For the briefest of moments, I almost believed. The strategic opportunity of the century seemed within grasp. The official end of the Korean War and a denuclearized North Korea rejoining the world are elusive goals.
The moment shattered by the reality of this Presidency.
North Korea was never serious about abandoning its weapons. They played the “master deal maker” for a chump. They essentially bypassed the US to deal with South Korea directly and maneuvered themselves out of sanctions with the Chinese and potentially the rest of the world.
All without giving up anything except a few well-placed explosives to offer a technically meaningless “coup d’état” to their already collapsed nuclear test site. They know, even if Mr. Trump might not, what the Libya-model means.
How did the “hermit” kingdom manage this? Because they understand Trump better than we do. Those of us who disagree with Trump’s policies and those who agree with them share common ground in one respect.
We all think he acts intentionally from a perspective of beliefs and deeply held philosophies. The difference is in our view of his motivation.
Some think him intrinsically evil and bigoted others seem him as a political outsider who cares little for the diplomacy of politics in favor of accomplishing goals and changing the fundamental nature of government.
Both positions give the man way too much credit. He is much simpler to figure out and to predict.
President Trump is consistent. His life has been one persistent crusade for self-aggrandizement and personal satisfaction. He is neither a bigot nor a buffoon, does not demonstrate savant business acumen or financial wizardry, nor does he follow a deep-seated philosophy of life.
He is a man incapable of empathy, devoid of feelings for others, and unable to concede the reality that everyone, including Donald Trump, makes mistakes.
Trump embraces a sort of twisted Buddha-like philosophy in the way he can ignore the past (as if it never happened) and hold no attachment to anything that does not suit him at that moment.
Trump lives in the now. Anything he said, or did, yesterday does not matter. His thought process, when confronted with past statement or actions, creates a three-pronged self-delusion.
I never said (or did) it.
I was misquoted (or they are lying)
It’s fake news.
And with that, he moves on without another passing moment to consider his actions. Each day for him is like a reboot with the same bug in the operating system.
In personal matters between a President and his wife, I do not believe them to be matters of national concern. They are private matters best dealt with in a private setting. But when the President tries to ignore legitimate questions of his truthfulness, such issues are a concern.
A person of character, when facing a personal crisis, takes responsibility for their actions. When Trump was confronted with a threat to unveil an affair outside his marriage, he opted to buy his way out. Had he addressed the issue within the confines of his marriage, and the story still broke, it would be a quick splash and then fade away.
Instead, it serves as another illustration of the man’s character. (For those of you who will feel the need to point out Bill Clinton did the same thing, yes he did. And the same standard applies. Still waiting on a similar episode with President Obama.)
Trump is neither a bigot nor a white supremacist. If Mr. Trump thought embracing MS-13 would help or enrich him, he’d be flashing gang signs and sporting tattoos.
If Mr. Trump thought for a moment that the “horde” of illegal aliens would support him with their vote, he’d disband the Border Patrol and send buses to the Mexican Border.
If Mr. Trump thought he could find a kindred spirit in Black Lives Matter or Alt-right groups, he’d invite them to the White House (but not the Trump Tower, those people don’t belong there.)
Kim Jong Un understands this. They share the same philosophy. If it’s good for me, it’s good until it’s not, then it’s wrong regardless of the cost.
With North Korea, Mr. Trump saw the shiny Nobel prize and wanted it. Even he might admit he is never getting a Nobel Prize for economics or science, so this was his one chance, Kim Jong Un was his opportunity.
And then it wasn’t.
Even when it appeared Trump had awoken to the realities and complexities of geopolitics and canceled the summit, in his letter to the North Korean leader he couldn’t help but turn it into a juvenile pissing contest.
“You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/24/politics/donald-trump-letter-kim-jong-un/index.html)
The US would prevail in a nuclear war. Mr. Trump also knows the personal cost to him would be minimal. He and his family ( maybe Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh as well) would be safely ensconced in the bunker.
But the cost in human lives would be unfathomable. This is immaterial in Mr. Trump’s mind. Collateral damage is insignificant if there is a net benefit to Mr. Trump.
The hope those surrounding Mr. Trump bring sanity and a bigger world-view to the administration is fading. The John Boltons of the world are not known for rational and reasoned policies with any nuanced understanding of global complexities.
The Chief of Staff, John Kelly, despite his admirable record as a Marine, has been reduced to nothing more than a doorman at Trump Tower. He has the power to keep most out but can do nothing about those who have bought they way in.
The concept of Mr. Trump being a complex personality of deep thought and contemplation is a false one. He is a nuclear-armed sociopath with severe ADHD. The trick is to make sound policy attractive and, once it is set in motion, divert the President’s attention with something else.
I wonder if Stormy Daniels would consider helping us out, as a matter of patriotic service?