Saturday, June 30, 2018

Trust. But Verify

I'm just not that worried that Trump will agree to a bad deal with North Korea for the sake of having a deal.

I trust Secretary of Defense Mattis, National Security Adivsor Bolton, and Secretary of State Pompeo not to go along with that, even if Trump wants to.

And I trust the Senate not to go along with pretending any agreement isn't a treaty requiring a 2/3 Senate vote. Republicans have said that; and if the Democrats grab the Senate, you know they won't do anything but insist the agreement is a treaty.

Remember, one of the reasons I supported the Obama "strategic patience" of doing nothing on North Korea was that I didn't trust they wouldn't agree to a bad deal if they talked to North Korea. The Syria chemical weapons deal and Iran nuclear deal were bad enough without adding North Korea as the hat trick deal. So I was happy for no contact. I thought the basic bet on strategic patience was reasonable: that North Korea would collapse before they went nuclear.

My complaint with Obama's bet that North Korea would collapse before going nuclear is that the administration  didn't end the policy when it became clear that North Korea would beat that bet and go nuclear first.

My memory of the long Iraq War debate that extended from 2002 to about 2007 was that military options were only good if the WMD threat is "imminent." Yet Obama missed that Golden moment of consensus, somehow.

Heck, I worried that Bush 43 might make a bad deal to deflect Democratic anger over Iraq.

I have no idea if Trump can get a good deal with Kim Jong-Un. History argues against it.

But I'm willing to see if Trump can do it, and I'm not panicking about a bad deal. Not yet, anyway.