to provide the necessary bandwidth that our highly technological and interconnected society—as well as our advanced military—requires to function.

While these linkages in space are key for America’s survival (and our global dominance), they are surprisingly poorly defended. Our enemies know this and they’ve made preparations to hold these systems hostage, should tensions escalate between us.

Shanahan’s starkest comments revolved around his claim that China already had deployed advanced ground-based lasers intended to blind and dazzle sensitive American satellites in low-earth orbit. He cautioned that in time, Beijing undoubtedly would seek to deploy laser weapons not only on the ground but ultimately in space itself. Shanahan further stressed that Russia was mirroring China’s development of what’s known in the trade as “counterspace” capabilities.

But, suppose China (and Russia) is much further along in these projects than previously thought.

For those of us who have worked on national security space policy, the threat posed to America’s satellites is nothing new. That the Trump Administration is taking the threat seriously after his predecessors all but ignored it is refreshing. Even so, the fact that the elites in Washington are only now responding to the threat in space is terrifying. After all, China tested its first ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon in 2008. Chinese academics and foreign policy leaders have written an avalanche of papers advocating for the placement of laser weapons in space going back to 2005.

Our enemies now have significant capabilities in space and pose a direct threat to our systems there precisely because Washington ignored the threat for so long.

Is China Weaponizing the Moon?
It’s not just ground-based counterspace weapons, such as lasers and anti-satellite missiles, that threaten our satellites. There is some evidence suggesting that China is already placing rudimentary weapons systems in orbit—not just around Earth, but also near the moon. When China launched its historic Chang’e-4 mission to explore the dark side of the moon, they also deployed some micro-satellites around the moon.

Placed in what’s known as Lagrangian Point-2 (L2), which is an orbit between Earth and the moon, China told the world that the micro-satellites were meant to serve as communication relays between the Chang’e-4 and Beijing. But, some defense experts worry that the orbits of the Chinese microsatellites place them precariously close to America’s critical defense satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) around Earth.

The Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) constellation of satellites exists in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), which links together America’s military deployed around the world. There are other critical satellites in geosynchronous orbits, such as key spy satellites as well as early missile warning satellites. Due to their distance from Earth and their complexity, these American military satellites are extremely hard to replace in the event of an emergency. Should those systems be lost or degraded, the U.S. military could be left deaf, dumb, and blind.

As Jeff Gossel, the top intelligence engineer at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center told Defense One in October:

You could fly some sort of a weapon around the moon and it comes back—it could literally come at [objects] in GEO . . . And we would never know because there is nothing watching in that direction . . . Why do you need a relay satellite flying around L2? So you can communicate with something that’s going to land on the other side of the moon—or so you can fly around the other side of the moon? And what would that mean for our assets at GEO?

How could a defense establishment that is spending $787 billion on itself have let the Chinese gain on America’s once-unquestioned dominance in space in such a short period of time? What’s more, why haven’t we done more to counter the threat posed in the strategic high ground of space?

People should not assume that just because President Trump has spoken (and tweeted) in favor of the creation of a space force that America’s bloated defense bureaucracy will allow it to happen. In fact, the Pentagon already has been resisting the creation of a fully independent, sixth branch of the United States military, by ensuring that any space force would be subordinate to the Department of the Air Force. As the bureaucratic battle intensifies, the Chinese continue developing and deploying systems with which to render our Armed Forces (and, potentially, even America’s civilian population) deaf, dumb, and blind through dazzling anti-satellite attacks.

The United States is still trying to fight and win World War II without realizing that the world has moved beyond those geopolitical realities because the battlefield has expanded. Our adversaries don’t want to engage in a fair fight and technology exists that will help them avoid a fair fight with the U.S. military while still achieving their strategic objectives. Space plays a significant part in these unconventional strategies for defeating the United States. But, don’t tell the Pentagon. They’re too busy purchasing another $13 billion aircraft carrier that will be useless, thanks to Chinese defenses, should we ever really need to fight Beijing.

We Needed a Space Force Yesterday
In 2000, when Donald Rumsfeld headed the Space Commission, he advised the Pentagon to go slow and start small when creating a space force. At the time, the threats posed to America’s space architecture were negligible.

That was then. Almost 20 years on, things have changed dramatically. The threats to American satellite constellations are immense and growing while America’s ability to defend itself in space is getting weaker. Because Washington delayed creating a true space force for the last 20 years, bigger, bolder, and more immediate action to counter the newer and larger threats today is vital.

But the Pentagon essentially disregards the president’s calls for an independent space force, with only half-hearted responses. The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, still “needs more convincing!” It will take a full-on Chinese or Russian Pearl Harbor-style attack on America’s satellite constellations to convince the Senate to fund a space force in the same way it took 9/11 to generate a serious response to what was then the growing scourge of terrorism.

A robust space force that is detached from the other branches is the only way effectively to defend our satellites. In order to achieve the mission goal of preserving America’s long-held dominance in space, such a force will also require unconventional leadership willing to experiment with new methods of warfare. But for that to happen, Washington’s bureaucrats must wake up to the real threats we face and undertake to defend America in spite of their patent dislike for the man who happens to be president.

Washington’s Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party will be our undoing. Either we act decisively today or we risk a Pearl Harbor in space tomorrow.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post

Making Korean Lemonade

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Donald Trump bought a Korean lemon in 2018. Last week, he made some lemonade.

By walking out on his second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Trump stepped out of the policy trap that he had entered the previous year. By showing seriousness in a negotiation that seemed likely to continue along the previous three U.S. administrations’ fanciful pattern, Trump lent force to America’s dealings with China as well as others.

Ending the North Korean “denuclearization” charade is honest and sobering. But it does nothing to meet our dire need for protection against ballistic missiles, including from Korea.

Making nice with Kim at the 2018 Winter Olympics was among the foolish legacies of Trump’s original foreign policy team. With regard to Korea, as with China, Afghanistan, Europe, and everything else, the intellectual horizon of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was bounded by George W. Bush’s Condoleezza Rice and Barack Obama’s Ben Rhodes. Like their predecessors, Tillerson and McMaster followed “the allies,” and believed in “progress.” Hence, they lent themselves to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s campaign to use the Seoul Olympics to advance his leftist party’s attempt to legitimize the North Korean regime.

Moon knew that America’s buy-in to that campaign was essential to legitimizing it with South Korean public opinion. Kim, for his part, put on his lugubrious charm. And, for the umpteenth time since his father started building nukes and missiles three decades ago, Kim offered to give them all up. This time, for sure!

And, on cue, the Americans took the bait. Again.

Ever since 1994, the U.S government had been “negotiating” with North Korea to stop, to slow, or somehow to limit its drive to build nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles capable of reaching U.S. soil as well as of sowing panic in Japan. Americans had delivered thousands of tons of food and fuel oil. Americans also had helped in building a light-water nuclear reactor. Economic resources being fungible, all this had only helped the North Koreans build those nukes and missiles.

One administration after the other had bet their reputations for judgment on the view that doing such things would produce greater safety for the United States. As they produced the opposite, the American participants were loath to acknowledge their own errors, lest they impeach their own judgment. Having stepped into a trap, they preferred to stay in it while pretending to have laid their own. In fact, all that had happened was more delay and deferral on the part of the United States and continued building on the part of the North Koreans .

By the time Trump took office, Kim Jong-un had a growing stock of modern, mobile, and invulnerable nuclear-tipped ICBMs. We can only guess how many he’s got now, or how fast he is building them. Alas, we know that our so-called national missile defense, carefully designed as it is to handle only a token number of missiles, already may be numerically overwhelmed by North Korea’s missiles. If it isn’t, Kim can overwhelm the system merely by speeding up his production line.

By the time Trump met Kim in Singapore in May 2018, the stage had been set for more U.S. pretense. But just before then, John Bolton had replaced McMaster, and Mike Pompeo had replaced Tillerson. They had no illusions about North Korea. The country is as much a vassal of China today as it was in 1950. North Korea’s nukes exist because they are useful to China’s drive to expel America from the Western Pacific.

As for Kim, who holds power by China’s leave, the nukes are the only reason why he is treated as something other than the obscene tyrant he is. And he knows it. There was never any chance that Kim would become homo economicus, and join the boys on the ski slopes at Davos. That is why, before the meeting, Trump had placed some heavy duty sanctions on Pyongyang. And it was already clear that China was negating them.

Remember Trump’s watchword, at the Singapore summit and afterward, was “we’ll see.” Kim had promised to denuclearize. Trump would hold him to it. Yes, he canceled some military exercises. But he kept the sanctions, which Kim and China were urging he drop. In the meantime, as the claque at Fox News painted him the magical peacemaker, author of  history’s turning point, Trump enjoyed a respite from one kind of criticism, and gave Kim and the Chinese some rope.

At last week’s summit, Trump jerked the rope.

Kim (and China, tacitly) proposed, yet again, accounting and perhaps disabling some nuclear stuff at Yongbyon—they had sold that pooch many times before—in exchange for the lifting of all U.S. sanctions. Trump walked, speaking softly. That is the least he could have done. He did it. No one else has risen to that. Trump also knows, with regard to the Korean nukes and missiles, he is really dealing with China, with which he is engaged in a high-stakes confrontation over trade.

Trade is America’s immediate leverage over China. Modern-day, super-mercantilism is one of China’s main strategic weapons. The present confrontation’s results will be pregnant with events of historic significance.

But Trump’s walkout on Kim is already having a major effect in Japan, by blowing away the fog of illusion that momentarily had slowed public opinion’s steady slide to consensus that, since the nuclear missile threat is not going to diminish, much less disappear, and since nobody is stepping up to protect Japan against it, the Japanese people must to take full, final responsibility for their own defense at the highest levels of warfare.

For better and for worse, that also happens to be Donald Trump’s view.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Center for American Greatness • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • military • North Korea • Post

North Korea Has Probably Weaponized Space Already

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Now that the rapprochement between the United States and North Korea appears to be on hold, the North Korean military threat will have to become a focus of the Trump Administration yet again. At the moment, the world fixates on North Korea’s nuclear threat. Few, however, talk about North Korea’s space program.

Keep in mind that a country which possesses a nuclear weapons capability also has the capacity to build a space program. Pyongyang has already conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches that have stoked fears in the West about North Korea’s growing capability. Of course, North Korea claimed that these were launches of civilian weather satellites . Yet, the satellite followed an odd orbit and did not appear to display any of the regular behaviors that innocuous weather satellites are expected to exhibit.

The satellite, dubbed KMS 3-2, with a NORAD tracking identification number of 39026, was launched on 12 December 2012. Many Westerners believed the launch of KMS 3-2 was a “veiled ballistic missile test.” It likely was. Those same analysts also assumed the “satellite” was just junk. Although, the fact that KMS 3-2 has remained in orbit for as long as it has, following an odd north-south orbital trajectory, indicates to some that the system just might be an unconventional weapon known as an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) bomb. To buttress these concerns, it is important to note that KMS 3-2 sits at an altitude of 280 miles above Earth, an optimal position for an “E-bomb.”

More troubling, on February 7, 2017, North Korea placed another “weather” satellite, KMS-4 (NORAD tracking number 41332), in a north-south orbit. This occurred not long after Pyongyang successfully had tested a hydrogen bomb. The concern is that, like a Bond villain from the Roger Moore-era, Kim Jong-un is placing powerful electromagnetic pulse weapons in Earth’s orbit that he will one day use either to hold the West hostage or to attack us.

An EMP is a devastating blast of energy that destroys most electronics. First observed by scientists as far back 1859, it was not seen as a potential weapon until the infamous U.S. military Starfish Prime nuclear weapons test in 1962.

At that time, America detonated a massive nuclear warhead 250 miles above the Earth’s surface. The test damaged Hawaii’s electrical grid and telephones. That same year, the Soviet Union conducted a similar test in Kazakhstan, which started power plant fires in Karaganda. Since then, many more nuclear weapons states have arisen. And, as two Russian generals warned American leaders in 2004, Moscow sold Russia’s “super-EMP warhead design” to North Korea.

Lights Out, Mass Casualties
There’s also further reason for concern. By placing their satellites in a north-south orbit, as opposed to the usual east-west orbital path, North Korea has complicated the ability for American radar and ballistic missile defenses both to track and to destroy such weapons. After all, the American radar network was designed to detect incoming nuclear weapons launched from the former Soviet Union. Such launches would have followed an east-west direction. Washington possesses limited capabilities to track and shoot down an attack from a north-south orbit.

Speaking to a group of tech executives in Silicon Valley in 2017, I cautioned that Pyongyang might have placed a dormant electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon in orbit of Earth. Such a move would be in keeping with both North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. It would also coincide with Pyongyang’s commitment to developing asymmetrical forms of warfare meant to negate America’s overwhelming military supremacy.

In 2008, a special commission released a report on the threat of an EMP attack to the United States. The commission, formed shortly after 9/11, outlined a broad scope of vulnerabilities. Yet little has been done to better defend the United States. For example, the EMP Commission assessed that such a weapon detonated in orbit above the continental United States would knock out all power and advanced technology, effectively sending the United States back into the 19th century. The commission also determined that for a rogue state like North Korea, developing such a capability could be strategically useful to Pyongyang. Further, upwards of 90 percent of the American population could be killed off in the course of two years following a large-scale EMP attack due in part to massive disruptions in food production and distribution. Two years is the minimum amount of time it would take to restore America’s destroyed electrical grid and replace critical technology.

Of course, many national security analysts question whether North Korea has the capability to place such a system in orbit. In 2016, Peter W. Singer of New America said that these fears are “a joke” among “serious” national security practitioners. Physicist and State Department foreign affairs officer during the Obama Administration, Yousaf M. Butt, believed that the North Koreans lacked the sophistication to place a weapon large enough in orbit that could knock out the North American power grid.

But, many of these same “experts” would have laughed at anyone who, until September 12, 2001, claimed that al Qaeda would launch the most devastating surprise attack on the United States in its history—using only box cutters and fake explosives. Never doubt a desperate and dedicated foe, such as North Korea.

No Viable Defense
Meanwhile, in 2017, the North Koreans successfully tested a thermonuclear weapon—the kind of weapon that’d be needed to effectively send America back into the pre-electrical age. Plus, Pyongyang has possessed miniaturization technology for years, meaning that they could have conceivably created such a weapon and placed it in orbit.

Then again, the North Koreans would not even need to place a potent thermonuclear device in orbit to do damage to the United States. A smaller-yield nuclear device detonated in orbit could send an EMP burst that would destroy America’s critical satellite constellations, rendering American forces around the world deaf, dumb, and blind—and possibly sowing chaos here at home.

Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the national security establishment has tried to anticipate the next unconventional attack. Should President Trump be unable to revive the diplomacy with Kim, any conflict with North Korea could begin with a North Korean surprise EMP attack from space. America currently has no viable defense against such an attack. The Trump Administration must not only ensure that a space force is created to better defend the United States from a space-borne attack, but that a real space-based missile defense program is undertaken before it is too late . . . if it’s not too late already.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/NASA

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post

Trump Knows When to Fold ‘Em

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

In the course of a high-stakes negotiation, the player who walks away from the table is the one with the least to lose. Ronald Reagan did it to Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik in 1986, and Donald Trump did it to Kim Jong-un this week in Vietnam. Good for the president.

A lot of people have brought up Reykjavik; I discussed the similarities on the Hugh Hewitt radio show with guest host Kurt Schlichter on Thursday. Reagan met Gorbachev in Iceland in the fall of 1986 and the two men were approaching an agreement that might have included the abolition of all nuclear weapons. But the Soviet premier wanted the Americans to drop the Strategic Defense Initiative, colloquially known as “Star Wars.” That was a bridge too far for Reagan, who abandoned the talks and went home.

Naturally, the hostile press was appalled—the abolition of all nukes! And this cowboy won’t give up a pet program that probably won’t work anyway! Warmonger! Reagan was widely viewed at the time as an “amiable dunce” who didn’t understand the first thing about the complexities of international diplomacy; why, the doddering old fool actually thought “We win, they lose” was a strategy.

As I wrote in my most recent book, The Fiery Angel:

Quick: would you rather read a think-tank white paper from around the time of the Reagan-Gorbachev Reykjavik summit in 1986, assuring the Boston-Washington corridor that the Soviet Union would remain the only other superpower indefinitely, and that its stability was vital to the balance of power, or watch “Rocky IV,” released in 1985? Which better predicted the events of November 1989?

Consider, for example, this review of Strobe Talbott’s 1984 book on arms control, “Deadly Gambits.” Talbott, then a writer for Time Magazine—he later left to join the Clinton administration as Deputy Secretary of State, and parlayed that into becoming president of the Brookings Institution—undertook in a widely unread book to contrast the arms-control policies of the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan administrations, to the latter’s detriment, of course. This concluding passage from the contemporaneous New York Times review provides a flavor:

Mr. Talbott, who is diplomatic correspondent at Time, had previously written “Endgame: The Inside Story of SALT II.” What is striking about the two books is that ‘‘Endgame’’ was about how President Carter and his top aides—Zbigniew Brzezinski, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, and Defense Secretary Harold Brown—were directly in charge of the arms control process. “Deadly Gambits” shows how President Reagan, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Mr. Weinberger, and the three different national security advisers, had little to do with making arms control policy because they lacked the intellectual tools or interest in the subject.

He is particularly mocking of Mr. Reagan, who, Mr. Talbott writes, liked to give speeches on arms control, “but behind the scenes, where decisions were made and policy was set, he was to remain a detached, sometimes befuddled character.” Mr. Talbott says that even though Mr. Reagan presided at 16 meetings of the National Security Council on strategic arms talks, “there was ample evidence, during those meetings and on other occasions as well, that he frequently did not understand basic aspects of the nuclear weapons issue and of policies being promulgated in his name.” (Emphasis mine.)

A year later, the Russians were back at the bargaining table, this time in Washington, the result of which was the INF treaty, which regulated intermediate-range missiles (and which Trump recently scuttled, complaining that the Russians had long been violating the terms of the agreement). Two years after the signing, the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed and disappeared in 1991.

We won, they lost. And the media fell utterly silent.

The point is that Reagan’s refusal to give up the SDI was instrumental in helping topple the USSR of late, unlamented memory. Because, for all the scoffing in the American media about it at the time, it plainly terrified the Russians, and had been doing so for several years. In February 1985, I heard East German party chief Erich Honecker denounce it vociferously in an outdoor speech before the re-opening of the Semper Opera House in Dresden, which had been destroyed by the Allied bombing raids 40 years earlier. Honecker did nothing without the Kremlin’s approval, so you knew it was on their minds.

Signs of the imminent Russian collapse were everywhere. In April 1986, I was in Leningrad when Chernobyl—Soviet technology at its finest—blew up; I didn’t find out about it until a few days after I had left the country because the Russians blacked out the news from their own people. But my first visit to Russia taught me a lot about countries in decline: everyone was a criminal. Russian women freelanced as prostitutes, while the men could be bribed easily (and stay bought), and everybody trafficked in contraband to make extra money on the side. The unofficial unit of exchange was not the worthless ruble, but a pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

When your women are selling themselves and your men are offering boosted tins of Beluga from the trunks of their cars, you know your country is in trouble.

Most of the media missed that, of course, preferring to stick to the eastern establishment narrative that the Soviet Union was the other superpower, with military parity with the United States and superior socialist domestic benefits—hey, they had free healthcare, right? And yet it was gone in the blink of an eye.

Reagan sensed it; Gorbachev knew it. The fragility of the system, brought on by the moral evil at its core, could be rouged and mascaraed but underneath the makeup still was a diseased trollop on her way to becoming the cheapest whore in town. When Reagan walked, the Russians panicked. And in that moment, the Cold War was won.

Trump’s job is actually easier: to bring a negotiated end to the Korean War, which has been in limbo since 1953, when hostilities ceased and an armistice was signed. Ever since, North and South Korea have faced off over a heavily armed border, and while the south has prospered and grown rich, the north is a Stalinist basket case ruled by a family of Communist thugs. It won’t last because it can’t last: Kim’s embarrassment at the hands of the American president will only make him more eager for another summit. At the same time, though, it weakens him in the eyes of his countrymen, thus making him even more vulnerable to a revolution when the times comes, which it will.

So Kim, a dead man walking now, gets back in his armored train while Trump flies back to freedom aboard Air Force One, knowing that it’s just a matter of time before the phone rings again. And this time, his terms for what in effect will be North Korea’s final surrender will be even tougher than the ones he offered now.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Center for American Greatness • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post • statesmanship • the Presidency • Trump White House

Trump Lost Nothing in Hanoi

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

When Donald J. Trump took office in January 2017, the outgoing Obama Administration national security team cautioned Trump’s transition team that North Korea was a significant nuclear threat. Obama White House officials explained how North Korea’s leaders had built up their nascent nuclear arsenal. Since at least 2013, the Obama Administration knew about the rising threat of a potentially nuclear-armed North Korea and did nothing.

It was not a matter of ignorance; it was a matter of indifference on the part of former President Barack Obama and his national security team. Obama—the man who the media claimed was the smartest of all of America’s presidents—likely had no idea how to mitigate the North Korean threat and therefore didn’t even try.

How’s that for leadership?

Tag, You’re It, Donald Trump!
Two years into Trump’s presidency, the world seemed poised for nuclear war in a way that it hadn’t since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yes, the combined forces of the United States, South Korea, Japan, and any other ally inevitably would have overcome North Korea’s military in combat. But, the cost would have been great—particularly to South Korea and the Americans stationed there.

Such a war also would have forced the United States to lead yet another regime change mission, this time in Pyongyang. And it is likely that such a war ultimately would have placed the United States in direct contention both with China and Russia. The Chinese in particular view North Korea as a client state. .

As tensions escalated in 2017, the media argued that President Trump was too slow to engage in diplomacy; that his “my button is bigger than your button” rhetoric toward Kim Jong-un was outrageous. After months of mounting hostilities between the two leaders, Trump switched gears and met with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

During that historic summit the two sides had a chance to look each other in the eyes to see if they could do business.

It was a Nixon-goes-to-China or a Reagan-meets-Gorbachev moment: no one in the American elite believed that it could have happened.

But President Trump made it happen.

The president got Kim to acquiesce to our continuing demands for a slowdown in his nuclear weapons tests and his ballistic missile tests. Since that time, the world has enjoyed nearly two years of peace and quiet from North Korea. Meanwhile, Kim returned the remains of multiple American servicemen who had died on the battlefield in North Korea more than 60 years ago. More historic reckonings happened over the course of 2018, this time between North Korea and their American-backed rivals in democratic South Korea.

Diplomacy Is Messy—War Is Worse
Trump’s summit in Hanoi this week was a more muted affair—mostly because the Western press opted instead to follow along with the fictitious melodrama playing out with Michael Cohen hearings on Capitol Hill.

Talk of greater opening and contact between North Korea and the United States continued but the Western media complained that Trump was moving too fast toward diplomacy with Kim. Some people will never be pleased.

Despite his rhetoric, Kim appears uninterested in abandoning his nuclear program. The entire point of the Trump-Kim summits was not to put a temporary hold on North Korea’s inexorable march toward nuclear weapons capability. Rather, the goal was to get North Korea to abandon those nukes completely. But they do not call North Korea the “Hermit Kingdom” for nothing. And, diplomacy is a piecemeal and oftentimes convoluted process.

Despite this, the Trump and Kim interactions before the press made clear that there still exists some level of understanding between the two leaders. During the first day of events, both President Trump and Kim Jong-un had a five-minute televised sit-down before the press. In the last five seconds of the video, one of the American reporters began shouting questions to Trump (who did not respond). At that moment, Kim started chuckling to himself and gave a sympathetic glance to the president who returned with a nod of understanding. That was one of the most honest—and human—interactions I’ve ever seen between Kim Jong-un and another leader. No level of personal understanding between leaders will overcome fundamental ideological disagreements or conflicts of national interest. But they are essential to the understanding that makes negotiation possible.

That the second summit between the American and North Korean leadership was not as successful as the meeting in Singapore is something that was probably to be expected. This is high-stakes diplomacy. That Kim Jong-un did not cry, “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of nuclear war when President Trump decided to cut his losses and leave the summit early is also telling. It means that Kim wants to make a deal, and still believes he can get one.

Does Kim Risk Peace or Court War? It’s Now Fully Up to Him
Whether Kim Jong-un will be able or willing to abandon his desire for nuclear arms in order to get this deal is another matter entirely.

Once it becomes clear to Kim that the president is not going to acquiesce to North Korean demands the way that former President Obama gave into Iranian demands in 2015, North Korea will have to reassess. If they refuse and persist in their ambition to acquire a nuclear arsenal, Pyongyang will precipitate a conflict the likes of which Kim and his regime will not survive—and regime survival, at this point, is essential for Kim. In fact, it is likely the desire for regime survival that belies North Korea’s continued quest for nuclear arms. He needs to be made to see that this is not the way to achieve that goal.

Peace may be dangerous for Kim, but war will destroy him. Because of Trump’s decision to terminate the Hanoi summit prematurely, he now leaves Kim in a bind, having to choose between risking peace or courting war.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit:  Tuan Mark/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post • Russia

Trump Should Withdraw U.S. Forces From South Korea

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

The election of Donald Trump was a seminal moment in modern American history, as one of the important things it signaled was a need for a fundamental reassessment of U.S. foreign policy. Yet no matter how costly in terms of blood and treasure the status quo may be for the average American, the brahmins of U.S. foreign policy dare not countenance any questioning of it. One of those unquestioned foreign policy commitments is the permanent presence of U.S. troops (and some of their families) in South Korea.

Although South Korea is wealthy and has a modern military the country is threatened by its unpredictable neighbor to the north. The threat South Korea faces is compounded by North Korea’s undying commitment to obtaining a nuclear weapons arsenal (something that the South Koreans do not have—and surprisingly don’t want). Traditionally, this has been the argument in favor of our continued presence on the peninsula.

What Happens Next?
It remains unknown, however, whether North Korea’s leadership is truly insane enough to launch a full-scale war against South Korea, should they acquire nuclear arms. At present, North Korea has enough conventional weapons pointed at Seoul to obliterate it in the first half-hour of any fight, so it’s a bit beside the point. But let’s also not forget that no matter how bloody another Korean War would be, the United States and South Korean forces would prevail in the end.

So, while one cannot discount the possibility that North Korea’s leadership is crazy, the fact remains that most geopolitical analysts insist Kim Jong-un is quite sane. Kim’s regime appears content to negotiate with the Trump Administration rather than engage in the standard nuclear brinkmanship that has defined more than 50 years of U.S.-North Korean relations. It’s also clear Pyongyang is not going to denuclearize any time soon.  It’s possible, however, that Kim only wants nuclear weapons as a deterrent against invasion (proving the claims about him being a rational actor are true).

All of this is to say that whatever our continued presence in South Korea may be achieving, it is not serving as a preventative measure against a third world war. Instead, the U.S. military presence may be a barrier to basic negotiations. If both the mainstream expert opinion about Kim Jong-un’s mental state and President Trump’s instincts about the North Korean dictator are correct, then removing U.S. forces might be the key to bringing lasting peace to the Korean peninsula.

How to Make Friends Turn On Each Other
What’s more, the continued presence of American troops not only provides a panicky North Korea with tempting targets, it also brings North Korea, China, and Russia closer together when Washington should be attempting to separate the three. China in particular has been willing up till now to do just enough to prevent all-out war in Korea, but not enough to end the threat decisively.

Beijing also wants nothing more than for American forces to withdraw from the Korean peninsula. Undoubtedly, China’s influence would expand if the United States did depart. On the other hand, once Beijing and Pyongyang no longer shared a common American threat their differences—of which there are many—would rise to the surface. Remember, one reason Kim Jong-un murdered his half-brother in Malaysia in 2017 with a nerve agent was that he feared the half-brother was working with Chinese intelligence to overthrow him.

Once their common American foe was no longer a factor, Kim Jong-un would once again face a threatening neighbor to his north. China, likewise, would feel threatened and act accordingly if Kim possessed a reliable nuclear weapons arsenal. And Russia, which has a close relationship with the Kim family, would not take kindly to any threat posed to Kim’s reign from China. Anyone who replaced Kim Jong-un as leader of North Korea would be far closer to China and effectively would lock Russian influence out of North Korea (weakening Russia’s presence in the Far East is a long-term strategic goal of Beijing’s).

Washington Should Drawdown and Reap the Benefits of Disorder
The United States gains little by remaining on the Korean peninsula. Washington should begin a phased withdrawal of its forces coupled with sustained diplomacy with Pyongyang. It might not result in denuclearization, but it could result in a more sustainable peace.

Once U.S. forces are gone, only the region’s local actors will be left. And, nothing kills a toxic relationship—such as the one between China and North Korea—like proximity. For once, the United States might end up taking the role of a neutral mediator in any future conflict in northeast Asia. That is much to be preferred over being at the front of a potential nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula.

That’s putting America First.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

China • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • NATO • North Korea • Post • Russia

Renegotiating America’s Role in the World: Avoiding the British Precedent

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Great Britain pursued a grand strategy of primacy, based on the concept of what Robert Gilpin has called “hegemonic stability.” For nearly a century, Britain provided an international “public good,” underwriting the security upon which global stability, interdependence and prosperity depend.

By balancing power on the European continent, enforcing freedom of navigation, and supporting free trade, Britain was able to maintain an uneasy peace—disturbed only by the Crimean War and the Wars of German Unification. But by the end of the 19th century, Great Britain had become a “weary titan.” In many respects, Albion was the victim of its own success.

Having prevented general war in Europe for nearly a century, many opinion leaders in Great Britain came to believe that peace was the natural condition of the world and that war could be prevented by adhering to what is today called liberal internationalism. The burden of defense was too high. Who needed a large Royal Navy when peace was at hand?

Moving on from Siren Song of Liberal Internationalism
Much of the British response was shaped by the fact that its hegemonic position had become more expensive as its relative share of the global wealth declined. Britain had benefited economically from free trade at a time when most states in the international system pursued mercantilist economic policies. This economic benefit created a comparative advantage that helped offset the cost of subsidizing peace in the international order. Although Britain was the primary bill payer for maintaining a free trading system, it was also the primary beneficiary of such a system.

It was also the case that the opportunity cost of policing its imperial frontiers was rising, hampering the ability of Britain to check the rise of a major state competitor, mainly Germany. As Britain learned from 1914-1918, success in the former does not guarantee success in the latter.

From the end of World War II to the beginning of the Obama Administration, the United States, like Britain before it, pursued a grand strategy of primacy in an effort to sustain a liberal world order. It ensured access to the “global commons”—especially freedom of navigation, which is essential to the prosperity arising from free trade and commerce—and airspace. It deterred the behavior of potential aggressors in the international system. It was willing to confront aggressors in the “contested zone,” the littorals of Eurasia.

But unlike his predecessors from both parties since World War II, President Obama chose to pursue an approach to international relations that relegated the United States to the status of just “one among many.”  He firmly rejected the idea of American exceptionalism and the status of the United States as the “indispensable nation” providing the “public good” of security. He made a conscious decision to dial back American power based on the expectation that others would step forward to maintain peace and security. Of course, they did not do so and our enemies exploited the situation.

This was a radical shift and a dangerous one that has led to a more turbulent world and an increased likelihood of war by miscalculation in the future. China became more aggressive; Russia threatened the peace of Europe. By acting on the claim that he was elected to end wars, not to start them—as if wars were ends in themselves, not means—President Obama aided and abetted the rise of ISIS after his decision to withdraw completely from Iraq. And his nuclear agreement with Iran made a mockery of the decades-long U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policy. More importantly, the agreement was just another aspect of President Obama’s campaign to cede the Middle East to Iran.

When Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president, his statements led many—including myself—to believe he would continue Obama’s retreat as president. Trump’s campaign rhetoric suggested he had no coherent view of U.S. foreign policy, other than the gauzy commitment to “making America great again” and “America first.” Among other things, Trump criticized America’s overseas commitments, including the ongoing effort in Afghanistan; called into question the value of NATO; and argued the United States was being undone by its adherence to free trade. But in practice, Trump’s national-security strategy has been far more coherent than the incoherent global retreat embraced by the Obama Administration.

Now it is doubtful that Trump has studied the decline of British power or has reflected on its lessons for America today. But he seems intuitively to have recognized that the problems besetting Britain in the latter part of the 19th century were similar to those that face the United States today. He seems to have realized that if indeed geopolitical and economic conditions have changed, then the terms of the relationship between America and the rest of the world must be revamped.

Trump’s Foreign Policy is No Obama-style Retreat from the World
I previously identified several pillars of an emerging “Trump Doctrine”: First, there is what Walter Russell Mead has called a “healthy nationalism,” neither ethnic nor racial but civic in nature, based on the belief that the purpose of American power is to advance the interests of American citizens, not to create some abstract “global good,” or corporatist globalism divorced from patriotism or national interest.

Second—a corollary of the first—a state-centric view of international politics, one that approaches international institutions and “global governance” with great skepticism. Of course it is in the interest of the United States to cooperate with others within this international system, but such cooperation depends on reciprocity. This is especially important in the areas of trade and alliances. In principle, free trade is good for countries in the international system but for too long, the United States has pursued trade agreements that have not favored the United States. The principle of reciprocity is necessary to redress this imbalance.

Third, armed diplomacy. For too long, American policymakers have treated force and diplomacy as an either-or proposition. But understood properly, force and diplomacy are two sides of the same coin. As Frederick the Great observed, diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments. The threat of force increases the leverage of diplomats. The Trump administration’s approach to North Korea is a case in point.

Fourth, prioritizing economic growth and leveraging the new geopolitics of energy. The Trump Administration has moved expeditiously to lift regulations that hamper U.S. domestic productivity across the board, but especially in the area of energy production.

As Colin Dueck has argued, Trump’s approach to foreign policy has featured actions on four fronts: pressuring adversaries over security issues; pressuring adversaries over commercial issues; pressuring allies over security issues; and pressuring allies over commercial issues. This approach is not without its risks but it constitutes a recognition that the terms of the post-war global order need to be renegotiated.

If Russians Wanted a Puppet, Trump Would Have Been a Bad Bet
Of course when it comes to foreign policy and national security, the most serious charge against Trump is that he is somehow a “Manchurian Candidate,” advancing Russian interests to the detriment of our own. Indeed, some who should know better even accuse him of treason. But if Putin thought he was getting a puppet, he seems to have miscalculated.

Cui bono? The United States has increased defense spending, pulled out of the dreadful Iran deal, armed the Ukrainian opposition to Putin, bombed Syrian chemical-weapons sites, constructed ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites in Poland; browbeaten NATO to spend more on defense while actually deploying U.S. forces into NATO bases in Central Europe; killed Russian mercenaries in Syria, and expanded sanctions against Russia and especially Putin’s inner circles.

Meanwhile the Trump Administration has enforced penalties against U.S. and foreign companies that violate those sanctions, as well as expelled Russian diplomats. Most importantly from a geopolitical standpoint, he has unleashed American energy production, which hurts the Russian economy. These steps are all much tougher and impose much more cost on Russia than anything Obama did, or Hillary Clinton might have done.

Russian Decline in the Service of American and Western Ascendancy over China
But there is another issue here. Russia is a declining power, especially in demographic and economic terms. Putin may be playing a weak hand well, but it is still a weak hand. Russia’s weakness opens up the possibility of a U.S.-Russian alignment against the real threat to America’s position in the world: China. To paraphrase the 19th century British prime minister, Lord Palmerston, “the United States has no eternal friends, the United States has no perpetual enemies, the United States has only eternal and perpetual interests.”

Trump’s approach to Russia is part of a necessary restructuring of America’s relationship with the rest of the world. As in the case of Great Britain in the 19th century, America’s hegemonic position has become more expensive as its relative share of the global wealth has declined. And again as in the case of Great Britain, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrate that the opportunity cost of policing our “frontiers” has risen, hampering our ability to check the rise of a major state competitor, especially China. Trump intuitively recognizes this reality and has sought to renegotiate America’s global bargain.

I share with many friends and colleagues a visceral distaste for much of President Trump’s rhetoric. I am put off by his unfiltered Twitter musings. I am offended at times by his public vulgarity. But if we look at his actions instead of his words, the picture changes for the better. In a famous essay, Isaiah Berlin once reflected on the difference between the fox and the hedgehog: the former knows many things while the latter knows one big thing. Ronald Reagan was the quintessential hedgehog. It seems to be the case that Trump is a fox. We will have to see if Trump’s fox knows enough of the right things to adapt American foreign policy to a changing geopolitical landscape.

Photo Credit: Andrew Cabellero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

China • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Infrastructure • military • North Korea • Post • Russia

America and the Risk of Pearl Harbor 2.0

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

In 1940, America launched an embargo against Japan. In 1941, Japan responded with a surprise attack on America’s Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Fast forward to today. America could be in a similar situation against even more dangerous foes.

President Trump has made sanctions a cornerstone of his foreign policy. This includes “maximum pressure” against North Korea, a reinstatement of sanctions against Iran, and—in a similar manner—substantially higher tariffs on Chinese goods.

Trump just put new sanctions on Russia, too—awfully bold for a leader ostensibly beholden to Vladimir Putin. Reports indicate that these sanctions are a significant escalation and may include “downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending the state airline Aeroflot’s ability to fly to the United States and cutting off nearly all exports and imports.”

A Corrective to Appeasement 
This is a sharp break from previous American policy. President Clinton, despite facing ongoing nefarious Kremlin activities, gave the Kremlin billions of U.S. tax dollars. President Bush was too busy chasing Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri (the latter being one Bush never could catch) to give due attention to bigger players. President Obama pursued a pro-Kremlin line which meant bringing Russia into the World Trade Organization, a “reset button,” and greater “flexibility” to downgrade U.S. missile defenses in Europe after his reelection.

Trump’s sanctions are a correction to Obama’s naïve policy of appeasement that emboldened American adversaries into ever more dangerous, degenerate, and subversive activities.

As a correction, however, they are also a significant change, and these countries will get a chance to respond. It’s not clear that Putin, Xi, Khamenei, and Kim are all on board meekly to give in.

Who Has More to Lose?
The problem is if they—or even just one of them—responds as Japan did in 1941, when facing similar pressure, it’s not at all clear that America is prepared to handle the consequences.

Most Americans prefer to assume that an attack from these adversarial countries is impossible. But the reasoning to justify this assumption is often nothing more than a collection of rationalizations to avoid thinking about something scary. That’s not a good basis for national security.

The thought leaders in Washington, D.C, who consistently have gotten just about everything on foreign policy wrong, argue that China won’t become involved in a serious war because it would hurt their economic self-interest. But China is Communist. General Secretary Xi recently affirmed this when he gave a long homage to Karl Marx for his 200th birthday. These are not people known for making the most enlightened decisions.

Iran supposedly can’t attack America because it means America will kill the mullahs. But that fails to consider matters from their perspective. They are hurtling towards regime change and face the prospect of being strung up by the neck. Who knows what theocratic mullahs will do under the circumstances. Maybe they’ll consider it their religious duty to attack America before they depart this world for Allah. Maybe they think they can draw Russia or China in to their defense. Maybe they will try to frame someone.

Iran could surprise Americans with how much damage they can cause. If Iran has terror cells in America and they destroy just nine key interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer then America could be blacked out for 18 months.

Russia supposedly can’t attack America because civilization would end. Actually, only Americans think that. The Kremlin has planned extensively for war. They may think they can launch a nuclear Pearl Harbor and win.

Lights Out
Here is possibly the scariest reason why an attack may come. North Korea could actually beat America in a war.

If North Korea detonates a single nuclear warhead miles above America they would cause an electromagnetic pulse that destroys America’s electric grid, putting America in a prolonged blackout, and ending America as it’s known today. America’s EMP Commission has reported that 90 percent of Americans could die in such an attack.

North Korea may have that capability already.

They launched two satellites into orbit which the Obama administration ignored. The Kim regime claims they are part of a program to explore the moon. Expert Peter Pry and his colleagues, however, warn that given the satellites’ altitude, size, and trajectory right over the heartland of America, they could easily hold nuclear bombs and pose an immediate and existential danger to Americans.

It is not safe to assume that the American government has accounted for each of these possibilities. Remember, the American military answered to Clinton, Bush, and Obama. The Department of Defense remains riddled with Obama holdovers.

To be clear, Trump is not causing this potential conflict today. All of these countries have been pushing America for a long time. Trump just started pushing back. If they escalate yet again it would be their moral responsibility entirely.

More important than moral responsibility though is the actual outcome. Pushing back against nuclear-armed tyrants is dangerous. Are Americans ready? Is Mattis ready? Is the American electric grid ready? It wouldn’t be so easy to come back from a modern Pearl Harbor.

Photo Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • China • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • military • NATO • North Korea • Obama • Post • Progressivism • the Presidency • Trade

Trump’s ‘Deplorable’ Diplomacy

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Liberals see Donald Trump as the embodiment of toxic masculinity. Trump’s voters see a real man.

My husband jokes that in our family, if anything is dead, bites or is on fire, it’s his job. North Korea was beginning to approach the “bites” and “is on fire” category.

It took a year of intense economic and military and psychological pressure to bring Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table in Singapore. Trump’s critics tried to spin the initial meeting as a diplomatic disaster.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Pyongyang this week to kick off the negotiations. Satellite images show that North Korea is expanding missile production, so the Washington Post is calling the entire diplomatic effort a “sham” before actual negotiations have begun.

Trump’s critics are going to fall on their faces with North Korea, as with their other predictions of doom. They underestimate Trump time and again because his strengths are invisible to them.

The United States does not have to blink at threats from a squirt like Kim Jong-un. Our experts don’t know this. Trump does.

When Kim tried some last-minute bluster before Singapore, Trump canceled the summit. Setting clear lines is not a setback, it is a key to success. Trump was defining the relationship. Kim cannot make threats. We can. Trump was his usual blunt self: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”

Force of Commitment
It’s easy to point to Trump’s character flaws. His virtues are discounted by liberals who adore the Ivy League finishing school polish of Barack Obama. They never noticed the small, aggrieved, lying politician inside the fancy suit.

Trump wears big, ill-fitting suits by choice. He does what he likes. He does not tailor himself to suit others.

Trump’s critics do not understand the force of the president’s commitment to protect and defend America. His voters do. It is an essential, common sense, manly, American virtue—men protect their families. Men take care of danger.

It seems a big leap from New York real estate to international diplomacy. It is not. Being a confident, tough, aggressive man is essential in dealing with dangerous pipsqueaks like ISIS and North Korea.

The victory over ISIS came first and so fast that the partisan press had little trouble ignoring Trump’s achievement. After years of Obama flapping his hands and disastrously inviting Russia into the Middle East to do the job for us, ISIS was out of Syria. ISIS was in our weekly headlines, and then it was gone. No success here, move along.

Trump focuses on his goals, like any good businessman, not on his re-election prospects, as politicians do. His job as president is to protect the nation’s security and advance American prosperity. North Korea will not be a nuclear power, period. It’s too dangerous to let a rogue country, run like a slave-labor camp with a half-mad ruler, have nuclear missiles. Add in the fact that Kim is already selling military technology to Iran, and the task is beyond urgent. Trump sees that Kim is a dangerous weirdo murderer better than anyone. That is why he decided Kim must “denuke.”

His critics predict the same old diplomatic collapse when North Korea blusters and cheats. They think Trump is an idiot and can’t handle a Kim Jong-un. They think Trump’s aggression is out of control, even insane and destructive.

But then, they think all healthy masculinity is destructive.

“Don’t Mess With the Messer”
His voters believe Trump will win in Korea because they think the same way. Diplomats see complexity. Trump sees simplicity. A nuclear North Korea is dangerous to the United States. North Korea is small and weak. We are strong. It is protected by China, but China is no match for America either.

What is impressive is how Trump communicated the force of his decision to disarm North Korea to China and to Kim Jong-un. It took a year of strategic, multifaceted diplomacy and intimidation.

China has been buying off and manipulating our politicians for decades. Trump can’t be bought, and he does the manipulating himself. As the old Willie Dixon song goes, “Don’t mess with the messer, the messer gonna mess with you.”

Real estate tycoons like Trump win through intimidation. They are masters at that game. Trump isn’t intimidated by anybody. Not by business rivals, political rivals, lying journalists, not by rogue FBI agents. He is not intimidated by China, and certainly not by Kim Jong-un. Intimidation is what Trump does. It is a game he enjoys as a master.

Trump wants to upset the status quo with China. Trump puts the American worker, his voters, first. The powerful economic interests who profit from China’s predatory trade practices are less than nothing to him. He wants to win the existing trade war with China, the one that the United States has been losing for more than two decades. Accommodating to China is over.

War If Need Be
Politicians play things safe by doing what has been done before, solutions be damned. Trump the builder likes to get things done. It is not in him to follow Obama’s politically safe, irresponsible, do-nothing footsteps and call that “peace.”

North Korea could thumb its nose at us because it was protected by China. When Trump put China on notice he was going to war with them—a trade war, that is—calculations changed. Encouraging Kim’s bellicosity was no longer to their advantage. China shortened Kim’s leash.

The messages continued all year. Trump became more and more menacing. That ranged from bombing Syria during dinner with the Chinese premier, to mockery, to military exercises in the Pacific. This was not a phony Twitter war, it was geopolitics at the highest level. It is almost exactly a year since Trump sent the third carrier battle group into the western Pacific. It is said that when the United States sends one or two carriers, it is a show of strength. Sending out a third carrier means war. China and Kim got the message.

Asserting Power in Our Self-Interest
Why is Trump’s pragmatic, forceful, classic carrot-and-stick approach so difficult to grasp for our foreign policy experts and pusillanimous politicians? Because the solution requires character traits they don’t have. Masculine traits Trump and his supporters have in abundance—not accepting bullshit, not caring what other people think, not being afraid of a fight.

That is why his voters are sure North Korea is not going to be the dangerously useless diplomacy we have had since Clinton. Trump and his voters share a common outlook about getting the job done, no matter if it is dirty or difficult. Don’t over-complicate things, and don’t shirk your duty. Just do the job.

China and North Korea and Trump’s critics are getting to experience how a tough man goes to work. This is how a responsible president deals with a small but rabid country threatening the safety of our own nation.

President Trump understands we are a powerful country. He knows how to assert American power in our self-interest.

He is on the job.

Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Europe • Greatness Agenda • military • North Korea • Post • Russia • Trump White House

Space Nationalism Now!

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text][/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Donald Trump has yet again followed through on one of his promises: he is reinvigorating America’s space policy.

The White House has finally taken seriously those of us who have called for the weaponization of space. Placing strategic weapons into orbit would better defend the United States from attack, as well as threaten nuclear-armed rogue states, such as Iran and (should the ongoing talks with Kim Jong-un collapse) North Korea.

Here’s the rub, though: for all of their talk about space dominance, the military really doesn’t want a new branch cluttering the Pentagon. From their perspective, the space force would pull talent away from the technical services (such as the Air Force and Navy) and siphon off exorbitant sums of taxpayer dollars to fund its complex operations.

Yet leaving space mostly to the Air Force has not enhanced America’s capabilities in orbit.

Instead, the Air Force has taken the chunk of cash bestowed upon it for space missions under the imprimatur of the much-ballyhooed Air Force Space Command and merely requisitioned those funds for other “more immediate” needs. It’s a culture thing. The Air Force worries about “air dominance” and looks at space as secondary to its mission, whereas China and Russia have both recognized the strategic importance of space by creating independent branches dedicated to space operations.

History Repeats
Given that none of the other branches of America’s armed forces—including the Secretary of Defense—want to see the formation of the sixth branch of service, one can see history repeating itself. The military tends to fight innovation and bureaucratic reform across the board. Remember, the Air Force initially grew out of the Army Air Corps in World War II. Following that conflict, Congress believed that an independent branch solely dedicated to air operations and maintaining nuclear arms (along with the Navy) was necessary.

Thus, the Air Force was born.

The existing branches at the time all conspired to kill the Air Force in its infancy, lest it grow to become the most heavily-funded branch in the armed forces. Right now, there are elements within the Department of Defense looking to stymie the president’s new executive order.

Unless the president and his team are extra vigilant, the deep state will slow-walk the formation of this new service in the same way that it slow-walked the Hillary Clinton email investigation. As the bureaucracy maneuvers its unwieldy self for the mother of all turf battles, our enemies will grow stronger, and we will become less safe. But, hey, we need to make sure the Air Force has another $1 trillion to build more worthless F-35 fighters so that China can continue to see and detect, thanks to their innovative quantum radar, while we continue to pretend to be cutting edge.

There Be Doves Here!
Of course, the president’s declaration faces a significant snag in the form of international treaties forbidding the weaponization of space. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 explicitly forbids it, for example. That agreement was based on the utopian concept that if the international community simply declared space off-limits to military operations then it would remain weapons-free.

The same kind of utopians who forced the Outer Space Treaty down America’s throat in the 1960s continue to dominate the national security space policy community—even in the Trump Administration. So get ready to witness the strangest alliance in American history: peacenik science nerds and bureaucratically territorial Pentagon war chiefs united in their opposition to a space force.

While America did sign the Outer Space Treaty—and several others related to space—we also refused to ratify the Moon Treaty (which was considered the other foundational treaty in international space law). Also, in 2001, we pulled out of the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia. The ABM Treaty was a major pillar in international space law. The reason the George W. Bush Administration abrogated that treaty was to be able to fully develop space-based missile defense systems.

Toward Space Nationalism
America faces a world of severe threats with rapidly growing capabilities to threaten the United States—from space. A succession of American administrations have watched the threat grow over the last 30 years and done little to deter it. Now the threats are metastasizing. The solution, as Donald Trump has shown since 2016, is in nationalism—that is, space nationalism.

It’s time for Washington to put the interests of the American people first in space. The president cannot back down on his calls for a space force and he cannot entrust the bureaucrats in either the Pentagon or throughout the national security state to enact his will. If America cannot adequately defend itself in space, then very soon, it might just wake up and find Chinese or (less likely) Russian weapons pointing down at us from orbit.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Americanism • Asia • China • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • military • North Korea • Obama • Post • Terrorism • The Media

Trump’s Moves With N. Korea Are Nothing Like Obama’s With Iran

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text][/fusion_text][fusion_text]

In the wake of the Singapore summit with North Korea, many commentators and publicists, Democrats as well as figures from the NeverTrump Right, have argued that President Trump is legitimizing a dictator. Trump critics contend that had President Obama met with a dictator like Kim Jong-un, Republicans would be fuming. After all, Republicans criticized the previous president for negotiating with another despotic regime, Iran, over its nuclear weapons program. Accordingly, honesty and principle require Trump supporters to criticize the current president for doing precisely what would merit attacks on a Democratic president.

A cursory glance shows that the two situations are not at all similar. Iran does not yet have a viable nuclear weapon and North Korea does. The negotiations that led to Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, legitimized Iran’s path to the bomb, achievable within a little more than a decade. The purpose of Trump’s negotiations is to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Clearly, Democratic and NeverTrump political operatives are not making a serious argument. They’re posturing. Since this is a deadly serious issue, however, it’s worth getting it right.

Obama’s Realignment Effort
It’s vital to understand that Obama’s Iran deal wasn’t simply or even primarily an arms agreement. Rather, it was an instrument with which to realign American interests in the Middle East. The goal of realignment was to upgrade Iran and downgrade traditional American partners—especially Israel and Saudi Arabia—in order to facilitate a U.S. withdrawal from the region.

Michael Doran wrote an important essay in February 2015 explaining realignment and detailing the Obama Administration’s flawed assumptions. Tony Badran is another Middle East analyst whose articles during the course of the Obama years showed how the United States was moving toward realignment. Obama aides and supporters waved off the realignment thesis as a “conspiracy theory” impugning foul intent to a president who simply wanted to avoid another Middle East war.

Most of these Obama supporters didn’t understand what the president was doing. It’s worth recalling that the “echo chamber” was a loud and incoherent chorus given the task not to explain Obama’s policies but to shout down critics of the Iran deal. For instance, the administration trotted out nuclear experts like Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to sell the “science” of the JCPOA—while at the same time Secretary of State John Kerry pushed poetry and fantasy, like Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s imaginary fatwa against nukes.

Most of the echo chamber had no idea what it was actually advocating, even though Obama frequently discussed it. In a New Yorker article from January 2014, for instance, Obama described a “new geopolitical equilibrium . . . developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.”

Realignment was Obama’s version of Great Britain’s twin-pillar strategy. Formulated after World War II when London realized it could no longer sustain its empire, the twin-pillar strategy held that the two great powers of the Persian Gulf, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, would balance the region and manage British interests after withdrawal.

Fundamental Misunderstandings
In fact, it was the United States that kept the peace in the Persian Gulf after the British exit, a peace that became increasingly difficult to manage after Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. Obama was correct to see that the United States had further altered the regional balance by toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003, thereby strengthening Iran. Obama wrongly concluded that the way to facilitate the U.S. exit from the region was by further empowering the regime in Tehran.

The Obama Administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran needs to be seen in this context. The United States was not negotiating with an adversarial regime but was rather treating with a potential partner that would help stabilize the Middle East to the benefit of American interests. How could Obama possibly deny the regime what it most desired, the bomb, if he expected Tehran to help balance the region?

The actual intent of the JCPOA negotiations has led to a great deal of confusion. Many critics on the Right believe that the Obama team did a bad job and got a bad agreement. Some thought the way to go was to renegotiate the Iran deal, not crash it, as Trump did in May.

This misunderstanding of the fundamental nature of the Iran deal has helped open the way for Trump critics to return fire. “How can anyone praise Trump when he has won nothing on paper from the North Koreans?” the argument goes, whereas Obama got lots of paper in a deal officially struck with Iran to limit its nuclear activities. But that was not the purpose of the Iran deal. The JCPOA simply provided Obama with enough cover to grant Iran the nuclear weapons program it will have as soon as the so-called sunset clauses prohibiting certain activities expire.

The actual goal of the Obama Administration’s JCPOA negotiations was to legitimize the Iranian regime and its nuclear weapons program. North Korea, in this framework, is already legitimized, regardless of Trump’s efforts. Whether we wish to blame the policies of more than two decades that did not stop North Korea from getting a bomb or prefer to see Pyongyang’s program as an inevitable and natural fact that was no more preventable than a hurricane, the reality is that acquisition of a nuclear weapon puts that power on the global stage.

Delegitimizing a Dangerous Regime
Does the bomb “legitimize” North Korea, or for that matter does possession of a nuclear weapon “legitimize” any regime? “Legitimacy” does not refer to a universal quality all regimes must have in order to exist, nor does it describe a regime’s behavior at home and abroad. It is simply a concept drawn from international relations syllabuses used to describe how various actors secure and sustain power and prestige.

Or, think about it like this: During the Iran debate, advocates of the deal often argued that the mullahs would never actually use the bomb, or they’d be crazy to use the bomb. Iran, said JCPOA advocates, isn’t crazy. It’s a rational regime.

That line of argument falls away as soon as any power acquires a nuclear weapon. After a state’s nuclear breakout, a central concern for policymakers around the world is that said state may indeed use the bomb. The primary purpose of acquiring a nuclear bomb is to get the world’s attention.

Kim Jong-un has the world’s attention. He has Donald Trump’s attention. We cannot yet know whether Trump will be successful or to what extent he may succeed. But in his efforts to “denuclearize” the Korean peninsula, the goal is to “delegitimize”—if that’s how you want to understand it—a dangerous and destructive regime that terrorizes its own citizens and threatens its neighbors. This is precisely the opposite of what the Obama Administration did when it legitimized the clerical regime in Iran and its nuclear weapons program.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Asia • China • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Hillary Clinton • Identity Politics • North Korea • Post • The Left

What’s Really Happening With North Korea?

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Most commentary on the Trump/Kim summit is evidence of partisan stampede thinking. Herewith are the insights of an old professor of international affairs, who does not know what is on Trump’s or Kim’s mind any more than anyone else, but who strives to be dispassionate.

The 33-year history of negotiations about “denuclearizing” the Korean peninsula is too well known to recount here. Suffice to say that, for Americans, it has been a triumph of hope over experience, for the North Koreans an unfailing fount of assistance in the building of a redoubtable force of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles capable of reaching and commanding respect from America. For China, it has been an incomparable tool for showing other Asians that America cannot protect itself, much less them. The salient question is how this round might possibly be different.

The standard conservative answer, that Trump faced Kim with the choice between denuclearizing or being crushed, is just nuts.

Crushed how? Certainly not militarily. The United States has no way of destroying North Korea’s missiles. We have no way of knowing where they are. Nor do we know where most of its nuclear programs are located. And if we did, no one advocates starting a nuclear war to do it—especially since China has made clear that it is on North Korea’s side.

Crush it economically? Trump vowed “maximum pressure.” But since North Korea lives by China, crushing North Korea means convincing China to do it. China has promised something like that again and again. But, now as ever, North Korea is what it is and does what it does because China wants it so. Indeed, China’s first reaction to the Trump/Kim summit was to drop even verbal support for sanctions, and urge others to do the same. Hence, talk about “crushing” is just talk.

What about denuclearization? On which of the following scenarios two years hence would you, gentle reader, bet your net worth? a) North Korea will have no nuclear weapons or intercontinental missiles, b) North Korea will have fewer nukes and ICBMs than today, c) North Korea will have about the same number of nukes and ICBMs as today, or d) North Korea will have more nukes and ICBMs than today.

Consider how much effort the Kim regime put into acquiring these weapons, and the primordial role they fill in its domestic and international assertion of legitimacy. Consider also the (bad cop) role the North Koreans play in China’s effort to expel U.S. political-military influence in the Western Pacific—its main geopolitical objective. What, if anything, has happened recently so momentous as to have led the Kims to hazard their very lives and China’s to abandon a principal geopolitical tool? I cannot think of any. Can you? Therefore, I would bet North Korea has more nukes and ICBMs in two years than it does today.

On the other hand, the best of the establishment’s commentary on the Trump/Kim summit—the essence of which is that Trump has fallen hard for the oldest of diplomatic traps—is premised on gratuitous assumptions.

The first, that Trump is as starry-eyed as Fox News, declaring victory and “giving away the store” unaware or mindless of the equities and history involved, is belied by his own statements, foremost of which is “we’ll see.” And were Trump’s irresponsibility plausible, national security adviser John Bolton’s is not. In addition to the equities and history the establishment’s assumption is based on the fact that Trump, uncharacteristically, has started the negotiating process by making unilateral concessions: suspension of U.S military exercises in the region, raising the prospect of removing U.S troops from South Korea, and “normalized” diplomatic treatment of North Korea. He even saluted a North Korean officer. Machiavelli, however, reminds us that uncharacteristic errors may be indications of ulterior motives.

The second gratuitous assumption, that Trump actually expects North Korea and China to eliminate or even to reduce North Korea’s armaments, makes it impossible for the establishment to imagine that Trump may be pursuing an entirely different objective. Consider the possibility that Trump, Bolton, etc. concluded that China-supported North Korea is a nuclear power, irrevocably. In that case, the best way to contain both North Korea and China is to mobilize South Korea, and above all Japan, to become very serious about their own defense. Doing that requires forcing them to face unvarnished reality.

If this were the case, Trump would have regarded South Korean president Moon Jae-in’s offer to broker a summit with Kim as a golden opportunity to show Asians, once and for all, the need to take up their own defenses. By taking Kim’s promise of denuclearization at face value and meeting it by advancing all that pacifist Japanese and Koreans might want, and by setting a deadline for his own definitive judgment on North Korea/China’s seriousness he set up a confrontation between North Korea/China and South Korea/Japan six months from now.

Between now and December, through the midterm congressional elections, the media will continue to bet on options a) and b). If they blame Trump, it will be for being too much of a peacemaker. Then, as Trump recognizes the inevitability of options c) and d), he will have gone a long way to accomplish what his campaign implied, to induce Japan and maybe South Korea, to go nuclear.

Photo credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Americanism • Asia • Big Media • China • Defense of the West • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Free Speech • GOPe • Hillary Clinton • military • North Korea • Post • The Left • The Media

How Twitter Diplomacy Works

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950.

In Singapore, Trump may add to a list of accomplishments that includes full employment, a booming economy, and sharp drops in illegal immigration, a new and completely unexpected one: ending America’s only war that lasted longer than the television show “M*A*S*H.”

Let’s not gloss over the fact that Trump’s foreign policy began with tweets, name-calling, and claims that “my nuclear button is bigger than yours.” Experts from CNN all the way to the Wall Street Journal have been aghast at Trump’s methods.

The experts haven’t yet figured out that the president’s tweets about Rocket Man and self-pardons cut through the news cycle like a machete, destroying every competing narrative in their path.

Because narratives are generally deployed to clutch, grab and frustrate Republican presidents, this is quite a political gift.

Trump wins the news cycle—as he won the presidency—by garnering maximum attention. That is why, in case you haven’t figured it out, he is taking pardoning advice from the Kardashians. Duh.

Writing 18 years ago in Dish: How Gossip Became the News and the News Became Just Another Show, Jeannette Walls presciently observed:

A lot happened in the world that week. The Berlin Wall was toppled and Germany was reunited. Drexel Burnham Lambert, the wildly powerful junk bond company, that spearheaded the eighties financial boom, collapsed. And after twenty-seven years in prison, South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela was freed. But for eleven straight days, the front pages of the tabs were devoted to the Trump divorce. Time and Newsweek did cover stories. Even the New York Times stooped to cover it.

It is an approach founded in effective branding. Trump Airlines. Trump Divorce. Trump Tower. Now, Trump World Peace?

Any civic-minded conservative who would ever say Trump should tone it down simply doesn’t understand political strategy in the social media age.

Trump’s tweets, bombast, and other Scaramuccis (to coin a term) draw maximum attention, but they should not be confused with the reason good things keep happening.

They are diversionary devices that keep his naysayers occupied while he does real stuff. Good things are happening upon principles of cause and effect, the governing science of a real estate developer.

The key to getting Kim Jong-un to bargain was . . . wait for it . . . to ask. Not Kim, but the Chinese.

Whatever happens at this summit, the greatest advance in the Korean stalemate happened about a year ago, when China made clear through its state-run media that it would not support North Korea in a war that it started against the United States.

It was a game changer that materialized after Trump’s summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. Nearly 70 years of State Department policy wonking and Harvard symposiums on Korea never quite got there.

There ensued Kim’s heavily armored slow train trip from the Hermit Kingdom to Beijing, where we don’t know what the Chinese told him, except that it was probably some version of “Cut it out, you’re ruining everything.”

Trump’s connection with the 65 million who voted for him is that they, too, live in the world of cause and effect, one bad decision away from losing everything.

They were fed up with the endless abstractions and self-congratulation that substitute for effective policy in Washington. They wanted a president who would be measured by results: did the president deliver benefits for America?

Even the phrase “America First” was a promise to yield tangible outcomes. That is how Trump voters understood it. Only huffy intellectuals far removed from causal connections could find their way to an esoteric reading of a simple slogan as a racial dog whistle. And, once again, their reading tells us more about them than it does about Trump or his supporters.

Trump enters the proceedings in Singapore with one unexpected advantage. He already blew up an international summit this week and publicly humiliated Justin Trudeau.

Kim Jong-un and whatever advisors he hasn’t yet killed have to be recalibrating their approach.

It is not quite three-dimensional chess. But it is at least the sort of tactical negotiation that a builder conducts with his granite supplier and that real people do every day.

Sometimes Justin Trudeau has to be roughed up to achieve a greater good.

And for those of you who never negotiated with a granite supplier, the olive branch extended to Putin while shutting down the G-7 was another shot fired at Kim Jong-un: even your friends like me better because my nuclear button is bigger, Exalted Leader.

It is impossible to know what will result from this summit. Maybe nothing, except the continued slow and effective isolation of North Korea from the protection of China. Or maybe the lion will sleep with the lamb and there will be 1,000 years of peace.

Whatever happens, one thing is entirely predictable: Trump will win the news cycle. Because that is how Twitter diplomacy works.

Photo credit: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Administrative State • America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Deep State • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Obama • Post • the Presidency

Thank God Trump Isn’t a Foreign Policy Expert

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Over the last century, the world has witnessed the slow but steady depoliticization of America and Western Europe in favor of the rule of the apolitical “expert.” The great challenge of our era is to foster the return of actual political life between the people and their elected officials. President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un successfully served this purpose.  

One must jettison the abstractions of modern intellectuals in order to make politics possible again. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than on matters of foreign policy. As Claremont Institute Senior Fellow Angelo Codevilla has written (No Victory, No Peace), as our increasingly miseducated rulers sought abstract impossibilities, the quest for “everlasting peace” over the last century has increasingly given us “never-ending war.” As Codevilla explains in “On the Natural Law of War and Peace,” at least “[s]ince Korea in 1950, the U.S. government has explicitly disavowed seeking military victories.”

Despite the fact that the New York Times itself seems to acknowledge that the Trump administration’s North Korea “maximum pressure” policy has thus far been “one of its first, and arguably most successful initiatives,” if you are a non-deplorable person you were supposed to be deeply, Jake-Tapper-with-a-furrowed-forehead worried about President Donald Trump’s intelligence, expertise, temperament, and discipline at Tuesday’s summit in Singapore.

What Trump Lacks
In fact, many on the Right and Left over the past two years have suggested their main worry about Donald Trump is the fact he now represents America to the rest of the world and will cause a devastating disaster, nuclear or otherwise.

I propose some simple, evaluative questions and a thought experiment to set the minds of the nation at ease the morning after the most significant moment of the Trump presidency.

Does Donald Trump have enough experience and expert wisdom to give away as much to North Korea as the American foreign-policy establishment, with all its experience, top-shelf degrees, and stratospheric test scores, has given away in the past 30 years?

Does Donald Trump have enough experience and expert wisdom to keep the hostile stalemate the American foreign-policy establishment created and fostered with North Korea since America first waged the Korean War?

For that matter, does Trump even have the experience and caste of mind to start a war, say, in the Middle East, that costs trillions of dollars and disrupts and inflames the region as President Bush and his entourage did? Does he even know how?

Does Trump have the expertise to take over the wreckage of such a war and support jihadist rebels, help create ISIS and a global refugee crisis, and give Russia the most power it’s had in the region since the peak of the Cold War, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did?

The truth may alarm you. Trump has never even started a war before—not even a little one.

Trump is such an ignoramus, forget warfor decades the uniparty American foreign policy establishment’s most basic solution to problems overseas has been to supply the gift of training and weapons to people in other countries who then end up becoming terrorists or some other version of our worst nightmare. That’s an inside the beltway American tradition, for Democrats and Republicans alike.

Does Trump even know this?

Departing from “the Norm”
There’s sure as hell 
no way Trump knows yet how to meet with a foreign dictator like Kim Jong-un and come to an agreement that ultimately doesn’t change anything or makes things worse, like all our sane and competent leaders have been doing since the Cold War ended. Thus, we should indeed all consider the possibility that Trump might somehow be different.

Assuming North Korea has some desire to reform itself—admittedly, the very assumption we are now testing—the biggest obstacle to peace on the Korean Peninsula is the disastrous legacy of Hillary-Obama foreign policy, which mimics decades of earlier, similar American failures.

Even if Kim Jong-un is willing to make a deal trading in nukes for becoming the hero and leader of a potentially burgeoning economy, thanks to the previous administration he’s worried about getting killed with the assistance of the United States government as happened with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program in Libya in exchange for the promise that we wouldn’t depose him during a Republican administration. He kept his part of the bargain. When Obama and Hillary came into office, and Hillary supported the rebellion against him, they helped cause a continental humanitarian refugee crisis after his death.

“We came, we saw, he died,” Clinton publicly joked of Gaddafi’s ouster. But, of course, she and Obama were surrounded by all the best people. They were all very smart. Very well educated. Perfectly competent. Rational. Professional. Not like the nasty Trumpsters.

Meanwhile, the human slave trade is thriving in Libya.

Of course, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, so I suppose it was all Hillary’s fault.

But you still worry that Trump is constitutionally incapable of living up to the expert wisdom and Nobel Prize-winning peace of the Bush-Obama legacy?

The Right Negotiator at the Right Moment
A simple thought experiment ought to further alleviate your concern about what happened in the room between The Donald and The Dictator.

If you understand anything about modern American elite culture, call to mind the totality of the persons of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: their respective educations, life experiences, philosophies of the human person and politics, and everything that makes them who they are.

Next, imagine them, alone in that room with Kim Jong-un, trying to negotiate for you.

The result is parodic. What, in their person and experience, would render Obama or Clinton suitable for the role? Such people, along with most establishment Republicans are wholly unequipped. Wholly unequipped. They are wholly unequipped to do anything other than follow a risk-averse script, cobbled together by committees upon committees of bureaucrats.

As one Washington, D.C. bureaucrat who has worked closely with two U.S. cabinet secretaries and the head of a regulatory agency told me, “[i]n anecdotal support of this very correct evaluation . . . the amount of preparation, and scripting, and artificiality that goes into a bilateral meeting with the foreign counterpart of a minor cabinet secretary is embarrassing and absurd.”

An average, celebrated elite American political leader’s meeting with another world leader only makes sense for a few moments in a predetermined photo-op, with a phalanx of fake experts supporting them as they serve as talking heads, with all manner of technocrats carrying them along a long and complicated process before and after the meeting, supported by white papers and myriad bureaucratic procedures meant to deflect all risk and, of course, and even more importantly, accountability.

President Trump, on the other hand, simply needs to be secured firmly in the role and then pointed in the right direction. So long as his self-interest is tied to peace, he seems exponentially better, even granting all manner of bullish and hardened personality flaws.

Why?

First, as I pointed out in “David Brooks and the Lizard People,”Trump’s decades of experience in urban real estate, as opposed to habitual risk aversion in the safe sectors inhabited by our supposed best and brightest, no doubt give him insight into the totalitarians who actually run the world. Brooks is right that “[t]he world is a lot more like the Atlantic City real estate market than the G.R.E.s.” Thus, Trump understands the other guy better, and read and dealt with him personally and politically, without the baggage of the silly and contradictory views of human nature absorbed by our elites at fancy schools and exposed in their hollow rhetoric.

In other words, Trump eschewed both the wooden, faux-toughness of Hillary Clinton and the faux-inclusivity of Barack Obama. Neither of them had the stomach for actual politics dealing with actual people. Whatever his flaws, Trump is a spirited man with plenty of intestinal fortitude who knows viscerally how fear of loss and desire for gain drive human dealings.

Second, because Trump actually considers it his main job to negotiate himself, directly, with their man in charge, and get right to the point. He isn’t “professional” enough to pass the buck to the administrative state. He thinks politically, in an almost pure fashion, and considered it obvious that it is his job to wrest a victory for the American people and the world from the meeting and knows it’s in his own self-interest to do so, because he will now be judged accordingly.

Regardless of the spin on both sides, remember: whatever the ultimate result of the Singapore summit, it will not be determined, as it has been in the past, by the slow-moving, Byzantine maneuvers of the foreign-policy expert class, the members of which Michael Anton aptly calls “priests” in “America and the Liberal International Order.” This priest class has tried to make a science of “international relations” that somehow abstracts from prudence and the plain old study of human nature, history, and politics. Trump upended their order. What matters now is the result of two men in a room, representing their respective people, sizing each other up, and speaking directly to one another.

This is yet another sign of the dawning of a new era of American politics; this is the return of actual political life.

Photo credit:  Kevin Lim/The Straits Times/Handout/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2016 Election • America • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • GOPe • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • North Korea • Post • Republicans • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trade

Trump’s Irresistible ‘Trollitics’

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

What a time to be alive! To witness a president of the United States dismissively tell a brutal communist dictator, “thanks for the hostages,” is a truly special thing.

Of course, Trump waved off Kim Jong-un on Thursday knowing the “Rocket Man” would realize he made a mistake and come lumbering back to the negotiating table, albeit with an adjusted tone. In a Friday press release that followed Trump’s au revoir, Pyongyang said: “I would like to conclude that President Trump’s statement on the North Korea-U.S. summit is a decision that is not in line with the wishes of the humankind who hope for the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula as well as the world.” That is quite a 180 in rhetoric.

One day after the president dumped a moody Kim, the White House reported “very productive talks” about having the summit after all. Come Saturday, Trump said renewed talks were “doing very well” and after convening in secret at the behest of Kim, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reported that Pyongyang was willing to discuss “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” By Sunday, U.S. officials were in North Korea to help organize the summit that, “experts” say, was canceled because Trump was “worried North Korea would beat him to it.”

Business Insider furnished its own faceless yet authoritative source close to the matter to corroborate Paul Vale’s “expert” take in the Huffington Post. These experts, however, are distinct from those Max Boot invokes when in paroxysm over the death of neoconservatism. But I digress.

A New Tone
Enter 
trollitics. Trump has masterfully blended big city mogul with politico, a fusion Scott Adams calls “the unstoppable clown car that is Donald Trump.” Our president is a world-class troll. Through his prolific trolling on Twitter, Trump has made the media his unpleasant yet devoted mistress. More to the point, Trump is a wrecking ball to the institutionalized dandyism of politics, characterized by moral preening and worthless platitudes—see: Conservatism, Inc. And let’s not forget the bootlicking of internationalism that is, properly understood, a utopian pipe dream.

Nobody’s surprised Trump is pushy. He’s a businessman who made his name in America’s most famous concrete jungle. It is an entirely different thing, however, to be that kind of pushy on the stage of international politics.

It became evident that Trump wasn’t going to tone it down during a NATO summit, when he literally pushed his way to the front of a group of heads of state who had until then largely ignored him. “This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States,” Trump declared, regarding the disproportionate contributions of the United States to NATO. The world shuddered at the president’s remarks, the prime minister of Luxembourg appeared to cover his mouth in disbelief, but Americans cheered. For the first time in ages, someone was sticking up for them and cutting seemingly untouchable world players down to size. Trump made posh heads of state feel insignificant, the way they had made Americans feel insignificant.

Flash forward one year and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says, “What we see now is that after years of decline or reducing defense spending across NATO allies in Europe and Canada, all allies have stopped the cuts. All allies have started to increase defense spending. And more and more allies have spent 2 percent, which is a NATO guideline of GDP on defense.” Stoltenberg says the president’s “very strong message” did the trick.

Kim Jong-un, then, is merely the latest victim of Trump’s trollitics. Following the theories of Adams, the model of trollitics on the international stage could be considered “clown car diplomacy.”

A Mallet of Hard Rubber
Trump’s trollitics seem to go something like this: Trump takes on a hot-button issue with what seems to be the reckless abandon of all political and social norms. The clown car has arrived. Then, Trump pulls out a big rubber mallet that makes everyone uncomfortable. “What’s he going to do with that?” Usually, it’s something that Ta-Nehisi Coates and Bill Kristol hate, so it ends up being good for America.

Sure, Trump’s mallet is made of rubber. If he swings it hard enough, it will cause some real damage. But he doesn’t always. This was demonstrated in his approach to China. Trump threatened tariffs, the world subsequently lost its mind over the impending Trademageddon, then China agreed both to buying substantially more American made products and negotiating trade conditions more favorable to the United States. Tariffs haven’t hit yet, but they’re not off the table, and China conceded in ways that are important.

On the Korean Peninsula, Trump went Gallagher and seemingly smashed to smithereens the nascent peace talks, after which South Korea played good cop and sure enough, an American delegation is in North Korea “until Tuesday or beyond” to prepare for a summit. The rubber mallet did its work.

Why It Works
Adams argues there is a method to the president’s madness outlined in
The Art of the Deal. “As far as I can tell, Trump’s ‘crazy talk’ is always in the correct direction for a skilled persuader,” Adams wrote in 2015. When Trump claimed that in one year he would have ISIS routed, everyone laughed at him. When ISIS was defeated one year later, the naysayers had to bite the bullet. The effectiveness of Trump’s trollitics ultimately earned him the title of “Keeper of Promises” from CNN, although that may as well be a pejorative from them.

People are sick of sanctimonious politicking at home and abroad, because Americans invariably are left with the tab. Likewise, mainstream media is a joke, more and more regularly stooping to deceit through nameless sources and absurd claims. Trump has overseen a dramatic turn around in the way the country is run over the last 17 months. If he facilitates peace in North Korea, he will have done so while making a mockery out of the establishment and its progressive intelligentsia. Trollitics, then, embodies the zeitgeist perfectly.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • China • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • North Korea • Post

Trump Offers South Korea a Backbone

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Donald Trump on Thursday canceled the much-ballyhooed summit with North Korea scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. The president cited Kim Jong-un’s recent mysterious meeting with China’s Xi Jinping among the reasons for pulling out of the meeting. Whatever the White House may be insinuating, it is highly unlikely that China is the cause for the break in the summit.

It is more than likely that Trump decided to pull out of the summit following his meeting with the South Korean leadership in Washington, D.C. Fact is, America’s principal ally in these negotiations is simply far too eager for a deal. Even though the United States nixed the summit, South Korea’s leadership went forward with a meeting with North Korea’s leadership this weekend, in spite of the fact that nothing significant could be achieved at this meeting without the presence of the United States.

Don’t Blame China This Time
While the Trump Administration had an embarrassing show in its quixotic trade negotiations with China and was blindsided by the recent meeting between Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping in China, it’s hard to fathom why China would intervene to scuttle the U.S.-North Korea summit. That wouldn’t serve China’s interests.

After all, China’s ultimate goal is to remove America’s military presence from the shores of Eurasia. Should a real entente between the West and North Korea be forged, it would only be a matter of time before the South Koreans requested the Americans to leave their land, as Seoul developed deeper ties to Pyongyang (and therefore Beijing). Stopping the talks and getting Kim Jong-un to reverse course would be counterproductive to the Chinese grand strategy. In brief, the Chinese desire to unite and dominate as much of Eurasia as it can in order better to compete with the United States globally, and to keep American military forces away from China.

Jockeying for Leverage (and Credit)
Behind the scenes, a tense diplomatic dance is happening between Pyongyang and Washington, D.C. that will determine who should get credit in public for the cooling tensions. Naturally, President Trump continues to claim it was his “maximum pressure” campaign on North Korea that brought Kim to the table. For his part, Kim Jong-un denies that the American efforts had any direct effect on his actions.

Instead, Kim argues that it was the efforts of South Korea’s leadership that made him open to peace negotiations. Meanwhile, South Korea continues behaving as though it must make a deal with North Korea at all costs. Kim Jong-un understands the desperation of his South Korean counterpart and relishes it (which explains why Kim prefers to deal directly and exclusively with South Korea on matters of substance). Trump probably wants a deal, but he won’t be led by the nose into one by desperate partners, only to be taken advantage of by North Korea (and China).

Trump knows that desperation in negotiations is a killer. Even if one has weakness in a contentious negotiation, one must never let the other side know about that weakness or it will cease to be a negotiation and become a discussion about the terms of surrender.

By unilaterally terminating the summit, Trump is sending a message to his far-too-eager South Korean partners that, if they don’t want to get nuked anytime this decade by North Korea, they had better learn to sing Washington’s tune. By pulling out of the deal, he is attempting to stiffen South Korea’s backbone. After all, weakness is provocative and strength deters.

NoKo No-Go?
Ultimately, the South Koreans will realize that, without the United States—without President Trump—no real deal can be brokered with North Korea.

Trump is ensuring that the United States, South Korea, and Japan get a real deal from Kim Jong-un rather than just another summit that improves Pyongyang’s position and weakens everyone else’s. By pulling out of the talks earlier this week, Trump is forcing his allies to get in line, and is increasing his leverage in the forthcoming talks—which, we can safely assume will happen at some point this year.

Unlike his predecessors, however, Trump has no interest in holding a summit for the sake of having a summit. He wants real progress. His actions this week do not show recklessness, rather they prove that Trump is deeply engaged in the peace process.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Asia • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • North Korea • Post

Trump Will Get a Deal Done with North Korea

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

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

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

America • Americanism • Defense of the West • Democrats • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • Israel • Middle East • North Korea • Post

Making International Relations Great Again

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

The fumbling and waffling in the American and international media on three urgent contemporary issues: North Korea, Iran, and Palestine, reveal the dangers of the vacuum created by the Obama Administration in international relations, and the efficacy with which the Trump Administration is filling the vacuum. Obviously they are distinct crises with different origins. But in each case, the permissive withdrawal of the Obama Administration incited the escalation of these problems to the point where they disturb the peace of the world.

Summitry Sideshow
North Korea simply made and broke agreements with consecutive American administrations as it continued to develop nuclear weapons. The Chinese, who had as much to fear from such a development as anyone, cynically enabled North Korean misconduct until they belatedly recognized that they were potentially damaging their own interests by midwifing a nuclear porcupine across the Yalu.    

All the agitated discussion leading up to  President Trump’s decision Thursday to cancel the the June 12 summit  with the North Korean leader, like the redundant controversy about whether Trump was becoming too excited about the Nobel Prize, is unfounded. One of three events is going to occur, regardless: there will be a denuclearization agreement that is verifiable and durable along with the end of sanctions and normalization of relations, or there will be a continued period of intense sanctions until North Korea accepts such an outcome, or North Korea will resume its nuclear development and its program will be utterly destroyed by the U.S. naval air forces with minimal casualties.

The physical meeting between the leaders would be an image-builder if Kim wants it, but it is a sideshow and there is little need for negotiations: Kim has a short menu presenting his options.

Pressuring Tehran the Right Way
Iran is in many respects a similar problem. Though an ancient country and a more distinguished civilization than North Korea, it was not only allowed to swindle the United States as North Korea was, it was directly enabled by the Obama Administration to become a nuclear power, over 10 years, even as it continued its sponsorship of terrorism, and  continued to threaten to obliterate Israel.

Here the United States is effectively offering the same formula as it is to North Korea. Iran can agree to denuclearize militarily or it can face what Hillary Clinton in her more purposeful moments used to call “crippling sanctions,” (before she folded like a garden chair in perfect synchronization with President Obama). These sanctions would be backed by the same military force that the United States could deploy to destroy the North Korean (and Iranian) nuclear program.

Ignore the histrionics of the European Union about the impact of American sanctions should it continue to trade with Iran. Europe’s economic relations with the United States are worth 50 times its commerce with Iran, and like the reluctant and fair-weather, self-serving allies most of them are, they will dutifully get into lock step with Washington with a bit of authoritative leadership.

Commercial arithmetic generally prevails over misplaced righteousness. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has usefully reminded the world that all the United States asks of Iran is to desist from deploying nuclear weapons while it is threatening genocide, and for it to behave like all other international law-abiding countries and cease to export terrorism and aggression.     

President Trump has the strongest national security team (Pompeo, Mattis, and Bolton) since President Reagan (Shultz, Weinberger, Carlucci), if not Truman (General Marshall and Dean Acheson), as President Nixon and Henry Kissinger were brilliant but there wasn’t a good defense secretary until James Schlesinger.

The United States will tighten its grip on Iran until it produces a solution quite close to what is about to unfold in North Korea. Press unease about disguised “regime change” is rubbish. President Trump will end the intolerable behavior of Iran. If the antediluvian theocracy of the ayatollahs goes down as well, it will be by domestic revolt and will be a bonus for the benighted people of Iran who were cast into bondage when President Jimmy Carter deserted the Shah in 1979.

Elusive Middle East Peace
Israel and Gaza are, of course, more complicated. There has never been any possible solution to the Israeli-Palestine problem except a division of territory between the two peoples, since Great Britain, in the desperate days of World War I, promised that that piece of the Ottoman empire would become a “homeland for the Jews” without compromising the rights of the Arabs. That solution was impossible while the major Arab powers used Israel as a distraction of the Arab masses from the misrule they were inflicting upon them, and while the Soviet Union exercised a mischievous influence in the region.

Once Nixon and Kissinger had effectively expelled the USSR from the region and after Israel accepted the two-state solution, it was possible but not sufficiently enthusiastically embraced by the Arab powers to persuade the Palestinian leadership to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. That would have ended the Arafat-Abbas tour as the self-enriching focal point of the world’s attention that they were as long as the Israel-Palestine conflict continued, and to accept peace and the mere leadership of another small Middle-Eastern country.  

The combination of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Europe’s rejection of Turkey and it’s pivot to attempt to exercise influence in the Arab world, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Syria, and Iraq, have caused the principal Arab powers, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to look upon Israel as a benign associate in repulsing the incursions of their ancient Turkish and Iranian foes and occupiers.

The Palestinians are no longer the favorites and protégés of the Arab powers and are grossly overplaying their hand. They are a few million people at the bottom of the proverbial local pyramid and Saudi Arabia‘s peace proposals for them are less generous than Israel’s.

Now is the time for the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel to agree to a territorial demarcation. Israel cannot go back to being nine miles wide so the West Bank must be narrowed; the Palestinians can be compensated with a thickened Gaza and the two connected by a secure road. That has been presaged in previous discussions. The right of return will be to Palestine and not to Israel. Some such solution as this can be agreed and imposed, and the Palestinians can accept it and with it substantial development assistance and general recognition, or they can face the entire elimination of the physical remnants of the state that awaits them if they continue to inflict violence on Israel.

This problem, as President Trump has hinted that he understands, can now be solved. But there is no point in negotiating with the Palestinians. They have to be given a state, incentivized to accept it, and need to understand that if they do not accept it, they will get no material assistance from outsiders and will suffer continuous torment until they do accept it.  Hamas’ recruitment of paid cannon fodder for attacks on the Israeli border should be ignored; only the gullible useful idiots in the Western media and academia still pay the least attention to such stale and futile propaganda gestures.

Finally, after more than a century, this is a terrible problem ripe for resolution, but by the imposition of the consensus, not by another orgy of accusatory polemics billed as a peace process.

Photo credit:  Mark Wilson/Getty Images

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]