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Donald Trump is being manipulated by both Kim Jong Un and his own security adviser John Bolton

On North Korea, Trump is getting played by both sides, WP,     May 16

Since the moment he agreed on a whim to a summit between himself and Kim Jong Un, President Trump has been almost giddy about the breakthrough he’s about to achieve, even musing about his upcoming Nobel Peace Prize.

But like everything about being president, it’s turning out to be more complicated than Trump understands. Today he’s getting a reminder:

North Korea is rapidly moving the goal posts for next month’s summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump, saying the United States must stop insisting it “unilaterally” abandon its nuclear program and stop talking about a Libya-style solution to the standoff.

The latest warning, delivered by former North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Gye Gwan on Wednesday, fits Pyongyang’s well-established pattern of raising the stakes in negotiations by threatening to walk out if it doesn’t get its way.

This comes just hours after the North Korean regime cast doubt on the planned summit by protesting joint air force drills taking place in South Korea, saying they were ruining the diplomatic mood.

The North Koreans actually have this in common with Trump, who also likes to use threats to walk away as a negotiating tactic………

Trump… has been hyping the possibility of an agreement that results in North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons to an almost absurd degree, given how often these kinds of deals have failed in the past. He clearly wants a “win” he can proclaim as something he accomplished when no other president could. And Kim will use that desire against him.

What does Kim want? Economic assistance and an end to sanctions, obviously. He also wants a summit alongside the leader of the global hegemon, which would grant him enormous prestige. That’s something the United States has withheld from North Korea in the past, but Trump has already granted it. And above all, Kim wants to ensure his own survival and that of his regime.

Which is why most everyone except Trump seems to realize that there is no way Kim is going to give up his nuclear weapons, which he sees — quite rationally — as a guarantee against foreign invasion or a move to depose him.

Here’s where we see how Trump is being played from the other side, most specifically by his new national security adviser, John Bolton. Bolton, who has long advocated that we start bombing North Korea at the earliest possible opportunity, made a point of saying publicly that we should look as a model to the arrangement made with Libya in 2003, in which it gave up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief and a reintegration into the international community.

Which, if you knew nothing about anything, might sound perfectly fine. But to the North Koreans, there’s almost nothing more provocative you could say than bringing up Libya. North Korean officials regularly cite the experience of Libya as precisely the reason they won’t give up their nuclear weapons. Moammar Gaddafi did so, and what happened to him? He was deposed and killed. The same fate befell Saddam Hussein.
……. Given his desire for a military strike, it seems at least possible, and perhaps likely, that Bolton is trying to plant the seeds of doubt that will ultimately result in a breakdown of talks, after which he can say to the president, “Well, sir, we tried. But you see how unreasonable they are. We have no choice but to strike now.”

……. it’s entirely possible Trump will make some kind of agreement in which the North Koreans pledges to do something that costs them little — curtailing future missile tests, leaving the size of their arsenal where it is now — and which they might renege on anyway, just so he can say he got a win and tell everyone he’s the greatest negotiator in history. North Korea, like everyone else in the world, is realizing not just that this isn’t true, but also that Trump actually believes it — and that as a result, it won’t be that hard to manipulate him. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/05/16/on-north-korea-trump-is-getting-played-by-both-sides/?utm_term=.0f959b7bcd80

 

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May 18, 2018 - Posted by | politics, USA

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