The North Koreans sentenced American Otto Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor for attempting to steal a poster. After 18 months he was released with a severe brain injury and died a few days later.
Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy “North Korea”. In response, North Korea’s ‘Dear Leader’, Kim Jong-un, replied, “A frightened dog barks louder”. He then went on to call Trump a “dotard”, “mentally deranged”, a gangster” and “hard of hearing”. Adding that he would “surely and definitely tame [Trump] with fire”.
The North Koreans reached agreements with the US to stop its missile and nuclear weapons development in exchange for aid and other considerations in 1993, 2005, 2007 and 2012. They have reneged on all of them.
And yet, despite the inhumanity, the insults, and the serial deal breaking, Trump today called Kim “very open ” and “very honorable”. And if that reminds you of George W Bush calling Vladimir Putin “straightforward and trustworthy” you can’t be faulted.
It’s absurd. At least Bush uttered his misanalysis after he met Putin. Trump has never met Kim — or even talked to him.
There is nothing wrong with toning down the rhetoric before diplomatic negotiations. But effusive praise makes you look weak and clueless. And what does Trump say if the talks fail? “I was wrong”? You know that will never happen.