In an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios, former National Security Adviser for Donald Trump, Ambassador John Bolton accused Donald Trump of "bluffing" on wanting to clamp down on North Korea's nuclear weapons capabilities. Color the rest of us shocked that Trump would bluff about anything.
Bolton also stated that the White House would have to do something very unusual if Kim Jung-un followed through on his "Christmas Surprise" threat — admit that they were wrong in their approach.
Props to Bolton for speaking out against Trump as he has these last few months, and I, for one can appreciate his wry, satiric wit in the following conversation:
Trump's top envoy to North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, said recently that if North Korea follows through on that threat, it would be "most unhelpful in achieving a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula."
Bolton called Biegun's statement "a late entry but a clear winner in the Understatement of the Year Award contest."
No one, though, should be surprised that Trump is terrible at this, and deluded enough to believe that he's capable of bringing psychotic despots to their knees by virtue of his raw, manly-man aura. Clearly, this is what he thought and continues to think.
Daniel Russel, President Obama's assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said that of the two leaders —Trump and Kim — only one appears to have had a strategy.
Trump broke with precedent, met twice with the isolated dictator and said "we fell in love" over "beautiful letters."
Russel described Trump's approach to Kim as "magical thinking, based on a narcissistic conviction that the tractor beam of Donald Trump's charisma was going to capture the Leninist dictator and pull him into some kind of condo-developing frenzy of good behavior."
Despite Trump's charm offensive, Kim's nuclear arsenal has only grown.
According to the Axios piece, Bolton was angry also about Trump's declaration that he wasn't bothered by the North Korean's leader's short-range missile capabilities.
"When the president says, 'Well, I'm not worried about short-range missiles,' he's saying, 'I'm not worried about the potential risk to American troops deployed in the region or our treaty allies, South Korea and Japan.'"
Isn't Trump supposed to be so great for the troops, though? No surprise about his not caring about the South Koreans and Japanese, though. After all, they're not white.