Thursday, May 10, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He welcomed home North Korean hostages as only he could.

Early this morning, Trump met the plane carrying three Americans recently freed from captivity in North Korea. (Two of the three were detained on Trump's watch, although this didn't stop Trump from saying that the Obama administration had somehow failed to bring them home.) 

North Korea routinely takes hostages from the United States and its allies, in order to have bargaining chips during diplomatic negotiations. For that reason, it had been the policy of the United States--until now--not to reward North Korea with praise or diplomatic recognition on top of whatever it was able to extort in exchange for the release of its prisoners.

This morning, Trump lavishly thanked the regime that imprisoned the three Americans: "We want to thank Kim Jong Un, who really was excellent to these three incredible people." As though to drive home the point that North Korea was indeed about to be rewarded in the upcoming talks, Trump added, "We very much appreciate that he allowed them to go before the meeting. He was nice in letting them go before the meeting …That was a big thing, very important to me."

At least one of the three had been serving a sentence of hard labor; all three are now undergoing intensive medical and psychological evaluation, and were kept away from the press. The same "excellent" treatment killed American student Otto Warmbier last year.

Why does this matter?

  • There's a difference between diplomacy and capitulation.
  • It's bad to reward bad behavior.
  • A president who can go from threatening nuclear war to praising the "honorable" and "excellent" Kim regime is either insane or dangerously na├»ve.