Like most on the left, I fully expect Trump's negotiations with North Korea to spectacularly implode. Like most on the left, I also dread the prospect that this implosion will push the already unstable Trump to retaliate against his fellow ridiculous dictator Kim Jong Un by lobbing a few missiles at him, kicking off a massacre the likes of which the world has not seen since World War II. So while I don't really want Trump to rack up any wins that might get him reelected, the alternative is just as horrific, which makes headlines like this one by liberals incredibly short-sighted:
I get it, Trump is a neophyte in foreign policy but the word "appease" is a very deliberate and loaded choice meant to evoke the ruinous policy of appeasement that led to rise of Nazi Germany. It's meant to make Trump look weak and ineffectual and while this is generally true, in this particular instance, calling off the war games was actually reasonable diplomacy. Especially for Trump who prefers to be aggressive at all times.
Take a step back and consider: There are few things more provocative than a military exercise that is essentially practice for invading the country you're trying to establish diplomatic ties with. I'm sure the excercises made a lot of sense while the United States was on very aggressive oppositional footing with North Korea but whether you agree or disagree with Trump's current course of action, we're trying something radically different. Dialing back the warmongering is the entire point.
The article goes on to complain that Trump is almost certainly being played and that North Korea is using the meeting as leverage against the United States to demand more concessions. Well, yes, that's a risk and one we should be willing to take. Exactly like the Iran Deal, the goal here is to have North Korea abandon its nuclear weapon program (although Iran was not actually pursuing nuclear weapons at the time) and, if we're very lucky, give up the weapons it already has (if any). Trump's goal is to be seen as awesome but in this case, the two goals are not incompatible. If North Korea gets the legitimacy it wants and we get the nukes and the ability to make sure they won't build more, that's a trade off worth making any day of the week, just like it was with Iran.
Even if North Korea continues to be a human rights nightmare, just like Iran continued to sponsor terrorism, that's an issue that can be addressed at a later time. Make the nukes go away, build a diplomatic infrastructure for the first time, and go from there. Let North Korea claim a moral victory. Let them crow that they got the best of America. Hell, let them actually get the best of us in the deal. As long as they stop being a nuclear power, stop their nuclear program, and we have the ability to verify it at will, it's worth the price. We're the United States, we can afford it to bring stability to a corner of the world where several of our closest allies live.
Republicans undermined the Iran Deal because Obama forged it. End of story. Let's be better than that. If (more like "when") Trump screws this up, he'll have no one but himself to blame. In the meantime, let's keep our fingers crossed he accidentally gets it right in spite of himself.