A few anecdotes about Trump's new BFF
This is the man over whom Dennis Rodman cries.
This is the man Donald Trump called "very honorable".
In international relations and diplomacy, there always needs to be a heavy dose of realpolitik. It's a balancing act of least bad outcomes. The United States supported murderous thugs in Latin America to stave off what it thought was a worse outcome, a spread of Soviet influence and thus a threat closer to US borders. I'm not excusing it, but it is what it is. Bismack's aphorism of politics and sausage-making comes to mind.
But this abject surrender to one of the truly worst tyrants alive right now beggars belief. No American president before Trump has given North Korea legitimacy. It is a prison house for its population. It has done nothing to merit such an honor. (I don't mean that meeting Trump is an honor, but acknowledgment by the US government is, regardless of the Oval Office occupant.)
What Trump has done is blown up 70 years of American East Asia policy for the ephemeral heroin hit of a good news cycle. And it won't even be that much of a good news cycle. The media outside of Fox News knows this is a shit show, that Kim Jong Un is not deserving of any type of recognition. He enslaves his populace, he threatens American allies of long-standing, and he promises to wipe the West Coast of America off the face of the map. These actions do not merit a high profile summit, a summit for which no preparation was done, a summit which will yield no benefit to the US but maximum kudos for Kim.
Realpolitik has to guide foreign policy. But this isn't realpolitik. This is nothing more than a moronic, ill-prepared, former game show host thinking that he can solve a problem which has vexed the world for seven decades merely because he thinks, contrary to actual fact, that he's smarter and better than everyone else.
And I can't even say that he thinks he can actually solve it. What he knows is that it looks good for the cameras, or at least he believes it does.
Realpolitik argues that you should stay close to allies and remain firm with adversaries. Trump, instead, coddles dictators and stabs democracies. The dictator will give him what he craves: a moment of ebullient frisson. Allies try to remind him of his responsibilities.
And even realpolitik can give way to righteous horror. Even one of the above-mentioned stories should put paid to any rapprochement with this regime until it does, in fact, enact reform. Now that it has gotten what it wants, it has no incentive to do so.
But our dotard Oval Office interloper got that reach around. So that's all that matters.
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