Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, June 13th, 2018.


President Derp

Trump Maladministration

Possibly the most frightening thing about the recent fiasco in Singapore is that Trump is now bragging that he has completely solved the whole world peace problem.

In tweets that began as Air Force One landed, Trump declared that there is “no longer” a nuclear threat from the rogue regime and lashed out at those who questioned what he had achieved, branding the media as “Our Country’s biggest enemy.” …

…“Just landed — a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” the president said on Twitter.

From this we can reach three possible conclusions:

  1. Trump is a moron.
  2. Trump thinks everyone else is a moron.
  3. All of the above.

Since I don’t see a smart reason why Trump would so publicly brag about something that so easily and so probably will blow up in his face, I assume that #1 is true. Uri Friedman at Atlantic:

 “Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, even though fears of war mounted after Trump took office, as North Korea’s nuclear program advanced rapidly and Trump and his advisers threatened military action to stop it. “President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer—sleep well tonight!”

Well, in a way Trump is right. Our biggest and most dangeroous problem isn’t North Korea any more. It’s Donald Trump.

Quite the contrary, North Korea remains a big and dangerous problem. And it’s also dangerous that Trump, in his recent tweets at least, doesn’t seem fully aware of the pitfalls that American officials have repeatedly encountered over the last 25 years of nuclear talks with North Korea.

For example:

Hours before Trump’s summit with Kim, the Republican Senator Jim Risch, who has discussed North Korea with the president and his top aides numerous times in recent weeks, told me that “nobody” in the Trump administration was wearing “rose-colored glasses.” “We have been taken by the North Koreans at least a couple of times [in previous rounds of negotiations], and that’s not going to happen again,” he said. “We’re [not] at a point right now where they say, ‘Okay, we’re going to denuclearize the peninsula,’ and then the president says, ‘Well, okay, we’re going to lift the sanctions.’ That is not going to happen. The president has been very, very clear that there is going to have to be positive, doable, ongoing things that are happening before anything happens from our side.”

And?

And yet, in Singapore, North Korea said exactly what Risch predicted: Sure, we’d love to eventually denuclearize the peninsula. And Donald Trump responded by proclaiming an end to the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Paul Waldman thinks that Trump, implicitly or explicitly, actually agreed to let North Korea keep its nukes.

 Let’s think about this from Trump’s perspective. He just came back from what he wants desperately to characterize as a huge success, so that’s precisely what he’ll do. He’ll say it was tremendous, fantastic, yuge, the greatest diplomatic victory in the history of human civilization. In the coming months, as the professionals try to work out concrete steps the two countries can take — a process that over the past few decades has produced endless frustration and broken promises — is Trump going to throw any wrenches into the works, say by tweeting nasty things at Kim and raising tensions again?

I seriously doubt it. Trump has plenty of other enemies he can pick fights with, and he wants to be able to pocket this as a victory, so he can say that he’s doing such a fantastic job because he cut taxes and moved toward getting rid of North Korea’s nukes. When people ask what the status of that denuclearization is, he’ll say, don’t worry, it’s happening, everything is going according to plan, it’s just that these things take time. Scientifically.

In other words, when the “agreement” falls apart in the weeds of the details, Trump is not about to admit his great achievement was a mirage and that Obama was right. He’d rip off his own lips before admitting that Obama was right.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un react at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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