The America/Korea Summit came and went in a flash. The result was a letter of agreement (which was obviously mostly drafted in advance) between the two nations. So far as I can see — and this is a very quick take — what we really gained was a better relationship with North Korea.
The major benefit to the American people in this agreement is that war is now off the table. The rest of it is a letter of intent with no enforcement other than the integrity of the North Korean government. North Korea agreed to work toward a nuclear free North Korean Peninsula, but there is nothing in the agreement such as a time-table or inspections to keep them honest.
President Trump has agreed to stop military exercises in the region, which is something China has demanded for a long time. Doing this leaves our allies Taiwan and South Korea much more vulnerable to China.
I’ve read comments that the real winner in this deal is China. In addition to noting that President Trump said that America would stop military exercises in the region, these commenters have specifically referenced this tweet by President Trump in which the president says that the United States is moving to protect Chinese jobs:
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!
Other commenters have said that this summit was a big win for Trump, but not for the United States. I see the concerns, but I think that the fact that the summit backs us down from war makes it a win, at least for now. Whether or not it will benefit America in the long term is something that we’ll know as time goes by.
I am very cautious about the way the whole thing lines up in the larger picture. It was preceded by a historic debacle at the G7 which damaged America’s alliance with virtually all of the Western democracies. The G7 mess was a wish fulfillment dream for Putin and China. It, as well as President Trump’s touching concern for protecting Chinese jobs, takes on the overtones of an advance payment for this letter of intent with North Korea.
There’s a lot here we don’t know, but can guess, and it looks like the deal-maker made deals with Russia and China before he got to the summit. I always thought we’d have to buy an agreement, but I supposed it would be with direct American cash in the form of some sort of support for North Korea. I didn’t think it would our alliances with the Western democracies and in the South China Sea.
The summit itself saw America cozying up to the Communist and Russian dictatorships. Seen in the context of the G7 Summit, it takes on the overtones of a serious change in American policy which could have far-reaching consequences for all of us.
If you want to read the agreement letter between North Korea and America, go here.