Why I am Not Buying the Whitehouse Excuse for Calling of the Kim Jong-Un Meeting
A high ranking official in the Trump administration has explained why the meeting failed. I can’t say I buy the explanation. We are given several reasons why:
Kim Said He Understood the US and South Korea would Continue with Military Exercises
That sounds unbelievable. Almost every nation has issues with big military exercises close to their territory. We complain when the Russian do that, and they complain when we do it. That a hyper paranoid regime like North Korea should be okay with military exercises seems unbelievable. We have seen how North Korea has publicly complained about this bitterly in the public repeatedly in the past.
I don’t think it is impossible that the Trump white house think they got assurance like this. Because this would not have been the first time the US screwed up the communications with an adversary. The diplomatic team in the US today is weaker than ever lacking a lot of key personnel and competence. It is highly likely that they failed to communicate effectively with North Korea.
Kim Said He was Ready To Disarm
Ever since there has been a crisis it has been clear that North Korea does not want to unilaterally disarm. They want security guarantees from the US first or at the same time. They are not going to begin disarming as a token they they are willing to engage in peace talks.
That has been their public position for years. That the Trump administration suddenly thought they gotten North Korea to agree to something else, is highly implausible.
In this case it seems as if they have spoken past each other. Americans viewed that North Korea had stated a willingness to disarm, as if they were willing to unilaterally disarm without any concrete actions or guarantees from the US in return.
What Went Wrong?
I would say the usual stuff went wrong. The Trump administration has never been good at coordinated communication and having a cohesive message. That is because Trump is never willing to sit down and go over in detail with his administration what exactly his policies are.
Of course this would be impossible because Trump tends to contradict himself. Staffers scramble to formulate policy by looking at his tweets, but they are frequently contradictory.
What we end up with then are people like Bolton making disastrous statements like “We intend to follow the Libyan model.” I honestly think Bolton said that on purpose to sabotage the whole thing. He doesn’t want peace, he wants war.
Yet you simply can’t pin the blame on Bolton alone. It is Trump’s responsibility to know what kind of people he hires and make sure they stay in line. For somebody who brags about only hiring the best people, he seems to getting it wrong consistently judging by the staggering number of people fired since in inauguration. If you actually understand people and know what you want, then you seldom need to fire people.
Also I don’t think Trump might have fully understood he North Korea position because he never pays attention to details. He gets bored easily and wants to just make quick decisions. Understanding the history of the North and South Korea as well as understanding their motivations and thinking to some degree is not going to be very high on Trump’s list of fun things to do.
He would rather be in bed with a cheeseburger watching FOX and Friends. Not paying attention in class and not doing your homework actually has consequences.