It was always a tough ask for North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un to give up his nukes. After all, without their nukes, the country would be of little concern to anyone.
Still, it was somewhat startling that what had begun with such promise had ended so suddenly.
Trump spoke to reporters after his abrupt exit from the talks and said, “It was about the sanctions. Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.”
Specifically, Kim had offered to dismantle its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon. Trump told reporters, “It wasn’t enough. Sometimes you have to walk.”
Prior to his direct talks with Kim, Trump said he was more concerned that he strike a “good” deal rather than a “fast” deal.
Kim agreed to turn over only some, but not all of his nukes. Yet he asked Trump to remove all US sanctions. It sounds like a deal his father would have asked for.
Actually, his father both requested and received similar deals, several times from three US presidents.
We’ll never know what Kim’s intentions were as he arrived at the summit. But, surely he and his team were well aware of the circus that was taking place on Capitol Hill yesterday as the summit began. And I have to wonder if Kim and his advisors, knowing what Trump was facing at home, might have believed he would accept less favorable terms because he badly needed a political win. Did the spectacle of the Michael Cohen hearings embolden Kim?
Although the Cohen hearing provided no game-changing revelations, it was an embarrassment for the President. Regardless of the testimony, the fact that it was held at all while he was at an overseas summit was a poor optic and it likely weakened him in Kim’s eyes.
Ahead of Trump’s trip, more than a few liberal pundits were concerned that he would accept a less than optimum deal to “obscure” their coverage of the Cohen hearing. He proved them wrong.
There’s a reason why Americans support their Presidents when they are overseas. In his famous 1945 “speech heard round the world,” Senator Arthur Vandenberg said “we must stop partisan politics at the water’s edge.” Since that time, it’s been a longstanding political tradition. Except when the President is Donald Trump.
The Democrats have put their hatred for Trump ahead of the interests of the United States.