On Friday Donald Trump made his second annual trip to kiss the trigger fingers of the National Rifle Association (NRA) honchos who funneled more than $30 million to his presidential campaign. Some of that we now know came directly from Russia. Trump’s address was a rehash of his now tedious tirades that he delivers at his Deplorable rallies. He covered all the hits: Border wall, Russia hoax, polling, terrorists, and of course, the Second Amendment.
Among the subjects that Trump rambled through was his handling of the nuclear showdown with North Korea. His comments were typically narrowed to bragging about himself. He boasted to the glassy-eyed disciple in the audience that he was responsible for ending the nuclear threat that was looming over the world. You know, the one that he created. He said that his demonstration of strength won the day because “Weakness gets you nuclear war.”
What Trump and his dimwitted followers will never discern from that is that every president before Trump must have been pretty strong because none of them set off a nuclear war. In fact, none of them even drew the threat of one that Trump did. After all, Trump is the belligerent instigator who taunted Kim Jong Un as “little rocket man” and warned that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” He even dashed off a pseudo-phallic tweet about his “bigger button.” And from that sort of reckless heckling, Trump thinks he got Kim to come to the negotiating table.
To the contrary, it was Kim who got Trump to the table. This is a fact that Trump and his GOP supporters in Congress completely fail to understand. The Republican Freedom caucus recently sent a letter to the Nobel nominating committee seeking recognition of Trump for a Peace Prize based on on his achievements with regard to North Korea. Never mind that there haven’t been any achievements as of yet. Just a lot of talk.
The GOP letter was an embarrassing composition whose first paragraph contained an obvious typo (“…in recognition of his work to end to the Korean war…”). And among the reasons stated that Trump deserved the award were the sanctions that “have decimated the North Korean economy.” Well, isn’t that just the sort of peaceful triumph worthy of a Nobel?
More to the point, Trump should not get a Nobel Peace Prize for getting played by Kim. And that’s precisely what happened. For decades North Korean leaders have tried to get the United States, and other world powers, to recognize their nation and grant them the legitimacy of diplomatic parity. They have tried to coax prior presidents to the table with the same sort of chain rattling that they did for Trump. The difference is that every previous American leader was strong enough to say no. Trump folded.
As a result, North Korea is getting the only thing they wanted all along: recognition and legitimacy. As well as the elimination of sanctions and a reduction in foreign troop presence. These are all things that Trump is willing to negotiate, without any preconditions on the part of North Korea. So it wasn’t Trump’s threats that got the parties to the table. It was Kim’s testing of nuclear weapons and ICBMs, and Trump’s eventual weakness in bending in the face of that perceived peril.
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Having capitulated to Kim’s strategic weapons program ought not to be the basis for a Nobel Peace Prize. And Trump’s weakness in now referring to Kim as “very honorable” is hardly a proud moment in American diplomacy. But don’t try telling that to the suckers who cheered when Trump praised his own “strength” and deal making prowess at the NRA convention.