Ok, I have to say it, because no one else is; the recent Trump/Kim Jong Un is a complete disaster. I will admit that I am a proponent of United States Presidents meeting with and negotiating with our adversaries. The Republicans blasted Obama for saying he would talk to the Iranians, to Castro and so forth. They were wrong. You do not negotiate with friends – you negotiate with adversaries. Negotiation is much preferable to all out war.
But negotiation with an adversary is on thing. To build up an adversary – who happens to be a brutal fascist dictator – as a good guy, is something completely different.
But make no mistake about it; Kim is a brutal dictator – as brutal as they come. In 2014, a United Nations Commission Reportconcluded that the that Kim and North Korean government was perpetrating "unspeakable atrocities" against its own people on a vast scale and committing “widespread, systematic and gross” violations that amounted to crimes against humanity. The Chair of the Commission called these atrocities “strikingly similar” to crimes committed by Nazi Germany in World War II. Crimes included rape, torture, and persecution of Christians, slave labor starvation and mass murder.
In addition, Kim has a systematic history of making agreements and then breaking them. Indeed, his nuclear program is a violation of past commitments. In the JOINT DECLARATION OF SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA ON THE DENUCLEARIZATIONOF THE KOREAN PENINSULAdated February 19, 1992, North Korea agreed that “South and North Korea shall not test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons.” Over the years, North Korea has made numerous other commitments in this regard, every one of them it has violated.
So when Kim strutted around Singapore like a rock star, and Trump heaped all kinds of praise on him, my stomach turned. When did we ever see a United States president give such unqualified praise to a fascist dictator? True, we have negotiated with dictators, from Stalin, Muammar Gaddafi to Raoul Castro and so forth. But never to my recollection has a United States President lavished such praise on any of them.
Trump says of Kim he is a “"very talented man” who “loves his country very much." Please. Kim has placed his countrymen in concentration camps, killed opponents and family. I suppose it takes some skill to be a fascist leader, but in no way does such a dictator love his country.
Kim walks from this summit completely white washed. Yes, we should negotiate. But to legitimize him in this fashion, to praise and flatter him, should be unthinkable.
Kim John Un was given a complete and total PR victory. Can one imagine a US President heaping such praise on Adolf Hitler, merely because Hitler vowed to give a particular weapon? One might think of Neville Chamberlain meeting Hitler at Berchtesgaden, but even there, Chamberlain did not lavish the kind of praise that Trump has lavished on Kim.
To make matters worse, Trump, supposedly the master negotiator, got outplayed. Kim’s big agreement is to work for the total denuclearization of the Koran peninsula. But as Kim understands it that means that the United States must withdraw its nuclear umbrella of protection. Moreover, it does nothing to end the brutal human rights abuses. Trump actually suggests that he will protect Kim in power and make him rich. Pardon me if I find that suggestion utterly stomach turning.
There is simply nothing in this agreement that make sense. Yes, it sure nice that we are not about to launch into a nuclear war, but history teaches us that appeasement never works. Does anyone think that Chamberlain mistake was that he did not heap enough praise on the Führer?
I cringe when Trump’s aid says of the prime minster of one of our staunchest allies that there is a “special place in hell” for him. Yet, a few days later, he says of a fascist dictator that he loves his country, and should be protected in power.
Trump walks from this deal with no leverage. Kim may have been forced to the table by crippling sanctions. But if sanctions are about to be lifted, does Trump really think that every other country will stick to the sanctions until Trump waves his magic wand? Of course not. Trump has already yielded all his leverage. A dictator has won. Democracy has lost.
Chamberlain’s deal at Berchtesgaden is probably one of the low points of British history, and may be the single act responsible for the collapse of the British Empire. I fear that history may repeat itself, and this action may be the downfall of the United States as a world leader, and certainly a repudiation of every principle that he hold sacred.