Friday, May 05, 2017

Method to the Madness?

I don't know if President Trump's comments about talking to Kim Jong-Un, revising trade rules with South Korea, or making Seoul pay for THAAD were thoughtless off-the-cuff observations or not. But they might have a good effect.

I say this because South Korean elections will put in power a new president who will be prone to being softer toward North Korea:

The current front-runner is liberal candidate Moon Jae-in, a former human rights lawyer who has repeatedly called ousted President Park Geun-hye's North Korea policy a complete failure. He wants to improve ties with Pyongyang by abandoning the hard-line approach to the North favored over the past decade by conservative governments.

His chief rival is former software mogul Ahn Cheol-soo, who is more centrist than Moon and has a tougher stance on North Korea that would more closely align with the conservative approach of sanctions, pressure and promises of aid in return for disarmament.

But Ahn has supporters who will push for a softer stance on North Korea, too.

So Trump has incentive to remind South Koreans that if they walk away from containing and squeezing North Korea, South Koreans can't count on America to maintain the pressure without South Korea and allow South Korea to have the benefits of a hard and soft policy.

America under Trump could distance itself from South Korea and cut our own deal with North Korea.

This could affect votes for the election and the policy of whoever wins.

Obviously I have no way of knowing if this interpretation is correct.

But I think that if so many people didn't have utter contempt for our president that this explanation would be considered. This contempt which rules out anything but ridicule for the comments, funny enough, increases the effectiveness of the tactic if my suggestion is true.

Or the comments could be ill-considered stream of consciousness, of course.

Strategypage has more on the Korean issues.