The Trump administration may be heading into an infinity war. Europe is gearing up to retaliate against American on the trade front. China is indicating that it will refuse to negotiate on several key Trump trade demands. The Iran deal may be ripped up on May 12. And national security adviser John Bolton seems intent on sabotaging any negotiations with North Korea, something he did in the George W. Bush administration when he helped to terminate the 1994 nuclear deal that the Clinton administration had negotiated with the North.
This past weekend, Bolton proclaimed that North Korea should follow the precedent of Libya when it comes to denuclearization. It’s a recommendation that Kim Jong Un, who has, among other things, deployed a nerve agent to murder his half-brother in order to secure his hold on power, seems unlikely to follow. The biggest mistake that Col. Muammar Gaddafi, whom Washington-backed rebels found cowering in a drainpipe in Sirte in 2011, made was to give up his nuclear weapons. It was open season upon him. The West went to war on behalf of human rights and ended up toppling his regime. In a video that an incensed Russian president Vladimir Putin has reportedly watched repeatedly, the Libyan rebels stabbed Gaddafi to death and sodomized him. There is no reason to believe that Kim, as much of a voluptuary as his father, would be eager to stage a rerun.
No matter what Bolton thinks about North Korea, however, Trump is clearly ready to sacrifice a lot for a deal that would allow him to focus on Iran. On Monday morning, he indicated that he would even travel to the DMZ to meet Kim. Trump tweeted, “Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!” My own guess is that Trump will soon conduct a Twitter poll on the matter.
It’s Iran that remains in Trump’s gun-sights. His Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel, where he denounced Iran. Withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran, he said, would not impinge upon negotiations with North Korea. Kim wouldn’t bat an eye. “There are higher priorities, things that he is more concerned about than whether or not the Americans stay” in the deal, Pompeo said. Before anyone awards Trump a Nobel Peace Prize, they might ponder whether peace in Korea will make a disastrous new war in the Middle East more likely.