February 25, 2019

Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham, England Scott Lucas didn't hide his scorn for Donald Trump's dealings with North Korea.

Asked by CNN's George Howell if Trump's trip to Asia to "negotiate" with the North Koreans over nuclear missiles will result in "substance" or just "optics," Lucas laughed out loud.

SCOTT LUCAS: I'll give you the easy answer first, of course, it's optics over substance. It was in Singapore last June. And that is, here's a few happy snapshots... Trump can go home, frame them on the wall, and then all of a sudden, perhaps, declare, Hey! It's all solved. But then the US agencies have got to deal with reality, rather than optics. And this is where the Trump strategy hits its own problems. You heard Director of National Security Dan Coats say, that the North Koreans have not pulled back at all from their nuclear program. And then Trump gets mad at him and says "oh! oh! oh! how can you say that?" You heard Secretary of State Mike Pompeo effectively trying to maintain that the emperor still has new clothes, saying that of course Donald Trump never said that North Korea has stopped being a nuclear threat. Because there are many in the intelligence community [who know] that unless the North Koreans get significant concessions, and that means the lifting of sanctions, they're not going to give up their nuclear program, and it doesn't matter what Donald Trump says, at least to those agencies.

On topic: Scott Lucas has a podcast on international and US politics here.

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