Back in April, before the summit with North Korea, President Donald Trump told reporters that the United States had been played by "like a fiddle" in the past by North Korea because it had a "different kind of leader." Trump vowed at the time that North Korea was not playing and he would not be played.
But Max Boot, an author, consultant, editorialist, lecturer and military historian claims otherwise. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Boot states,
Actually, Trump has been played from the start — and he’s the only one who doesn’t know it. His dealings with North Korea have been a master class in self-deception."
In a scathing commentary, Boot takes on both Trump and Kim.
"Trump agreed on the spur of the moment to meet with Kim, thereby putting the dictator of this two-bit police state on the same level as the U.S. president, without any guarantee that he would get anything in return."
Boot also fired a few salvos at Republicans in congress.
"...his groupies in Congress nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize."
Boot also pointed to how the president began to publicly take credit for accomplishments in March related to a summit that would not even happen until June. With all of the online boasts in the months leading up to the summit, North Korea gained an advantage that allowed them to ensure the meeting would occur on their terms.
As Boot puts it,
"North Korea soon made clear it had little interest in pursuing the Libyan model of disarmament, leading Trump to temporarily call off the summit on May 24. But within little more than a week, the meeting was back on, because Trump was so transparently desperate for a foreign policy achievement."
Kim and North Korea had nothing to lose and everything to gain from a summit. Trump had everything to lose and very little to gain in the end. The president had to make the summit happen to save face.
According to Boot,
"In Singapore on June 12, Trump praised Kim to the skies ('a very talented' and 'very smart' man who 'loves his country very much') and claimed they had developed 'a very special bond.' He even agreed to unilaterally suspend U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises."
And in return, Kim gave . . . essentially nothing. No accounting of North Korea’s nuclear program, no agreement for international inspections, no schedule for dismantlement. Nothing beyond an easily reversible halt to nuclear and missile tests and the same empty promise to 'work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula' that the Kim family has been making since the 1990s."
Trump still praised his own efforts as a huge win however.
"Trump nevertheless," wrote Boot, "tweeted, 'There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea' — a proclamation that will rank with Neville Chamberlain’s boast that his 1938 Munich meeting with Adolf Hitler delivered 'peace for our time.' At least Chamberlain had the good grace not to salute any SS generals. Trump, by contrast, was caught saluting a North Korean general."
"In the month since the Swindle in Singapore, it has become obvious that Kim is arming rather than disarming. On June 29, NBC News reported that, according to U.S. intelligence officials, North Korea was increasing production of fuel for nuclear weapons and working to conceal its activities from the United States."
Boot concluded his assessment of the president's greatest foreign relations achievement —after Trump's political actions soured relationships with United States allies like France, Germany and Canada— by stating,
Kim has played Trump like a Stradivarius. He has gotten everything he wanted — sanctions relaxation, international legitimation — without giving up anything in return."
Vladimir Putin must be licking his chops. If Trump was fleeced so thoroughly by a tyro tyrant whom he was denouncing as recently as the beginning of this year, imagine how much he will give up to a veteran despot for whom he has had nothing but praise."
The president is scheduled to meet the Russian president in a closed door private meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16.