Foreign Policy: Donald Trump impulsively blows up the North Korea Summit in Singapore

May 25, 2018

Foreign Policy: Donald Trump impulsively blows up the North Korea Summit in Singapore

President Trump. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
May 24 at 2:23 PM


PRESIDENT TRUMP’S abrupt cancellation of a summit with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un had the same air of hasty, strategy-free improvisation that has characterized his handling of the diplomatic opening all along. Mr. Trump agreed to the summit in March without requiring any action by the North Korean ruler, or even a clear statement of his intentions. He then proceeded to hype the wildly unrealistic possibility that the regime would quickly disarm; he minted a medal to commemorate the upcoming meeting and encouraged talk that he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

On Thursday, in apparent response to hyperbolic but entirely unsurprising comments by a North Korean official, Mr. Trump released a loosely worded letter canceling the summit because of the “tremendous anger and open hostility” in the statement. The announcement blindsided the government of South Korea, which had brokered the talks: “We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means,” a spokesman said. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump blurted at a White House appearance that “it’s possible” the summit could still take place on the planned date of June 12, while simultaneously warning that “our military . . . is ready if necessary.”

Never has such chaos attended the public behavior of a U.S. President on a matter of such gravity: Both Mr. Trump and the North Koreans alluded to the possibility of nuclear war. Appearing before Congress, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was unable to offer an answer when asked what the U.S. strategy would now be. North Korea, meanwhile, had hours earlier made a show of blowing up mountain tunnels it has used to conduct nuclear tests — an action suggesting that until Mr. Trump’s statement, it remained willing to move forward.

White House officials said the North Korean statement that Mr. Trump reacted to was merely the last straw in a series of negative actions. North Korea canceled a planned meeting with South Korea last week and failed to answer U.S. inquiries about summit planning. But Pyongyang was responding, at least in part, to U.S. rhetoric. Mr. Trump and other officials had alluded to the history of Libya, which gave up its nuclear program and later was subjected to a NATO bombing campaign that led to the overthrow and murder of ruler Maummar Gaddafi. North Korea could “end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal,” Vice President Pence said Monday. That led Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui to deride Mr. Pence as “ignorant and stupid” and threaten a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” — overheated rhetoric that is familiar to anyone who has studied the North Korean regime.

Image result for kim jong un and moon jae in


Mr. Trump has not. On the contrary, until this week he appeared oblivious to increasingly clear indications that Mr. Kim had no intention of quickly surrendering his nuclear arsenal. Rather, North Korea appeared interested only in a multistage process in which denuclearization would be a vague and long-term goal, and the regime would be rewarded for every step forward. That is how previous deals with North Korea have been structured. Such a process carries obvious risks, but the administration should have been willing to carefully explore what Mr. Kim was prepared to do. Instead Mr. Trump has impulsively blown up the process — with potential consequences that he and his administration have not bothered to calculate.

5 thoughts on “Foreign Policy: Donald Trump impulsively blows up the North Korea Summit in Singapore

  1. Trump cannot run foreign policy on impulse and an inflated ego. Warmongering may please the military-industrial complex, but it does no good for world peace. –Din Merican

  2. International law does not arrogate powers to any nation or group of nations to tell a sovereign state what it can or cannot possess. Even more important, international law does not allow any nation to declare war against any other nation unless it has been attacked by that nation.

    And just as the laws within a nation apply to everyone equally, the laws of nations too should apply equally to every nation. In short, who is to be the judge as to which nation should be allowed nuclear weapons, and which nation should not be allowed? What are the criteria? If such criteria exist, shouldn’t they cover questions such as which nation has attacked other nations and even how many times has it attacked other nations since WW2? Which nation(s) has not merely threatened, but right now is attacking other nations, whether near or far? The problem with purveyors of fake news is that they tend to think the world knows nothing about history, about right and wrong. So they keep on doing what they’ve been doing until they’ve convinced themselves that they’re right after all. And that is the greatest danger facing mankind today.

    • /// who is to be the judge as to which nation should be allowed nuclear weapons, and which nation should not be allowed? ///

      The US of course. Might is right. Trump has the final say.

      In practice, the big-5 nuclear states decide who can join the club.

  3. Freedom of expression and action in practicing and enforcing unilateralism with continuously changing goal post, is not compatible with demcractic principles, when agreement (oral or written )are sealed.

    Trump is a abuser of the presidential power, position and prestige of the presidency of the USA and its people.

    Besides, his conduct is exceedingly dangerous and disgraceful to the nation he represents. Because of that, world peace and stability are at great risk. It could accidentally trigger WW3 or never-ending violent conflicts.

  4. DJT is just his usual self – using his transactional wheeling-and-dealing style in conducting international diplomacy (or rather, the lack of). Just his brinkmanship in trying to get into a superior negotiating position…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.