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Who is the bigger man, the clucking reporter or Donald Trump?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 19:26
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At Spectator, Roger Kimball remninds us

the North Koreans have been double-crossing U.S. Presidents at least since Bill was sharing his cigars with Monica Lewinsky.

At yesterday’s press conference, these thoughts were in the background and the questions revolved around two concerns: human rights abuses in North Korea and verifiability.

Let me stipulate that to describe what Kim has done to the people of North Korea as “human rights abuses” is a gross understatement. Guess what: Donald Trump knows this. Remember Ji Seong-ho, the North Korean defector who sat in the First Lady’s box at Trump’s State of the Union address and wowed the audience by waving his crutches in the air? Donald Trump knows what a nasty piece of work Kim Jong-un is just as Ronald Reagan knew that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire.”

…Donald Trump clearly understands the tentative exploratory nature of his diplomatic initiative. He understands that the diplomacy might not work. But the possibility of effecting the denuclearisation of North Korea is too great an opportunity to pass up. It is a possibility, which means that it might fail. That’s one reason Trump is maintaining the tough sanctions that are imposed against North Korea. His strategy of maximum pressure brought Kim to the bargaining table. Let’s see what else it can do.

Notwithstanding the cavils of the ATMC, Trump won major concessions from Kim. The agreement they signed calls for the rapid, complete, and verifiable denuclearisation of the country. In a late addition to the agreement, it also calls for the destruction of a major missile test site. Kim also agreed to return the remains of some 6000 American dead to their families.

Will all of this happen? Stay tuned. Two final thoughts. One, this is what bold diplomacy looks like. It is two parts theatre, one part substantive agreement. You don’t get the result you want instantly. It is, to use a word Trump deployed a week or two before the summit, a “process.” You don’t get a reformation of human rights and McDonald’s and the beach-front condos all at once. You don’t even get all the military concessions all at once. But you start the ball rolling. You say nice things about Kim. You tell the world that he is “talented,” that only “one in ten-thousand” young men would have been able to step into the role and maintain power as he has. You flatter him. “Do you see Kim Jong-un as an equal?” one reporter asked. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make the world a safer place,” Trump responded, even share a stage with him. Who is the bigger man, the clucking reporter or Donald Trump?

Finally, it’s difficult to appreciate the fact that one is living through an historic moment as it unfolds. You get up, boil the egg and butter the toast. You’re absorbed in the daily round of your life. But sometimes big things are happening around you. I believe that what Donald Trump inaugurated yesterday in North Korea may be one such event. There are no guarantees. There never are on the field of international relations. But you’d think that the Left, which is always going on about the importance of dialogue, would champion Donald Trump’s efforts. They don’t, partly because they despise the messenger, partly because his success only underscores their own irrelevance. That in itself has its comic aspects, also its pathetic ones. I think that this is what Hegel called a world-historical moment. If so, I will also note that the dialectic, as the anti-Trump Chihuahuas are about to discover, is a remorseless engine of change. Yesterday people listened to you. Tomorrow, you have a million Twitter followers but no one cares what you say.

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