President Donald Trump is signaling a new approach or “new method” to talks with North Korea. If Kim Jong Un believes that this means a lessening in sanctions or a de-emphasizing of the American insistence on full denuclearization, he will probably be very disappointed.
This unspecified “new method” is most likely to be one of style and tactics, rather than one of policy. John Bolton’s departure as Trump’s National Security Advisor was mostly based on John Bolton’s aggressive and belligerent style of negotiating. His style didn’t sit well with the President, it wasn’t a difference of policy or policy goals. The North Koreans need to think to twice before they begin to expect a weakening in American resolve.
“I would like to welcome the wise political decision of President Trump to approach the DPRK-US relations from a more practical point-of-view now that a nasty trouble maker who used to face everything out of his anachronistic way from the U.S. administration.” North Korean diplomat Kim Myong Gil said. Their words, not ours.
Kim Jong Un does not dictate American foreign policy, President Donald Trump does. On Wednesday, the President said that Bolton had set the United States back “very badly.” He suggests, “maybe a new method would be very good.” We’ll see what that means, though it most likely signals a new style in the way we approach the talks.
John Bolton advocated the “Libya model” which insisted that North Korea eliminate its nuclear program upfront as a condition for a deal with the United States. Pyongyang, did not like the comparison to Libya, where Libya Dictator Moammar Gadhafi, gave up his less developed nuclear program. Rebel forces subsequently killed Gadhafi.
The President named hostage negotiator Robert C. O’Brien as has new National Security Advisor on Wednesday. We will see what new direction he brings to the discussions with the North Koreans, which have been on hold for the past few months over North Korea’s insistence that sanctions be lifted.
Remember, it is the President who makes foreign policy and who decides on what the administration’s policy goals are. The administrators and diplomats only put them into action.
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