The evening pundits from competing networks took to the airwaves to hoist acrimony and applause for President Donald Trump’s decision to meet with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un. Did either side get it right?
From the left
Rachel Maddow (MSNBC)
Ms. Maddow based her criticism on the fact that previous presidents purposefully declined to meet with any of North Korea’s leaders.
You might think another president in this circumstance, you can imagine a president asking himself or herself, “why has no other American president ever agreed to do this? Why has no sitting American president ever met with a leader from North Korea? Why has that never happened in all the decades North Korea existed as a nation? Should I take that to mean that this might be particularly risky or even an unwise move?”
From the Right
Sean Hannity (Fox News)
Sean invited former Trump adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Conservative commentator Dan Bongino on his Fox News program where Gorka said that “We have an administration that’s not going to kowtow to evil regimes.”
“This is a problem that has plagued the west, plagued the Pacific region for decades,” Gorka said. “And finally, there is hope of resolution.”
“They [the Kim regime] took advantage of our predictability,” Bongino exclaimed. “Then we get a Queen’s builder in office who drops a couple of DefCon one level tweets in there. He’s entirely unpredictable and all of a sudden they wanna’ chat about denuclearization.”
Both referred to the meeting as a “major foreign policy breakthrough.”
“The left only seems to like it if we’re bowing, kissing the rings of murdering dictators and offering them bribes,” Hannity said. “Offering bribes with Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-il didn’t work. It’s not going to work with the Mullahs in Tehran.”
“One consistent thing that we see, as we look through history, is that Capitulation and appeasement never works,” Hannity added.
This one goes to the Hannity group, even though I found them a little too cheerleaderish.
Maddow is trying too hard. There are criticisms that could be leveled that would be far more logical. By focusing on the fact that no other president has met with a North Korean dictator, she invites the retort “well, that hasn’t worked.” For the same “decades” that she goes on about U.S. leaders avoiding North Korean dictators, North Korea has outflanked the U.S. in negotiations managing to not only acquire nuclear weapons but an intercontinental delivery system that could threaten the whole of the United States. The breathless, over-dramatic head turns aren’t helpful .. just adds to the idea that she’s just really trying too hard to make a bad point.
Hannity, Gorken and Bongino couldn’t find their way to mention that there was a bit of a pivot between the initial announcement on Thursday and the press conference on Friday. In less than 24 hours, the meeting went from sounding as though there were no preconditions – to – North Korea had to demonstrate “concrete and verifiable actions” indicating the dismantling of their nuclear program. A bit hamhanded by the communications staff or perhaps straight from the top. It’s hard to tell. Then again, Communications Director Hope Hicks is expected to depart the White House any day now.
I also felt the victory dance coming from the Fox group was premature. Trump has only succeeded in getting North Korea to request a meeting which is a far cry from giving up their nukes.