Trump Doc­trine will be tested in Sin­ga­pore

Woonsocket Call - - OPINION - PAT BUCHANAN Patrick J. Buchanan is the au­thor of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Bat­tles That Made and Broke a Pres­i­dent and Di­vided Amer­ica For­ever.”

Af­ter Py­ongyang railed this week that the U.S.-South Korean Max Thun­der mil­i­tary drills were a re­hearsal for an in­va­sion of the North, and im­per­iled the Sin­ga­pore sum­mit, the Pen­tagon di­aled them back.

The B-52 ex­er­cises along­side F-22 stealth fighters were can­celed.

But Py­ongyang had other ob­jec­tions.

Sun­day, NSC ad­viser John Bolton spoke of a “Libyan model” for the North’s dis­ar­ma­ment, re­fer­ring to Moam­mar Gad­hafi’s sur­ren­der of all his weapons of mass de­struc­tion in 2004.

The U.S. was in­vited into Libya to pick them up and cart them off, where­upon sanc­tions were lifted.

As Libya was sub­se­quently at­tacked by NATO and Gad­hafi lynched, North Korea de­nounced Bolton and all this talk of the “Libyan model” of uni­lat­eral dis­ar­ma­ment.

North Korea wants a stepby-step ap­proach, each con­ces­sion by Py­ongyang to be met by a U.S. con­ces­sion. And Bolton sit­ting be­side Trump, and across the ta­ble from Kim Jong Un in Shang­hai, may be in­hibit­ing.

What was pre­dictable and pre­dicted has come to pass.

If we ex­pected Kim to com­mit at Sin­ga­pore to Bolton’s de­mand for “com­plete, ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible de­nu­cle­ariza­tion,” and a swift fol­low-through, we were de­lud­ing our­selves.

At Sin­ga­pore, both sides will have de­mands, and both will have to of­fer con­ces­sions, if there is to be a deal.

What does Kim Jong Un want?

An end to U.S. and South Korean mil­i­tary ex­er­cises and sanc­tions on the North, trade and in­vest­ment, U.S. recog­ni­tion of his regime, a peace treaty, and the even­tual re­moval of U.S. bases and troops.

He is likely to of­fer an end to the test­ing of nu­clear weapons and long-range mis­siles, no trans­fer of nu­clear weapons or strategic mis­siles to third pow­ers, a draw­down of troops on the DMZ, and the open­ing of North Korea’s borders to trade and travel.

As for his nu­clear weapons and the fa­cil­i­ties to pro­duce them, these are Kim’s crown jewels. These brought him to the at­ten­tion of the world and the Amer­i­cans to the ta­ble. These are why Pres­i­dent Trump is fly­ing 10,000 miles to meet and talk with him.

And, un­like Gad­hafi, Kim is not go­ing to give them up.

As­sum­ing the sum­mit comes off June 12, this is the re­al­ity Trump will face in Sin­ga­pore: a North Korea will­ing to halt the test­ing of nukes and ICBMs and to en­gage diplo­mat­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally.

As for hav­ing Amer­i­cans come into his coun­try, pick up his nu­clear weapons, re­move them and be­gin in­tru­sive in­spec­tions to en­sure he has nei­ther nu­clear bombs nor the means to pro­duce, de­liver or hide them, that would be tan­ta­mount to a sur­ren­der by Kim.

Trump is not go­ing to get that. And if he adopts a Bolton pol­icy of “all or noth­ing,” he is likely to get noth­ing at all.

Yet, thanks to Trump’s threats and re­fusal to ac­cept a “frozen con­flict” on the Korean penin­sula, the mak­ings of a real deal are present, if Trump does not make the per­fect the en­emy of the good.

For there is noth­ing North Korea is likely to de­mand that can­not be granted, as long as the se­cu­rity of South Korea is as­sured to the de­gree that it can be as­sured, while liv­ing along­side a nu­clear-armed North.

Hence, when Kim cav­ils or balks in Sin­ga­pore, as he al­most surely will, at any de­mand for a pre-emp­tive sur­ren­der of his nu­clear arse­nal, Trump should have a fall­back po­si­tion.

If we can­not have ev­ery­thing we want, what can we live with?

More­over, while we are run­ning a risk to­day, an in­tran­si­gent North Korea that walks out would be run­ning a risk as well.

A col­lapse in talks be­tween Kim and the United States and Kim and South Korea would raise the pos­si­bil­ity that he and his Chinese pa­trons could face an East Asia Cold War where South Korea and Ja­pan also have ac­quired nu­clear weapons and the means to de­liver them.

In the last anal­y­sis, the United States should be will­ing to ac­cept both the con­ces­sions to the North that the South is will­ing to make and the risks from the North that the South is will­ing to take.

For, ul­ti­mately, they are the ones who have to live on the same penin­sula with Kim and his nukes.

Trump ran on a foreign pol­icy that may fairly be de­scribed as a Trump Doc­trine: In the post-post-Cold War era, the United States will start look­ing out for Amer­ica first.

This does not mean iso­la­tion­ism or the aban­don­ment of our al­lies. It does mean a review and re­assess­ment of all the guar­an­tees we have is­sued to go to war on be­half of other coun­tries, and the even­tual trans­fer of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the de­fense of our friends over to our friends.

In the fu­ture, the U.S. will stop fu­tilely im­plor­ing al­lies to do more for their own de­fense and will be­gin telling them that their de­fense is pri­mar­ily their own re­spon­si­bil­ity. Our al­lies must cease to be our de­pen­dents.

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