May 15, 2018

Empty bragging is nothing new for Trump. It's as natural to him as breathing...but A.B. Stoddard pulled back the curtain on a startling reason the release of 3 Americans by North Korea last week was really no accomplishment. Kim Jong Un captures political prisoners just so he can release them later. Apparently, this is common knowledge and a familiar M.O. in the world of North Korean foreign policy...

STODDARD: [Trump's] posture is,"This is going so smoothly, only I could have even gotten us to this. No one ever thought we could get even this far in the planning. Negotiations are going well. Kim is being open and honorable." And really if you look at it from the outside, look at it from Kim Jong-Un's perspective, he captures people so that he can release them. That's a ploy that's always used.

She goes on to confirm the ways in which Trumpy Bear is being played. The panel had been discussing how former CIA Director John Brennan was concerned Trump was being duped by North Korean PR moves. Now Kim is threatening to cancel the talks over exercises he has himself agreed would continue. If Kim Jong Un finds himself able to drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea, it will set a dangerous precedent for our role in Asia.

Furthermore, always a fan of irony, Nicolle Wallace pointed out Trump will be in exactly the same position the he and the Republicans love to berate former Sec. of State John Kerry for having been in when negotiating the Iran deal. They complain Kerry was so desperate for an agreement, he'd accepted a sub-par one. That's why Trump says he pulled out of the Iran deal - it was an awful deal.

Well, now he finds himself in that very position with North Korea. So eager to talk and deal, to parade around for the midterms, he might eagerly accept a bad deal over no deal - which most foreign policy experts agree would be dangerous and make things worse. Not to mention the fact that Iran doesn't yet have nukes (that deal was designed to prevent it...and appeared to be working,) and North Korea does. Kim Jong Un is playing with Trump.

STODDARD: Sooner or later there is going to be testing. He is looking at Donald Trump, who appears eager for a win. He's also looking at President Moon who came into office in South Korea really breaking with precedent and eager for a conversation and eager for a relationship. So he has two leaders that he's dealing with in this sort of multifaceted negotiation, which of course involves the Chinese, that are looking like they're coming to the table very eager to make a deal. At some point, he's going to feel that power and test, and push Donald Trump's comfort zone and rattle him a little. I think that's what we're seeing here. Does it mean, necessarily, there's not going to be a summit? But why is this guy [Kim Jung Un] acquiescing to everything? Sooner or later, we're going to find out what he intends.

So, in technical terms, YIKES.

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