The right wing media is in a state of frenzy over criticism leveled at president Trump over the North Korean summit by, well, pretty much everyone. By almost all reasonable accounts, Trump got played by North Korea yesterday after his first face to fact meeting with Kim Jong Un.
In conservative cuckoo land however, this is being heralded as the biggest diplomatic victory since Nixon went to China and a sure sign of Trump extraordinary negotiating powers and presidential greatness:
Looking at the evidence
However, when you look at the actual evidence, it is abundantly clear that North Korea came away from the meeting with major concessions while Trump came away with virtually nothing. This isn't a partisan position or anti-Trump hysteria, just a sober look at the facts -- facts that even Fox News conceded.
“The United States made concessions in exchange for no hard promises,” Shep Smith said on his show last night. “Stopping joint military exercises with South Korea while North Korea makes a vague commitment to work together towards denuclearization.”
“The agreement the leaders signed are very short on specifics,” he went on.
“The talk happened, hands shaken, photos taken, and during a private meeting, promises were apparently made. But who wanted what?"
"Well, America demanded complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. C.V.I.D. Complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. There is no guarantee of that,” said Smith.
“Not even words to that effect. And we may not know for years whether we’re actually now on that road, or left in the potholes of paths past.”
“But Kim Jong Un? He wanted the photos,” Smith continued. “The seat at the table. He wanted the legitimacy that came with the event. The handshake with America’s president. And he wanted those military exercises with the Americans and the South Koreans that happen every year to stop.”
“Kim Jong Un got it all, for actually doing nothing.”
I spent all of yesterday detailing why the summit was, and was alway going to be a farcical PR event (you can read the very lengthy piece in the Banter Members section if you have the time), and it turned out to be just that. Reporting this however, apparently makes you a liberal hypocrite who won't give the president credit for anything.
The president is a liar
This would be fair criticism if it were anyone other than Donald Trump conducting the negotiations, and for one good reason. It must always be remembered that this is a man so far detached from reality, a man who tells so many lies that it is impossible to know whether he is telling the truth. Ever. What Trump and the people around him say about the negotiations with North Korea cannot be taken at face value, and we can only go on the actual evidence. And the only evidence we have is a two page document that doesn't say anything at all.
President Trump on the other hand, wants his supporters to believe the North Korean nuclear threat is now officially over, tweeting out the following this morning:
Given North Korea hasn't signed anything specific about dismantling its nuclear arsenal, this is clearly utter nonsense and another example of Trump lying through his teeth to make himself look like the all powerful Commander in Chief. It should come as no surprise to conservatives that no one sane believes the summit was a success, but this is being spun as liberal hypocrisy and a refusal to give credit where credit is due. Here was Marco Rubio lambasting the media for its "incredible hypocrisy":
Firstly, Rubio himself was opposed to Trump's willingness to talk to Kim Jong Un back in 2016, and wanted North Korea put back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism (countries the US does not officially negotiate with). Secondly, the exact opposite is true -- conservatives blasted Obama for wanting to negotiate with North Korea and have now given Trump a free pass. The coverage of Trump's summit does not stem from a place of hatred for the president, but a sober analysis of his performance. It is worth restating the fact that Trump gave away everything and got nothing in return. Personally, I would love to see a serious peace agreement with North Korea. No one in their right mind wants the despicable dictatorship to continue building nuclear weapons and terrorizing their own people. If negotiating with them is the best way to do this, then I am all for it. Unfortunately, a brazen liar and fantasist isn't the right person to lead these negotiations, and now we know why.