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May 17, 2022

Donald Trump: ‘Only one thing will work’

Of course, in order to find out what’s new in the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula, which is undeniably the hottest dossier on the globe today – it is hoped the referendum in Catalonia will move toward controlled management; developments are expected in Ukraine, but without the extremely hot acuteness from before; the meeting between the Russian and Turkish leaders, taking place in Turkey the other days, is lowering the temperature both in Syria and Iraq; the six powers’ nuclear agreement with Iran is still valid –, you only have to follow the Twitter account of U.S. President D. Trump. It is an issue that clearly concerns him and the President frequently makes public statements about this dossier. A tweet with special importance was posted recently, when he distanced himself from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s attempts to negotiate with Pyongyang in order to find a solution to the crisis. On October 1, Trump posted on his twitter account: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man. Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Thus, we find out not only that the U.S. has a diplomatic channel of communication with Pyongyang, which may be personally managed by the head of American diplomacy, but that it was probably opened, the President’s negative opinion being known.

Or, another possibility, if we consider President Trump’s professional dossier (as businessman), his scepticism toward dialogue with North Korea may be part of a strategy to deter the other side, one not tried before (this possibility was considered by some observers), namely by threatening war. The problem became more complicated when the press warned about Rex Tillerson’s attempt to resign this summer, an allegation immediately denied by both the President and the person concerned, but that resulted in the appearance of analyses which show Trump’s ever-growing isolation at the top of American politics. On October 7, Trump reiterated his stance on the Korean crisis by posting on his Twitter account: “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid… hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!” This time around too, what Trump wrote drew the attention of commentators, who sought to decipher the meaning of the President’s “only one thing will work” statement. A first meaning was immediately noted by expert Ian Bremmer, who posted this comment: “Trump nails it. Recognizing North Korea as a nuclear power the only feasible option for US.” Of course, Bremmer is right that D. Trump’s elliptical mention can have this meaning too. But it is unlikely for that to be what D. Trump really had in mind when he wrote that, especially since that would be the exact opposite of what he has done so far – from the “fire and fury” threat to the pressure put on China to press its Korean ally into giving in, not to mention the things he stated at the UN rostrum almost three weeks ago, North Korea being included in a global axis of evil.

But what other interpretation can be given to President Donald Trump’s recent involvement in the North Korean nuclear crisis dossier? A new interpretation can be offered by another event that took place simultaneously with his tweets. Thus, on October 5, against the backdrop of the investigation into the dossier concerning the Trump team’s links to Russia in the summer of 2016, news broke that Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated that President Trump’s son will be called before the committee, something that the Democrats had been demanding for several months. In these circumstances, on the same day there was also news that “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team met with Christopher Steele, author of the Russia dossier,” a piece of news retweeted by international affairs commentators. As known, the U.S. Congress has tasked a special prosecutor (R. Mueller) to carry out an independent probe into the links that the Trump team had with Russia during last year’s presidential elections.

The most important dossier, basically the one which triggered the whole investigation into and scandal concerning the Trump team’s links to Russia and the alleged illegalities thus committed, belonged to C. Steele, a former British intelligence agent. Thus, now it is known Mueller met former agent Steele this summer, and those familiar with the issue state that this bears great weight in the whole investigation, forecasting difficult days ahead for the White House. In early 2017, Donald Trump played down the importance of this dossier, stating in several tweets that it is drafted by a “failed spy” and based on “totally made-up facts by sleazebag political operatives.” Also on October 5, Gideon Rachman, from the Financial Times, posted the following on Twitter: “important and alarming commentary from Pyongyang by Nick Kristoff The North Korea – Trump Nightmare.” The reference made to Nick Kristoff’s opinion piece is strange, since it was published in The New York Times on 20 April 2017, hence many months ago. So, the significance of the reference made by the commentator resides in what that opinion piece says. Hence, here it is: faced with the North Korean dictator’s determined refusal to give up his nuclear weapons, “The only option left, I think, is to apply relentless pressure together with China, while pushing for a deal in which North Korea would verifiably freeze its nuclear and missile programs without actually giving up its nukes, in exchange for sanctions relief. This is a lousy option, possibly unattainable, and it isn’t a solution so much as a postponement of one. But all the alternatives are worse. And if Trump tries to accelerate the process with a pre-emptive military strike? Then Heaven help us.” So, in the case of this dossier, “the only one thing that will work” may be war, especially since the President is being pressured domestically by the evolution of the investigation into his team’s links with Russia in the summer of 2016. Could this be the second meaning of President Trump’s riddle?

P.S. On 9 October 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump once again tweeted his main idea in the nuclear crisis dossier: “Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!


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