Offbeat In Diplomacy, Trump Is the Anti-Reagan

17:45  13 june  2018
17:45  13 june  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

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First, Trump isn’t Reagan . Reagan generally acted in concert with allies. Trump brazenly acts against them. Reagan ’s negotiation method: “Trust but verify.” Trump ’s self-declared method: “My touch, my feel.”

Faith in Diplomacy . Conservative realism has a champion in Reagan ’s Swiss ambassador. “There was a lot of anti -Americanism in Europe at that time,” Schramm observes. “But she was out defending the U.S. position.” Preventative War: The One Way Donald Trump Could Lose Against North Korea.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie sitting at a table: Is Kim Jong-un taking advantage of President Trump’s hunger for a deal with him? © Doug Mills/The New York Times Is Kim Jong-un taking advantage of President Trump’s hunger for a deal with him?

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

An optimistic take on Donald Trump’s historic meeting Tuesday with Kim Jong-un is that it’s Geneva Redux — a reprise of the 1985 summit between Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that established their rapport, fundamentally altered the tenor of relations between the superpowers and led within a few years to the end of the Cold War.

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  Trump prepares for North Korea summit as a great performer -- like Reagan With the Tuesday summit in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un just around the corner, a flurry of planning, negotiating, strategizing and perhaps even a bit of finger-crossing is underway. The stakes are enormously high, and yet the risks – and opportunities – are even higher. President Trump is likely eager to put his “Art of the Deal” skills to the test on the global stage.While there are plenty of differences between President Trump and President Reagan, both came to the White House with a background in entertainment, which serves as a surprising advantage.

To deal with North Korea, Trump should learn from Reagan ’s approach to the Soviet Union. As the date for deployment of the cruise and Pershing missiles approached, the anti -nuclear and freeze movements focused on trying to close the bases where the weapons would be stationed.

However, at his worst, Reagan does not come close to the daily disaster that Trump personifies. It can be argued that Trump is the anti - Reagan in background, personality, experience, and political skill.

Let’s hope so. Because another take is that it’s the Plaza Redux, meaning the 1988 real estate debacle in which Trump hastily purchased New York’s Plaza Hotel because it looked like an irresistible trophy, only to be forced to sell it at a loss a few years later as part of a brutal debt restructuring.

The case for Geneva Redux, made this week by Peter Beinart in The Atlantic, sees parallels between Trump and Reagan, Republican presidents whose hawkish rhetoric and ignorance of policy details disguised an inner pragmatism and visionary imagination.

“Trump’s lack of focus on the details of denuclearization may be a good thing,” Beinart writes. “Like Reagan, he seems to sense that the nuclear technicalities matter less than the political relationship.”

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Previous American Diplomacy : Not a Success Story For starters, the bar was exceedingly low. What passed for diplomatic “successes” among his If ambiguity has been the cause of prior conflicts, it’s clearly not Trump ’s problem. And, like the “madman” strategy used by both Nixon and Reagan in

Russia, however, is shrugging it off, admonishing the US president and saying that Russia doesn’t do “Twitter diplomacy .” This comes after Ambassador Nikki Haley bragged that Trump is the most anti -Russia president since Ronald Reagan .

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It’s true that Reagan was able to raise his sights above the technical arcana to something few others could see. To wit: The Cold War didn’t need to last forever. The security paradigms that defined it weren’t immutable laws of history. Personal chemistry with a Soviet leader could go a long way to changing the relationship.

Could the same scenario unfold with North Korea? Probably not — for reasons that would have been obvious to most conservatives before their current Trump derangement.

First, Trump isn’t Reagan. Reagan generally acted in concert with allies. Trump brazenly acts against them. Reagan’s negotiation method: “Trust but verify.” Trump’s self-declared method: “My touch, my feel.” Reagan refused to give in to Soviet demands that he abandon the Strategic Defense Initiative. Trump surrendered immediately to Pyongyang’s long-held insistence that the U.S. suspend military exercises with South Korea while getting nothing in return. Reagan’s aim was to topple Communist Party rule in Moscow. Trump’s is to preserve it in Pyongyang.

Trump has some unlikely allies on North Korea: Democrats

  Trump has some unlikely allies on North Korea: Democrats President Donald Trump has found an unlikely source of support as he meets with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un: Democrats. Some of them complain that he stole the election and want to impeach him, but praise him for trying to engage in diplomacy. "We are encouraged by your efforts to pursue direct diplomacy with North Korea with the dual goals of resolving the nearly seven-decade-long conflict and achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," 15 House members wrote in a letter to Trump Monday. "Diplomacy is the only path to resolve the tensions between our countries.

Donald Trump is campaigning in Los Angeles a day ahead of the CNN GOP debate that will be broadcast from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images).

He is now Donald Trump ’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and if confirmed by the Senate, he’d be the first top American diplomat to The erosion of American engagement in climate diplomacy has allowed China to become the de facto world leader on global environmental policy.

Second, Kim isn’t Gorbachev. Gorbachev was born into a family that suffered acutely the horrors of Stalinism. Kim was born into a family that starved its own people. Gorbachev rose through the ranks as a technocrat with no background in the regime’s security apparatus. Kim consolidated his rule by murdering his uncle, half brother and various ministers, among other unfortunates. Gorbachev came to office intent on easing political repression at home and defusing tensions with the West. Kim spent his first six years doing precisely the opposite.

Third, Kim knows what happened to Gorbachev, whose spectacular fall served as a lesson to dictators everywhere about the folly of attempting to reform a totalitarian system. Kim may pursue a version of perestroika to stave off economic collapse, but there will be no glasnost. The survival of his regime depends domestically on state terror and internationally on his nuclear arsenal. He will abandon neither.

Fourth, the timetables are incompatible. Trump wants a foreign policy “achievement” by the midterms, and maybe a Nobel Peace Prize sometime before the 2020 election. Kim plans to be ruling North Korea when one of Chelsea Clinton’s kids is president. Trump’s incentive will be to make concessions up front. Kim can renege on his promises much later.

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If you’ve followed international affairs, you’ll recognize a lot of names on this list, including a number who were prominent under Republican presidents Nixon, Reagan , and both Bushes. This statement follows similar anti - Trump and/or pro-Clinton statements by former intelligence officers

“ Trump ’s ‘phase two’ for North Korea means war,” averred Larison on February 24: a week before that he actually wrote a piece entitled “North Korea and the Trump Administration’s Disdain for Diplomacy ”!

Fifth, Trump is a sucker. Kim is not. Say what you will about the North Korean despot, but consolidating power in his vipers’ nest regime, fielding a credible nuclear arsenal, improving his economy without easing political controls, playing nuclear brinkmanship with Trump and then, within weeks, getting the prestige of a superpower summit are political achievements of the first order. Machiavelli smiles from the grave.

As for Trump, the supposed success of the summit after the debacle in Quebec appeals to innate love of drama. He is where he loves to be: at the center of a stunned world’s attention.

But he is also in the place where he always gets himself, and everyone else in his orbit, into the worst trouble: panting for the object of his desire. That’s been true whether it’s the Plaza Hotel, Stormy Daniels and now the “ultimate deal” with Pyongyang. Oilman T. Boone Pickens had the smartest line on this when on Monday he tweeted: “Negotiating advice 101. When you want to make a deal real bad you will make a really bad deal.”

I’d be happy to be proved wrong. I would be thrilled to learn that Kim is a farsighted reformer masquerading, out of desperate necessity, as a thug and a swindler. It would also be nice to think that Trump is playing geopolitical chess at a level plodding pundits can scarcely conceive. Political commentators should always maintain a capacity for surprise and an ability to admit mistakes.

For now, however, it’s hard to see what the Singapore summit has achieved other than to betray America’s allies, our belief in human rights, our history of geopolitical sobriety and our reliance on common sense. For what? A photo op with a sinister glutton and his North Korean counterpart?

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