Trump's top foreign policy aides are worried he'll get outplayed if he meets with North Korea, destroying American credibility and increase the nuclear threat.
Trump’s top foreign policy advisors are worried that if he goes through with a summit with North Korea the rogue regime will run circles around him and take advantage of America.
The New York Times reports that aides are “concerned” that Trump simply doesn’t understand the details of North Korea’s nuclear program. Unlike his predecessors, Trump is avoiding briefings about North Korean enrichment capabilities, plutonium reprocessing, nuclear weapons production and missile programs.
His predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, took part in similar briefings.
Trump is woefully unprepared for the leadership needed to tackle one of the world’s most dangerous prospects: A nuclear North Korea. With the right delivery vehicle, the threat to close U.S. allies like South Korea, and even the United States itself, has been a major global concern.
So far, the Trump approach has been a muddled mess. First, national security adviser John Bolton said Trump would echo the approach taken to disarm Libya of its nuclear capabilities. But when he was asked about it, Trump said, “The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all, when we’re thinking of North Korea.”
Trump then said of former Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi, “We went in there to beat him.” But the removal of Qaddafi from power, which happened in 2011, has almost nothing to do with his nuclear disarmament, which happened in 2003.
Trump has repeatedly indicated he thinks that North Korea will give up its nuclear program in exchange for aid. But experts on the topic say this is unrealistic, since the program has been a security blanket for the nation for years.
Trump is apparently just now realizing that meeting with the regime and falling flat on his face is unlikely to get him the Nobel Prize he keeps talking about. The Times reports that he “peppered aides with questions about the wisdom of proceeding.” He even called South Korean president Moon Jae-in to try to understand why North Korea’s public statements on remaining nuclear differed from what they told the south in private.
Michael Green, a Georgetown professor and expert on Asia, described the gulf in the approach to upcoming negotiations between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un: “Trump may be preparing for the wrong game: a two-player round of checkers when Kim is steeling for a multiplayer two-board chess match.”
There is already precedent for Trump being taken to the cleaners by another rogue world leader.
When Trump met with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for the first time, he glad-handed with the leader of the regime that interfered in the presidential election (on his behalf). Russia was handed a propaganda coup as Russian influencers were able to tell the international press that Trump had downplayed election interference in the private meeting between the two.
After the meeting, veteran international reporters concluded Putin had made Trump “do his bidding.”
Trump isn’t ready for high-level diplomacy, and his aides who have seen it up close are alarmed at the prospect. His public statements show someone who simply doesn’t understand the process or historical precedent.
Another Trump disaster is in the making, and the nuclear threat to millions of lives hangs in the balance.