The right once attacked President Obama for “bowing” to the king of Saudi Arabia. Well, when it comes to the North Korean leader, President Donald Trump is doing much more than bowing.
I haven’t read Trump’s Art of the Deal, but apparently lesson one is grovel to the person you are trying to make a deal with to the point they embarrass you on the world stage. At least that is what Trump, the so called “dealmaker,” is doing with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s sweaty desperation for the June 12 summit with Kim to go forward is now on full display after North Korea on Wednesday threatened to pull of the scheduled high level talks. That’s why on Thursday Trump publicly undercut his own National Security Advisor John Bolton, rejecting his call to follow the “Libyan model” where the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi gave up his nuclear arsenal in a deal with George W. Bush’s administration. Soon after North Korea decried Bolton’s comments, there was Trump on Thursday declaring: “The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all when we’re thinking of North Korea.”
Then Trump, like an eager puppy dog, publicly assured Kim that he would have the one thing he has long demanded: Staying in power. That’s why Trump stated: “This with Kim Jong Un would be something where he’d be there. He’d be in his country. He’d be running his country. His country would be very rich.”
There’s little doubt Trump would give away even more to Kim. After all, the summit is one of the very few things Trump has done that has broad base support (77 percent) per recent polls. And Trump has put his reputation on the line with his recent statements building expectations that this summit will lead to significant results. For example, Trump recently tweeted about the planned meetings with Kim: “We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”
And Trump went even further at a rally last week, telling his fans that the summit will be a “big success.” Trump then mocked the media for saying his strategy was too risky: “You remember everybody in the fake news saying, ‘He’s going to get us into a nuclear war.’”
Trump absolutely needs this summit to happen to prove the “fake news” media wrong, which may be one of Trump’s great motivations. That is except for Trump’s obsession to match Obama, who was awarded a Nobel Peace prize in 2009. (Spoiler alert: Trump will never come close to being the same type of president nor person Obama was and is.)
This further explains why Trump has been sucking up to a brutal dictator like Kim, recently calling him “very honorable.” And that Trump comment came only a week after a report was issued by Trump’s own State Department that Kim’s regime had committed “egregious human rights violations” that included “extrajudicial killings; disappearances; arbitrary arrests and detentions; torture; political prison camps in which conditions were often harsh, life-threatening, and included forced and compulsory labor.”
None of that matters when you are desperate to make deal, especially after Trump just unilaterally pulled out of the Iran deal. That has caused our European allies to no longer trust the United States as they are not only vowing to stay in the deal, but on Friday the European Commission announced plans to enact a “blocking statute” that will allow European companies to continue doing business with Iran and not comply with U.S. sanctions.
And Trump’s desperate need for a foreign policy win also explains why he jumped at the prospect of holding a summit when it was first proposed back in March despite little to no planning going into that meeting before it was announced. That also explains why the summit is in Singapore, requiring Trump to travel 9,000 miles, three times as far as Kim. This is like the desperation Olympics and Trump has set a new world record.
Imagine if Obama had done any of this?! Fox News and the GOP would have proclaimed that Obama was embarrassing the United States on the world stage. And they may have been right.
A right wing talking point we heard constantly during Obama’s presidency was that because of his actions, “Our enemies no longer fear us, and our allies no longer trust us.” That was not true when it came to Obama. But under Trump, with his sucking up to Kim and others like Vladimir Putin who attacked our nation in 2016, it’s worse than that: Our enemies are laughing at us while our allies have left us.
Dean Obeidallah, a lawyer, hosts SiriusXM radio’s The Dean Obeidallah show and is a columnist for the Daily Beast and a CNN.com Opinion Contributor.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.