North Korea: Trump-Kim Meeting Proves Our President’s Strategy Worked

North Korea USA America Kim Trumpfrom – Fox News

President Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un – announced Thursday night to a shocked world – is a stunning vindication of the president’s strategy and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s artful behind-the-scenes acumen.

North Korea’s invitation for the meeting and President Trump’s acceptance marked a historic step. If a genuine rapprochement occurs on President Trump’s watch, leading to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the impact on global security and President Trump’s legacy will be enormous.

But at this point, it’s important for President Trump and his foreign policy and defense team to proceed with extreme caution. While they deserve credit for cracking the North Korean silence, the historical record suggests this could be a trap, if not an intentional distraction.

President Trump’s engaged, creative and blunt approach – with artful backroom diplomacy – has turned the dial. If this strategic opening leads somewhere, the Russia investigation of the 2016 election will become a footnote on world-changing achievement. President Trump will instead be remembered for calling out North Korea’s intolerable nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile threats to global civilization.

But a decision to meet, even a North Korean promise to denuclearize, is not an agreement, implementation, verification or a factually denuclearized Peninsula. And the odds of success remain long.

On the plus side, President Trump not only triggered this opening, but persuaded China to make sanctions real, which occasions a nod to both the president and China.

On the minus side, the record suggests profound skepticism is warranted about North Korea’s intentions.

In 1985, pressured hard by Ronald Reagan, North Korea – led by the current leader’s grandfather – signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty (NPT). Everyone was happy. The world celebrated.

That triggered a running of the clock on an 18-month signing of the “safeguards agreement,” implementing the NPT. The North Koreans ignored the clock. Suddenly, they demanded South Korea drop nuclear weapons.

Six years on, President George H.W. Bush withdrew all American nuclear weapons from overseas – including from South Korea – in order to induce the Soviets to do the same. At that time, North Korea finally signed the safeguards agreement.

Reversal was again fast. That year, North Korea was caught and sanctioned for missile proliferation and cheating on the NPT with a rogue plutonium reprocessing plant.

By early 1993, the North Koreans had firmly refused International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections. But later that year, they doubled back. They allowed them in theory, if the West would pledge not ever to attack, which of course we did.

But in 1994, North Korea was caught red-handed again, this time producing enough plutonium for “one or two nuclear weapons.” Funny thing, the North had done all this cheating while allowing IAEA inspections to other locations.

When caught by the IAEA with the plutonium reprocessing plant, North Korea summarily quit the NPT. So much for a solid kick between the goalposts, long run, but no cigar.

Like Charlie Brown to the rescue, idealist on call, former President Jimmy Carter flew over to North Korea, and magically announced he had negotiated a “freeze” on North Korea’s nuclear program. The world again celebrated.

For better or worse, North Korea’s President, Kim II Sung died that year, succeeded by his son Kim Jong II, who was later be succeeded by his son, current leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim Jong II toyed with agreements halting nuclear weapons and missile development, but suddenly demanded “compensation” from the U.S. for giving them up. Unlike President Obama’s choice in Iran, giving $400 million for a big, bad, broken promise, President Clinton gave nothing to North Korea. A smart move.

Soon enough, more cheating produced American sanctions. Without Chinese support, they failed. Over the next 20 years, the North Korean nuclear weapons and missile programs continued their unmitigated, undeterred and largely ignored advance.

Missile launches and underground nuclear tests proliferated, beside useless negotiations. More sanctions came, but U.S. intelligence concluded by 2000 that North Korea was developing missiles that would soon be able to hit American territories in the Pacific.

Promises were ritually made anew, boldly flouted, with new sanctions imposed, and nothing changed. After seven rounds of negotiations, and a steady flow of wishful diplomats and wistful proclamations, nothing led to nothing, as nothing ever does.

When the North Koreans need time, they promise talk. Is talk worth having? Sure – as long as everyone understands, talk is not a substitute for action.

Today things are definitely different. America’s economic and military might are locked, loaded and ready. Current sanctions are real, robust and bound to bite. China is finally helping, and America’s credibility has been boldly restored. But this is not enough, unless North Korea is serious.
Frankly, the stakes are higher than most imagine, a fork in the road, resolution or submission to nuclear blackmail. We are at a Rubicon, a moment of choosing for us, but more so for North Korea’s leadership.

For good to come of this, we must see a mutual intent to end the madness. The question at this moment, with true and new hope in our sails, is this: Does North Korea appreciate the enormity of this moment, which could be existential? Is the regime serious about this negotiation?
President Trump set out to stop the historic merry-go-round. And it looks like, for the moment, he has done it.

The North Korean invitation and President Trump’s acceptance are monumental steps, but the unspoken question remains – toward what?
Can they get to genuine denuclearization and a rollback of North Korea’s decades-old ambition and threat? Or are we about to be disappointed again? If that happens, the risk to North Korea goes sky high, but does the Kim government know that?

As hope is not a strategy, talk is not an endgame. What happens next is critical, but is infused with new hope. Suddenly, there exists a previously unknown, world-changing breakthrough.

Such things do happen.

If this produces a lasting peace and a denuclearized North Korea, President Trump will rise in global stature like no president since Ronald Reagan. But history suggests caution. Courage and hard work may produce the good outcome, or may not. We can dare to hope, we should dare, as the president has, but with realism.

Robert Charles is a former assistant secretary of state for President George W. Bush, former naval intelligence officer and litigator. He served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses.

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13 Comments on "North Korea: Trump-Kim Meeting Proves Our President’s Strategy Worked"

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Mr. Charles gives a good summary and synopsis of North Korean actions. Mr. Trump understands one can only negotiate from strength. His tactics of pressuring China and his tough talk to Kim Jong Un are producing some indications of progress. It is imperative that the Trump proceed with skepticism and caution. But, proceed he must. I only wish and hope our congress, political leaders, and Democratic critics would put their rhetoric aside. For once they must put the country’s needs first and not their own personal and political party interests. I have 3 words for the Democrats and the blue dogs, “Just stop it!”

I think that the sanctions on NK are slowly strangling them. With that being said, I’d hold off on the victory lap for a while. I wouldn’t trust that butterball turkey as far as I could throw him. The Kim family has a long history of deceit.

Call me naive and/or paranoid, but while I think the Trump-Kim meeting is extremely important, I don’t like the idea of President Trump going into North Korea. Kim Jong Un has shown himself to be without ethics or credibility and I don’t think the President’s safety can be guaranteed. It gives me a really bad feeling. I hope I’m wrong! I wish they would meet either in the U.S. or in neutral territory.

And some say they hate President Trump. The best President in many years one who has put all of his efforts to our lives.

Kim jong-un is a narcissist looking for legitimacy on the world stage. He craves media attention and hopes for a media (hostile to President Trump) to award him the legitimacy he desires. I am confident that President Trump understands the failures of past US Presidents as they have “negotiated” with the Kim dynasty. Kim jong-un wants the economic sanctions lifted so he can continue to lead as a slave-holding butcher and war-monger. Part of the negotiations should include Kim’s surrender to an International Tribunal for crimes against humanity.

Kim will NEVER abandon his new nukes. This meeting is all about putting a final period on our efforts at diplomacy. We will end up with ONLY the military option and that could be devastation for the world because the Chinese and Russians will back Kim and so will Iran with their secret nukes already deployed. WHEN will people learn that you cannot trust a tyrant? It took a long time for the world to learn their lesson about appeasement with Hitler and it almost cost the world its freedom. The world will not survive a nuclear war. BTW – remember when Hillary and Democrats approved the sale of 20% of our nuclear grade plutonium to Russia?! I suppose you can now see that that nuclear fuel went to Korea and Iran!! Democrats are America’s Domestic Enemy and it’s time you wake up!

Let’s see what is accomplished from this meeting. Then we can determine if change is really possible or the meeting is a shame .

I must agree with most of the comments made. Of course Kim is trying to fool the US. Its always worked in the past, so why not now? Of course we should not trust him any farther than we can throw our house. BUT, he does understand that we could turn his entire country into a pit of white-hot gravel in about 7 minutes IF we had a leader that was willing to use that awesome power. What the President needs to do is convince him that he is that leader. Never truly trust, but always verify.

Be extremely careful walking up to the gates of hell, knocking, and being let in. There’s a tendency/creeping feeling that I have that this is a pre-WW 2 Neville Chamberlain moment coming up………something’s not right….I can’t pin it down…but I’m “feeling” (I hate that…liberals “feel”…conservatives “think”… and I’m a conservative) that this will be serious and not good. I do hope I’m wrong……but through life when I’d get these “gut” feelings……I was correct…to one degree or another.

Let’s see what the outcome of this meeting means in real actions .

You know, I’ve been trained and taught my entire life that when someone has shown themselves to be a back stabbing, liar, murdering -astard, that thats what they are. Bottom line, nothing more to say. Now, in good faith, that person is going to change??? So sure, I love President Trump, and admire his leadership. I look at this as more as “what do we have to lose?” thing. I guess we can kill jong in May just as well as now. Maybe, we can set the guy up.

If President Trump succeeds in this, the “unbiased” media will simply say he did it to escape from the Russia scandal (which is, in itself, a lie). This is the same media that crowed that president Obama “stared down” N. Korea (on a trip to S. Korea, he went to the DMZ and looked over the border). Perception is everything – just ask some 60% of my co-workers and neighbors.