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Memo to Donald Trump: It’s Time to End-Run Your Advisers on North Korea

Joel Wit, Richard Sokolsky
Reuters

Joel Wit, Richard Sokolsky

Security, Asia

Trump doesn't have to pass the buck on North Korea. If he makes some smart choices, then he could leave the world a more peaceful place when his presidency is over.

Memo to Donald Trump: It’s Time to End-Run Your Advisers on North Korea

Dear President Donald Trump,

The United States and North Korea are once again locked in a diplomatic standoff over denuclearization and the normalization of U.S.-North Korean relations, which has unfortunately brought to a screeching halt the very promising start North and South Korea have made on building peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. You are in this pickle because in Hanoi you decided to take the misguided, deal-killing advice to go big with Kim Jong-un, instead of following your own instincts to strike a smaller, but still important, deal that could have been reached with some hard bargaining.

If you want to make progress on North Korea, then keep your own counsel and stop heeding the awful advice of others, particularly National Security Advisor John Bolton who has a long history of magical thinking that America can impose its will on other countries. Bolton took a similar approach to Pyongyang during the Bush administration and blew up a denuclearization deal reached by President Clinton. That agreement wasn’t perfect but, in retrospect, would have avoided the predicament we are in today, facing a nuclear-armed North Korea able to attack American cities. There is a reason why the North Koreans call Bolton “the father of their nuclear weapons program.”

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