By Jon Dougherty
No matter what happened in Hanoi, Vietnam, during POTUS Donald Trump’s second summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, he was going to be crucified by Democrats and their allies in the establishment media.
Before he left for the summit, Dems and their media allies were claiming that because of the alleged political fallout over the conspicuously-timed Michael Cohen hearings in the House, the president would essentially ‘give away the store’ — sell out our country for a deal, any deal, just to get the ‘Cohen mess’ off the front pages.
But now that the president has exited the summit without signing any deals at all, proclaiming that the time just isn’t right yet and that Kim was asking too much (a complete end to all U.S. sanctions in exchange for partial denuclearization), he’s a boob, an oaf, and an amateur who has no ‘art of the deal’ and is in over his head.
“It was about the sanctions,” POTUS told reporters as he prepared to leave Vietnam (after, by the way, signing $20 billion worth of deals with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong for Vietnamese airlines to buy Boeing jets). “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.
“I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” the president added, echoing his remarks from earlier in the day when he insisted that “speed” was not his focus. “We’re in a position to do something very special.”
That very reasoned and measured response only elicited hoots and howls from the Left-wing establishment commentariat. But real North Korean experts believe the president handled himself — and the entire negotiating process — masterfully.
“The Taliban and the Iranians can also take away lessons from this episode. Trump is not the rube his critics suggest. Trump is not Obama. He won’t cut a deal just so he can say he cut a deal. In sending Kim a message, he sent them a message as well,” writes James Jay Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies The Heritage Foundation.
“The U.S. walks away with some respect for Kim’s resolve. Trump likes a serious negotiation. Trump’s team also gets a twofer. They looked tough, and they get to keep the negotiating track open,” he continued.
“…Kim now knows he has a serious negotiating partner. He will have to consider how to negotiate seriously in the future.”
Joel S. Wit and Jenny Town at North Korean analysis group 38 North write:
We now know that President Trump is not only a practitioner of the “madman theory” of international politics but also at the negotiating table.
It’s ironic that while most pundits and the media kept up a steady drumbeat that he was going to give away the store, he did just the opposite, holding out for a better deal.
Wit and Town also noted that both sides are “heavily invested” in negotiations.
The hidden hand here that the NeverTrumpers in the establishment press have completely forgotten belongs to China. Whatever was going to happen in Hanoi in terms of what Kim was going to agree to was already ordained in Beijing, North Korea’s biggest and only real trading partner. In fact, one way to gauge what happens next in terms of whether there will be a third summit and/or future agreements between Pyongyang and Washington will depend a lot on what happens between Beijing and Washington in the days and weeks ahead.
POTUS Trump’s next Asian foray is sitting down with Chinese President Xi Jinping and hammering out a trade agreement that ends all tariffs and includes additional provisions that are key to both the Chinese and the Trump administration.
The fact that Trump flew 20 hours to Hanoi just to hop back aboard Air Force One without signing a lousy deal sends Xi a message that our president isn’t a pushover or a dolt, unlike our perpetually triggered anti-Trump establishment press commentariat.
There is also this fact. Regardless of what happened in Hanoi, President Trump has made more progress negotiating peace with North Korea and improving our trade situation with China than any previous president.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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