Friday, August 24, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He admitted defeat on North Korea.

Trump used Twitter this afternoon to announce that he was canceling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's next round of planned talks with North Korea because "we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." 

Trump's met with Kim Jong-un personally in June, giving North Korea military and diplomatic victories in exchange for little more than a promise to "work towards" denuclearization. It also allowed Trump to declare that he'd personally ended the North Korean nuclear threat, and that Americans could "sleep well" for the first time. 

Immediately afterwards, North Korea began reneging, as experts had predicted they would. Pompeo's follow-up meeting was a diplomatic disaster, and American military intelligence officials immediately found evidence that Kim intended to hide his nuclear arsenal while pretending to disarm. North Korea also openly resumed work on intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike the United States. 

In his tweets, Trump blamed China's lack of cooperation, which he said was "because of our much tougher Trading stance"--that is to say, his trade war. But if that's true, and China is trying to punish Trump for the taxes he's imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth imported Chinese goods, then Trump is really saying that his failure in North Korea was caused by his failure to get the "easy" win he'd predicted in the trade war.

Trump neglected to mention that China is not alone in relaxing its enforcement of North Korean sanctions: the Putin regime in Russia has, too.

Why should I care about this?

  • Presidents don't get to make excuses about why their policies didn't work.
  • Any policy that relies on other nations to act against their own interests to help the United States is a stupid policy.
  • This is why it's not a good idea to declare victory before you have accomplished anything.