During a week when the squatter in the White House and his minions utterly botched the child migrant crisis that he himself did so much to create, when he blew up any chance of an immigration bill clearing Congress, when his tariff moves generated talk of a trade war-spawned recession and caused rattled investors into an 8-day stock plunge on the Dow, Donald J. Trump challenged Pr*sident Trump over North Korea.
Ten days ago, returning home giddy from his face-to-face meeting in Singapore with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, America’s own Dear Leader tweeted that we could all breathe a sigh of relief:
Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
This news was greeted with open-mouthed incredulity in most quarters, particularly given that Trump himself had for the last few months of 2017 and first few of 2018 helped crank up the tension between Pyongyang and Washington with inflammatory remarks hinting that if Kim didn’t get wise, the U.S. would turn North Korea into radioactive glass. Now Trump assured us that his self-lauded skills at deal-making had turned the situation around, and he noted as some kind of Orwellian proof that the Supreme Leader is a great, funny guy, with a great personality.
Critics, including experts in diplomacy and nuclear weaponry and policy, wondered aloud what in fact had been actually been gained in Singapore other than the signing of a bland, detail-free agreement far weaker than one signed in 2005 when Kim’s father was Supreme Leader in the North.
Came Friday this week and Trump quietly signed an extension of a 10-year-old executive order, stating: “The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.”
So which is it? Are we on the brink of denuclearization? Or have we returned to the foreign policy brinkmanship that just a few months ago had spurred some Americans to ponder the prospects of nuclear winter and restocking civil defense bomb shelters?
It’s no surprise to anyone who even cursorily follows the antics of the Commander-in-Tweet that the man is flying the executive branch by the seat of his pants and daily engaging across a range of issues in what the Cold War KGB long ago christened dezinformatsiya.
If Donald Trump could be trusted—please stifle your guffaws—had some diplomatic skills and some foreign policy savvy, was actually willing to read up on matters he has no knowledge of, and had surrounded himself with advisers who could be counted on to give him the straight skinny and protect the American public, his pronouncements regarding North Korea might be viewed with cautious optimism and his syrupy praise for Kim Jong-un merely considered as part of the price of negotiating an agreement to reduce the risk of apocalyptic conflict on and beyond the Korean peninsula.
But there is no trust to be had when the entire pr*sidency of this reckless, fickle grifter is loosely crafted around an ideology of personal gain and the creation of chaos at home and abroad, with the truth being whatever he claims it to be, something which changes moment to moment. The damage as we begin the 18th month of the reign of this misbegotten regime is adding up. Whether the Korean situation will be part of that damage remains to be seen.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.