As the president told us in one of his brief and contentious news conferences about a week ago, he wants a Nobel Peace Prize. Barack Obama got one, after all.
Trump, we can safely assert, is trying to talk Kim out of his bomb and into a good public relations campaign—one designed to fool the world so the North Korean dictator can keep his seat at the big boy’s table and Trump can get his prize.
Trump, if you remember, began the courting ritual with North Korea by bullying the bully. But since Trump’s early tough love on North Korea—in which he effectively shamed the Little Rocket Man—things have gotten friendlier between the two leaders. Should Trump successfully talk North Korea out if its nuclear weapons program, and should it be verified by the international community, then the president will have earned his Noble Peace Prize.
Even his closest advisers remain privately skeptical whether can do it, and on what timetable, but all agree that in order to get it done, Trump, Mr. Art of the Deal, will need to offer a Captain Fantastic deal of a lifetime. Trump is no apparent fan of logic–and other than threatening the world with a bomb, North Korea seemingly and logically has nothing much to give.
The country's value on the open international market is roughly equivalent to a cup of watered-down beverage from a five-year-old’s lemonade stand at the height of an oppressively hot, muggy D.C summer afternoon. Circumstances might seem bleak. But in this case, Trump has an ace up his sleeve and Kim Jong-un has another card to play.
Do not be surprised if after the Hanoi meeting, Trump announces that North Korea will abandon its nuclear program.
If the two end up realizing they can play their greed to the advantage of others and themselves, the world may actually see something. If you have faith in greed, this is when it might work for you. Even when two grifters get together, something decent can happen. In this case, do not be surprised if after the Hanoi meeting, Trump announces that North Korea will abandon its nuclear program and slowly open up the country to foreign investment, fast food, automobiles, hot dogs, apple pie and electronics. Huge construction deals will be made to bolster the infrastructure investments and bring the country into the 20th—the current century being too much of a leap for those who have been cloistered behind a wall of ignorance and depravations since the Korean War.
Do you see where this is going? The world will rejoice or give Trump, perhaps begrudgingly, a shrug of credit. Trump haters will be forced to offer muted congratulations while continuing to plot his political demise and the MAGA crowd, following a round of eating their own to weed out the unbelievers, will rant and rave while patting themselves on the back dancing around a tiki-torch while wagging their tails at every stray dog whistle.
Sure. It will probably never happen. But would it sound more likely if later (perhaps minutes later) after the announcement we find out—following advisory conversations with the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman—Kim Jong-un and his family and friends suddenly have a stake of control over some of the largest conglomerates seeking new business in North Korea?
Before you say no, consider the Supreme Leader left North Korea to meet Trump in the comparative paradise of Hanoi.
Kim Jong-un isn’t his father. He knows about the outside world and doesn’t want to die like his father did in a festering dump of his own creation. Going to Hanoi to him is like a trip to the French Riviera.
Five years from now, if the right deal is made, then Jong-un may retire with the legacy of savior to his people. He could then also take trips to the French Riviera whenever he wanted to do so. I don’t know who’d attend one of his parties, but the celebrity class of this planet is filled with enough people most of us wouldn’t invite to a backyard barbecue and would happily attend a party on the French Riviera with a retired murderous dictator.
If they make out and we make out and Trump makes out, then Trump is betting all will be well. He will finally be a made man. He’d rationalize the move by saying nobody could take rescind such an achievement. With Donald Trump, the ends always justify the means. The despot leader in North Korea will proclaim victory—and so will we. Not only will Trump have earned his Peace Prize, somebody might later pardon him of any crimes.
I always see the glass as half-full. Democrats and a growing number of Republicans are skeptical of anything meaningful coming from the Hanoi meeting or anything useful from an administration that has been factually challenged since the day we were told about the number of attendees at the president’s inauguration. There are those who place more faith in the fact that Trump’s lieutenants are falling as part of a seemingly modern-day Pickett’s charge metaphor. These people believe Trump’s confederacy of poltroons will soon come to an end; most likely in the 2020 election.
Seen with the midterm loss of the House and the defeat by Joshua at The Wall of Mexico, there are plenty of scared Republicans looking for alternatives. Trump is unaware of a great many things, but he certainly has the survival instincts of a cornered junkyard rat from one of his New York properties. He knows he’s cornered.
Thus, North Korea remains for Trump an opportunity to exploit and a method by which he believes he can secure himself a second term. Like a narcissistic Vegas gambler with an unlimited pocket, no internal discipline, an inability to make a rational decision while being addicted to the trappings of power, Trump is wiping his nose, drawing in a breath in that weird Darth Vader thing he does, and rolling the dice.
This explains why the president laid low since his disastrous news conference. “We want his head clear,” a senior aide explained to me before they headed to the North Korea meeting. “Stay tuned,” John Bennett in Roll Call wrote, quoting the president. “That West Wing Mantra will apply doubly over the next few weeks,” wrote Bennett, setting up the obstacles through which Trump and his administration must steer during the coming weeks.
Doing something no one else has done to benefit the world and our nation is a powerful aphrodisiac for a man prone to being tantalized by just the mention of the word aphrodisiac.
The pressure of North Korea, the pending (will he or won’t he?) Mueller report, the Andrew McCabe book, China Trade talks, his recent physical, the investigations on Capitol Hill, his battles with the free press, his Twitter misstatements, any stray news involving sex, drugs or rock n’ roll, some sports and the odd mention of fast food on occasion has created more stress on Trump as he rolled into Hanoi and afterward
More than one person, in an attempt at subtlety, asked what hotel Trump was staying at during his visit to Hanoi. “Never a dull moment,” a White House staffer told Roll Call’s Bennett. In addition to the concerns Bennett mentioned, NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann reported on three potential scandals breaking on Tuesday of last week: Trump asked his acting attorney general to put an ally in charge of the Michael Cohen investigation; whistle blowers claimed Michael Flynn tried to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia while embattled Secretary Betsy DeVos fought allegations the Department of Education tried to oust the department’s independent watchdog.
“Any one of these stories would have dominated the news—for days and weeks—in any other administration. But in our current era, it was just Tuesday,” the NBC reporters said.
Maybe Trump got bad medical information after his recent physical. Or perhaps he really feels the walls closing in, but he seems hot to make a deal and the next few weeks in office could serve as a key factor in charting a future path.
Don Lemon recently pointed out on CNN that the last few weeks in this administration seems more chaotic than usual. It is hard to keep up. But keep your eye on Trump. He wants a tangible legacy. Doing something no one else has done to benefit the world and our nation is a powerful aphrodisiac for a man prone to being tantalized by just the mention of the word aphrodisiac.
They said only Nixon could go to China. Perhaps only Trump can go to North Korea. Because, you know, he really wants a Nobel Peace Prize. He’ll apparently do anything to get one; with any luck, it won’t be the worst thing. Maybe offering Jong-un a trip to Disney World will sweeten the deal. After all he doesn’t get out much.