With North Korea, what’s in it for Donald?



None of us knows how to North Korea

Kim Jong Un

He really sees his situation, but the question is absorbing in light of his apparent panic to resurrect the Kim-Trump summit on Tuesday. Mr. Kim already has adequate deterrence in his ability to cover the outskirts of Seoul with chemical artillery shells and conventional explosives. Threatening the US UU With long-range nuclear missiles it is not necessary to guarantee their safety, only for other purposes.

The increase in prosperity and the growing international exchange, probably the objectives of North Korea at the summit on Tuesday, would not be entirely beneficial for the regime. Direct traffic between the two Koreas is especially risky. But the status quo is also risky for Mr. Kim.

He owns a miserably backward country, overseen by a regime that deserves to be cursed by its people. Its economy is desperately dependent on a life support machine operated by unfriendly people in Beijing. Pyongyang has a special problem in the infinitely superior development of its sister nation, South Korea. If the South surrendered to the North tomorrow, in two weeks it would end up managing the place purely because of its superior productivity and its world-clbad technical and cultural knowledge.

He wants to live until he is 95 years old, big and in charge. The great geopolitical concern of Mr. Kim is not, and has never been, the United States. She's Chinese. If China ever tires of the existence of its regime, the lights go out in Pyongyang overnight. Their spoken and unexpressed nuclear threats, including the threat of trafficking in atomic material to other regimes or terrorists, are probably aimed, in a certain sense, at getting the United States to solve this problem for him.

An agreement, for all these reasons, is plausible and could satisfy Mr. Trump. Mr. Kim would be limited to short-range nuclear weapons in exchange for a US peace treaty. UU And a reduction of the incessant military exercises of the USA. UU And South Korea that are such an expensive burden for the North. What Mr. Kim really wants is something else: in effect, he wants the US. UU Become a patron and undeclared investor in the longevity of your regime. He wants (like

Vladimir Putin

secretly he does it) to become an undeclared client whose survival the United States prefers for reasons of geopolitical stability and to limit Beijing.

What brings us to

Donald Trump.

Maybe it's not the result-oriented craver of any kind of agreement on its own that many suspect. Mr. Trump has not been a boy of results in his career for 20 years. He requires action on his own, to stay as the center of attention, to make sure no one gets past him for the spotlight.

You have already had 12 weeks of showtime from the perspective of a North Korean summit. A murmur on cable television that he won the Nobel Peace Prize was an immediate gratification that even compensates for the somewhat conceivable prospect of a real prize in the future.

At the end of May, it was imperatively reduced to meet with Mr. Kim, while even then throwing up all kinds of drills gave Mr. Trump a perfectly good week in Korea from his point of view.

If Mr. Kim wants anything, he will have to propose an offer knowing that firing him with a flourish is as useful for Mr. Trump as embracing him with a flourish. Mr. Trump, in spite of all his faults, has understood better than his predecessors that the USA. UU They can be in a strong position if they wish. His predecessors became supplicants to the Kim family, just as the Obama administration became a supplicant to Iran. They put themselves in the position of asking an adversary not to take measures that require the United States to carry out its threats.

That does not mean that Mr. Trump has all the letters. But Mr. Kim may understand that everything is good for Mr. Trump. Agreement. No deal. Summit. Without summit. From an America First perspective, in addition, Mr. Trump could have problems selling himself and his followers a deal that left the North in possession of nuclear weapons, but got rid of its long-range ballistic missile program, to place to the USA UU Out of the range of the nuclear weapons of the North.

Nowhere in the "Art of Deal" the author specifies what Donald Trump would want in a negotiation with North Korea, but presumably the answer is "something that would be good for Donald Trump."

Japan and South Korea would rightly consider a deal as well as a full sale. The same would apply to human rights defenders and, probably, to the entire establishment of US foreign policy. UU But Trump supporters did not choose him to obsess about North Korea or to put Japan's security interests first. Such an agreement would not solve all the problems arising from North Korea's possession of a nuclear program. But it would allow to see Mr. Trump visibly showing off in the interests of the United States first.

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