So, there was this big announcement outside of the White House yesterday evening. It happened about 5:15pm here (MST). A South Korean official, who had been meeting with H.R. McMasters all day, came out and announced to the world that Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, has said he’d put his nuke program on hold, which means no further testing…and wants to meet with Donald Trump by the end of May. The meeting will take place in the “Blue House” at the North Korea/South Korea border in the demilitarized zone.
My initial thought was, “What a coup for the Trump administration!” After all, for the past 25 years, we’ve been dancing with the devil in trying to bring North Korea into mainstream world politics, and every president going back to Ronald Reagan has failed. Then I thought, “Wait a minute”. There’s a reason every president of both parties have failed. North Korea never wanted to join the rest of the world. They usually wanted money, or to have sanctions lifted, or get food for their starving masses so they don’t revolt. Something…ANYTHING…to stall. And then they’d go right back to what they had been doing.
Well, now we’re to the point where they’ve developed nukes. And they’ve tested them. And they are working on ICBM’s so the nukes can fly across the world and reach the US. But there is a problem. Their ICBM’s can’t re-enter the earth’s atmosphere without damaging the nuclear bomb, and so it is pretty worthless. They need more time to get this done. And so, it hit me that they are using the same old playbook…stalling for time in order to accomplish their goals (kind of like what Iran did to the Obama administration!).
But is that what they are doing? For decades, North Korea has used the US as the villain. They’ve blamed us every time someone starved to death, or there was a famine, or an earthquake. Everything was our fault because they could point to the Korean War as the reason to hate the US. And it’s worked for the most part. Oh, there are a lot of people in North Korea that don’t agree with the government, but they keep silent out of fear of losing not only their lives, but their families lives as well. My hunch is, yes…this is a stalling tactic.
Now, enter Donald Trump…the master negotiator. Can he figure a way to break through the ice and actually get an agreement that Kim will actually follow? My idea is that the sanctions that are in place need to stay in place until the nukes are gone. My feeling is Trump isn’t going to be played like the Bush’s, Clinton, or Obama have been played. I just have a gut feel that Trump can play hardball with Kim, and either see through his facade or get him to come to the table.
And it’s all of the bellicose rhetoric that has brought us to this point. Kim must have either felt that Trump would destroy North Korea if he sent a nuke flying our way, or he really does need more time to perfect the ICBM. Either way, I think Trump is smart enough to make that call and follow through.
So, is it a diplomatic coup for Trump or a stalling tactic by Kim? It could actually be both. Only time will tell!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!