The upcoming (or going?) Korean peace summit is going to be a challenge for all concerned.
Trump has repeatedly said ‘all or nothing’ in terms of denuclearization of the whole Korean peninsula. Does he really mean it?
Kim has been fudging about what he means regarding denuclearization. In fact, he is trumping Trump at the moment with his bobbing and weaving. Trump may be meeting his match in sowing confusion and uncertainty.
At one moment, Trump insists that if it does not work out, he will ‘respectfully’ walk away; the next moment he is bragging about prospects of winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Given these circumstances, there is widespread (and rightful) concern that Trump will be so blinded by delusions of greatness – and so desperate to deliver on his lofty expectations – that he’ll get suckered into signing a bad deal and claim it as a “huge” victory. What do we the people have to watch out for to be sure we are not sold a bill of shoddy goods?
I am reminded of a wisdom my friend and colleague Bob Strauss said in the late ‘70s. “The trick of success in politics is to know how to draw the target where the arrow HAS landed.”
If the meeting takes place, Trump will be sorely tempted to do just that, despite all his pronouncements about ‘all or nothing’.
Indeed, a complex step by step process, well-observed and well-regulated, is likely the best and surest way to get the 100% goal of clearing the peninsula of nuclear weapons.
What we do not want or need is any kind of distorted fudge.
Trump is constrained on one side by his current Iranian posture of disdaining such a process. And, Kim has the history of Gadhafi haunting him.
And the rest of us need to remember that wherever the arrow has landed is not a bulls-eye just because Trump claims that is so.
The Nobel Peace prize might just get Trump reelected. I think it’s an impossibly long shot – particularly in light of what many consider an ill-advised premature award to Obama in 2009. The Nobel Committee has likely learned that peace takes work, and work on the Korean Peninsula has only just begun. If I’m wrong, and Trump gets the award legitimately, it just might turn out that his crazy behavior had some value after all.
I do not recommend betting on that outcome, although I accept the possibility.
In any event, we MUST be sure not to be sold a pig in a poke.
That would be the worst possible outcome of all this high stakes gambling.