Mike Pompeo keeps clinging to a hopeless North Korea policy:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shot back against North Korea on Sunday, saying the regime’s criticism that U.S. negotiators acted in a “gangster-like” way during his two-day visit to Pyongyang was unfounded.
“If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster,” said Pompeo, noting that U.S. demands for North Korea to denuclearize were supported by a consensus among U.N. Security Council members.
Pompeo has been claiming for weeks that North Korea agreed to something that it never agreed to do, and now that there is no doubt that he has been wrong about this he doesn’t have a good explanation. It may be that other Security Council members agree that North Korea should disarm, but that doesn’t matter as long as North Korea flatly rejects that demand. Their refusal to do the very thing that Pompeo claims North Korea already accepted underscores why the public can’t trust Pompeo’s assessment.
The Secretary of State continues to ignore the obvious:
Pompeo downplayed North Korea’s criticism on Sunday, telling a reporter that Pyongyang did not have an issue with the idea of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization [bold mine-DL] — a term better known by its initialism, CVID — despite the North Korean Foreign Ministry singling out the phrase in its statement.
If North Korea doesn’t have an “issue” with this, they are putting on a very convincing show to make everyone believe that they do. The problem for Pompeo is that the public can’t trust what he or the president says about any of this because they have spent the last three weeks lying about what happened in Singapore. The plain text of the summit statement included no details about what North Korea was expected to do, when it would do anything, or how its actions would be verified. Pompeo assured us that it was all implied and understood, and we were supposed to take his word for it. He dismissed basic questions about the content of the statement as “insulting and ridiculous” because he had no good answers.
Now that he has been embarrassed once again, Pompeo lashes out at media coverage:
Mr. Pompeo blamed the media for the stark differences in how he assessed the talks compared to how North Korea’s Foreign Ministry viewed them.
“If I paid attention to what the press said, I’d go nuts,” he said.
In fact, the press is just relaying the competing versions of events. Pompeo’s predicament is that his account of what North Korea has agreed to and what it will agree to doesn’t match up with the publicly available facts. The more that he complains about the easy questions that he can’t answer and the accurate reporting that he can’t refute, the harder it is for anyone to take his claims about this process seriously.