Trump Acknowledges Problems with North Korea

Who could have seen this coming?

Via the NYT:  Trump Asks Pompeo to Cancel North Korea Trip, Pointing to Stalled Diplomacy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his newly appointed special envoy were scheduled to travel to North Korea next week to continue talks that have stalled over Pyongyang’s refusal to fully declare its nuclear inventory and Washington’s reluctance to declare an end to the Korean War.

But after meeting with Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Trump issued a stream of quarrelsome Twitter posts on Friday afternoon, pulling the plug on the trip and expressing frustration with a diplomatic process that only two months ago he declared had solved the problem of a nuclear North Korea.

“I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization.”

Still, he added, “I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!”

But, really, after the masterful summit held earlier this year, who could have foreseen this?

FILED UNDER: Asia, Donald Trump, National Security, North Korea, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    The South Koreans are beginning to wake up to the Trump nightmare.

    A strengthened Kim, a weakened US alliance, gosh, who expected that outcome? I mean, aside from every single person who could actually find Korea on a map?

  2. grumpy realist says:

    And the State Department and the rest of Foggy Bottom can say: we told you so told you so told you so….

    This is the major problem of Trump and people like him: an inability to know when he DOESN’T know and to listen to the experts. No, he’s always got to be the Big Cheese, the Big I Am, the guy who is “the best dealer in the world.”

    This is why Trump and people like him fail so often.

  3. teve tory says:

    JFC donald trump was coloring with some kids and he drew a blue stripe on the american flag.

    https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a22830014/trump-flag-colored-wrong/

  4. Kathy says:

    Self-parody is too hard to satirize.

  5. Paine says:

    Someone tell Trump that the Kim family is one of the most murderous regimes of the century and he does not deserve in the slightest “warmest regards and respect.”

    Our town had a parade last weekend. In front was a color guard with the American flag. For the first time in my life I had a hard time mustering reverence for it. Not a day goes by that I’m not embarrassed and ashamed by what is happening here.

  6. teve tory says:

    “I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization.”

    “The only people who could pressure them is China, and I just pissed China off royally!” the President said, adding, “Goddam I’m dumb!”

  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You DO understand how small a pool of people that actually is, right?

  8. PJ says:

    @teve tory:
    Well, this flag has a blue stripe…

  9. teve tory says:

    @PJ: yep

  10. JKB says:

    Yes, it is quite “failure” unless you contrast it to what was accomplished by all those under the age of 80 over the last 65 years. It’s not like North Korea developed nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile capability in just the last 19 months.

    19
  11. CSK says:

    @JKB:

    “There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

    — Donald J. Trump, June 13, 2018

    16
  12. @JKB:

    Yes, it is quite “failure” unless you contrast it to what was accomplished by all those under the age of 80 over the last 65 years. It’s not like North Korea developed nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile capability in just the last 19 months.

    This is one of those litmus test issues as to whether one can evaluate evidence or if one is just a partisan sycophant. There has been precious little of substance accomplished by the administration on this topic. As CSK notes this is certainly true by the President’s own personal standard.

    But the fundamental point is that absolutely anyone with passing knowledge of the NK situation pointed out (repeatedly!!) that the result of the photo op in Singapore would be nothing positive from a US POV and, indeed, would enhance Kim Jung Un’s position.

    Your statement is nonsensical. And, worse, there is no reason to defend Trump on this save for partisan sycophancy.

    24
  13. And, really, we would be no worse than the status quo ante, and arguably in a better position, had Trump not had the summit in the first place.

  14. JohnMcC says:

    @teve tory: Monday we’ll learn via tweet that there’s going to be a new arrangement of the American flag. And 37% of the American people will love it. If they notice the difference.

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: If the summit was part of a strategy to engage North Korea, rather than isolate it, then the summit would have been a good idea. Maybe not a great opening move, but somewhere down the line, and if the President wanted to start off the change in strategy with the big flashy show of a summit, I would be mostly ok with that — maybe it would jumpstart things.

    But, there really isn’t a strategy. At least, not a discernible strategy. We’re still just reacting.

  16. Gustopher says:

    @JohnMcC: If the phrase “red, white and blue” wasn’t so ingrained in our psyches, I think Trump would have proposed gold stars by now.

    Maybe we could have a casual flag and a formal flag… The formal flag with gold.

  17. @Gustopher: There was never a strategy–that was why it was doomed. I am not opposed to talking to NK. I am opposed to pointless photo ops that aggrandize a dictator and net nothing useful.

  18. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Your statement is nonsensical. And, worse, there is no reason to defend Trump on this save for partisan sycophancy.

    Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the “well at least he’s trying something new when everything else failed” line of defense is looking to the fact that Trump scuttled the Iran deal.

    The Iran deal was something new, that was actually working. Instead Trump decides to pull out of it (and do his best to ensure that none of the other signatories can maintain the deal) to go back to the very strategy — isolation and sanctions — that failed to work in North Korea.

    BTW, that’s before we get to the fact that withdrawing from that deal is a clear signal to North Korea that even if Trump was to stick to his word, that word could be completely reversed in about two years if Trump doesn’t stay in office.

  19. al Ameda says:

    To be fair, with respect to North Korea, Trump has accomplished one thing that his predecessor presidents either did not or could not:

    He’s turned Kim Jong Un from a dreary totalitarian leader of a country locked in a walled-off Abanian/Soviet world of deprivation, into an international celebrity dictator. Trump gave Kim Jong Un ‘cred.’