Friday, March 09, 2018


In The Atlantic, Thomas Wright quotes a January 2016 interview in which Donald Trump said this about Kim Jong-un:
You gotta give him credit. How many young guys—he was like 26 or 25 when his father died—take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden ... he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss. It's incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean this guy doesn't play games. And we can't play games with him.
I discount the last sentence of that. The rest is a reminder that Trump develops schoolboy crushes on strongmen (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping), and he'll develop one on Kim. He likes people he thinks are "killers."

Kim will undoubtedly flatter Trump face-to-face, and he'll probably try to sell Trump on the notion that a U.S. military withdrawal from the Korean Peninsula would be a money-saving deal for the U.S. Wright wonders whether Trump would go for that:
... Trump has always had concerns about alliances in general and the U.S.-South Korea one in particular. Since the mid 1980s, he has argued that America’s alliances are a bad deal. Initially his wrath was focused on Japan and the Arab states but in 2013, he said, “How long will we go on defending South Korea from North Korea without payment? … When will they start to pay us?” In an interview with NBC in 2015, he said, “We have 28,000 soldiers on the line in South Korea between the madman and them. We get practically nothing compared to the cost of this.” Perhaps Trump may think that an end to the ICBM program and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea is a win-win.
I'd like to think someone will accompany Trump who understands the ramifications of withdrawal for international security and regional alliances -- but there have been rumors that his secretary of state and his national security adviser might be leaving soon, so he might just show up accompanied by a few lackeys and Ivanka. Who the hell knows?

It's obvious that he's totally unqualified to do this, but if it's going to happen, let's hope it doesn't happen in Pyongyang. If it does, not only will Kim flatter him, he'll stage a huge parade with lot of military weapons. After that, Trump will be putty in his hands.

No comments: