It was not an official state visit, not an over-nighter and not even time for lunch. But President Trump’s tippy-toeing a few feet into North Korea has created the kind of ruckus among his left-wing adversaries that you might have thought he was delivering South Korea’s surrender in the yet unended 70-year-old Korean War.
The usual characters on the elitist morning cable shows were uncompromised on their negative analysis – in fact, they were in competition with each other to see who could make the most outrageous condemnations of Trump and his overseas diplomacy. According to them, it was “ridiculous,” “stupid,” blah, blah, blah. They said he was legitimizing a brutal dictator. They claimed that Kim Jong-un got everything from Trump, and Trump got nothing in return. Of course, they are lying. Yes, lying.
How can the President of the United States be meeting and dealing with a person like Kim – a brutal dictator and enemy of the United States? How could Trump have set foot on enemy land – even for a moment. They say Trump is the first “sitting President” to enter North Korea, but because it does not fit with their mendacious anti-trump narratives, the critics do not note that both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have visited Pyongyang when out of office – and it was for more than a handshake. It seems to me that they had less reason to go to North Korea than does Trump – but that is just me.
The garbage Democrat responses and media analyses are beyond intelligent analysis – more propaganda. Their opinions are not driven by fact but rather by their venomous political biases. They took the square pegs of facts and beat them into the round holes of their preconceived partisan narrative.
For the most part, the panels of parroting pundits viewed Trump’s meeting with Kim and setting foot on North Korean soil – or more specifically, cement – was akin to treason. They did not use the word, but they certainly described the event with words that come close to the definition of treason. Obviously, Trump hatred knows no bounds.
As I watched and listened to the flow of criticism, I conjured up a bit of history – some about which I read and some I indirectly experienced.
In the former category, I recall that President Franklin Roosevelt met with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin – a despot whose brutality makes Kim look like a pudgy choir boy. Yeah, I know. Our relationship with Stalin was a pragmatic matter. We were like those proverbial two dogs fighting over a bone, that united when another dog attempted to snatch it.
More germane is President Richard Nixon. I worked in the Nixon White House about the time he was secretly planning to travel to China. At the time, China was isolated behind the so-called Bamboo Curtain as much as North Korea is isolated north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) today. The Middle Kingdom was headed by one of the world’s most ruthless dictators, Mao Zedong – responsible for the deaths of millions of non-compliant Chinese. China was a mortal enemy of the United States with a significant nuclear arsenal – and was partially responsible for our inability to win the Korean War.
Yet, Nixon went to China. He did a lot more than just place a couple of feet across the border for a few moments. He made an official visit. He was seen by the world dining and toasting with Mao. He and First Lady Pat were pictured touring the Great Wall of China.
That visit was enormously more surprising … shocking … than Trump meeting Kim for the third time – and in this case with the two leaders playing hopscotch across the cement curb that marks the international border between North and South Korea.
What is most significant in this comparison is that Nixon received the highest praise from the international community, Democrats, the media and the American people. It opened a whole new peaceful relationship with China. America and China became important trading partners. A new era of cultural exchange was launched with what became known as “ping pong diplomacy” – following a visit to America by Chinese renowned ping pong champions. We developed allied interests in key world affairs. American and Chinese traveled between the two nations in record numbers – as visitors, students and business folks.
For sure, we are engaged in difficult times with China today, but it is nothing compared to the pre-Nixon visit. When Nixon went to China, that nation – along with its allies in Moscow — represented an existential risk to the United States –a threat to which North Korea can never rise.
There are very positive and obvious parallels. Trump, like Nixon, was the first to engage in direct talks with a Communist despot. There were initial concessions to be made on both sides. Despite the Democrats and media claims that the United States has gotten nothing out of the diplomacy, there have been achievements. We have gotten our hostages back – although not so happily in the case of Otto Warmbier. The remains of many of our missing-in-action military personnel are being sent home. The firing of intercontinental ballistic missiles that were flying over Japan and toward Guam has ceased. It is not everything, but far more than nothing.
In this latest example of Trump’s unique personal diplomacy, he has been able to restart the all-important bilateral talks. That is a great accomplishment for such a brief visit to a foreign nation.
Despite the badmouthing back home, both Japan and South Korea have been effusive in their praise of the Trump initiatives with North Korea. Trump works closely with both allies – and South Korean President Moon Jae-in was at the DMZ with Trump.
To say that Trump has given Kim international standing may be true to a degree, but to assume that is bad is very questionable – and very partisan. It would seem even more likely that being accepted in the world community will actually tamp down Kim’s more brutal traits – it arguably did that with Mao in China.
For generations, the pin-striped pants establishment has warned the Kim family that a nuclear North Korea was “unacceptable” – but the weak-willed establishment did nothing … NOTHING … to stop that from becoming a reality. That is unless you count President Clinton’s sending North Korea billions of dollars to be nice. And we know how that worked out.
Nixon was most surely disliked by the left, but the animosity was nothing when compared to the blind, irrational and destructive hatred promulgated by the newly left-leaning Democrats and a rabid media elite that operates out of the New York/Washington bubble.
So, why the difference between Nixon in China and Trump in North Korea?
There is only one difference – Trump hatred. It is not about what Trump is doing or not doing, but about the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement running on a perma-criticism strategy. In a reasonable and fair political environment – and with a mainstream media operating like real journalists – some of what Trump and his administration are doing would be viewed objectively as … well … damn good work.
The Trump haters are doing more to damage the interests of the United States in the world community than Trump could do on his worst day. In their hatred, they have abandoned America’s important tradition of ending partisanship at the water’s edge. They have made common cause with the mullahs in Iran.
Despite their dark self-serving interpretations of Trump’s Korean peninsula strategy, Trump has done more to resolve the situation than his predecessors. Yes, it is a work in progress, but Trump does not earn an “F” for a yet incomplete project – and one that is moving in the right direction, even if not as fast as we might like.
So. There ‘tis.