The big news story of yesterday was President Trump surprising everyone by reacting to Kim’s threats to cancel the Singapore summit between the North Koreans and the US by beating him to the punch.
“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim, which was released Thursday morning.
While there has been a lot of shock in the press and online this underlines two basic facts that apparently both the press and the North Koreans have.
- Trump already has what he wants from North Korea.
If there are two things that the US would want from North Korea it would be to dismantle or delay their nuclear program and the release of any Americans being held by them.
Both of these things have been done although the 2nd is likely out of either necessity or out of sabotage, not out of kindness or a desire for peace.
If you told anybody in January 2017 that by the end of May 2018 North Korea would have given up their hostages AND dismantled their nuke site they would have told you that is a pipe dream, but Trump has these things in his pocket.
2. It is Kim NOT Trump that needs the summit
The one thing that the North Koreans want more than anything else is international recognition and the openings that come from it.
It is these openings that can give them the chance to feed their people and gain prestige and the evidence of this was their amazingly quick response to Trump’s cancellation.
“If and when Kim Jong-un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting.” It turns out Trump didn’t have to wait long. From Bloomberg:
In a statement Friday by state-run KCNA that cited Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea vowed to continue to pursue peace and signaled it would give Washington more time to reconsider talks.
“Our goal and will to do everything for peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and mankind remains unchanged, and we are always willing to give time and opportunity to the US side with a big and open mind,” according to the statement. “We express our intent that there is a willingness to sit at any time, in any way to resolve issues.”
One of the reasons why the Media can’t destroy Trump is because they didn’t make him, and his power and reputation aren’t dependent on him. Nor does he care if he wins a Nobel Prize or not because he understands that will not make his more or less of what he is.
So now we have the spectacle of the Norks wanting to get the summit back on track or at least rescheduled, the ball is now in Trump’s court and he can either agree without conditions, or agree for a price.
My price would be the USS Pueblo.
On January 23, 1968 the North Koreans seized the USS Pueblo and it crew. While the crew was released in December of that year the ship is still held by the Norks while it remains a commissioned warship in the US Navy. Only the USS Constitution has been commissioned longer that the Pueblo.
If I was Donald Trump I’d make the return of the USS Pueblo a condition of the rescheduling of the summit and if he needs, at some time in the future to give the Norks a bloody nose in the future without provoking war, I’d sink the Pueblo with a cruise missile. It’s our ship and ours to sink if we please.