Much has been and will be said about the proposed conference between President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. But what will or will not emerge from discussions will be constrained by the flaming pile of foreign policy feces left by President Barry.
Once upon a time, the security commitments made by the United States meant something; and those commitments lasted beyond the term of the administrations that made them. And then came Barry.
In December 1994, Ukraine agreed to surrender its nuclear weapons based on a guarantees given by the US, the UK and Russia to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.
In February 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Yeah ok. Russia broke the agreement and who can really rely on the military promises of the UK. But what did the US do or say? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
In December 2003, Libya agreed to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction, including to unwind is decades old, but previously unknown nuclear weapons program.
In 2011, US backed rebels came, saw and then (Gadaffi) died.
There are similar lessons from the Iran nuclear deal and the Syrian red line. But what lessons should any vanilla despot take away? Never ever ever surrender your nuclear capacity in exchange for security guarantees from the US government – because even if you trust the current administration, another Obama is just around the corner. And if you are patient enough, you might even get paid to be belligerent.
President Trump’s discussions with Kim Jong Un won’t start from a blank sheet of paper. The corners will be cut off and much of the space will have been coloured in by Barry. Not too many degrees of freedom to negotiate.
One can imagine that the best, absolute best outcome from the US-North Korea conference will be some sort of program freeze and inspection regime. Beyond that, unlikely.
These lessons should not only be considered by US foes. They should be considered by US friends, Australia included.
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