Trump’s No­bel mo­ment

US leader may use Seoul visit to re­set world or­der

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will make his Asian tour next month and he should use it, es­pe­cially a visit to South Korea, to make his case for the No­bel peace prize. His pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama won a No­bel prize in ad­vance of his push for a nu­clear-free world but he left of­fice with­out de­liv­er­ing on it. The in­dis­putable ev­i­dence for the Obama fail­ure is the North Korean nu­clear cri­sis that has been thrust upon his suc­ces­sor. So far, Trump has en­gaged in a war of words with North Korean lead­ers.

He is un­der fire for be­ing un­der­neath his job as the leader of the free world, but he de­serves the ben­e­fit of the doubt for his rhetor­i­cal war­fare hav­ing an ul­te­rior pur­pose that few ex­cept him can see. But his Seoul visit should be the time for him to vin­di­cate him­self by pre­sent­ing the big pic­ture he has in mind rather than pieces we have been shown so far.

The best way is to make a big speech in Seoul — about ways of re­solv­ing the North’s nu­clear brinkman­ship and other trou­bles to make the world a peace­ful place.

It’s hard to find a bet­ter set­ting than Seoul, the me­trop­o­lis of over 10 million peo­ple only an hour’s drive from the bor­der where tens of thou­sands of North Korean ar­tillery pieces are poised to re­lease their col­lec­tive deadly fire­power at a mo­ment’s no­tice. Mis­siles with all kinds of war­heads are at their ready as well. The Korean cap­i­tal gives a back­ground that is closer to Ber­lin than Ber­lin.

The Trump speech would be bet­ter if con­ducted open-air, be­ing rem­i­nis­cent of JFK’s 1963 “Ich bin ein Ber­liner” speech and Ron­ald Rea­gan’s 1987 “Tear down this wall” speech, both in the then di­vided Ger­man city. Seoul Plaza, Gwang­whamun Square or Gyeong­bok Palace could be can­di­dates.

The thrust of his speech, whether out­door or not, would best be about a U.S. show of strong will to bring peace to one of the world’s few re­main­ing tin­der­boxes — not through his usual bat­tle cries that make ev­ery­one antsy but through ma­ture words that force the North to see and ac­cept the power of their ra­tio­nal­ity.

That would cer­tainly restore the role of U.S. as the world leader that has been weak­ened by his pre­de­ces­sors but most se­ri­ously by Trump him­self. That would make his coun­try great again and live up to his Amer­ica-first pol­icy. That is also the best rem­edy for the U.S. to stop its slide in power and China’s rise. Few in this part of the world want to see China re­place the U.S. but many would not mind let­ting go of a U.S. that in­creas­ingly mir­rors the hege­monic bully that Bei­jing is.

He could make him­self a No­bel can­di­date. He shouldn’t waste his chance.

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