Dems and their media have decided Hanoi summit will be a disaster
Stand-by for real accomplishments at the Hanoi Summit, and for the media and Democrats to declare it a failure. In fact, if you believe the many media reports leading up to the meeting in Hanoi between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the United States already has lost, and will get from the meeting either nothing or worse-than-nothing, offering unreciprocated concessions to the Norks. That’s because Trump is always wrong.
But if one takes a step back from the partisan expectations-setting and looks at the bigger picture, Trump already has reaped a short-term success and is implementing a strategy with a reasonable chance of success.
Note his initial posture (before waving to crowd at the airport) as Trump leaves Air Force One in Hanoi
Euro-news screen grab via YouTube
Let’s unpack this.
First of all, Trump’s critics see Kim gaining merely because he has another meeting with the POTUS, elevating him to equal status. But that is a double-edged sword back home in Pyongyang, where the people who control the actual arms of state power, the military and security forces, are worried about being sold out by the still-young hereditary dictator. Who was educated in the West. Kim can only hold onto power so long as they are in support of his continued rule. He is especially vulnerable when he is overseas, as he now is. Trump knows this, and can use it to pressure him, offering the prospect of more goodies for Kim to distribute to loyalists, when North Korea follows the path taken by Communist brother-country Vietnam. At the last summit in Singapore, Trump used a video to show what North Korea could look like after liberalization. In Hanoi, both men can see what liberalization can do for a communist dictatorship. Vietnam’s communist party’s hold on power remains powerful, even as it has warmed up to its former bitter enemy, the United States.
Second, it is important to understand that the total ending of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is, as President Trump has emphasized of late, a long-term process. Kim has already recognized denuclearization as the end-point goal, while wrangling over the definition of that term. Because the arsenal functions as the guarantee against invasion and overthrow of his regime, Kim will give it up only after he has secured huge benefits and feels more secure in office. This means opening up North Korea’s economy and society to the point where it can vault quickly to the ranks of industrialized countries, following the Chinese (and to a lesser degree the Vietnamese) models of combining economic liberalization with political domination by a communist party.
With South Korea next door and anxious to open up relations as quickly as possible, once the process of opening up goes further, North Korean society will start changing, and the demand for even more freedom, and especially more wealth, will cascade. The rich Southern cousins will tach a lot to the Nork populace.
Now, let’s take a look at what Trump already has accomplished. Far, far more that his critics are willing to concede. Don Surber has a must-read post on the subject, pointing out that the fact that we are not at war with North Korea is a huge win. The media ignores the fact that aa Obama left office, that was a genuine, perhaps even likely outcome.
Without something new and different from the trajectory Obama had ratified, we were on the way toward war.
While Obama's henchmen are attacking President Trump and denying this, on September 12, 2018, the Japan Times reported, "Former U.S. President Barack Obama considered a pre-emptive strike on North Korea after it conducted its fifth nuclear test in September 2016, just days after lobbing three medium-range ballistic missiles 1,000 kilometers into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to a book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward released Tuesday.
"The nuclear blast — and claims by Pyongyang that it could mount the new bomb on missiles that put allies Japan and South Korea within striking distance — had deeply troubled Obama, Woodward wrote in 'Fear: Trump in the White House.'"
Obama the bomber of Libya was willing to end a 63-year truce, but Woodward said we should fear President Trump. Why? Because peace could break out?
The generals had to talk The Won down. Woodward wrote, "The Pentagon reported that the only way ‘to locate and destroy — with complete certainty — all components of North Korea’s nuclear program’ was through a ground invasion. A ground invasion would trigger a North Korean response, likely with a nuclear weapon."
Well, that was a big bullet we dodged.
My strong suspicion is that there will mutual offering of concessions of a non-critical sort between the two countries at the end of the summit. I expect the media to poo-poo this and claim that Kim won the exchange because he is still in power and he still has nukes. But another war, this one with North Korea, is delayed again, and more pieces will fall in place pushing that country onto the path of behaving more like a normal country, one with a worthwhile stake in the world economy and status quo, and therefore less likely to shatter it with a nuclear war.
It is silly to criticize Trump for not accomplishing the impossible. Merely making progress in opening up the isolated rogue state and pushing it toward normality, while avoiding war and stopping the missile launches, is worth plenty.