Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24, 2106--Kim Jong-un

Donald Trump told Reuters last week that he is open to negotiating directly with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. After 30 years of failing to contain North Korea's nuclear ambitions, under Republican as well as Democratic administrations, Trump called for a different approach.

He said--

"I would speak to him. I would have no problem speaking to him."

The foreign policy establishment, including Hillary Clinton, immediately seized on this as more evidence that Trump is not qualified to be either commander in chief or the nation's chief diplomat.

For example, "experts" concluded that if Trump somehow managed to become president, a policy review by him, no longer shooting from the hip on the campaign trail, would lead him to "take a similar approach toward Pyongyang as a Clinton administration."

That of course is possible. That of course is speculation. This has happened in the past. During the 1960 campaign, for example, John Kennedy cited a dangerous "missile gap" between the U.S and the Soviet Union. A missile gap that looked a lot less threatening once JFK assumed office and "discovered" it didn't exist. Something he actually knew at the time and thus, during the campaign, he was, well, simply lying to score political points.

And in 2008, during the primary campaign that pitted Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama, when during one debate Obama said he would be comfortable talking directly with the dictators in control of Iran and Cuba, Clinton called him out, saying that exposed how naive Obama was when it came to foreign policy. Sound familiar?

Now, after the Obama administration negotiated deals directly with Iran and Cuba--something Clinton is eager to take half-credit for (she claims it was her leadership while Secretary of State that prepared the ground for these initiatives)--she is once again chastising her opponent for being diplomatically irresponsible. Deja vu all over again.

But as with so many of his shape-shifting positions, Trump with this offhand comment about North Korea, is also getting under Hillary's skin. This time in her area of policy primacy--foreign affairs. So she is now scrambling to come up with policies in regard to North Korea that aren't more of the same-old, same-old.

So just what would be wrong with Trump "speaking" with Kim Jong-un? It could actually work. And what's the downside? Kim has a public infatuation with odd-ball American celebrities. The ever-bizarre Dennis Rodman is a personal favorite. This might then be one example where Trump's celebrity and cartoon-like persona might be an asset.

Considering the threat North Korea represents, I'd consider giving it a try.

And, if Hillary wins, since she too is a larger-than-life star of the decades-long Clinton reality show, she also should look for an appropriate way to talk to Kim.

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