The North Korea Walk Away – What will Kim do now?

by | Feb 28, 2019 |

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North Korea summit ends with no deal but Trump’s move sent a strong message that matters – What will Kim do now?

The President pulled a Reagan…reminds me of Reykjavik…pulled back while at a position of strength…

The Impacts and Key Considerations —

First, the Cohen Hearing wasn’t a factor. That staged event, now more than ever demonstrated the obvious … it was a corrupt and orchestrated prop and spectacle by Tom Steyer, the Democrats and the political-left…it represented the worse the Dems have to offer…

President Trump and the U.S. negotiating team knew going in to the Hanoi Summit prior to the meeting with Kim Jong-un where the negotiations stood and if there was going to be any form of a next-level agreement. That’s a given.

As it is, most people don’t have a clue or realize that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his well-honed and experienced team, working behind the scenes for months since the last summit…knew in advance exactly what will and was going to occur. They along with the rest of the President’s team are always fully aware, they have a hand on the pulse of the status of the negotiations where it is with Russia, the Middle East or any other nation. They are the ones that dictate, orchestrate, and implement the optics and photo-ops for the diplomatic protocols of signing ceremonies, post joint press conferences with the President and Kim, the celebratory toasts. It should be noted they and the President and the White House team knew what was to come – look …

Air Force One was already loaded, pax on-board, with engines running at Noi Bai Bai International, and was wheels-up an hour after the end of the meeting. We knew the outcome and Kim knew he was the loser in this round.

Of course, there are other extenuating circumstances that play into this overall negotiations. These negotiations are phases. There are internal and external influence that the U.S. must navigate and position itself for. There are the strategic protocols and imperatives that must be placed both on the table and intertwined within the process. One aspect that I have stated for many years, particularly with Trump, it the necessary and strategic de-coupling of China from Norther Korea. China is the North’s biggest influencer, financer, economic cover and trade partner. It is also itself biggest protector both militarily and obviously economically as noted. That is one of the single most import aspects that Trump must deal with. Again, this is a key proponent of the mechanisms of the “Trump Doctrine,” as I often speak about.

China is as always a critical factor when it comes to North Korea. Now get ready for the U.S.-Trump counter-play – first, I can guarantee, forthcoming sanctions are already racked and stacked and about to be put in play not only for the north, but we can expect further sanctions now being set for implementation by the Trump administration on China, as well. Kim is as I noted is certainly being influenced by China, but mistakenly, they both called Trump’s bluff as is now obvious, taking a chance that will be costly. They played Trump WRONG…perhaps they were thinking of concerns back in the U.S. that might affect Trump’s poll numbers and status among Republicans, hence the Cohen spectacle, that IN FACT totally exonerated Trump yesterday, fully clearing Trump on everything the Democrats have thrown a Trump. Little did it matter, because Trump plays his card to cover and impact ALL outcomes — which is part of his strategy to always WIN! The BIG loser was Kim…period end of story!

Despite the outcome, realize — it puts and keeps President Trump in an extremely critical position of strength, once again, period, end of story, you CAN’T argue otherwise! Yes, President Trump dealt hard – wanting Kim to ensure a range from at a minimum; extensive de-nuking to a complete and total denuclearization. Kim wanted total sanction relief which of course is the U.S. critical leveraging weapon, short dual leveraging again China. In this case, and for this aspect of the negotiations, the U.S. has built that into the “this process” — and it is by design. Specifically, it is these types of mechanisms that are always incorporated as part of the Trump deal making – The Art of the Deal. Understand when it comes to being effective, Trump is a great manager, administrator and by and large leader. He unfortunately, he is not a great bureaucrat. Thank God for that!

Understand, it is President Trump’s strategic foresight and leadership that has driven this effort to transform North Korea from a Communist shithole to a responsible nation, that is still many years in the making and Trump has been the most productive impetus in 75-years. As SecState Pompeo said, we are much further ahead now than we were months ago. Yes this is a process…and there was much progress. What we got out of this, as we got North Korea to ensure that it will conduct no further nuclear and missile/rocket testing, and in the end we continued to obtain numerous diplomatic and treaty concessions from North Korea. Their nuclear program as is, is severely degraded…it can’t move forward to where it was prior to President Trump taking office. Sanctions and verification will further hurt it and NK. That is Kim’s dilemma…he is stuck.

Despite what the naysayers and Trump haters are and will say — progress was made. But, Kim got nothing … he has to be saying, “…what just happened…?” As he remains in Vietnam for a few days for other diplomatic aspects of his visit, now Kim must think – do I better North Korea by accepting Trump’s ideas and proposal for a new North Korea, or stay a pawn or chess piece of Beijing.

It will be a long train ride home to his hermit sanctuary in Pyongyang. Perhaps, the 80,000 bottles of European vodka that Kim recently purchased may come in handy to ease his thinking and his untenably position.

Many on the political-left, the Democrats, and the mainstream media prior to the summit were saying that, “Trump is going to get suckered and take a bad deal with the North Koreans.” Now, we hear them saying, “I can’t believe Trump walked away from a bad deal with the North Koreans.

The President went in prepared and focused…he did not blink. He did absolutely the right thing. As President Trump said, we want something verifiable and enforceable, but we don’t have it at this point… “…sometimes you just have to walk away…” Reagan did it five times with Gorbachev.  Trump’s next phase of this will come in his March meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Mar-A-Lago.


Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force and international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism.

Waurishuk is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and served as Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC.

Currently, he is the Chairman of the Hillsborough County (FL) Republican Executive Committee and Party and serves on the Executive Board of the Republican Party of Florida.

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