On Wednesday, President Trump announced that we could all sleep easier in our beds: he’d taken care of the North Korean nuclear threat.
This of course, is wildly untrue. There is no evidence that Kim Jung Un has denuclearized in the slightest. Now, he may do so; perhaps Trump’s diplomacy will be successful, and Kim Jung Un will be wooed by the prospect of enhancing his country’s economic power and integration into the global community. Or maybe he won’t, because he realizes that it was his nuclear weapons that got the President of the United States to praise him fulsomely in the first place.
Whatever happens in the future, however, to declare the nuclear threat from North Korea over is ridiculous. Declaring premature victory isn’t just ridiculous – it’s dangerous. It means that Trump has too much of a stake in suggesting the success of negotiations before negotiations have even taken place, which gives Kim the upper hand. See, for example, Trump’s insistence on cancelling “war games” – military exercises that not only act as preparation for American and South Korean troops, but as a signal to the Chinese government of muscularity in the region. Even the term “war games” is a propaganda term used by enemies of the United States. But here’s Trump celebrating their postponement, having received nothing serious in return as of yet:
Again, perhaps Trump’s personal touch works here. When that happens, we can celebrate. Celebrating prematurely is handing the upper hand in negotiations to the world’s worst dictator.