Responding to reports that
"No one was expecting anything to come of Trump's fiery rhetoric, except people who understand that diplomacy works better with a credible threat of military force backing it up," Hanson told "Fox and Friends" over the weekend. "It's brought Kim (Jong
Even though the nuclear-test freeze is mostly symbolic, this strikes me as entirely defensible. Trump critics who don't like his "fiery rhetoric" and unpredictability, myself included, should concede that it has its benefits on occasion.
I'm not sure it should be chalked up to some grand strategy, though. Trump is fiery and unpredictable all the time. Calling it strategic brilliance only when it works for him is a bit like celebrating the perfect accuracy of a broken clock twice a day.
Still, Hanson's right. In this case, letting Trump be Trump has yielded real diplomatic results that would likely be hailed as "breakthroughs" under, say, a President
The problem is that these diplomatic triumphs are almost certainly meaningless or even dangerous -- something that many Trump supporters would be saying right now if
The crux of the dilemma isn't Trump. It's
But even totalitarian regimes have domestic interests and internal politics they have to contend with. The Kim dynasty has sustained itself for three generations by force-feeding its own people, including the elites, a powerfully intoxicating ideological brew.
It holds, among other things, that Koreans are the world's superior race and that the North is destined to fulfill its destiny by reuniting the peninsula under Kim's rule. North Koreans are taught almost from birth that Americans are barbarians.
Of course, absolute rulers have a lot of latitude to do whatever they see as being in their self-interest, but facts and their own ideologies get in the way.
The leaders of
Domestically, accepting the legitimacy of
In other words, you cannot simply negotiate a country into negating its reason for existence.
The North Korean regime will never get rid of its nuclear deterrent, because its leaders believe they need it and have told their own people they must have it.
Contrary to a lot of the
If the president does get in a room with