Trampling Out the Vintage Where the Sour Grapes Are Stored

By any reasonable account, the historic meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, resulting in an agreement pledging to work toward a stable and enduring peace (over six decades after the Korean armistice was signed at Panmunjom) was an incredible achievement. In fact, had Obama or Clinton achieved as much, we would expect a ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue.

North Korea has agreed to completely denuclearize and has begun the process, according to reports of satellite imagery, and has agreed to return the remains of U.S. military who perished in North Korea.

China, long rightfully considered the muscle behind North Korea, seems to endorse the move, indicating that the summit creates “new history: and urging full denuclearization.” 

Of course, given the past agreements with North Korea where we delivered on our promises and they did not, there’s always room for Reagan’s “trust but verify” admonition, and yet there is every reason to believe this president gets that, and is not simply bribing Kim for yet another repeat performance of no tit for tat, relying on a supine press to ignore deals that really weren’t.

In fact, the usual press fluffers which hailed Obama’s deals with Cuba and Iran, to name two recent Democratic foreign policy disasters, were bilious about it.

Ed Driscoll at Instapundit scrolled through NewsBusters for a decent example of the media backflips: 


● Shot: The View Bashes Trump for Meeting Kim Jong-un: Went ‘Too Far!’

 -- NewsBusters, today.

● Chaser: View Hosts Trash ‘Hypocrite’ Mike Pence for Not Giving North Korea Due ‘Respect’ at Olympics.

-- NewsBusters, February 12.

● Hangover: The View’s Behar: Obama Critics Hate ‘Reaching Across the Aisle’ to Iran, Cuba.

-- NewsBusters, March 21, 2016. 

The President acknowledged, too, the hypocrisy of the press:

Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

“A year ago the pundits & talking heads, people that couldn’t do the job before, were begging for conciliation and peace -- ‘please meet, don’t go to war.’ Now that we meet and have a great relationship with Kim Jong Un, the same haters shout out, ‘you shouldn’t meet, do not meet!’

At the tail end of his 25-hour-long day at the summit, Trump held an utterly unscripted hour-long presser and then began the long journey home (I’m only a few years older, but I’ve no idea how he manages to accomplish so much with so little sleep). Of course, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had done a fabulous job of preparation job for the meeting, but contrast, if you will, the personal aspect of this and the vast amount of preparation that went into this meeting with Madeline Albright’s failed mission for Bill Clinton

The preparation this time included listening to Kim’s friend, Dennis Rodman, who to no end had begged Obama to meet with Kim

In an emotional and sometimes hard-to-follow interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Rodman, wearing sunglasses and a “Make America Great Again” hat, said he had received a call from the White House ahead of Trump’s historic meeting with Kim -- the first between a sitting president and North Korean leader.

Rodman later told the AP in a phone interview that the call had come from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “She sent her best wishes and said that Donald Trump is really proud of you. He’s happy you’re having some type of part of this whole situation,” Rodman recalled her saying. “He’s very happy to carry out the things I’ve been saying.” [Snip] He also said he thought he’d meet with Trump soon. “I’m pretty sure that I’ll be going somewhere, like the White House to meet him,” he said.

In his CNN interview, Rodman grew emotional as he recalled former President Barack Obama failing to take him seriously when he returned from Pyongyang with a message from Kim after one of his trips.

Rodman said that Obama brushed him off and that he’d received death threats and had to go into hiding as a result.

Why would a negotiator not want to hear out Kim’s closest American friend to learn more about his personality and wishes? A skillful negotiator always wants to glean the priorities and temperament of the man on the other side of the table. And why would anyone ignore the aspect of “face,” which is so important to Asians, as to send someone else (like Albright) in his stead to deal with the leader of the other country? (Of course, if you’ve not prepared and have no idea what to expect beforehand, you may want to wing it by sending Albright and some champagne rather than just falling on your face so publicly.)

The capper of the summit was a “trailer” of a film listed as a Destiny Productions clip, which highlighted Kim and Trump as leaders for a new world of peace and prosperity instead of war and destruction, To Blast it was “a cringe worthy production” (An outfit named Destiny Productions denied having anything to do with its creation, so we don’t know who did it.) Contra Blast and Slate, which said it “is full of inspirational nonsense," Dilbert creator Scott Adams said:

“Scott Adams
‏Verified account @ScottAdamsSays

This is how the people who don't understand the tools of persuasion see the video Trump shared with Kim. I'm glad I'm not in that reality!”

He broke down the aspects of the film clip and why they would work in a video presentation, which I find instructive on the psychology of the deal making. 

My friend Rich Markey agrees with Adams:

‪“Brilliant. Four minutes offering to share the world's prosperity, using resonating emotional images on video. Trump used 21st century technology and persuasion technique instead of the usual 18th century methods of conventional diplomacy.”

Over at PJ Media, Roger L. Simon offers more insights on how Trump negotiations worked:

Some people see the glass as half full, others half empty.  Trump is a half full type if there ever was one and his generally optimistic approach to life is what many can't abide, especially because it has made him a success.

Among those who tilt to the pessimistic side are those known as "experts."  You see them all over now, mouthing the conventional wisdom that Trump hasn't really done anything with Kim, that there are no guarantees, no details, etc.  Never mind the all-too-apparent subtext that if Trump does succeed, they look like fakes and could be out of a job.

Part of the problem for these people is that Trump is evolving an entirely new approach to foreign policy that is about as far out of their purview as you could get, something only a real estate magnate could actually pull off.

Call it The Cooptation Doctrine.  Sanction the hell out of the leader of a despotic Third World country, then go meet him and promise, if he mends his ways, to make his country rich and him even richer.

Thus we have Kim shown an iPad rendering of the Côte de North Korea and Trump explaining on Hannity that North Korea, located between booming South Korea and China, is prime real estate replete with scenic landscapes and pristine beaches ready to be developed with resorts and hotels, a veritable Park Place and Boardwalk in the making.

Trump realizes instinctually what we all know from history. Ideology be damned --- being a communist dictator is all about making a fortune off the backs of "the people."  (Castro died a billionaire).  Of course, it helps that you place the despot's regime under those extreme sanctions before you offer him paradise and not let up with those sanctions until he relents and signs.  As we all know, Obama took the opposite approach with Iran and ended up funding Middle East war.

I expect that this is far from the end of the President’s peacemaking endeavors. Don Surber thinks he has a “larger game plan” He notes the G7 is irrelevant -- Rumsfeld’s “Old Europe”

China is the enemy as it paid off American politicians to get trade deals that have funded its military growth. That's the real problem in the world. The Canadian tariffs on cheese and butter are not killing the economy, but President Trump went after them to make a point to China.

Peeling North Korea from the Chinese sphere of influence reverses nearly 1,500 years of history, where Korea was an independent protectorate of China. It ended in 1905 with a Japanese invasion but resumed after World War II. [snip]

President Trump has left Iran to Saudi Arabia and Israel to take care of. It's their table, not his.

North Korea is just one piece in the peace puzzle that President Trump is assembling. He is an advocate of peace through strength. This is why he discarded the weak sister four in the G7, and why he wants to cut a deal with Rocket Man. The Dotard knows what he is doing.

So while the “experts” who have kept the world aboil toasting dictators with champagne, enriching them with pallets of cash and concessions, besetting the innocent with their ineffectual -- indeed counterproductive -- moves the real estate mogul who believes in peace through strength is making the world safer by wisely ignoring them and sticking to the techniques which he has mastered. And they are left to drink the wine of sour grapes.

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