Home/Daniel Larison/Trump Touts a ‘Contract’ with North Korea That Doesn’t Exist

Trump Touts a ‘Contract’ with North Korea That Doesn’t Exist

President Trump greets U.S. State Department officials in Singapore, June 11 ahead of the talks.  U.S. Department of State/Flickr

The president continues to misrepresent the results of the summit with North Korea:

Trump’s confidence is not the least bit reassuring, since he then proceeds to mislead the public about what North Korea agreed to do and what was signed in Singapore. There was no contract, and North Korea committed to do nothing specific with respect to its nuclear weapons and missile programs. Kim did not agree to the “denuclearization of North Korea,” but did agree to “work toward” the denuclearization of the entire peninsula. Trump and Pompeo keep lying to the public that these are the same thing, but they aren’t. Pretending that they are the same thing doesn’t fool anyone, least of all the North Koreans. They know very well what they have and haven’t agreed to do. The only reason to claim that North Korea agreed to disarm when they haven’t is to create an excuse for accusing them of deception or being in breach of a “contract” they never signed.

I recently summed up the problem with the administration’s North Korea policy this way:

Trump’s accusation that China may be somehow responsible for what is happening is a weak effort to shift blame to anyone except himself, and it echoes the deranged rhetoric coming from Sen. Lindsey Graham. Yesterday Graham publicly threatened the North Korean government with assassination of its leadership:

“To our North Korean friends — can’t say the word friend yet — you asked Pompeo did he sleep well,” Graham said. “If you knew what I knew about what we could do to the leadership of North Korea, you wouldn’t sleep very well.”

Graham is a lunatic warmonger who is always saying absurd and alarming things, but we should bear in mind that on this issue he is also a close ally and confidant of the president. If Trump thinks that he has somehow been betrayed or cheated, he is much more likely to listen to the ravings of Graham and Bolton, and that would be disastrous for everyone. The danger here is that hard-liners in the administration exploit Trump’s delusions to make him think that he has been fleeced and urge him to abandon the diplomatic track all together.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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