Trump’s Nobel moment
US leader may use Seoul visit to reset world order
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.