North Korea

Trump's Foreign Policy: There Is No Good or Bad, Right or Wrong. There Is Only Trump.

Solipsism is his only guiding principle.

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Peace is better than war, obviously. So everyone should breathe a sigh of relief that President Trump ended months of

Trump-Un
JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS/Newscom

brinksmanship and shook hands this week with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, at least temporarily dampening the risk of potential nuclear catastrophe.

But does anyone doubt that if President Obama had negotiated this exact same deal with the Hermit Kingdom, Trump would have berated it as "weak" and "terrible"?

This gets to the heart of Trump's approach not just to foreign policy, but all politics: It's all about him. There is no guiding ideology beyond Trump. If he does it, it's great, the best. If his opponents do it, it's weak, foolish.

Indeed, the Trump foreign policy doctrine is not, as a senior White House official recently put it to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, "We're America, Bitch."

It's "I'm Trump, Bitch."

This president doesn't care what's in the deal—only that he's the one striking it. There is no good or bad, right or wrong. There is only Trump.

With or without Trump, the North Korea thaw ought to be received positively. Shunning murderous dictatorships isn't a good way to curb their human rights abuses at home or their provocations abroad. That only isolates them from the broader world, cutting them off from global norms of good behavior. It also diminishes the international community's leverage to influence them. Indeed, it would be an advance for good sense and humanity if the United States were to end all sanctions against bad regimes and open embassies in their countries, including North Korea. However, dealing with tyrannical regimes is one thing. Feting and flattering them as Trump did with Kim is quite another.

This was a stunning—and swift—legitimization of a rogue regime that has no parallel in living memory (or perhaps ever). President Barack Obama traveled to Cuba when he ended America's half-century embargo on the country and opened an embassy there, but he didn't heap fulsome praise on the Castro brothers' communist dictatorship. Nor did he hold hands with the Iranian mullahs against the backdrop of fluttering Iranian and U.S. flags and issue a joint communiqué. You can imagine what citizen Trump would have tweeted had President Obama acted this way.

This is about more than hypocrisy, though. It's the way Trump views life and the world. The most unlikely president in American history can do no wrong, and nothing is more paramount than dominating and belittling his opponents. Trump looks out upon all the people of the world, the "haters and losers" chief among them, the people who say he can't succeed, that he will fail in doing things his own way, and says, with a sort of swollen bravado, "I'm Trump, bitch."

But in the end, Trump's deal with Kim will very likely be a weaker, vaguer, and less-binding version of the Obama-era Iran deal that Trump tore up in May after mercilessly berating it as "too weak." Indeed, Obama's Iran deal forced the mullahs to give up 98 percent of their uranium. North Korea hasn't even made full disclosure of its arsenal, and yet Trump has declared that it is no longer a nuclear threat. Trump has slammed Obama for giving billions of dollars is cash to Iran, except that it was Iran's own money. Trump, in contrast, has already unilaterally declared that America will no longer conduct war games with South Korea because that is too provocative for North Korea. The difference between America's concessions to Iran versus North Korea is, of course, that in the latter case it's Trump making them.

Trump's North Korea deal will likely be no stronger than the 1994 deal that President Bill Clinton signed with Pyongyang and arguably a whole lot weaker than the 2005 framework that the Bush administration signed. (The latter actually required North Korea to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.") It would be foolish to believe that this time it will work.

But Trump really does seem to believe it—because he believes in nothing but himself. He has no guiding ideology here, no doctrine, even one that puts American force and confidence at its center, as his (misguided) hawkish advisers like John Bolton do. There is only Trump.

Of course, it is not only the deals that previous administrations have signed with America's foes that Trump is taking a sledgehammer to. He is also smashing those with America's friends. Trump feels no loyalty to any of America's alliances or commitments—historic or new.

He has regularly panned the NATO alliance and America's security assurances in Southeast Asia. He is torpedoing the G-7 alliance, created expressly to strengthen trade ties between the world's industrial powers. He pulled out of the Obama-backed TPP trade agreement and the Paris climate accords. He has contempt for the Clinton-era World Trade Organization and, of course, NAFTA, which he bewilderingly blames for economic "carnage" in America.

Trump is spectacularly wrong about some of this—but not all of it. The problem, however, is that he doesn't have a moral compass besides his own ego to guide him. The rightness or wrongness of the deal doesn't matter to him. What matters is that he didn't author it. It is solipsism disguised as policy.

Most presidents aspire to leave the world a better place. Not too many succeed, of course, but when it comes to this administration, that isn't even a yardstick. Every day that Trump does not blow up the world seems like a victory. And just for that alone, we should be grateful for his handshake with Kim.

This column originally appeared in The Week.

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  1. If we let everyone in Iran immigrate here, the problem would be solved.

    1. Most people in Iran do not want to leave. It takes a certain personality type to leave your home country, and only a minority of the population have that trait. The exception is where a person’s very survival is at stake, such the war in Syria, which caused half the country to leave.

      1. How the fuck would you know, Cathy?

        Oh right, you don’t.

  2. If we let everyone in Iran immigrate here, the problem would be solved.

  3. I dunno. Seems like it’s worth while to try something. And you can’t negotiate with a foreign leader, no matter how awful, with out somehow “legitimizing” him. I mean, like it or not, he is the head dude in North Korea.
    It’s fairly likely that nothing significant will come of all this, but at least it’s trying something new.

    1. “…if President Obama Obozo had negotiated this exact same deal…”

      Shikha misses the point (again).

      Obozo didn’t. But Trump did.

      And Trump has been very frank that it’s only a beginning and could all go to hell tomorrow. The difference is, Bush I didn’t do it. Nor did Clinton. Nor Bush II. Obozo sure as hell didn’t do it. Only Trump has taken this first step in ending the Korean War.

      The problem isn’t that Obozo wouldn’t have gotten credit, Shikha. The problem with you snowflakes is that Trump IS getting credit for what he’s doing – and that drives you [even more] nuts because no matter how much good he accomplishes for America (and the rest of the world), the idea of him getting a positive reaction makes you (even more) crazy.

  4. Wow.

    Just wow.

    Wow.

    1. Insightful comment

      1. Insightful comment.

    2. Shikha finally won Rufus over.

      1. Hey, two replies to the same post.

  5. Trump’s like any other bully, if he senses weakness he’ll attack, if he senses his target can fight back he gets all obsequient-like. It’s why he says he doesn’t blame China for looking out for their own best interests but will shit-talk Trudeau for looking out for Canada’s, the same way he regularly shit-talks our friends and allies but not our enemies. Trudeau’s weak and Xi ain’t, our friends will take his abuse, our enemies will fight back.

    The laughable part is the Trumptards that defend Trump’s sucking up to Kim as just good negotiating tactics when all along they’ve been laughing and cheering Trump’s un-PC straight-talking Don Rickles impersonation. Trump’s a manly man, telling it like it is! He don’t take shit from nobody! Yay Trump! And now that he’s publicly giving Kim a hand-job? Brilliant!

    1. Or maybe TDS blinds some people to actual Trump progress.

      We get it. You won’t give Trump any credit for helping America’s interests for any reason.

      1. Kim could nuke your home town and you’d still think Trump was the bestest president ever. You’re the deranged one.

        1. So its Trump’s fault that Kim Jung-Un nukes the USA?

          I would thinks its Kim’s fault if he nukes the USA.

          Trump’s not better than George Washington but is magnitudes better than Obama, Boosh, Clinton, Bush, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, Truman, FDR, and Wilson.

          1. Yeah? You honestly think that?

    2. Meanwhile you Block Insane Yomommatards send planes full of pallets of U.S. dollars to Iran and lie through your teeth about it for years, in exchange for absolutely nothing.

      1. Yup. Jerryskids did that.

      2. “Block Insane Yommomma” is the worst nickname of derision ever.

        1. It’s like a direct window into Mikey’s insanity.

          1. Shut the fuck up Cathy.

  6. From the same magazine that brought you “tariffs are bad, but we need to impose trade sanctions on Russia for lolz” comes “diplomacy is literally Hitler”.

    1. This is my favorite parody site of what a shitty libertarian would think

      1. http://www.twitter.com/BillKristol/st…..3303234560

        Hell yes- Bill Kristol is retweeting crap from this parody site now!

        Next Reason pledge drive “The Weekly Standard really likes us”. I’m old enough to remember when if Bill Kristol thought you had the right opinions you had the wrong opinions. Woketarians are an endless source of amusement

      2. Luckily, the shitty articles by Reason staff are done by people who are LINOs.

        1. Luckily, the shitty articles by Reason staff are done by people who are LINOs.

          We can’t all be for trade protectionism and big-government control of the movement of people… you know the true libertarian positions.

          But all sarcasm aside, this article was mind-numbingly dumb. Trump could end the drug war, NSA spying, and pull out of Afghanistan tomorrow and Shikha would find some reason why that makes him the worst president ever.

          1. Yup. Open borders sure is Libertarian. You know the really only party of rule of law and Liberty under the Constitution.

            That’s why we have the TDS term. As you said, some people could never give Trump credit for a good thing even if he pulled out of Afghanistan.

            1. Open borders IS in fact libertarian. I remember reading a page about that in a book I was sent when I joined the LP in 1997, I think it was Libertarianism in One Lesson. Most of Reason‘s positions are the traditional libertarian ones. Libertarian positions and conservative positions are not always the same, and shouldn’t be.

              1. Libertarianism is the modern version of Classical Liberalism. We would probably go by the term “Liberals” if the progressive-socialist-shits had not hijacked the term.

                Open borders was never and is not a Classical Liberal position. The Founders gave multiple clauses in the US Constitution to the United State adding more states, powers for national defense, power of naturalization, and power to regulate free person migration and slave importation.

          2. You are all for free trade unless it involves the evil Russians. And we can’t negotiate with evil dictatorships unles it is Obama sending billions to Iran. This is because reason libertarians are all about principles

            God it must suck being a Reason fanboy and defending this garbage

          3. Trump can’t swim…………………………………..well said

    2. So your main criticism is…made up out of whole cloth.

      1. Cathy demanding hard hitting journalism by Reason Commenters while being a Reason staff apologist.

      2. Hi Tony’s sock puppet.

        Reason ran a front page article shortly after the election about how the US should increase sanctions against Russia because Russia was evilz (mainly because that’s what their friends at cocktail parties told them to believe). No such suggestions were ever made during negotiations with Iran and Cuba, clearly because that was woke or something nonsensical. In reality, an actual libertarian would welcome all negotiations. Enjoy trolling!

        1. And the funnies part was in that same issue where they advocated trade sanctions against Russia they also had several articles bemoaning Trump’s opposition to managed trade deals.

          Best parody publication, ever

          1. Yes, Reason staff is losing Reason on some topics. It is sad to see my favorite magazine be so full of it so often theses days.

        2. Do you want to point to the place where Dalmia criticized diplomacy? You know, the point I actually criticized you on?

          1. Did I say that, Tony? You just making up something that you literally never said and I most definitely never said? You’re bright

            1. You said Reason was writing that “diplomacy is literally Hitler.”

              Now, I am of course not asking you to justify the hyperbole. But Dalmia is not critical of diplomacy at all. This post is pro-diplomacy.

              1. “This post is pro-diplomacy.”

                Cool story, Tony.

                1. Hey. This isn’t me. At least, I don’t think it is, unless my presence has changed the timeline completely somehow.

                2. Sure, anyone who can read is a sock.

              2. No. This article is all about TDS in the context of diplomacy with North Korea.

                Shikha could not properly analyze the diplomacy situation if she got to speak to Trump and Kim Jung-Un herself.

                Its why its called TDS. It blinds the person to reality around them.

                1. The comments suggest she’s 100% right about how Trump fans think.

                  1. Yup, anyone who disagrees with Bill Kristol is a “Trump fan”.

                  2. Haha. Shikha’s position is that people who peak ill of Obama and comment about the good and bad of Trump are “Trump fans”?

                    You and Shikha belong together.

          2. “So your main criticism is…made up out of whole cloth.” is what you said.

            Best parady account ever.

            1. Is this the new thing? Accuse a commenter you disagree with of being a parody account? I have seen multiple Trumpalos say that recently, so I am wondering which alt-right mouthpiece it came from originally.

              1. I knew you were stupid, but never realized you were ” Is this the new thing? Accuse a commenter you disagree with of being a parody account?” stupid.

                No, very stupid, worthless noob commenter, it is not a new thing.

              2. And, it looks like ” Chipper Morning Baculum” is probably Cathy L.

                Yes, we know, blah blah blah nu uh, worthless denial, blah.

        3. It seemed to me like the Russia article was pretty specifically Cathy Young’s views on the subject. It doesn’t seem to be a general editorial position of Reason as far as I can tell. And if I recall correctly, Young’s article said that sanctions could work, not so much that they were the best policy to go with. I could be misremembering, but I feel like people have made too much of that article.

          1. If it wasn’t their position then it is an interesting article to put on the front page. I actually think people haven’t made enough out of that article. Can you remember the last time Reason put a front page article arguing for trade sanctions against the new baddie?

            There’s a reason why Reason is Bill Kristol’s prefered brand of “libertarianism”

            1. All I’m saying is that you’ll be hard pressed to find a time when Bill Kristol was praising a position that Rand Paul made on foreign policy.

              1. I appreciate the flashbacks to LINO behavior, Just Say’n. Some of these LINOs think they can slip non-libertarian hypocrisy in without getting caught.

                1. Some of these LINOs think they can slip non-libertarian hypocrisy in without getting caught.

                  You calling other people LINOs is great comedy, man. It’s gold, Jerry. GOLD!

                  1. Kenny Bania best Seinfeld character.

                  2. We will call you Roundtine, $parkY.

            2. Well, I thought it was an interesting article, even if I didn’t agree with the conclusions.

              If it was their editorial position to call for sanctions on Russia, I’d think they would be doing a lot more of that. I think that’s how you figure out what the editorial positions are, not assume it from one issue’s cover story. But I haven’t seen more articles endorsing sanctions on Russia. Though it’s possible I’ve missed it.

              1. If there are more calls for sanctions on Russia in Reason, show me the link. One single article, even a cover story, doesn’t make it an official position.

          2. Ah, the old excuse that editorial work does not reflect the general position of the publication.

            Funny how certain views continually get published on Reason but they do no reflect the position of “Reason”.

            People are sick of being lied to.

            1. Who was that mystery donor?

              1. http://www.twitter.com/jwcglaser/stat…..9735642113

                I think the Kochs have just decided that pro-war is the ‘woke’ position now. Judging by their outlets the word has come down

                1. From the linked Cato article:

                  “given how dangerously close the Trump administration came to potentially catastropic escalation only a few months ago (admittedly, a crisis of Trump’s own making), diplomacy, no matter how maladroit, is clearly preferable and should not be dismissed out of hand by those on the left.

                  However, the abject hypocrisy of the right is even more appalling.”

                  Pointing out the hypocrisy of many on the right =/= advocating war or being against diplomacy any more than pointing out the hypocrisy of many on the left regarding race issues = being White Supremacist.

                  1. Yes, I agree. But, again, I ask: why? I don’t recall a lot of articles discussing how hypocritical Democrats who voted for the Iraq War were for suddenly opposing that war in 2006. Why? Because why would you shit on someone when they are agreeing with you.

                    This article makes sense if we accept the fact that it is “principals” well before “principles” for certain libertarians.

                    1. I don’t recall a lot of articles discussing how hypocritical Democrats who voted for the Iraq War were for suddenly opposing that war in 2006.

                      Really? I do. But I don’t have time to search right now, so it may be a recovered memory.

              2. Basically all the Koch’s funding is now coming from a tiny handful of left-wing billionaires, especially Soros and Bezos.

                1. Won’t Soros and the Kochs coming together result in the implosion of the universe or some such? Or am I confusing it with a Star Trek episode?

                2. Basically all the Koch’s funding is now coming from a tiny handful of left-wing billionaires, especially Soros and Bezos.

                  Huh?

            2. Funny how certain views continually get published on Reason but they do no reflect the position of “Reason”.

              Almost as if different writers are allowed to have different positions on things rather than all being ordered to march in lockstep like most publications.

              1. They all have different points of view and yet there was never an article contradicting that Young article (which appeared on the front cover). Weird how that happened. Considering how evilz tariffs are and how we need to engage our enemies or so we were told for eight years.

                1. Sure, if you ignore their general default stance against sanctions, including against sanctions on Russia, that is a widely-known running editorial theme and a position shared by basically every writer here.

                  I suppose no one at reason directly attacked Young and said “Cathy Young Is Wrong To Support Sanctions Against Russia?”

                  Will this be like that 2003 article saying maybe the Iraq invasion wasn’t totally wrong in every way that Joe from Lowell has been carrying around for fifteen years as proof that reason are actually warmongers at heart?

                  1. Wait, are pretending like this site hasn’t trafficked in Russia fever dreams? That’s convenient

                    1. “We’re not promoting war with Russia, but allow us to further a bat shit crazy conspiracy theory that says that Putin appointed Trump somehow. A prostitute in Thailand can prove it! We want to believe!”

                    2. We’re not promoting war with Russia, but allow us to further a bat shit crazy conspiracy theory that says that Putin appointed Trump somehow

                      I must have missed that article. Link?

              2. Square = Circle|6.18.18 @ 1:59PM|#
                Funny how certain views continually get published on Reason but they do no reflect the position of “Reason”.
                Almost as if different writers are allowed to have different positions on things rather than all being ordered to march in lockstep like most publications.

                Yea. Where is that Reason article about how open borders is bad for America?

                Where is that Reason article about how Trump has been great for America so far? So much better than Hillary that Hillary’s candidacy is a joke at this point.

                Where is that Reason article about how the 2nd Amendment protect American’s right to keep and bear Arms? All Arms. Even the “scary” looking ones.

                1. Where is that Reason article about how open borders is bad for America?

                  Reason not taking up the standard on your favorite pet issue =/= reason writers marching in lockstep on every issue.

                  Where is that Reason article about how Trump has been great for America so far?

                  They have been much more sympathetic to Trump than virtually any non-Trump-cheerleader publication. Again, reason not worshiping Trump and rationalizing every fart he lets out with your passion and dedication does not mean they are in TDS lockstep.

                  Where is that Reason article about how the 2nd Amendment protect American’s right to keep and bear Arms?

                  And . . . what? Where is that reason article supporting weapons bans?

                2. Mexicans, pot, and gay butt sex are the three things and the ONLY three things that can never be opposed at Reason under any circumstances whatsoever.

                  Every other issue in the world is completely fungible, negotiable, and reversible at a moment’s notice depending on who is in power or who is doing what at any given moment.

                  1. ^ See, Mikey gets it!

                    1. I created The pot , Mexicans, and ass sex meme And it will live long after I am gone

                    2. For that, if nothing else, you are immortal, John.

                3. Where is that Reason article about how the 2nd Amendment protect American’s right to keep and bear Arms?

                  There are plenty of reasons to criticize Reason, but they are plenty consistent on the 2nd amendment. And even published things in the magazine in support of civilian right to own all kinds of weapons. They have had many articles about how stupid the “assault weapons” distinction is and how ridiculous it is to ban things because of “scary” looking features.

                  https://reason.com/tags/gun-control

          3. I get so tired of the constant disavowing of problematic positions taken by Reason articles. The reason position, whatever it is, is whatever positions it publishes. The organization is responsible and should have to answer for the positions it publishes.

            1. That’s like holding every Republican responsible for anything another Republican says. Man, what a dumb position to take.

              1. It is a magazine not a political party you half wit. What if they published an article by a White Supremacist talking about the evil Jews? That would not be reflective of the magazine as a whole? Nothing get in that magazine unless the publishers endorse the views.

                1. Nothing get in that magazine unless the publishers endorse the views.

                  Maybe that’s the case now. I don’t know. But it certainly hasn’t always been.

                  1. Maybe that’s the case now. I don’t know. But it certainly hasn’t always been.

                    And if it is the case, the publishers sure are conflicted on a number of issues.

  7. I too am afraid that the Trump deal with North Korea- which does not actually exist- is too weak. Thank you for your insight.

    “98% of their Uranium”- Oh sweet summer child.

  8. President Barack Obama traveled to Cuba when he ended America’s half-century embargo on the country and opened an embassy there, but he didn’t heap fulsome praise on the Castro brothers’ communist dictatorship. Nor did he hold hands with the Iranian mullahs against the backdrop of fluttering Iranian and U.S. flags and issue a joint communiqu?. You can imagine what citizen Trump would have tweeted had President Obama acted this way.

    Mmmm…I’m not so sure those situations are comparable to negotiations with a belligerent nuclear power.

    I don’t like appeasement. But, the guy has a loaded gun, a rickety, unreliable one, but still, that makes it a bit different.

    1. That and North Korea has literally attacked South Korea before. They are technically still at war with only a shaky armistice in place.

      1. oh jesus LC agrees with me, someone get me the steel wool and bleach please

        1. By the way, I’m just dfucking with you LC.

          1. We all enjoy the ball-busting now and again. I agree with quite a bit of what you say.

            I noticed some time ago that people rarely comment to agree.

            Then you have well laid out disagreement replies. I swear some trolling is just done to bump up website traffic.

      2. I’m not sure a 62-year armistice could really be called “shaky.”

        1. Ask Seoul if they agree.

        2. What would you call a 62 year cease fire where:
          January 1968- North Korean commandos launch a failed assassination attempt on the then president of South Korea, Park Chung-hee.
          On January 23, 1968- a U.S. spy ship was captured. The incident was known as the Pueblo incident.
          On April 15, 1969- EC-121 was shot down over the Sea of Japan by North Korea.
          15 August 1974- There is another assassination attempt on Park Chung-hee, by a North Korean agent in Seoul. Park survives, but the first lady is killed.
          On August 18, 1976- Captain Arthur Bonifas and Lieutenant Mark Barrett were killed by the North Korean Army with axes at Panmunjom in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, when the Americans were engaged in routine tree-clearing.
          9 October 1983- North Korean agents target the venue of a visit by South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan to Burma, killing more than 20 people including four South Korean cabinet ministers. The president escapes.
          29 November 1987- North Korea blows up a South Korean civilian airliner, killing 115 people. The US decides to include the North on its list of countries that support terrorism.
          September 1996- A North Korean submarine lands commandos on the South Korean coast.
          July 2008- A North Korean soldier shoots a South Korean tourist dead in the Mount Kumgang resort.

          1. (contd)
            May 2009- It also withdraws from the 1953 armistice that ended the war between the two Koreas.
            November 2009- Shots are exchanged near the Yellow Sea border for the first time in seven years.
            January 2010- North Korea fires artillery near its disputed maritime border with South Korea. South Korea returns fire, but no one is injured.
            March 2010- The South Korean warship Cheonan sinks after an unexplained explosion; 46 sailors die. A later investigation suggests the boat was sunk by a torpedo launched from a North Korean submarine.
            October 2010- North and South Korea exchange shots across the border.

          2. Yea, the North and South Korean relationship is not shaky at all.

            1. Wow. It’s like the opening titles of Red Dawn. You have me impressed, sir.

              *hides under desk*

              1. I did not agree with you, so I backed it up with some tidbits of info.

                The North Koreans are some tenacious fighters. So are the South Koreans and they have a wealthy lifestyle.

    2. Yes – Obama traveled to Cuba and appeased a childhood idol / Communist dictator. So, no he wasn’t ever going to get a significant concession from Kim.

  9. “But does anyone doubt that if President Obama had negotiated this exact same deal with the Hermit Kingdom, Trump would have berated it as “weak” and “terrible”?”

    Weak and terrible perfectly describes the deal Obama made with the Iranians and the usual suspects who continued to defend it are the same one’s bad mouthing Trump’s dealings with the North Koreans.

    At least Trump hasn’t handed over a big pallet of cash in exchange for nothing of any actual value – yet.

    1. I am curious what deal Trump negotiated.

      Seems like Trump BEGAN the process of a negotiation which, if it works, could be good.

      If it isn’t, then we revert back to the status quo.

      You know what helps negotiations a lot? Not calling the other party names. Calling Kim a fucking miserable piece of shit, while likely quite cathartic, wouldn’t do a damned thing to resolve issues.

      Wouldn’t opening up trade with North Korea liberalize them? We’ve always been told it would, though China seems to be bucking that trend. And opening dialogue with Cuba didn’t do much there. Ditto Iran.

  10. “This president doesn’t care what’s in the deal?only that he’s the one striking it. There is no good or bad, right or wrong. There is only Trump.”

    Well, its official. Shikha is even worse at writing about American foreign policy than immigration issues.

    1. I’m persuaded.

      1. I am persuaded by your persuasion.

  11. But does anyone doubt that if President Obama had negotiated this exact same deal with the Hermit Kingdom, Trump would have berated it as “weak” and “terrible”?

    Does anyone doubt that if Obama had negotiated this exact same deal, Shikha would have applauded it as historic, monumental even?

    See that’s the way with tribal politics. It’s a two-way street. The issue isn’t Trump, it’s that politics in general lacks any critical thinking. So do your articles, generally, Shikha.

    1. Here in the real world, in a post headlined “Obama’s Nuclear Deal with Iran is the Worst Option, Except for all the Others”, Dalmia wrote:

      Security hawks will no doubt pan the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran that’ll be signed in Vienna today. They’ll say that it won’t prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon ? and they’ll be right. They’ll say that it’ll help Iran build its conventional weapons program ? and they’ll be right. They’ll say that Iran will never fully honor its word ? even as the West lifts sanctions against it, and they’ll probably be right about that too.

      1. “Obama’s Nuclear Deal with Iran is the Worst Option, Except for all the Others”

        Isn’t that just a douchey way of saying the best deal? Which.. is praise last time I looked.

      2. Which is still in support of the deal. I’m not getting what you’re saying here, Tony’s sock puppet

        1. I think he or she is trying to make my point for me?

          1. Yes, making your point for you by pointing out that your assumption about Dalmia’s position on the Iran deal was 100% wrong.

            1. She called the Iran deal the best deal possible. I don’t see where she does that with this article.

        2. She didn’t call it historic or monumental. She treated it pretty much exactly the way she treats Trump’s North Korea deal above.

          1. The Iran deal is done. Complete.

            The North Korean deal is not even close to being done.

          2. Also from Shikha:

            The administration might have squandered precious leverage in its negotiations. However, even the deal that it has obtained through its ham-handed efforts is a far cleaner?and surer?way to slow Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb. Obama didn’t get the moon?but the deal won’t produce the end of the world either, which is more than one can say for the options foreign policy hawks have put on the table. SOURCE

            Obama didn’t get the moon ? but the deal won’t produce the end of the world either, which is more than one can say for the options foreign policy hawks have put on the table. SOURCE

            So I’ll grant that maybe her language isn’t quite as glowing as I’ve made it out to be, but she is certainly much more positive about the Obama Iran deal than she is about Trump’s NK negotiations. Why do you think that is?

            1. “Still, contrary to their claims, a bad deal is better than no deal. That’s because all the other options?maintaining sanctions or launching military strikes?would be less effective in curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

              This is what Shikha said.

              This dumb-dumb thinks bad deals are better than no deal. This is where the appeasement mentality comes from.

              Destroying all of Iran’s nuclear and missile capabilities, via military strikes, would absolutely be more effective than a deal in which Iran has more time to increase its nuclear and missile capability.

              1. In just the same way that total obliteration and disarmament of Germany after WWI prevented them from ever being a threat to humanity again!

                1. Well… they didn’t get a nuke.

                2. Germany was NOT totally obliterated after WWI. The Germans still held foreign soil when that war ended.

                  WWII was a direct result of Germany not being totally defeating in WWI. Hitler, Germans, and German generals thought they could win another World War.

    2. Obama couldn’t have negotiated the same deal.

      1. He’s a terrible negotiator having never negotiated a thing in his life before he was President.

      2. Obama is an ideologue and quite likely hates the idea of a war fought against Communist aggression. Which is why every time the topic of North Korea came up, it looked like he was going through the motions of empty gestures. That doesn’t get Kim to the negotiating table.

      1. You will NEVER get the lefty media to admit those facts.

      2. It wasn’t Kim refusing to come to the table. It was Obama refusing to come unless he got concessions from Kim.

        Trump went to the table without getting a thing from Kim.

        Trump talked up the meeting so much before hand that Kim knew he wouldn’t leave without making a deal, giving up the leverage of being able to walk away.

        Trump ]signaled that he didn’t know the issues beforehand, and was fooled by the talk of “Complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” which doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

        He did not get one thing out of Kim. But, among other things, he gave Kim a video of the POTUS saluting a North Korean soldier.

        1. “He did not get one thing out of Kim.”

          Except those American prisoners…

        2. Trump also called off the meeting.

          He showed a willingness to walk away, which is key.

          Did Trump screw up saluting a soldier there? Yes. But it’s not like Presidents doing stupid shit with foreigners is unknown.

      3. It wasn’t Kim refusing to come to the table. It was Obama refusing to come unless he got concessions from Kim.

        Trump went to the table without getting a thing from Kim.

        Trump talked up the meeting so much before hand that Kim knew he wouldn’t leave without making a deal, giving up the leverage of being able to walk away.

        Trump ]signaled that he didn’t know the issues beforehand, and was fooled by the talk of “Complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” which doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

        He did not get one thing out of Kim. But, among other things, he gave Kim a video of the POTUS saluting a North Korean soldier.

  12. Foreign policy is, by necessity, the area of governance that is most driven by pragmatism as the government has no claim to sovereignty over foreign powers. Everthing must be accomplished by persuasion, embargoes or a realistic military threat. Reason’s editorial stance is usually not too keen on the last two, so their recommendations had usually been in the persuasion end which can look like coddiling.

    Its been fascinating watching the articles on Trump’s dealings with North Korea go from pearl clutching about warmongering last year to being too friendly.this year. Whatever Trump does, it is apparently the wrong tack, rather than a negotiation process (whether Trump has reached a worthwhile agreement is another matter).

    1. I noticed that the media is not really mentioning that Trump might successfully get all American soldier remains as part of an agreement.

      While nukes and peace on the Korean peninsula are higher priorities, I would rate American remains from the Korean War a top 5 priority.

      I honestly think many media people just do not want Trump to successfully pull off a historic peace deal like this. It probably wont work anyway but its like the media wants to make sure peace wont work.

      1. While nukes and peace on the Korean peninsula are higher priorities, I would rate American remains from the Korean War a top 5 priority.

        You can’t actually be serious about that.

      2. I noticed that the media is not really mentioning that Trump might successfully get all American soldier remains as part of an agreement.

        I suspect that this means absolutely nothing to most of the jackasses who work for Reason, given that they don’t know personally know a soul who served in Korea.

      3. but its like the media wants to make sure peace wont work.

        They can’t be caught admitting that the other side might have actually done something right. The media was falling all over themselves when Trump commuted the sentence of Kim K’s friend because they didn’t know how to react to their sworn enemy doing something right. Reason was at least generally positive about that one. Why they are publishing this Shikha article against peace negotiations is beyond me.

        But it’s a two-way street. It’s amazing how few free traders there are remaining on the right after Trump’s brand of protectionism took hold.

        1. Honestly, I’m wondering if Shikha has a picture of the Koch brothers 69ing each other and the only way to keep it buried is for Reason to publish/link to her stuff.

          1. http://www.twitter.com/jwcglaser/stat…..9735642113

            Nah, all the Koch outlets are definitely pro-war now

            1. Is that pro-war, or is it just pointing out that Republicans are only hopping aboard the diplomacy train because it suits them at the moment, not because they’ve come to the conclusion diplomacy is better?

              Because let’s be real, politicians don’t really care about most of the issues. The issues are just the playbook they run.

              1. Agreed. However, all politicians are opportunists.

                I don’t recall these articles circa 2006 about how all the Democrats who first voted for the Iraq War are suddenly opposed to the Iraq War.

                Probably because why would you want to shit on someone for agreeing with you?

                1. Do you not remember the 2008 Democratic Primary?

              2. Also, that picture would be hot. 10/10 would look

        2. But it’s a two-way street. It’s amazing how few free traders there are remaining on the right after Trump’s brand of protectionism took hold.

          I’d hardly call all of them ‘few’–but then you being an advocate of managed trade that’s called ‘free’, it’s not surprising that you’d get this wrong as well.

          1. but then you being an advocate of managed trade that’s called ‘free’, it’s not surprising that you’d get this wrong as well.

            I’m not sure how I’ve ever given you the opinion that I’m for managed trade. I’d prefer no tariffs, no restrictions at all. I guess given the options between NAFTA (managed trade) and Trump’s nationalist protectionist policies, I’d prefer NAFTA.

            My comment was that the political right used to at least pay lip service to free trade in this country. Now they generally have remained quiet in response to Trump’s protectionism.

            1. In his defense, Trump has.

              He specifically called for zero tariffs.

              Nobody else wanted to play ball.

              Only one country seems interested in actual free trade.

  13. Holy fuck. Earlier today I said that the Chapman article was the dumbest I’ve ever read here. Along comes Shikha to top it.

    This is the kind of empty-headed, knee-jerk TDS I can get from CNN or MSNBC.

    1. http://www.twitter.com/BillKristol/st…..3303234560

      Not true. Bill Kristol loved the Chapman article. Libertarian Moment!

      1. What is Kristol anyway? Ideologically, he seems hard to pin down, in a bad way.

        1. Bill Kristol is the quintessential neoconservative. His #Resisting has everything to do with his fear that Trump won’t kill enough foreigners overseas

          1. Yes – a moderate democrat who wants to conquer the world.

      2. Wow! Chapman just got a war boner!

  14. from the writer that brought you,

    Trump Is a Bellicose Fool Who’ll Make War, Not Love
    Wake up you Trump-hugging peaceniks
    Shikha Dalmia | June 7, 2016

    …comes this new and exciting installment in the rhetorical turnaround of the decade:

    Now, Diplomacy w/ adversaries amounts to “a stunning?and swift?legitimization of a rogue regime that has no parallel in living memory”

    And of course, there’s no “deal” at all, so spending half your article comparing it to other forms of flimsy-diplomacy is more an excorcism of your own bile than anything to do w/ sober foreign relations analysis.

    People should consider Dalmia’s opinions on foreign policy about as seriously as Soave’s roadside auto-repair advice.

    1. Soave’s roadside auto-repair advice

      I missed this, and even late, I would like the opportunity to mock him for it.

    2. Dalmia’s hyperbole is not bounded by facts. The UK/USA aliiance with the Soviet Union during WWII is still technically within living memory.

      1. No joke. It’s not like “Uncle Joe” was any better than Hitler. We just simply had one “bad as Hitler” on our side and the Axis had one on theirs.

    3. Soave’s roadside auto-repair advice

      Isn’t it ‘cry by the side of the road until a man stops and fixes your car for you’?

      1. A man man, or an “ENB’s husband” man?

      2. Listen you can’t keep “that” hair and be expected to do physical labor.

    4. Speaking of “international diplomacy to get nuclear-armed people to disarm” and Shikha’s monumental ignorance of anything to do w/ it…

      ..2 significant moments over the last decade+ which had significant influence on perception of US credibility abroad by other nuclear-armed (and nuclear-aspiring) nations

      1) the “pretending the Budapest Memorandum never existed”-moment

      for those unfamiliar: Ukraine traded its big’ol nuke stockpile to the West in exchange for secure guarantees of it independence. US, UK, Russia all signed something. They gave them up.

      Then, more recently, Russia threatened to seize chunks of Ukraine, and then did. Ukraine says, “but wait, the Western people promised!”.

      Whoops! sorry we don’t like that paper anymore. too bad, you dumb drunken slobs. Enjoy having your country whittled away.

      moment #2

      2) Libya agrees to abandon its weapons programs in wake of 9-11, ending sanctions, and – it believed – receiving *security guarantees from US*

      whoops! no, sorry: instead we’ll arm some rebels and let them rape you to death with a bayonet.

      I can’t remember who was president at the time. But i do recall, Foreign Policy Genius, Shikha Dalmia, writing for this magazine during both, with zero insight into either event, or the potential downsides for future nuclear-disarmament efforts.

      1. That’s why I doubt Kim will completely denuclearize. That not only did we abandon Khadaffy but our incredibly inept and criminal and corrupt Sec of State at the time BRAGGED about it.

  15. Is it hard to believe that someone would have to agree to something before it would be actually done?

    Trump hasn’t given up anything.

    And Kim isn’t being legitimized in anyone’s mind that matters.

    Even if agreeing to work with him towards dismantling his nuclear threat were legitimizing in some way, is Dalmia really contending that Kim is being legitimized by his association with Trump?!

    LOL

    That’s more of a response than Dalmia’s piece deserves.

    1. Its like that garbage piece Chapman wrote today “How Trump’s Republican Party Went Soft on Communism”.

      With TDS so strong among them, they cannot fathom that Trump might dominate Kim Jung-Un, get NK concessions to make America safer, and keep American interests above North Korea’s.

      Lefties don’t really know how to negotiate from a position of actual power. All the lefty screaming and crying is seen as weakness by most of the World.

  16. He’s legitimizing a brutal dictator without getting much in return

    Wait, what?

    1. Remember when conservatives said that about the Cuba deal and libertarians rightly mocked them?

      Well, it’s different know, because principals- not principles

  17. I knew before I even clicked through to the article that this was a Shikha Dalmia article.

    1. Because anything critical of the cheeto-colored wannabe strongman who said “Only I can solve America’s problems” is unlibertarian.

      Libertarianism is so weird these days.

      1. Libertarianism is so weird these days.

        It certainly is.

      2. How is Trump different, in that regard, than literally any other President in recorded history?

    2. …because Chapman alredy had his.

  18. I wonder what kind of behavior would be acceptable for Ms. Dalmia during these negotiations?

    And, has Dalmia never met a salesman before? What, she thinks the guy selling you that mommobile actually likes your hair?

  19. Kim is legit regardless of how he’s treated by the rest of the world. No one has any incentive to try to end his rule and it appears that no one inside NK has the ability or incentive to end his rule. He’s de facto legit, just like Assad, Diaz-Canel, Maduro, etc. Acting otherwise is just kicking the can down the road. Hopefully this will lead to the NK leaders choosing a path similar to what the Chinese leaders chose back in the 80’s. It’s probably the best thing the people of NK can possibly hope for and actually obtain.

  20. From my point of view as an Australian in Indonesia (which is a freer country than Australia), I love Trump’s meeting with the North Korean leader and Betsy DeVos’ stand against Title IX

    Google “leader of the free world defending heritage” to see my open letter to Trump about where I see his place in the tradition of liberty.

    1. I hope you comment on any articles relating to Australia and Indonesia. I don’t see many perspectives on here from those two areas of the world.

    2. which is a freer country than Australia

      Not if you’re gay or a woman and especially in certain regions, but… OK. Freedom for most!

      1. There is no one more free than a pirate on open water.

        Doesn’t make it moral, or even a decent career choice…

  21. Trump is acting against America’s interests at least by any conventional assessment (shitting on allies while doing what Russia and China want). If Obama had put on this farce, gave away “war games” to Kim with nothing in return, and acted like a giddy fucking idiot playing grab-ass with Kim Jung-Il, I somehow doubt the peanut gallery here would be in such a patriotic fervor about it.

    1. What kind of fucking idiot thinks peace is against US interests? Yeah Yeah, your drooling, extra chromosomal ass thinks so, but your mom was a fucking drunk, and you prove it. I’m surprised you haven’t choked to death on your tongue already.

      As for those “allies” that we carry everywhere, they can start running their cum guzzlers when they pay their own way and not a fucking second before.

      Now scurry off bitch.

  22. Here’s the WSJ on the Trump-Kim deal today:

    “President Trump sowed confusion in Asia last week when he called U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises “very provocative.” He suspended them until further notice and mused that he’d eventually like to bring all U.S. troops in Korea home.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-…..1529264016

    They find that alarming. President Ron Paul might have said the same thing.

    In addition to everything else I’ve said, calling out Trump for giving away the farm for nothing on this is playing into the war mongers’ hands.

    Ultimately, if we ever retreat from being the world’s policeman, peacemaker, state builder, etc., that necessarily must involve both making deals with the likes of Xi, Putin, the Mullahs, and Kim and a willingness to hand the defense of our allies back over to our allies. Yeah, Japan and South Korea may need to take more responsibility for their own defense–and the Germans and the French might want to take note of that, too.

    If we wait until there are no bad actors before we make deals and unwind Imperial America, then Imperial America will never be unwound.

    If you realize you’re carrying water for the war mongers, maybe that’ll shake you out of your TDS. If not that, then what will?

    1. If you don’t think the war games are a good policy, end them unilaterally. Don’t tie them to a “negotiation” where you get absolutely nothing out of it. And for god’s sake, don’t say that you are going to stop them because they’re provocative.

      Trump made about as strong a negotiation on this one as he did on the Plaza Hotel.

      1. Happy Chandler|6.18.18 @ 6:12PM|#
        “If you don’t think the war games are a good policy, end them unilaterally. Don’t tie them to a “negotiation” where you get absolutely nothing out of it.”

        Heaven forbid you get cooperation out of it. Our fucking lefty ignoramus is here to prove he knows nothing regarding negotiations sand is terminally ill with TDS.
        Fuck off, imbecile.

      2. Dipshit, where are you?
        I keep hoping you’ll come back and ‘defend’ your idiocy so I get to take it apart piece-by-piece.
        Where did you go, fuckface?

  23. “This was a stunning?and swift?legitimization of a rogue regime that has no parallel in living memory (or perhaps ever). President Barack Obama traveled to Cuba when he ended America’s half-century embargo on the country and opened an embassy there, but he didn’t heap fulsome praise on the Castro brothers’ communist dictatorship. Nor did he hold hands with the Iranian mullahs against the backdrop of fluttering Iranian and U.S. flags and issue a joint communiqu?. You can imagine what citizen Trump would have tweeted had President Obama acted this way.”

    Is straw-grasping really getting that obvious?
    Here, folks, let’s look at how those without TDS see things:
    “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock”
    https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city
    /entry/diplomacy_is_the_art_of_saying_nice
    _doggie_until_you_can_find_a_rock/

  24. Hmm…I take it that this not the libertarian moment we’ve been waiting for.

  25. Well, Mr. (?) Dalmia, it is absurd to even suppose Obama would have negotiated a deal with Kim, and then to think you know what Trump would have thought about it had he done so. You writers for Reason are often so reasonable and rational you are too often wrong where America is concerned. The important thing with politics is this: win. Win for your political entity, whatever it is. In our case it is at least that half of the U.S.A. that remains American. That would exclude those precincts, counties, cities, and states that swung for Hillary Clinton in the last general election. Those are likely lost forever to America’s true Communist Party, the Democrats.

  26. Shikha Dalmia is right on again, with her insight into Trump.

    The commenting trolls have nothing to offer, but they persist.

    1. “Shikha Dalmia is right on again, with her insight into Trump.”

      So you agree with her, therefore she’s right? Are you familiar with “circular reasoning”?
      She offered nothing other than assertions and speculation, and you find that convincing?
      You should become familiar with “logic”.

  27. Ken Shultz|6.18.18 @ 1:51PM|#
    […]
    “Trump hasn’t given up anything.”
    Our newest lefty ignoramus has Trump “giving up” military training activities, as if that’s something that can be given without being retained. But fucking lefty imbeciles aren’t real bright.
    ————————————
    “Even if agreeing to work with him towards dismantling his nuclear threat were legitimizing in some way, is Dalmia really contending that Kim is being legitimized by his association with Trump?!”
    If it advances her narrative, you bet!
    If, OTOH, Trump had stiffed Kim, it’s odds-on that ONLI and Dalmia would have been whining that he’s incapable of dealing with people.
    ————————————————
    The closest we come to anything anyone would accept as evidence is this:
    “This was a stunning?and swift?legitimization of a rogue regime that has no parallel in living memory (or perhaps ever).”
    That isn’t evidence, it’s biased opinion and presenting it as evidence is evidence that the writer is bat-shit crazy.
    Notice here, there is not ONE fact presented; we have opinion.
    —————————————-
    cont’d.

    1. cont’d.
      And then:
      “President Barack Obama traveled to Cuba when he ended America’s half-century embargo on the country and opened an embassy there, but he didn’t heap fulsome praise on the Castro brothers’ communist dictatorship. Nor did he hold hands with the Iranian mullahs against the backdrop of fluttering Iranian and U.S. flags and issue a joint communiqu?. You can imagine what citizen Trump would have tweeted had President Obama acted this way.”
      Well, Cuba still doesn’t have nukes, so strike one.
      As to the rest, what the fuck is the point? You want to orchestrate H0S meetings? Or are you one more TDS victim?
      ————————–
      And then we have expert prognostication:
      “But in the end, Trump’s deal with Kim will very likely be a weaker, vaguer, and less-binding version of the Obama-era Iran deal that Trump tore up in May after mercilessly berating it as “too weak.”
      Fuck off, you pathetic excuse for a journalist.

  28. I love Trump hahahaha

    1. MAGA!

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