Thursday, September 7, 2017

Media Appearance: "South Korea is the Best Friend Trump Could Hope For" on the Atlantic

My latest contribution to the Atlantic:
At the very least, the self-inflicted damage by Trump reflects a missed opportunity, because he could not have asked for a better partner than Moon to help handle the North Korea crisis. South Korea’s previous presidents, Lee Myung Bak and Park Geun Hye, talked a big game about pressuring North Korea, but they always wilted when the Kim regime stepped up its brinksmanship. In contrast, Moon has been in lock step with Trump’s push for maximal pressure and sanctions, and has demonstrated that he would deploy merciless force should Kim initiate a war. By gratuitously insulting and engaging in a trade war with the ally most willing to work with him, Trump risks a separation between the United States and South Korea.

This is not a trivial point. Traditional U.S. allies like Canada and Germany are distancing themselves from Trump, but South Korea under the Moon Jae-in administration has been steadfast. Gratuitously insulting and waging a trade war against a vital ally in handling the North Korea crisis is not merely dumb; it is causing a lasting damage to the role of the United States in the world.

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