Trump provided a perfect example of why you don’t put an ignorant amateur who doesn’t think he needs to prepare into delicate negotiations when he emerged from his brief meeting with Kim Jong-un and announced that we would no longer participate in “war games” with the South Korean military.
First, it quickly became obvious that Trump doesn’t understand the difference between “war games” and routine joint military exercises. That’s because there really is no difference, which is why Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress and the Pentagon were sent scrambling to “clarify” Trump’s remarks, making clear that we would continue to hold readiness exercises with the South Korean military. But worse than his ignorance on this is the way he characterized it, using the same language that North Korea uses for them:
Donald Trump has said the US will stop joint military exercises with South Korea, saying it will save “a tremendous amount of money” and noting the war games are “very provocative”, in what appears to be a major concession to North Korea following his summit with Kim Jong-un…
“I think it is very provocative,” he said. “You have a country that is right next door.”
Oi vey. So now when these talks break down and we return to a hostile posture toward North Korea — and we will, inevitably — Trump has now admitted that our exercises with the South Korean military are a deliberate attempt to provoke Kim. Brilliant, Donald. This is why you don’t just ad lib this crap. This is why you take time to prepare. This is why you listen to the experts on North Korea at the CIA and the State Department. But Trump doesn’t, because, in his own mind, he is omniscient and no one could possibly teach him anything. All evidence to the contrary, of course.