Several decades’ worth of American presidents and secretaries of state have failed miserably in North Korea. Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright made particular fools of themselves. George W. Bush didn’t do much better at denuclearizing the hermit kingdom.
Now it’s Donald Trump’s turn. Can that uncouth vulgarian actually succeed?
Well, yes. Who else?
Only someone who is a credible threat can deal with tyrants, can get them to cooperate. It’s always been that way. Nixon could go to China. Reagan tore down that wall.
Barack Obama, another complete failure with the North Koreans, was an even bigger patsy for Iran’s mullahs, ceding them millions (of dollars) with which to rape and pillage across the Middle East, murdering thousands while sending more millions (of humans) as refugees into Europe, altering the character of that continent most likely forever. No one with a brain believed he would back up that red line against chemical weapons in Syria and he didn’t. (Good job, Barack.)
Trump, on the other hand, and as we have have seen, even when his own party is against him, is a man of his word. From tariffs to tax reform to moving the embassy to Jerusalem to the Supreme Court, he follows through — or tries to.
Does that mean The Donald will finally be the one to rein in The Kim? Of course not. But he’s got a better shot at it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that his administration, with the cooperation of others, instituted by far the most serious sanctions against the NORKs, who are said to be on the brink of bankruptcy.
Naturally, the announcement of the president’s incipient meeting with “Rocket Man” sent the fuddy-duddy left-wing media into a tizzy for hours that could carry on for months or even years. (It usually does.) It was a non-stop fiesta of “what ifs” at CNN and elsewhere, but anyone paying the slightest attention to the sub-text could see the real “what if” under the surface, the real source of the panic. What if Trump actually does succeed? Won’t we look like fools?
Well, yes again. But you already do. Trump Derangement Syndrome made you dumb from the get-go and most people know it. The amount of level-headed analysis of the president is somewhere between .0001 and .00001. All we seem to get is relentless criticism of every (almost always out of context) word he says, even, and especially, when he’s joking.
The meeting with Kim is an opportunity to back off. Nothing could be more important. Nuclear war clearly dwarfs all concerns from immigration to health care to, even, the latest tweet. (Call it global healthcare.) A deal with the North Koreans — if it indeed is possible and if it can be, in Reagan’s word, verified — would have immense ramifications for the planet. It would certainly be felt in the Middle East with Iran and Assad’s Syria seriously curtailed without their North Korean ally. Putin wouldn’t like it much either. The whole balance of power in the world would seriously shift.
And, yes, we’d all have to deal with Donald endlessly patting himself on the back. But, as Joe E. Brown famously pointed out, “Nobody’s poi-fect!”
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.