Sunday, June 10, 2018

What If Trump Knows Something We Don't?

Some quick thoughts regarding the upcoming Trump-Kim "summit" in Singapore in the wake of Trump's seemingly reckless behavior after the G7 Summit.

  • Trump refused to sign on to a G7 communique that had been negotiated and agreed to by US representatives.
  • Trump and his lackeys (Kudlow and Navarro) have laid the blame for Trump's decision to not sign on to the communique at the feet of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Specifically, they have insisted that some very mild statements made by Trudeau in response to proposed US tariffs were somehow a "stab in the back" that have earned Trudeau "a special place in hell." 
  • Trudeau's "crime" does not seem to warrant Trump's "punishment" of the G7.  I doubt that even the insane protagonist of Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" would have considered Trudeau's statements an insult or injury.  What if something else is afoot?
  • The experts and pundits have told us that diplomatic summits involving world leaders are usually ceremonies to close a deal that has already been made.  These same people have expressed a great deal of concern that Trump's apparent lack of preparation for the summit will, at best, lead to nothing and, at worst, to nuclear war.
  • But what if a deal has already been ironed out ahead of the Trump-Kim summit? And if there is a deal, who made it, and who benefits?  It's pretty clear that Mike Pompeo had not spent the time and does not have the expertise (or gravitas) to pull of any kind of deal that might be announced.
  • If the Trump-Kim summit results in a denuclearization and normalization deal with North Korea, here is my prediction of how it happened and will play out:
    • Russia and China negotiated the deal to benefit Russia, China, North Korea, and Donald Trump (not the US).  The key features of the deal, key details of which won't be immediately announced, will likely include:
      • North Korea will agree to "denuclearize," but all inspections to verify compliance can only be conducted by Russian and Chinese inspectors. (Of course, these inspections will be shams, and North Korea will not get rid of its nukes.)
      • The US will agree to normalize relations with North Korea, including eliminating sanctions, but the major catch will be that assets of Russians frozen by the Magnitsky Act will be allowed to be moved for investment into developing North Korea's economy. (Yeah, I know, this seems a little crazy).
    • Republicans will hail "Trump's" success before knowing the key details and push even harder for his Nobel Peace Prize.
    • When it becomes clear that the deal is a sham and Trump has been played for a fool (or worse, is a co-conspirator), Democrats will howl while Republicans silently wring their hands, wondering how they let themselves be duped by a guy they all think is a fool.
    • I have no idea how the rest plays out . . . 
My bottom line here is that if a deal is struck in Singapore, it would be foolish to view Trump's actions after the G7 Summit as distinct from the Singapore summit.  Russia and China will have brought Kim to heel and allowed Trump to brand the deal as his personal accomplishment.  As a quid pro quo, Trump broke with the G7 in a very public way.  

Think the Germany-Soviet pact that led to the invasion of Poland.  That is what happened if we see a deal out of the Singapore summit.