Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Only Trump Could Go to North Korea - Tom Luongo

Donald Trump did the unthinkable. He went to North Korea. He stepped over the line in the sand demarked by Washington protocol for nearly seventy years.
And that Washington establishment, predictably, hates him for it. It can be felt from all sides of the political rotunda. They hate that Trump realizes their position, one of maximum pressure, isn’t working.
They despise that Russia and China will benefit from ending this frozen conflict not to mention Koreans on both sides of the DMZ.
The cynic in me thinks they are angry that the American people will benefit as well.
So this weekend was a good one for peaceniks around the world. Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping agreed to back down on the worst of his trade war demands.
Trump presumably had a good meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin which likely set the stage for his meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un. Remember Kim met with Putin earlier this year and designated him as his go-between with Trump after the talks in Hanoi fell apart.
The Bile Belt
This event should not be downplayed. Trump showed great humility and generosity towards Kim at the moment of truth. We should be cheering this regardless of what we think of him personally.
Diplomacy is not groveling. It is the acknowledgment of the other person’s basic humanity, a fundamental point lost in the political cesspit that is D.C.
Because of his previous mistakes and belligerence, only Trump could have made the walk across the DMZ to meet Kim on his territory. Only someone as blunt as Trump could cut through the nonsense that North Korea isn’t capable of independent action.
And only people so full of bile and despite would not be happy about this. Only people so enthralled with the thought of war and their own political and social ambitions would look at this event and seek to tear it down.
These are the people who lost yesterday in Trump’s historic and brilliant bit of diplomacy. And they are complaining bitterly about it today.
Everyone else wins.
In the land of the Twitterati, after stripping away the snark masquerading as analysis, we are left with a bunch of malcontents bemoaning their lost relevance.
I’m not praising him today to get back on anyone’s good side. I’ve been very straight about this. When Trump does good I praise him. When he screws up or acts dangerously I lambaste him.
And that is exactly how we should treat, at all times, all politicians everywhere. The telling point today is that the whole of the Washington establishment, Democrats and Neocons, are aghast at the prospect of peace.
The Wrong Path to Peace
I’ve been a harsh critic of most of Trump’s foreign policy moves since April 2017, when he bombed the airbase at Khan Sheikoun in Syria. It was the first inkling that he didn’t understand the rules of the game he was playing.
And those initial bombings would cost him far more in the end then he could ever gain. Not only did he lose most of his first term in office but he lost the trust of most world leaders pandering to establishment forces within the U.S. Deep State and donor class.
We can trace each move since then as a continuum leading up to Iran shooting down a U.S. Global Hawk drone and see we were always going to end up right where we are.
Because the alternative is a world at war. And think what you want about Trump, I’ve never been convinced that he was interested in that. If anything his problem has been allowing his fundamental humanity to be twisted into something ugly, limbicly lashing out at ‘bad guys’ like at Khan Shiekoun and not seeing the lies around it for what they were.
In the past few weeks we’ve seen a smarter, savvier Trump avoid the traps his allies and advisors set for him. He’s showed immense restraint.
And now, Trump is climbing down off the immense mountain of entitlement he and his advisors placed him on. By stepping over the line into North Korea and meeting with Kim for nearly an hour he’s beginning to deliver on the promises he made during the 2016 campaign.
Why wouldn’t I or anyone else be cheering?
When Iran shot down that drone I said on Sputnik Radio that to solve Iran’s nuclear weapons problem Trump should be looking to North Korea. Getting Kim to agree to freezing warhead production, and presumably dissemination, ends the possibility of Iran achieving that goal anytime soon.
After meeting with most of his ‘enemies’ at the G-20, Trump did just that. He pivoted away from Iran, now a source of political pitfalls, back to North Korea which was the right thing to do.
If Iran wanted a bomb they would have one. If Russia and China wanted Iran to have one, they would have one.
So all of this talk is simply theater. Just like the strategic importance of North Korea in 2019 is still relevant with China fully capable of projecting its interests on its own.
It’s time for this insanity to end. Full stop.
The Koreans want it. The Russians want it. The Chinese want it. Japan wants it.
And we should want it too.
Free at Last?
From the moment he began to engage Kim directly Trump’s strategy was to acknowledge the reality that North Korea can stand on its own. That it is not a puppet state of China.
It has been a constant theme of his while his advisory team tells him otherwise.
Well, they were in Mongolia on Sunday, while the best proxy for his antiwar base was on Air Force One.

Trump’s instincts about denuclearization are correct and laudable. It has been his execution of how to achieve that goal that has been the problem.
He has allowed unbridled hawks whose sanity should surely be questioned to define him and his policy. He knows the failure of the Hanoi talks were a mistake.
He knows that the adventure in Venezuela was as well.
In the past ten days he’s called out National Security Advisor John Bolton publicly, called him a hawk and sent him to Mongolia while Trump made history.
Say what you want about him, Trump is pretty good at this messaging thing.
The coming days will be filled with discussion about what this all means.
I’m not going to do that now. Let’s enjoy the first bit of good foreign policy news since April 2017 and realize that the ship is turning and headed back to port.
Trump’s not out of the rough seas yet, but he finally found the right course to steer.

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