Editorial

Trump Achieved the 'Impossible'

Yatindra Bhatnagar

The US president Donald Trump has achieved the impossible that just a few weeks back threatened to endanger the United States with a nuclear or missile attack from the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Un.

And now, the latest is North and South Korea are talking; Kim Jong-Un crossed the border to meet with the South Korean leader President Moon Jae-In and gave clear signal that the Korean War would formally end soon. While talking, April 27, the two leaders ‘looked less like sworn enemies than members of the same family, separated by a generation,’ as The New York Times meaningfully put it.

The two leaders crossed the border hand in hand and then engaged in talks in the demilitarized zone.  

Just a few weeks back none would have imagined what Kim said after talks with Moon: “If all North and South Koreans can travel freely on the path I took today, if Panmunjom becomes a symbol of peace, not of painful division, the two Koreas with their one blood, one language, one history and one culture will prosper for thousands of generations,” he said after signing the joint declaration with Moon.

Does the US President not deserve credit for this miraculous change in the scenario – from threat of a war to hopes for real peace?

The North Korean threat had seemed real, looked imminent and the country’s leadership was shaken. Not so President Trump. He raised his thoughts, multiplied his straight talks and sharpened his bluntness and challenged Kim.

All that worked, and worked a miracle though President Trump did not get enough credit for what he alone achieved. The mainstream media was lukewarm, the Dems were silent, but the nation knows. Trump did not have to fire a single bullet to achieve something that was unthinkable just a few weeks back. Now the scene at Korea border was so dramatic that one was thinking “is it real?’

Yes, it was indeed real!  

[No other President since Ronald Reagan had taken that kind of tough stand against an adversary. Reagan had famously dared the then Soviet President Gorbachev on June 12, 1987: “Tear down this wall” aiming at the Berlin Wall put up by the Communist regime to divide Germany.

Tough stand does work if you have the strength to back it up. Soon The Wall was gone, the entire Soviet Union collapsed and a dozen plus ‘Soviet Republics’ became free.]   

Trump’s task was bigger – he was faced with an enemy that looked like just ready to press the trigger (the Nuclear Button.)

Kim Jong-Un announced the previous week that his country has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests, though claiming ‘further tests are unnecessary.’

He also said that the next stage is building on efforts to denuclearize, "which is the peace-loving platform of our party."

This breaking news was not expected just a few weeks back. Trump’s hardline, and possibly China’s discreet pressure, coupled with South Korean initiatives, softened Kim. The man must have realized the futility of saber-rattling in the face of Trump’s tough stand and also China’s possible reluctance to bail him out.

Trump, on his part, did not need or heed diplomatic ‘advice.’ Facing a severe backlash from the ‘diplomatic crowd’, the Democrats, some of his own party men, and ‘peaceniks’ who advised Trump to not provoke the North Korean Dictator, Trump went about his own tough path to deal with North Korea. The other side feared a provoked Kim might act crazy and attack the United States.

Trump never cowed down. He knows how to tackle a bully. He did what had to be done. He stared squarely at Kim and declared:

"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!"

·      He had added: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. Kim Jong-Un has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement. And, as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

·      Kim, in a televised speech earlier this year had spoken of a "nuclear button" that was "always on my desk."

"This is reality, not a threat," Kim had said. "This year we should focus on mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment.”

Of course he added, “These weapons will be used only if our security is threatened."

However, he relentlessly threatened the security of the United States, and thereby, the entire region and the world.

The American political and diplomatic and even the strategic establishment was in shock and unbelievably wobbly. Even a former Intelligence chief, James Clapper, said: “No other realistic option, the US needs to accept North Korea’s nuclear capability.”

He advocated negotiation.

What was that if not surrendering to the situation and accepting what North Korea was capable of? A defeatist mentality, indeed!

However, President Trump had no desire to resign to fate and meekly surrender and call for talks. He took a tougher stand backed by stronger words. He knew how to deal with a bully. He seemed to know that bullies are basically cowards who play upon the fears of a vulnerable, mentally weak opposition and take advantage of a climate of fear they create. That fear may be in the governments or the people that don’t realize their own strength and the determination of their leaders.

Trump’s self-confidence and tough stand worked. Now there are talks about talks between America and North Korea soon. Wow!

The President may have serious talks with Kim next month or in June.

Trump’s tough policy about trade with China might also have contributed to easing of the situation as the Asian super power also realizes that Trump means business, he is no Bush or Obama.

[Trump's threat had come amid another warning from the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who seemed dismissive of proposed high-level talks between South Korea and North Korea.

"We won't take any of the talks seriously if they don't do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea," Haley said during a press conference. "We consider this to be a very reckless regime, we don't think we need a Band-Aid, and we don't think we need to smile and take a picture."

Haley knows what the President wants and follows him in his tough stand.]

All that seemed to mellow down even the leader of the Democratic Party in the Senate. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ( D-NY) now believes he's more closely aligned to President Trump's position on trade with China than he was with former President Barack Obama.

"I'm closer to him on trade than I was to Obama, a Democrat, or Bush, a Republican, because we've got to get tougher on China," Schumer said last weekend in an interview with "The Cats Roundtable" on New York's AM 970 radio station.

"They take advantage of American workers, of American wealth, of American companies regularly. I called them rapacious. If we were to squeeze China on trade, we might get somewhere on North Korea," Schumer had continued.

Earlier this month Trump had asked the U.S. trade representative to evaluate the need for tariffs on an additional $100 billion of Chinese goods, after announcing the U.S. would pursue tariffs on $50 billion worth of products from China.

Yes, a profitable tough stand on principles and sure of his own vision and his nation’s strength!

 

4/29/18