Figuratively speaking, President Donald Trump may have been on track to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions toward North Korea only to give it back for his decision to tear up the Iran deal.
According to his supporters, he apparently doesn’t care much about the peace prize and a lot people share his disdain.
After the warmongering years of the Bush administration, the Norwegian selection committee rushed to give the prize to Barack Obama at the beginning of his presidency.
Subsequently, when he really didn’t do much if at all to further world peace, the Nobel Peace prize became bit of a joke, dismissed as a political gimmick
However, Trump’s accomplishment on North Korea is real. He has done what his two predecessors failed to do.
At a recent dinner party in Silicon Valley, Dr. William Perry told the gathering about what could have been with North Korea. The former Secretary of Defense had led the negotiating effort for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula with North Korea and the formal agreement was ready for both parties to sign.
This was at the end of the Clinton Administration and President Bill Clinton thought it proper to turn the effort over to the incoming George W. Bush team to complete the agreement and not hand his successor a fait accompli.
Clinton did not anticipate that W would ignore North Korea for the first two years of his presidency – aside from calling North Koreans nasty names – and then send a team in 2003 to Pyongyang with a list of new demands as a precondition to resuming negotiations.
At the time, North Korea did not have the bomb; they detonated their first in 2006. They then proceeded to develop the intercontinental missile capable of reaching North America. And the rest, as they say, is the altered state of the history of today.
Now with the viable capability of retaliation as part of a much stronger hand, Kin Jong-un can play the role of a world statesman and offer to negotiate. Trump, in turn, has been wise to accept Kim’s gesture and break from a past that got nowhere.
The verdict of history will have to wait for the outcome of the June summit meeting in Singapore. If there are no rude surprises or much feared impromptu eruptions, then we can hope for a series of follow-up meetings leading to a completed agreement worthy of consideration by the Nobel selection committee.
Since the fiasco of the premature ejaculation over Obama, the Norwegian committee has been reconstituted in a positive direction. The then chairman has been demoted to an ordinary member. The other four members are new since the Obama award. Two are women and all possess impressive academic credentials and qualifications. They just might restore the reputation and prestige of the award.
Unfortunately, while Trump made a positive move about North Korea, he also took a major step back by breaking the Iran nuclear deal, justifying his action because it was a “bad” deal.
It would be appallingly petty minded if George W somehow felt it diminishing to abide by something his predecessor started and Trump reacted the same way with the Iran deal because it was Obama’s deal.
At the time, Obama faced a hostile Congress not about to give him a pass on anything. He did the best he could in getting a deal done to at least stop Iran from continuing its nuclear weapon development.
Even Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel, said on a national public radio interview that even though the deal is flawed, keeping it in place is better than trashing the deal altogether and not having anything in place.
By canceling agreements struck by his predecessor, Trump has done great damage to the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the international community. George W at least did not because the North Korean deal was in negotiation but not finalized.
The ease with which a tough and difficult treaty can be broken, as Trump has done with Iran, will make North Korea wary and cautious and not trustful of commitments from the Trump negotiating team.
The lesson for Iran is also clear. Namely, in order to be taken seriously by the United States, Iran will need to develop a nuclear weapon capable of being delivered by their homegrown missile.
Donald Trump likes to hail himself as the world peacemaker but his one action has canceled the other and it’s doubtful that the Nobel Prize committee will be calling anytime soon.
As reported in Asia Times, the author toured Iran about two years ago and found nothing but the friendliest people. The Iranians had warmest feelings for the American people, but not so much for the American government.