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Did Trump's 'madman theory' strategy bring North Korea to the table?

Conservative Review

President Trump has agreed to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for direct talks by May, in a location to be determined. So why now? What changed? There are many possible reasons why the Kim Jong Un regime has decided to meet with the president.

The regime is flat broke

Did U.S. sanctions force Kim to come to the table? Over the past year, the Trump administration has steadily applied a maximum pressure campaign through sanctions and diplomatic aggression, seeking to completely isolate North Korea from the rest of the world. However, North Korea maintains a powerful lifeline through China, which in the past has been caught violating international trade sanctions against North Korea. In January, U.S. spy satellites found that China was clandestinely trading with North Korea using cargo ships in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Manipulating South Korea and the United States

The North Korean regime has a history of leveraging talks as an instrument of power.

In a piece for the New York Post this week, Dr. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute explained: “While Americans (and South Koreans) often view engagement as a tool of conflict resolution, North Korea’s regime and its Chinese sponsors see diplomacy as an asymmetric warfare strategy with which to tie opponents’ hands while they seize strategic advantage.”

Additionally, South Korea has an extremely appeasement-minded government in place. In 2010, a North Korean sub torpedoed a South Korean naval vessel, the ROKS Cheonan, killing 46 people on board and wounding 56 more. South Korea never even responded to the catastrophic attack.

Change of heart?

North Korea has partners in China, Russia, Cuba, and a handful of Latin American and African nations. Besides that, North Korea is extremely isolated. Is it possible that Kim Jong Un has given up on the Stalinist anti-American dictator routine and has decided that it is in his nation’s best long-term interests to try to normalize relations with the global community?

It’s more than doubtful. The Kim regime’s existence is based on antipathy to American and western ideals. Officials in the North Korean regime view the United States as the foremost force for evil in this world and see it as their duty to combat the “American bastards.”

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