Academic Claims President Trump is Governing Based on the North Korean Model

A professor at Kyunghee University, Emanuel Yi Pastreich believes that President Trump is governing the United States based on the North Korean model:

Emanuel Pastreich

But there is a mysterious mojo that the elites draw from the ludicrous actions of their dear leader. Now it seems as if Kim Jung-un has found his greatest fan, and imitator, in the corridors of power of Washington D.C.

That is right, for all his bluster about destroying North Korea, Donald Trump is practically modeling his every speech on the craft of the bad boy of Pyongyang. When Trump threatens to “wipe North Korea off the face of the Earth,” he still cannot get the traction of Kim’s eloquent “sea of fire.”

And Trump’s tantrums in which he rages that Kim is “short and fat,” a “sick puppy,” and “a madman” simply lack the erudite simplicity of Kim’s putdown “dotard”

The Trump administration has adopted the “North Korean model” for governance, diplomacy and security and even embraced North Korea’s legendary “military first” economics as its own national strategy.  [Korea Times]

You can read the rest at the link, but comparing President Trump to Kim Jong-un is lazy analysis just like the people who compare him to Hitler.  Until President Trump starts opening concentration camps, executing the political opposition, counterfeiting money, smuggling drugs, etc. that are staples of the North Korean regime then you can claim he is acting like Kim Jong-un.

President Trump Suggests He Has Been In Contact with Kim Jong-un

There has likely been some back channel communications with the Kim regime, but I would be very surprised if President Trump was in direct contact with Kim Jong-un like he appears to be suggesting:

President Donald Trump suggested in an interview Thursday that he has developed a positive relationship with the North Korean leader, but declined to say whether they have spoken.

No sitting U.S. president is known to have spoken with a North Korean leader. The two nations have remained in a state of war and without diplomatic relations since the Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.

“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal. “I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.”

Asked if he had spoken with Kim, Trump was evasive: “I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.”  [Associated Press]

You can read more at the link.

President Trump Says Kim “Knows I’m Not Messing Around”

Here is what President Trump had to say about the planned talks between North and South Korea in regards to the upcoming Winter Olympics:

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Republican congressmen and members of his cabinet, departs after speaking at a news conference following a congressional Republican leadership retreat at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

“Right now they’re talking Olympics. It’s a start, it’s a big start,” Trump said during a question-and-answer session after meetings with GOP leaders in Congress and Cabinet members on the administration’s 2018 legislative agenda.

Kim “knows I’m not messing around. I’m not messing around, not even a little bit, not even 1 percent. He understands that,” Trump said.

Assessing next week’s discussions, Trump said “if something can happen and something can come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all of humanity. That would be a great thing for the world.”

The president also said that he had spoken with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, who “thanks me very much for my tough stance.”

“You have to have a certain attitude and you have to be prepared to do certain things and I’m totally prepared to do that,” Trump said, contending his tough words have helped persuade the North to sit down with the South.

Trump had tweeted last week: “Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North.”  [Associated Press]

You can read more at the link.

Washington Post Analysis Declares President Trump Irrelevant in North Korea Policy

The Washington Post is not happy that the US is not participating in talks with North Korea and the ROK and has thus declared that the President is now irrelevant:

But whatever happens, it does look like U.S. policy on North Korea is rubbing up against the limitations of Trump’s unilateralist view of the world — what Evan Osnos of the New Yorker recently dubbed “retreating from the front.” When Seoul-Pyongyang talks go ahead next week, Trump will be in an unusual position — watching from afar, having capitulated on one key North Korean demand.

The Trump administration had hoped to further isolate North Korea on the world stage. Thanks to Trump’s brash tactics, though, it may be the United States that ends up on the outside.  [Washington Post]

First of all, President Trump did not capitulate on the delay of the Key Resolve exercise.  North Korea wants joint exercises cancelled and so does the Chinese.  The US did not cancel the exercise, they delayed the exercise at the request of the ROK who did not want it to overlap with the Winter Olympics especially if the North Koreans decide to attend.  The exercise is still going to happen just like it does every year and thus there has been no capitulation.

As far as “retreating from the front” and claims of unilateralism, these critics of the President must be living in an alternate reality.  The Trump administration has arguably pursued more multilateral measures than past Presidents.  The Trump administration has aggressively pursued and implemented United Nations sanctions on North Korea.  The Treasury Department has aggressively worked with international partners to target the Kim regimes finances through the global banking system.  They have also worked with other countries to kick out North Korean diplomats often responsible for bringing in foreign currency to the regime.  Unprecedented pressure has also been put on China by the US to faithfully implement sanctions on North Korea.  US intelligence has worked with the ROK to seize ships smuggling oil into North Korea.

Just because the US is not sitting at the table with the ROKs and the North Koreans to discuss a delegation attending the Olympics does not mean US policy is unilateral and the Trump administration has made themselves irrelevant.

US and ROK Presidents Agree to Delay Joint Military Exercise Until After the Winter Olympics

It looks like the upcoming Key Resolve exercise will be delayed if North Korea does not cause any more provocations:

This photo provided courtesy of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump on Jan. 4, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed Thursday to delay their countries’ regular joint military exercises during the Winter Olympic Games to be held here next month.

The agreement came in a telephone conversation between the two leaders, according to the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The tentative agreement came at a request from the South Korean leader.

“I believe it would greatly help ensure the success of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games if you could express an intention to delay joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises during the Olympics in case the North does not make any more provocations,” Moon was quoted as telling Trump.

The U.S. president agreed, saying Moon may tell North Korea that there will be no military exercises during the Olympics, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

In a press release, the White House confirmed the leaders agreed to “de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises so that United States and Republic of Korea forces can focus on ensuring the security of the Games.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but the Olympics are in February and the Key Resolve exercise is typically executed in March so it was not like both events were overlapping.  However, preparations and personnel movements do happen in February and a shift of Key Resolve will provide the ROK military more time to focus on Olympic security before executing the exercise.

I guess the big question becomes what happens if North Korea commits a provocation like a missile test? Does Key Resolve get executed at the original time?  I would not be surprised if North Korea does a more ambiguous provocation like a space launch just to create tension in the US-ROK alliance over what to do in response.

President Trump’s Boast About Nuclear Button Causes US Media Panic

Once again President Trump has the media all worked up by a Tweet:

 

If you were looking for a two-word slogan to describe Donald Trump’s life, that would be a fitting one. In everything — from the size of his buildings to the size of his genitals to the size of his nuclear arsenal, Trump is totally and completely obsessed with being the biggest and the best.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
“Much bigger & more powerful.” “My Button works.”
If you don’t see what Trump is going for there, then we need to have a side conversation about the birds and the bees. This is a measuring contest provoked by the President of the United States against an unstable dictator pursuing a nuclear capacity.
It’s absolutely stunning given the stakes: Nuclear war/annihilation. At the same time, it’s an entirely predictable tactic from Trump given what he we know about him.  [CNN]
You can read more at the link, but the President actually does not have a nuclear button which the media seems to enjoy pointing out.  However, only stupid people think the President actually has a big red button on his desk to launch nukes, so I understood he was trying to be funny mocking Kim Jong-un’s button claim while at the same time answering another threat from the Kim regime.  All people need to take from the President’s latest Tweet is that any threat that the Kim regime makes President Trump is going to respond in kind in his own way.

President Trump Has Strong Comments About China in New York Times Interview

In long interview with Michael Schmidt of the New York Times, President Trump had plenty to say about how China has not been helpful enough with enforcing sanctions on North Korea:

President Trump arriving in Florida last week.

SCHMIDT: Explain your North Korea tweet to me today.

TRUMP: Which one?

SCHMIDT: You said about the oil, that China. …

[Cross talk.]

SCHMIDT: What’s going on there. Tell me about that.

TRUMP: Yeah, China. … China’s been. … I like very much President Xi. He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China. You know that. The presentations. … One of the great two days of anybody’s life and memory having to do with China. He’s a friend of mine, he likes me, I like him, we have a great chemistry together. He’s [inaudible] of the United States. …[Inaudible.] China’s hurting us very badly on trade, but I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war. O.K.?

[Cross talk with guests.]

_________

SCHMIDT: Can you finish your thought on North Korea. What’s going on with China?

TRUMP: I’m disappointed. You know that they found oil going into. …

SCHMIDT: But how recently?

TRUMP: It was very recently. In fact, I hate to say, it was reported this morning, and it was reported on Fox. Oil is going into North Korea. That wasn’t my deal!

SCHMIDT: What was the deal?

TRUMP: My deal was that, we’ve got to treat them rough. They’re a nuclear menace so we have to be very tough.

RUDDY: Mr. President, was that a picture from recent or was that months ago? I don’t know. …

TRUMP: Oil is going into North Korea, I know. Oil is going into North Korea. So I’m not happy about it.

SCHMIDT: So what are you going to do?

TRUMP: We’ll see. That I can’t tell you, Michael. But we’ll see. I can tell you one thing: This is a problem that should have been handled for the last 25 years. This is a problem, North Korea. That should have been handled for 25, 30 years, not by me. This should have been handled long before me. Long before this guy has whatever he has.

SCHMIDT: Do you think we’ve been too soft on China on North Korea?

TRUMP: No, look, I like China, and I like him a lot. But, as you know, when I campaigned, I was very tough on China in terms of trade. They made — last year, we had a trade deficit with China of $350 billion, minimum. That doesn’t include the theft of intellectual property, O.K., which is another $300 billion. So, China — and you know, somebody said, oh, currency manipulation. If they’re helping me with North Korea, I can look at trade a little bit differently, at least for a period of time. And that’s what I’ve been doing. But when oil is going in, I’m not happy about that. I think I expressed that in probably [inaudible].

TRUMP, as aides walk by: And, by the way, it’s not a tweet. It’s social media, and it gets out in the world, and the reason I do well is that I can be treated unfairly and very dishonestly by CNN, and, you know, I have — what do have now, John, 158 million, including Facebook, including Twitter, including Instagram, including every form, I have a 158 million people. Reporting just this morning, they said 158 million. So if they a do a story that’s false, I can do something — otherwise, Andy, otherwise you just sort of walk around saying what can I do? What, am I going to have a press conference every time somebody, every time Michael writes something wrong?

So, China on trade has ripped off this country more than any other element of the world in history has ripped off anything. But I can be different if they’re helping us with North Korea. If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do. China can help us much more, and they have to help us much more. And they have to help us much more. We have a nuclear menace out there, which is no good for China, and it’s not good for Russia. It’s no good for anybody. Does that make sense?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, yeah, it makes a lot of sense.

TRUMP: The only thing that supersedes trade to me — because I’m the big trade guy, I got elected to a certain extent on trade. You see, I’m renegotiating Nafta, or I’ll terminate it. If I don’t make the right deal, I’ll terminate Nafta in two seconds. But we’re doing pretty good. You know, it’s easier to renegotiate it if we make it a fair deal because Nafta was a terrible deal for us. We lost $71 billion a year with Mexico, can you believe it? $17 billion with Canada — Canada says we broke even. But they don’t include lumber and they don’t include oil. Oh, that’s not. … [Inaudible,] … My friend Justin he says, “No, no, we break even.” I said, ‘Yeah, but you’re not including oil, and you’re not including lumber.” When you do, you lose $17 billion, and with the other one, we’re losing $71 billion. So the only thing that supersedes trade to me is war. If we can solve the North Korea problem. China cannot. …

SCHMIDT: You still think there’s a diplomatic solution?

TRUMP: China has a tremendous power over North Korea. Far greater than anyone knows.

SCHMIDT: Why haven’t they stood up?

TRUMP: I hope they do, but as of this moment, they haven’t. They could be much stronger.

SCHMIDT: But why not?

TRUMP: China can solve the North Korea problem, and they’re helping us, and they’re even helping us a lot, but they’re not helping us enough.  [New York Times]