Trump's Self Defeating Remarks on South Korea

South Korean protesters hold up cartoons depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally against U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' visit, in front of the government complex in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. In his first public remarks abroad as Mattis is criticizing North Korea for provocative acts that require new consultations with Japan and South Korea. The signs read " Trump is not forced to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD". (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Yesterday President Trump gave an interview to Reuters which could very well become one of the most self-defeating interviews in the history of the republic.

Right after stating, “There’s a chance that we could end up having a major, major, conflict with North Korea, absolutely,” we have these items:

ON GETTING SOUTH KOREA TO PAY FOR THAAD MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM

“On the THAAD system, it’s about a billion dollars. I said, ‘Why are we paying? Why are we paying a billion dollars? We’re protecting. Why are we paying a billion dollars?’ So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. Nobody’s going to do that. Why are we paying a billion dollars? It’s a billion dollar system. It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you’ve ever seen – shoots missiles right out of the sky. And it protects them and I want to protect them. We’re going to protect them. But they should pay for that, and they understand that.”

ON TRADE AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREA

“It’s unacceptable. It’s a horrible deal made by Hillary. It’s a horrible deal. And we’re going to renegotiate that deal, or terminate it.”

QUESTION: When will you announce it?

“Very soon. I’m announcing it now.”

“By the way, with South Korea, just so you know. They’re ready for it. Mike Pence was representing me, he was just over there, he’s told them. And we have the five-year anniversary coming up very shortly. And we thought that would be a good time to start …

It’s a great deal for South Korea. It’s a terrible deal for us.”

This has apparently escaped President Trump’s notice but if we do have a “major, major, conflict” with North Korea, the battlefield will be mostly, at least at first, in South Korea. South Korea’s army is larger than our Army. South Korea will be doing most of the fighting and bleeding and dying in this war. Not to put too fine a point on it, but South Korea is an ally.

South Korea is also in the throes of a heated presidential election following the impeachment on corruption charges of the Korean president. At least two of the major candidates, and the one favored to win, are accommodationists who will fold like a cheap suit in any confrontation with North Korea.

Sometimes Trump’s off the cuff remarks can cause enough chaos to create opportunities. This is not one of those times. By getting on his two favorite campaign hobby horses–a) our allies are screwing us and b) our trading partners are screwing us–at a time when he will be calling on a weak South Korean government to make some damned hard decisions he has just increased the chance that he will find South Korea looking for an exit. And China will provide it.