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Frank Jannuzi @FrankJannuzi
, 22 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Thread: Trump's Morning of Intemperance
@potus badly mishandled DPRK policy. USA weaker as result. 3 changes made summit possible:
1) President Moon elected President ROK, reaching out to DPRK;
2) KJU consolidated political and military power;
3) Max pressure by UN/Trump
Handed a chance to put US-DPRK relations on a better trajectory -- headed in direction of peace and denuclearization -- Trump misinterpreted how we got here. He attributed DPRK willingness to talk to his Max Pressure campaign alone -- ignoring the two more important factors.
Not understanding WHY diplomacy was an option, no surprise Trump badly mishandled opportunity he was gifted. He continued to threaten the DPRK -- Libya Model references -- even during immediate run-up to the summit.
Bolton knew (even if Trump did not) what that meant.
When DPRK (predictably) objected to the Libya threats by Bolton and then by @VP , the reaction was actually quite muted -- handed down by two foreign ministry officials Kim Kye Gwan and Choe Son Hui. They basically said, "don't bully us into talks." This was a mild response.
But Trump is incredibly thin-skinned, and as we witnessed at the Olympics, @VP Pence is even more diplomatically handicapped, incapable even of showing normal courtesy to our South Korean allies, much less to the leader of DPRK.
Had Trump and his team understood DPRK, they would have cleverly maneuvered the North into talks, making Pyongyang believe that the denuclearization talks were THEIR idea. Instead, Trump insisted (again predictably) on hogging all the "credit" for something not yet accomplished.
Mike Mansfield got the Civil Rights Act passed by putting his ego aside (as he always did) and focusing on the prize for the NATION. Trump is incapable of putting national interest above Trump's interest. In this .... he bears remarkable resemblance to Kim Jong Un.
Where does this leave us? Trump's early morning letter is a classic example of his incompetence - barely coherent, full of internal contradictions, at once conciliatory and deeply provocative, threatening, in essence, a nuke strike on DPRK. The letter should NEVER have been sent.
It should have been dictated by Trump in his early morning rage and then put in a drawer by Kelly until our intemperate, mercurial, unhinged President calmed down. Instead, the White House sent the letter -- a letter that raises as many questions as it answers.
Where does that leave us? DPRK has no doubt by now sized up our President, and found him to be a completely unreliable negotiating partner (e.g. Iran withdrawal, TPP withdrawal, Paris Accord withdrawal, threats one day, concessions the next). They will not easily re-engage.
Why will DPRK stand aloof? They have already pocketed a significant gift - by having Trump praise KJU as an honorable man and by having Pompeo meet twice with the leader of DPRK. (btw, watching Pompeo read the letter was painful...such bad English).
Moreover, DPRK has secured its flanks -- improved relations with China and ROK, leaving USA isolated in its attempt to assemble "maximum pressure" on DPRK going forward. DPRK makes USA appear to be the party walking away from diplomacy. A huge diplomatic defeat for USA.
The entire fiasco leaves USA marginalized -- demonstrably incompetent in handling the fundamentals of diplomacy. No message discipline. No roadmap. A State Department team marginalized, their expertise squandered. A petulant White House appears thin-skinned and petty.
At this point, best course of action for USA would be to go quiet on this issue for several months, and hope that they can re-boot the diplomatic overture. But since when has Trump shown an ability to keep quiet about anything? He will likely sulk, and play the blame game.
A comment on Trump's letter: Read it. Then read it out loud. Does it not sound like a prom date refusal letter, sent by the jilted party to his date? It is immature. Childish. Vaguely pathetic. Solipsistic.
I am in Seoul this week, meeting with our allies. I can report that this announcement takes ROK COMPLETELY by surprise. They had NO INKLING that Trump was about to pull the plug on the summit. So once again, damage done (serious harm) to US credibility as an ally.
Allies don't treat each other this way. Trump's temper tantrum has grave implications for our ally, and to do this to them at 1130 pm, with no warning (none was given), is inexcusable. This kind of snub has consequences long-term. How can Seoul trust DC going forward?
ROK will respond responsibly, maturely. They will sleep on this horrible development, and no doubt issue a modest, careful, controlled and hopeful message tomorrow, looking forward to a summit meeting in the future. But inside, they will be SEETHING mad, disappointed, crushed.
By contrast, Trump will likely spend the day making things worse. He will have opportunity to freelance at various press availabilities. The bizarre boast in Trump's letter about USA nuclear capabilities indicates that he is likely to thrive on the attention of the moment.
Trump is all about Trump, and so now having soured on the summit, he will almost certainly exacerbate the crisis by upping the ante at each appearance -- amping up his bellicose rhetoric -- just as he previously had veered dangerously toward sucking up to KJU.
I didn't have to wait long for this prediction to come true....with Trump boasting of our "enhanced" military capabilities and our mighty military. Why, in the wake of a self-inflicted diplomatic wound, must he veer immediately to military threats? To make himself feel big?
Lol. That tweet didn’t age well!

And I should have added, “...unless DPRK plays it very smart and comes back with a gushing letter of their own flattering @potus for his bravery, in which case all bets are off...”
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