Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I Hate It When I'm Right...

When you are a kid, of the best moments was always getting to say “I told you so!”. There was an infantile schadenfreude at having been proved right, (usually at the expense of someone else…) For the most part these moments for me, tended to be harmless and involved Northside Elementary School playground dares , like “bet you can’t fit 50 grasshoppers into one hand!” (For the record you can, but it gets kinda messy. But the scream you get from the playground teacher when she asks you to show her what’s in your hand, is totally worth it…)

As an adult however, often we find that moment can be a double-edged sword.  Especially when being proved right involves decisions and mistakes that have very real consequences.

Critics of what we will generously call Donald Trump’s “foreign policy”, might be tempted this morning to do a little “I told you so dance” over the news that North Korea did exactly what anyone with even basic knowledge of the reality on the Korean Peninsula said they would do.

CNBC Reports:

North Korea abruptly canceled talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday and threatened to walk away from talks with the U.S., according to media reports.
North Korea's state-run Central News Agency said the ongoing joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea are a "provocation" and a preparation for an invasion, according to a Reuters report that cites South Korean news outlet Yonhap.
South Korea's Unification Ministry said it received a fax Wednesday from the head of the North Korean delegation for the high-level talks, who said his country is "indefinitely canceling the planned high-level inter-Korean talks" due to the military exercises.
The regime of Kim Jong Un  just yanked the football away from Charlie Brown Trump as he lumbered forward to kick it through the goal posts of the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Which is exactly what  North Korea always does.  The basic reality of the unresolved Korean Conflict  boils down to a simple premise; The Kim family dictatorship doesn’t want any sort of deal.  They want things to stay pretty much as they are.  The whole purpose of pursuing Nuclear weapons was to have the ultimate safeguard against any sort of change.

For North Korea,  talks are never about agreements.  They are about time and concessions.  Dangle the prospect of a deal and get temporary sanctions relief and buy  time to  strengthen those safeguards against regime change.    As far as Donald Trump goes… Let’s be honest.  This whole push for a summit and deal with North Korea isn’t about world peace, or even peace on the Korean Peninsula.   

This is about  Barack Obama.

Yeah… This is STILL all about Trump’s  desperate need to “beat” President Obama.  To show that HE, Donald Trump could do Obama one better.  You have seen it on all the usual comment threads by Trumpsters online;     “ Hey Libs!  Obama won the Nobel Prize?  Well look!  Trump will too!  But Trump will actually DESERVE IT!  #MAGA!!”

How soon we forget, the whole reason Trump decided to run for President was because Barack Obama and Seth Myers made fun of him at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Which brings us to the real danger of Trump’s desperation to strike a deal with Kim Jong Un.  A brutal dictator guilty of untold numbers of human rights atrocities, who leads a regime with horrific labor camps where entire families are sent to instill terror and submission in a population that is literally starving to death to pay for the dictator’s lavish lifestyle.     

But none of that matters, as long as Trump can tweet about how he beat Barack Obama. This insecure manbaby in the White House is willing to abandon our nation’s core values and principles and ensure the continued long term survival of one the of the world’s most repressive regimes if doing so strokes his own ego.

In the days to come we will see the Trump Administration offer massive trade concessions to China in exchange for their help coaxing North Korea back to the table so Donald Trump can get his Photo Op. Trump will undoubtedly even  offer to ease or lift Sanctions.

 All the while, North Korea will be using the time to move their Nuclear program to new sites so they can show off the old empty old ones as “proof” of their willingness to join the rational international community.

Something that in reality, will never happen, as any  meaningful agreement is NOT in Kim's interest. Something that Trump doesn't get, but North Korea holding the football and smiling sweetly, offering the chance to kick it through the “See I beat Obama!" goal posts, will be irresistible to Donald Trump.

And North Korea and China both know it. So, yes, I told you so.   But being right in this case isn’t a win, for any of us.

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