A couple of years ago, opponents of
Some even conjured various wild scenarios that might unfold under a president Trump. They said it might look something like this: As tensions flared in some hotspot -- the
Well, I don't know if anybody predicted the specific details of Wednesday's cavalcade of crazy, but if they did, they should collect their door prize.
Then, on Wednesday, he stopped by
Regardless, Cohen's testimony seemed designed to simultaneously enrage the president in every way possible way and to ingratiate himself with his left-wing critics. Cohen impugned the president's character, his intelligence, honesty and wealth. He called Trump a draft-dodging racist and grifter. If I had to guess, his testimony was framed in the best way possible to compensate for the fact that Cohen could not corroborate the most extreme versions of the
Meanwhile, Trump was in
The summit, like the first one, was ill-considered. It rested on the assumption that Trump, the world's greatest dealmaker, could charm Kim and the North Korean regime out of its nuclear program. The worry from foreign-policy experts across much of the ideological spectrum was that Trump would blunder into a deal just for the sake of being able to declare victory. Rumored concessions leaked out in the media as if through an open faucet.
And then, it didn't happen.
The summit was a failure on its own terms, and ironically, that made it a kind of victory for Trump. The political tumult in
I have long argued that the North Koreans can't be talked out of their nuclear program because their nuclear program is central to the rationale for the regime's entire existence. It would be like talking Hitler and the Nazi regime out of their desire for conquest and their obsessions with the Jews; it's simply the nature of the regime. You cannot reason a leopard to abandon its spots. It's doubtful Trump fully recognizes this yet, but that's irrelevant. He recognized enough: Any deal he could have gotten with Kim would have been worse than doing what he did -- walk away from the table. Whether he came to this conclusion on his own or was cajoled into it by Secretary of State
One can rightly bemoan or lament the fact that the Trump presidency made the Cohen spectacle possible in the first place. But that doesn't change the fact that the president defied political temptation and did the right thing.
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