It appears that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got exactly what his father and grandfather never could. President Trump elevated Kim, North Korea’s ruthless dictator, to a position on the world stage equivalent to the President of the United States. Posing in front of equal numbers of matched U.S. and North Korean flags gave this rogue and isolated nation a status reserved for our closest allies.
Trump’s gushing praise of Kim, the leader of one of the most repressive authoritarian regimes in the world, is disgusting. Trump described Kim in the most charming terms.
“He’s got a very good personality, he’s funny, and he’s very, very smart,” Trump said of Kim in a FOX news interview. “He’s a great negotiator, and he’s a very strategic kind of a guy.”
“We learned a lot about each other and our countries,” Trump said. “I learned he’s a very talented man.”
Following the meeting, Trump assured America.
“Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight,” Trump tweeted.
Kim is so charming he had his uncle executed in 2013 and has ordered the murders of thousands of his citizens. It’s estimated he has 80,000 to 120,000 dissidents imprisoned in gulags. The Human Rights Watch 2017 World Report on North Korea describes intolerable human rights abuses by the Kim regime.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry report on human rights in North Korea stated, “Systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations committed by the government included murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion, and other sexual violence, and constituted crimes against humanity.”
“The government practices collective punishment…enslaving hundreds of thousands of citizens, including children, in prison camps and other detention facilities. Detainees face deplorable conditions, sexual coercion and abuse, beatings and torture by guards, and forced labor in dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions.”
Trump gave this ruthless dictator exactly the two things that Kim wanted most. Trump gave him grand recognition and acceptance on the world stage as a superstar. Secondly, Trump gave away America’s key leverage by ending joint American and South Korean military exercises. Apparently, he gave that away without consulting our ally South Korea.
What did Trump get in return? Empty promises to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Historically, North Korea has made these same promises beginning in 1985 and has broken everyone to date. Trump got taken.
In 1985 North Korea signed the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and ignored it.
In 1992 North Korea signed the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and again ignored it.
In 1994 North Korea promised to stop plutonium production, yet 7 years later they kicked out all the International Inspectors.
In 2005 and again in 2007, North Korea pledged as part of the Six Party Talks, to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.”
In 2012 North Korea agrees to suspend nuclear tests and uranium enrichment, and said it will allow inspectors, in exchange for food. Two weeks later they launched a missile and the agreement failed.
Trump has rewarded Kim in advance with no consequences and no specific plan of action. The historical record suggests Trump gave away the farm and got the same empty promises North Korea has given the world since 1985. Trump got nothing of substance in return.
James McKeon, a policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said this is North Korea’s well tested scheme.
“There’s definitely a pattern where the North Koreans agree to denuclearize in theory, but then there’s not really a substantive process that they agree to, to actually hammer it out,” says McKeon.
Mieke Eoyang, a national security analyst for the organization Third Way, said Trump gave away too much by ending the joint military exercises. “It’s substantively worse than what any other president has done,” she said.
We can all hope for the best, but Trump already rewarded Kim in exchange for a majestic political photo op. They can both go home and claim victory, but Kim got the trophy and Trump got pictures posing with one of the world’s cruelest dictators.
by Rick Smith