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Just Like That, History Was Made

June 12, 2018

Of all the photos and images that have been aired on television and social media this evening regarding the summit meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, none made more of an impression on me than the flags of the two nations placed together.

I love moments like this when the international community is focused on something that is important–now might we consider the real possibility that Congo may be headed again to civil war?

But tonight I am troubled with the lack of understanding and background concerning the leader of the United States.  Un is considered to be the world’s greatest human rights abuser and a totalitarian collector of nuclear weapons, but as they met for the first time Trump declared himself honored.  That is not the tone that a seasoned and moral person would have projected.

I want to see a safer Korean Peninsula but do not believe that the process now underway is the path best taken to accomplish that goal.  This summit was a grand moment for Un and for those packaging Trump.  But the diplomatic foundation which is required for meaningful progress is lacking.

Therefore what has transpired in Singapore is that Trump turned a blind eye to differences of principle and history.  He has proven in spadefuls not to have principles, and Lord knows he is mighty short of a background in history.  Trump simply refused to come to terms with what we know to be facts–that is Kim oversees a vast police state, starves his citizens and assassinates his rivals.  Trump blinked at that so to deal with the summit as if it were another tacky Trump hotel transaction.

I read over the weekend a great quote about how I feel over this matter from Garry Kasparov when he stated, “If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, compromises on principles are the streetlights.” The US did not bring up human rights at the summit meeting.   And Trump is flashing away in Singapore.

Ronald Reagan never acted this way with the Soviet Union, and no logical person steeped in history or knowledge about diplomacy would engage Kim on this level.  Trump got his handshake and Un was delivered the political play of the year.

Old fashioned values are not bad to live by.  Over the decades of reading there has been one bedrock way to view diplomacy.  Henry Kissinger stressed so very often the concept about diplomatic protocol being sovereign equality: sovereign states relate to one another on equal footing, as peers.

There is no way to make that statement about North Korea and the United States.  The only one not aware of that fact is Trump.

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