Masaki Shibutani
Jun 18 · Last update 6 mo. ago.
Does Trump bring peace to East Asia?
The problems of the Korean Peninsula, which had not been resolved for about 65 years, began to move towards a settlement with a single voice of President Trump. The president of the United States so far never met with the head of North Korea. However, President Trump caused military tension, but after a year he handshakes and opens the beginning of peace in East Asia in Singapore. There is a criticism of such a political attitude, but it may bring peace.
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Nothing can come of media posturing, they are both too self involved to achieve lasting peace
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Under Trumps watch, peace in East Asia would be serendipity, and peace in the Middle East would be an outright miracle
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Similar events have transpired before, the DPRK is trying to use a loose cannon to their advantage
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Could this be a new solution to difficult diplomacy?
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Nothing can come of media posturing, they are both too self involved to achieve lasting peace

Both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un are engaging in shameless self-promotion. Kim Jong-Un has affectively inherited a personality cult from his father, and Donald Trump’s career is arguably more closely connected to the spectacle of high profile business, than it is to effective business strategy. It is therefore hard to be anything but dubious about each party’s motives and reasons for holding such a meeting. Both actors have proved to be capable of being deceptive in the past and this needs to be questioned moving forward.

Kim Jong-Un took control of North Korea in 2011 following his father's death. The state continues to be accused by the UN of “systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations … including murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion, and other sexual violence.” Public executions remain common in North Korea and since Kim Jong-Un has taken power there has been a string of high profile executions, some of which include his own family members and an ex-lover. In 2017 Kim Jong-Un was also accused of ordering the assassination of his half-brother in Malaysia.

With all this in mind, by meeting a tyrant in such warm and friendly manner, Trump is disposing with the usual regard for human rights completely. He has in effect welcomed North Korea onto the political world stage, opening the way for the former reclusive state to form ties with other countries while still carrying out its totalitarian, murderous, oppressive practices. By normalising your approach to such an individual, you are somewhat normalising this person in the public’s perception. Something that trump has already carried out in the past with Vladimir Putin, another state leader with a questionable human rights record. This whole event seems like a photo opportunity, proving again that trump cares more about his public image than human rights. This meeting has arguably done a lot more for Kim Jong-Un’s international image than it has for denuclearisation or peace.

Denuclearisation in particular still seems remote following the signing of a “comprehensive agreement” by the two leaders. North Korea offering unspecified denuclearisation promises in return for unspecified security guarantees from America. What Kim Jong-Un has agreed to then is not the irreversible disarmament of North Korea, but the “denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. This has lead some to comment that North Korea may have taken this to mean the complete withdrawal of American forces from the Korean Peninsula also.

Details such as this become more worrying when you consider the volatile change of tone in communications between America and North Korea recently. After a heated few months of threats and angry exchanges, this meeting seems at odds with the narrative. It is easy to envisage such temperamental people easily changing their approach again in much more concerning directions.

Regardless of US and North Korean relations, peace in this region will still be a long way off without some concrete form of resolution for the human rights abuses, denuclearisation, Japanese hostage taking, and the murder of Kim Jong-Un’s brother in Malaysia. It is still unclear whether this meeting will constitute, or lead to, anything, let alone peace, unification or denuclearisation. True peace can only come when egos are put aside and intentions are genuine. Inflated egos, deceptive intentions and a flagrant disregard for human rights makes for a less than genuine approach to diplomacy.

nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-kim-jong-un-s-agreement-callously-ignored-human-rights-ncna882721 hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/north-korea theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2018/jun/12/trump-and-kim-document-analysis-singapore-agreement-denuclearisation

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Daniel Halliday
Sep 3
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DH edited this paragraph
Both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un are engaging in shameless self-promotion. Kim Jong-Un has affectively inherited a personality cult from his father, and Donald Trump’s career is arguably more closely connected to the spectacle of high profile business, than it is to effective business strategy. It is therefore hard to be anything but dubious about each party’s motives and reasons for holding such a meeting. Both actors have proved to be capable of being deceptive in the past and this needs to be questioned moving forward.
Under Trumps watch, peace in East Asia would be serendipity, and peace in the Middle East would be an outright miracle

After more than a year in office, Trump seems to be improvising his way through his presidency. Having had a large string of scandals, many reshuffles of staff and a large body of misquotes and false statements; he seems to be navigating the political landscape by assumption and gut reaction alone.

Shortly after taking office Trump famously provoked North Korea, using his 2017 UN speech as a threat to “totally destroy” the country. This prompted a public conflict of words between the two country's leaders. The insults continued, as did North Korea's missile launches, until a sudden turn around following the 2018 Winter Olympics. Kim Jong-Un expressed interest in meeting with the US president to discuss North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Leading up to the meeting Trump mishandled the arrangement, cancelling a few weeks prior, just to backtrack and agree to meeting again.

Donald Trump’s strengths have always been forming business relationships, over selling deals and generating publicity. Being more spectacle than substance has obviously gained Trump notoriety, and is probably useful when schmoozing in a celebrity environment. But taking this light-hearted, socialising approach to a negotiation over nuclear weapons is particularly worrying.

This becomes increasingly worrying then when you look back at Donald Trump's comments following his previous business failures. He has stated “I do play with the bankruptcy laws” and “I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt” ... “We'll have the company. We'll throw it into a chapter [of the US Bankruptcy Code]. We'll negotiate with the banks. We'll make a fantastic deal. You know, it's like on The Apprentice. It's not personal. It's just business.” Not having the best track record is one issue, but attempting to bring this care free attitude to the world of international relations is haphazard to say the least. This is not a business deal, and if something goes sour, bankruptcy or an easy buy out is not an option; if it is not properly resolved there could be dire consequences.

As early as 2013 Trump was also publicly questioning the financial cost to the US of supporting South Korean security. The USA’s military presence in Korea could be the true financial incentive for Trump in reaching out to North Korea. However if he adopts the same reckless attitude here, and attempts to cut back US support to South Korea for economic reasons, he could create a military power vacuum to the North’s benefit, potentially derailing peace and stability altogether.

However, this deal with North Korea is just part of larger peace efforts that Trump will have to make while in office. Trump pulling out of Iran’s nuclear deal and reinstating sanctions will only depreciate US-Iran relations further, and cause future negotiations to prove more difficult. This also puts extra strain on already tense relations with Iran; a country that is in support of the Syrian Government in the Syrian Civil War, opposing the US-backed armed factions across Northern Syria.

Middle Eastern relations are further complicated by Trump’s strong pro-Israel stance, solidified in his decision to declare the USA’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017. Unless Trump can miraculously negotiate a tighter nuclear deal with Iran, against all the strong Anti-US sentiment, relations with Iran and other countries in the region will likely become more complicated and fractious. This would further tarnish the USA’s image in the Middle East, making any diplomatic solution in the area even more distant.

Peace seems to have become a game of chance under Trump’s watch, especially taking into account his fondness for going off script and making excessive exaggerated claims. But the common ground of egocentric narcissism seen in both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un makes peace in East Asia a more realistic outcome than in the Middle-East at least. However, considering the tremendous strain that sustained and difficult diplomatic relationships can require, successful peace talks may seem more the result of a happy coincidence than well negotiated foreign policy.

abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-filed-bankruptcy-times/story?id=13419250 newsweek.com/kurtz-trump-backlash-66503 edition.cnn.com/2017/09/22/politics/donald-trump-north-korea-insults-timeline/index.html

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Daniel Halliday
Sep 2
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DH edited this paragraph
Shortly after taking office Trump famously provoked North Korea, using his 2017 UN speech as a threat to “totally destroy” the country. This prompted a public conflict of words between the two country's leaders. The insults continued, as did North Korea's missile launches, until a sudden turn around following the 2018 Winter Olympics. Kim Jong-Un expressed interest in meeting with the US president to discuss North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Leading up to the meeting Trump mishandled the arrangement, cancelling a few weeks prior, just to backtrack and agree to meeting again.
Similar events have transpired before, the DPRK is trying to use a loose cannon to their advantage

This is not the first time there have been some form of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Neither is it the first talks of denuclearisation between these two countries, and indeed not the first time such talks have failed. In 1994, the Clinton administration managed to sign an agreement to effectively freeze North Korean nuclear development in exchange for aid, fuel and economic deals. However these diplomatic agreements ultimately failed over the next decade and came to a sharp end with the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001. The DPRK will likely see Trump’s brash nature and love of showboating as a possible way to gain some economic benefits, or to the neutralisation of the counties global image.

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Could this be a new solution to difficult diplomacy?

Donald Trump is an interesting character. He has a divisive personality, a questionable background and an often heavy handed approach to communication. Trump amassed large amounts of money transforming Manhattan real estate in the 1980’s. He famously filed for bankruptcy in the 90's while attempting to venture into the casino industry, just to then reinvent himself in the new millennium as a reality television personality. Having had to file for bankruptcy six times, it is arguably this celebrity status and smaller business ventures that continue to keep Trump’s profile high. More of a showman than a businessman, he has had a string of personal controversies that have seen him receive a lot of hostility from the press and general public.

Regardless of this Trump is attempting to translate his “art” of deal making into diplomacy. He is going about this in his usual style of attempting to build a rapport and friendship when negotiating, which could be more suited to reinventing US and Korean relations than it at first seems. As we can see from Kim Jong-Un’s friendship with ex-basketball player Dennis Rodman (a mutual friend of Trumps also), the dictator is not opposed to high profile social ties with American celebrities. Having more of a celebrity than political background may make Donald Trump a good candidate to improve relations at least, allowing him to build some form of relationship moving forward.

It is also hard to look past the monumental nature of this meeting, North and South Korea are technically still at war, a peace treaty remaining elusive since 1953. However, this should not overshadow the meeting of the South Korean President Moon Jae-in with Kim Jong-Un weeks before, the first of such meetings, not to mention the first time a North Korean leader has crossed the border, a truly poignant moment. This was preceded by the North’s surprise decision to march alongside South Korea under a unified flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Trump may well be capitalising on this historic moment, using it for personal political point-scoring more than peace seeking. On the other hand, Trump could be pathing the way for a new form of diplomacy. Instead of the usual, offering improved US and international relations while threatening sanctions and demanding a change of a foreign power's policy; Trump seems to be pursuing this relationship first, in the hope that the same policy can be agreed upon later. If this proves successful, we may see this change of approach elsewhere, hopefully leading to more productive communication and diplomacy worldwide.

investopedia.com/updates/donald-trump-success-story

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Daniel Halliday
Sep 2
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DH edited this paragraph
Trump may well be capitalising on this historic moment, using it for personal political point-scoring more than peace seeking. On the other hand, Trump could be pathing the way for a new form of diplomacy. Instead of the usual, offering improved US and international relations while threatening sanctions and demanding a change of a foreign power's policy; Trump seems to be pursuing this relationship first, in the hope that the same policy can be agreed upon later. If this proves successful, we may see this change of approach elsewhere, hopefully leading to more productive communication and diplomacy worldwide.
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