Trump's Comments on Otto Warmbier were Garbage and so are the Excuses

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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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Praise him when he does well. Criticize him when he does something dumb. Today, we are going to venture into the latter category.

There’s very little that Trump does as President that really bothers me on a personal level. Is his tweeting counter-productive? Yes, and I wish he’d shut up more often as it invariably helps him when he does. Does he have moral issues in his past? Sure, but I made peace with that after he won the Presidency. Constantly squawking about his ten year old affairs is pointless. His policies are generally good and aside from running his mouth too much, there’s not really much for me to object too with Trump on a daily basis.

His antics with North Korea’s murderous garden gnome are becoming the exception though.

I’ve passed over a lot of questionable rhetoric from President Trump, but this genuinely bothers me. Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro wasn’t a fan of Trump’s comment either, but it’s the responses I want to focus on.

Let’s first establish that it’s moronic to believe that Kim Jong-Un didn’t know that a high-profile American captive was tortured under his rule. Let’s also establish that Kim Jong-Un is not a good guy who was just unaware and who would have otherwise treated Otto with respect. He knew and orchestrated what happened. Nothing goes on in that country, at that level, without him knowing.

With that said, I understand there’s a fence to straddle here and the question is how do you handle these issues while in negotiations?

To many responding above, the answer apparently is the President publicly saying Kim didn’t know and that he believes him. To others, it’s the assertion that you either kiss Kim’s butt in grotesque fashion in front of the cameras or we have a nuclear war.

To put it kindly, these excuses don’t hold water at all. They also assign way too much power to a petty chump of a dictator who is not (or should not be) in control here. 

False dichotomies are a weak debate tactic and these responses are full of them. Obama’s fluffers constantly gave the false choice of signing a terrible deal with Iran or going to war. That was nonsense. Conservatives shouldn’t do the same now with North Korea to defend a comment that’s really indefensible.

There’s a middle ground for the President between trashing Kim in front of the press as the murderer he is for diplomatic purposes and lowering yourself (and the United States) to such a disgusting level of embrace. The President could have said he’s made his position clear on that and that he’s not going to discuss it further during negotiations. He could have simply refused to comment. He could have said that things have happened in the past that are objectionable but we’ve got to move forward. All of this could happen without aggressively or pointedly addressing Kim’s role.

For the President to instead accept Kim’s excuse and publicly state that he takes his word for it is a bridge too far though. To be sure there were other comments as well at this summit where he fluffed the little dictator a bit much for my liking, but this was a level beyond. President Trump championed the release of Otto Warmbier. He used his family to take a victory lap in the media. To now publicly excuse Kim like this and over-the-top praise the guy, as the Warmbier family looks on, is just cruel.

Furthermore, what did this “summit” accomplish? What was the point? I put myself out there, along with others, to support the first summit despite my reservations. I believed it was worth the effort. To do this again though, after getting nothing the first time, only to receive a bunch of soundbites of the US President praising an evil dictator like they are best buds is very frustrating.

There have to be lines and one was crossed here. I understand the President probably doesn’t actually believe Kim but as the leader of the free world, he has to do better than this. There are ways to be more effective in diplomacy past sitting across the table from a dictator (for a 2nd time no less) and thinking you can win him over with a tongue bath of praise. That clearly hasn’t been very effective and it’s time for the President to improve.

I’m going to have to agree with Ben on this one.