Trump at Berchtesgaden

There is simply nothing in this agreement that makes ​sense

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 THEDENUCLEARIZATIONOF 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.

Comments (10)
View Newer Messages
FelixCulpa
FelixCulpa

While not particularly relevant to your point, you might want to go a little easier on Chamberlain. Though it's impossible to know his mind during the negotiations it's easy to see that force majeure was a consideration. When he came back waving his paper and proclaiming "peace for our time" I really can't believe that someone who rose to the post of PM was so delusional as to actually believe it himself, especially in light of what and who he'd just seen. I would suggest he had to feign trust to gain time. He gets dumped on pretty hard by history, but the deal did allow Britain the requisite time to assess German capabilities, and most importantly, TO REARM. If not for Chamberlain it's likely the Battle of Britain would have been fought much sooner, and predominantly with Gloster Gladiators, instead of Spits and Hurricanes. To say that the Munich Accord "may be the single act responsible for the collapse of the British Empire" is not accurate, fair, or just. With equal justification one could put the blame on the Paul Reynaud, Maurice Gamelin, General Lord Gort, Gandhi, Charles de Gaulle, or the man who proposed the Ten Year Rule in 1919, Secretary for War and Air, Winston Churchill. Personally, I would be more likely to credit Chamberlain with doing the necessary so that Britain was able to avoid being eaten by a Sealion, and so survive the war. The decline of the British Empire is not to be laid at one man's feet; and especially not in a post-WWII world limned by two overwhelming superpowers, neither of which was England. So yeah, lay off Neville.

ThreePatriots
ThreePatriots

Editor

Do you know what spurred the comment about Kim and being very talented? The uncontrollable Jim Accosta's question, which was loaded for a strike from the beginning... "What have you learned about Chairman Kim Jong Un?" POTUS' answer was actually very diplomatic, when you consider that he was sitting right next to Kim. While you may think that saying he is a very talented man if heaping praise on the dictator, someone who looks at the comment objectively sees that he never called him a "great guy" or "nice guy". And I would say that he does love his country, Castro loved his country, Stalin and Hitler loved their country, but in a VERY different way than you or I, or in a way that our moral compass agrees with.

One further note, your claim that Kim has a "systematic history of making agreements and then breaking them" is misleading. The 1992 Declaration was made by Kim Jong Il, the current Chairman's father and then it was broken by his father in 2006. Kim Jong Un did not break that agreement as you claim. He has ruled over the country with an iron-fist like his father, but the nuclear issue began under the previous leader.

paulaloe
paulaloe

Editor

I don't think it was a mistake to have the meeting necessarily and as I said in the essay, we should negotiate. But there is a way to go about doing it. Lavishing praise on a brutal dictator is not the way. Simply trusting them to do the right thing is not the way. Reagan said "Trust but verify." He was right. And as you will recall, he never condoned the Soviet system, he was its biggest critic. He said to Gorbachev, "tear down this wall." Reagan's approach to Gorbachev is a useful lesson. But this is not Reagan/Gorbachev, not even close.

wonderwall15
wonderwall15

Funny though that after researching about an almost identical summit, one from the previous generation, Reagan-Gorbachev. Articles about it were mostly scathing against Reagan too but look how we all remember him now.

Philip Carino
Philip Carino

Sadly Trump's team thinks of it as a tactic and strategy, a means to achieve a goal. Bash allies and praise adversaries



Sam Jenkins
EditorSam Jenkins
New Comment
9
KateHarveston
EditorKateHarveston
New Comment
12
paulaloe
paulaloe
New Comment
9
  • 1
A_Chapman
EditorA_Chapman
New Comment
11
Steven Singer
EditorSteven Singer
New Comment
5
paulaloe
Editorpaulaloe
New Comment
10
Pat Greer
EditorPat Greer
New Comment
9