Trump Could Have Made a Deal With North Korea

President Donald Trump is not here by mistake. His unusual approach to foreign policy, diplomacy, and, hell, the entire structure of the presidency is endlessly shocking to the elites in Washington…and yet, it is the very reason that he is accomplishing things that have been called impossible for decades. His brash and off-the-cuff manner won him the election and his refusal to play by the establishment script is what has made his presidency the success that it has been thus far. It is not an exaggeration to say that he might literally have been the only person in the 2016 running who could have gotten us to this point with North Korea. And despite all the naysayers and critics, Trump may very well have been able to come back from Singapore next month with the deal of a lifetime.

That is, if his administration hadn’t ruined it in the meantime.

Maybe that’s not an entirely fair assessment to make, even though it did seem to be Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, and John Bolton who – by failing to let Trump take the lead on this historic path to peace – angered North Korea to the point that the president finally had no choice but to cancel the meeting. Maybe we can’t expect the Kim Jong Un regime to behave rationally or to understand when it’s time to sit back and allow the negotiations to unfold. Maybe we shouldn’t expect career politicians to fully grasp the multidimensional strategy that Trump is employing with Kim – one that takes its cues as much from the world of gangsters that was 1980s New York City as it does from whatever foreign policy handbook it is that these guys grew up reading.

But it is frustrating.

Irritated after Vice President Mike Pence made the same mistake as Bolton in referring to the “Libya model” as the way forward, North Korea lashed out, calling him a “political dummy” and throwing another round of threats at the U.S.

“As they president made clear,” Pence said Monday, “this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”

Trump did say that a week or two ago, but in that case it was only to smooth things over after Bolton pointed to the Libya model as the right arrangement for North Korea. Seeing as how a denuclearized state left Libya’s Qaddafi a sitting duck during his country’s rebellion, it’s understandable that North Korean government officials would be apprehensive about that comparison. You’d think after expressing their rage about such a comparison once, Trump administration officials would stop using it. Alas…

President Trump on Thursday, realizing he could not go forward with the summit while North Korea was hurling incendiary threats across the Pacific, pulled out of the meeting with a heavy heart.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump said in a letter to Kim Jong Un.

Hopefully, this historic meeting can still go forward at a later date and time. But when and if that time comes, Trump needs to sit down with his senior aides and remind them that HE was elected President in 2016, not them.

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