posted by gut
Trump didn't hatch this plan. And the way American politics works, bad actors can just wait elections out. I've been saying for a while that career staffers are the ones truly driving foreign policy, and rightfully so.
The debate is if this really would have been done differently if it was Bush, Clinton or Obama. Although, we have to acknowledge the actions and talk against China have been discussed since Clinton, but no one else ever did anything. Trump has taken action and has been pretty credible to take further actions. I do tend to think China could have been leveraged before NK ever went nuclear, but those other Presidents weren't willing to take the blame on the resulting pain.
If this whole thing does work, history is going to have to re-think some of its opinions and ask some tough questions. The guy who was going to burn down the world de-nukes NK? The moron who doesn't know anything about foreign policy de-nukes NK simply by taking "Option A" that career staffers have been recommending for 20 years? We'll never know if there were "better" options without the economic pain so long as there was time left on the clock.
I'm sure an argument could be made that turning the screws on China and Japan was justifiably down near the bottom of the list of options. And it's even plausible we did nothing all these years on the trade and currency front SPECIFICALLY to have that option available to us if other choices failed. Which is all a long way of saying Trump may just be the guy who happened to be in office when that option got the greenlight.
I largely agree with this view, but will add a few things. I think once Trump threw open the option that he will meet with Kim, suddenly, the career foreign policy team members, aka the blob, went into action. That also sent signs to Japan, South Korea, and China, that diplomacy is really an option. This is where I will give Trump credit. He changed the narrative. Instead of fire and fury, he went to, ok, let's meet. That sent a signal to others and the career foreign policy community to act. They then took the ball and landed where we are now.
I will add, there is one wild card, Bolton. Bolton hates any agreement with the North and does not trust them at all. Bolton said today he wants a Libya style deal, which makes no sense. Libya didn't have any nukes when they agreed to give up their small nuclear program. North Korea can also see how that deal worked out...Ghadifi died a horrible death....I doubt Kim wants that similar deal.
That all said, we have been here before and been burned. Now, is the hard part.