On April 28 a crowd of President Trump supporters in Michigan delighted the Liar in Chief with strident acclamations of “Nobel, Nobel, Nobel,” meaning Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize for the recent thaw in the Korea situation. This would make about as much sense as giving him a Pulitzer for his tweets.
What the acclamations do demonstrate is the abysmal ignorance of many Trump supporters — many of whom could not find Korea on a map — even if it was a map of Korea.
The play book of North Korea has always been to generate a crisis, then try to extract concessions by offering to back away from the crisis of its own making. In the present case they could not have had a more effective if unwitting partner than Donald Trump. The president fed into every bit of North Korean bluster with threats and name calling of his own, thus amplifying the crisis and making it all the more real and pressing.
Now, just when the situation seemed most dire, when Japan was practicing air raid drills and the question of repatriating dependants from U.S. bases in the far Pacific had been raised, suddenly the strange little man who runs North Korea appears waving an olive branch and having lunch with the President of South Korea. Trump enthusiasts acting out of an obvious ignorance of history, credit Trump’s threats with the change.
Let’s be clear about these threats
To be entirely clear, these threats were not necessarily idle. Some indications have come to light that real military intervention was discussed in the upper echelons of the Pentagon. That this was leaked of course further amplified Trump’s threats and worsened the crisis. This puts the finishing touches on the stage set for Kim Jong Un to appear costumed as the angel of peace, taking credit for preventing a nuclear holocaust.
“But” the Trump supporter objects, he has promised to de-nuclearize!” Alas no, dear friends, he has not. He promised to talk about it and no doubt talk he or his representatives will – talk until Hell freezes over.
But actually give up the bomb? Don’t hold your breath. North Korea without nuclear weapons would be about as interesting and important as Saudi Arabia without oil or Wall Street without banks and the stock exchange.
The next step will be for North Korea to negotiate some relaxation of sanctions as a prerequisite to sitting down for talks. This will of course be granted. Naturally Trump will sternly say sanctions will be re-imposed if the talks aren’t fruitful — but the talks will continue indefinitely.
All-the-while relaxed sanctions will facilitate the importation of vital merchandise to the north. At some point the talks will break down. Kim’s boys will march out. The world will again shudder with fear. More concessions will be needed to get them back to the table.
This is how North Korea has always played the game. Consider the woefully ignorant and inexperienced people Trump has surrounded himself with. It is small wonder he doesn’t realize he is being played like a fiddle.
Toby Grace is Out In Jersey magazine’s Editor Emeritus