Most people applaud President Trump for meeting Kim as a move toward peace. Not so Democrats running for president or some “conservative” anti-Trumpers.
CNN notes that a number of Democratic candidates reacted with skepticism and even hostility.
Elizabeth Warren noted that Trump was “squandering American influence on photo ops and exchanging love letters with a ruthless dictator.”
Kamala Harris opined, “This President should take the North Korean nuclear threat and its crimes against humanity seriously.”
A spokesman for Joe Biden stated, “President Trump’s coddling of dictators at the expense of American national security and interests is one of the most dangerous ways he’s diminishing us on the world stage and subverting our values as a nation.”
Bernie Sanders claimed that the meeting was nothing more than a photo op, even though it was followed by an hour-long meeting that jump-started the talks for an agreement by Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.
The Democrats were mild compared to the tweet offered by Bill Kristol, the formerly respected editor of the now-defunct Weekly Standard. “Chamberlain at Munich: ‘Historic, regardless of the outcome.’”
The reaction of the Democrats is somewhat understandable, though hatred of President Trump has changed them from the party of peace at any price to something else entirely,
The Democrats have no understanding of the subtleties of diplomacy not of the problem in Korea that Trump’s predecessors handed to him by their neglect and incompetence.
Putting the matter simply, Kin Jong-un is a mad man, cruel and paranoid, who rules over a population groaning under the twin yokes of privation and oppression. But Kim also has a large, well-equipped army and an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The classic solution to an insane tyrant is to overthrow him with force of arms. However, such an effort would likely cost tens of thousands of American lives and millions of Koreans on both sides of the DMZ. Even if a first strike were to take out Kim’s nukes, a Second Korean War would be biblical in its blood-letting.
So, President Trump is forced to choose diplomacy, using all of his skills as laid out in The Art of the Deal. One of the things that Trump is forced to do is to flatter Kin Jong-un, to make him feel not only important but safe. He must feel that he would not sacrifice his position or personal safety if he were to give up his nuclear weapons.
Trump would also like North Korea to be opened up to foreign investment and to a more market-oriented economy. In that way, the North Korean tyranny would slowly wither on the vine. After Kim leaves this mortal coil, the reunification of the two Koreas would proceed as a matter of course.
Trump is not the first American president to “coddle dictators.” Every president of the United States since FDR has met with their Soviet or Russian counterparts, some of whom like Stalin had body counts that dwarf that of the pot-bellied dictator.
President Nixon went to China and treated with mass murderers such as Mao. All of these moves had a legitimate, diplomatic purpose, mainly to either win World War II or prevent a third world war, which would have been fought with thermonuclear weapons, from breaking out.
That brings us to Bill Kristol, who has become quite unbalanced by Trump hatred. The comparison to Chamberlain seems to be especially maladroit. Chamberlain gave up territory from Czechoslovakia to appease Hitler’s lust for a territory that didn’t belong to him and thus prevent the outbreak of World War II.
The gambit didn’t work and thus the hapless British prime minister, who proclaimed “peace in our time,” became the man for whom the word “appeasement” is most associated with. Chamberlain got war anyway, much to the ruin of Europe.
Trump, it goes almost without saying, is no Chamberlain. He is not prepared to give up anyone else’s territory for empty promises. He wants Kim to give up his nuclear weapons in exchange for peace and eventually prosperity.
The task that the president has set out on is difficult, some say impossible. But a denuclearized North Korea would be more likely if Trump’s enemies were to stop their carping and to offer their full support.
The question is, do Democrats and never-Trumpers love their country more than they hate the president? One might be forgiven for wondering if the answer is: no.