Summit Daily letters: Trump’s ‘diplomacy’ is pure recklessness |

Summit Daily letters: Trump’s ‘diplomacy’ is pure recklessness

Trump’s ‘diplomacy’ is pure recklessness

Morgan Liddick’s March 5 column, “Trump shows he understands the art of diplomacy” doesn’t demonstrate anything of the kind. Whether Trump’s unconventional approach will ultimately “work” is unknowable, and it is certainly the case that other approaches by other presidents haven’t “worked.” But there is no evidence that Trump actually understands the dimensions of the problem, or that he listens to those who do — the intelligence community, for example. To date the US has gotten little/nothing from this diplomacy–moratoriums on testing are not new, and we shall see how long the current quiet lasts. Kim Jong-un, though, HAS gotten some of what North Korea has long craved. Sitting down with a US president as an equal. Sidelining South Korea in the process (playing into the North Korean narrative of South Korea as a US puppet). Cancellation of some joint US/South Korean military exercises and what appears a longer term scaling back of others (apparently Trump took Putin’s advice on this). And, given Trump’s earlier bellicose comments, Kim has bought time to advance programs in ways that don’t require testing. And look for ways to bust sanctions. Kim is the one who appears to have played his hand well. In a world where anything is possible, maybe Trump’s approach will work in the end, but for now it is clear that the North Koreans have gained something. Trump had no choice but to walk away from this last tete-a-tete, but this simply doesn’t equate to an understanding of diplomacy.

Mr. Liddick then segues to the JCPOA, with an airy, “… so many exceptions and caveats as to be meaningless,” with nary an example. All responsible parties, from the IAEA to Rex Tillerson have agreed that Iran has been abiding by its obligations to not develop a nuclear weapon, and the inspections regime is rigorous. So of course Tillerson had to go.

Tom Joachim


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