Remember the first rule of negotiating (or "deal-making", if you prefer): The side that is more willing to walk away from the table and not come back is the side that has the advantage. If you want a deal too much, and especially if you make it too obvious to the people across from you, that is a fatal weakness in any round of talks, because they know that you'll be making most, if not all, of the concessions, no matter how bad a deal that produces. Barack Obama's Iran nuclear "deal" is the classic example.
Recall in the bigger picture, though, that the reason why negotiating to get the Norks to give up their nuclear program has always failed over the past generation is because the very existence of their nuclear program puts them in the driver's seat before talks ever begin. Pyongyang has something we want - nuclear weapons to be gotten rid of - and we have nothing that they want, though they're happy to take whatever we give them in pursuit of our ephemeral goal. Since the NoKos don't have to make concessions, they're free to employ whatever tactics they wish - belligerent saber-rattling, playing hard to get, and offering fake concessions they have no intention of ever keeping.
Yesterday, the "historic" meeting between President Dotard and Little Rocketman took place at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and I see no need to revise my remarks from a week and a half ago, other than to add that they were reinforced when it was announced last week that newly minted National Security Adviser John Bolton was being left home because of his "aggressive statements about using military force against the reclusive nation and its nuclear arsenal" (i.e. his Libya parallels to the Norks) and his "clashing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the matter". Donald Trump wanted his own Iran nuclear "deal", and by God, nobody with a lick of common sense, sanity, and foreign policy expertise was going to be allowed to stand in his way. I hope the 'stache hasn't unpacked his office boxes yet.
Oh, and the Un-dictator's next summit will be with - tada! - Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Probably to sell Boy Assad a few nuclear warheads and laugh hysterically at what a simpering dolt the American president is.
On Monday evening, Donald Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, the tyrannical overlord of a slave state with twenty five million prisoners and a gulag system containing hundreds of thousands of human beings, a radical threat to world peace who has tested nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Trump gave Kim the thumbs up; the American flag, the symbol of freedom in the world, was placed alongside the flag of North Korea, the closest thing to the Nazi swastika in the world today. Then Trump praised Kim fulsomely, using verbiage to describe him that he would never use about our G-7 allies.
And the r[edcaps] celebrated.
And if Barack Obama had ever done the same, their heads would have exploded, and justifiably so. But I digress.
Trump got no serious concessions from Kim. The Norks made no promises they haven't insincerely made countless times before over the past quarter-century on their way to their current substantial nuclear arsenal. Indeed, according to Heritage Foundation research fellow for Northeast Asia Bruce Klingner, Trump's "deal" is the weakest one yet:
This is very disappointing. Each of the four main points was in previous documents with NK, some in a stronger, more encompassing way. The denuke bullet is weaker than the Six Party Talks language. And no mention of CVID, verification, human rights.
Yet how did Trump describe it? "What did they do to justify this meeting? Secured commitment for complete denuclearization. That’s the big thing." Which they did not, in fact, do. This is nothing short of sheer self-delusion.
Trump also elevated the pot-bellied little despot to his status level by, among other things, releasing a video just this morning of the summit obviously intended to glorify himself but which also provides the Norks a propaganda gold mine beyond their wildest dreams. But he didn't stop there, oh no. The Donald gushed all over his newest mass-murdering BFF like a squealing teeny-bopper hurling her panties on stage at a Beatles concert, cooing that it was a "great honor" to meet Kim, that he's "very talented" and "very smart" and a "very good negotiator" (which he didn't have to be in this instance). He made pathetic excuses for Kim's demonic human rights record eerily similar to those he's offered for his pal Vlad Putin and marveled at how, “His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor.” No mention of the machine guns pointed at their heads. That tends to do wonders for one's "fervor" level. Trump also blamed all the previous failed "deals" on his predecessors, rather than North Korean treachery, and offered all the heartfelt admiration of Kim for his "nationalism" that he pointedly denied Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just twenty four hours earlier. Priorities!
So the Hermit Kingdom, the Devil's Dungeon, gets to keep its nukes and has been gifted a bonanza of international prestige and legitimacy. But wait, there's more! Not only is Trump halting all joint drills and exercises with South Korean and Japanese military forces - which was a big ol' surprise to the Pentagon - but total U.S. withdrawal from South Korea - the objective of the Kim dynasty for two thirds of a century - is apparently on the table while any and all U.S. military options have been ruled out.
And in return for all this largesse which must have even Barack Obama either facepalming or smolderingly jealous, Trump received....what? Some kimchi takeout? A "Kim-Trump 2020" t-shirt? Making a total patsy of his SecState? Will his Secretary of Defense be next? Because the only concession Trump did not make that I've been able to tell is that the sanctions against North Korea are still in place. And Guam, Hawaii, and Alaska haven't been ceded to Pyongyang. But with a "transactional" president for whom everything is negotiable, we can't count on even that much.
But one thing is for certain: like Red Barry was with the Iran nuclear "deal," Trump is invested in this one, and he'll never admit what a disastrous blunder it is. Heck, he even admitted as much:
"I trust [K]im. I may be wrong. I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.” [emphasis added]
And redcaps will swallow it like all the the other BS doggie treats they've come to adore so much. Suckers.
One other passage from my June 1st column bears repeating here:
Remember how Donald Trump was going to "burn down" this kind of demented "thinking"? Overturn the "D.C. establishment" that makes "dumb, stupid deals" that only help our enemies and sucker America? How he was going to put us on the mother of all "winning" streaks? Looks like that Donald Trump never existed, doesn't it?
Time will tell when the North Korean tanks, supported by nuclear artillery, roll southward again like they did sixty-eight years ago. Something tells me the outcome will be different this time. But they'll have Donald Trump to thank for it. Accompanied by hysterical laughter, of course.
UPDATE: Here's a thought: Will Trump submit this "deal" to the U.S. Senate for ratification as a treaty? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks he should. It would have a better chance at two-thirds support than the Iran nuclear "deal" did, which was most of why The One never submitted it. But I'm guessing Mafia Don will follow in his predecessor's pigeon-toed footsteps. After all, kings don't submit anything to anybody, and answer only to themselves (i.e. "MAGA!!!!!").