Back in March, President Trump pulled off one of the most unlikely victories in modern American diplomacy: a potential rapprochement between North and South Korea.
Amidst the bitter squabbles that had paralyzed Washington, the White House suddenly glimpsed the biggest prize possible: ending a 60-year-old war that had destroyed lives, subjected millions to famine, and brought the planet to the brink of nuclear war. If any president—Republican, Democratic, or otherwise—were able to achieve such a thing, it was surely incumbent on any morally serious person to support them.
Yet from the beginning, large sections of the Left, so consumed by hatred for Trump they had lost the ability to think rationally, felt otherwise, seeing the issue as just another chance to attack the president. Many made no secret of the fact they would rather see the peace process fail (and the nuclear arms race continue) than see President Trump succeed.
If you think I’m exaggerating, just look at the Washington Post’s David Nakamura who, after the first rumors that Kim Jong-Un might cancel the summit, could hardly contain his glee. For Nakamura, Trump’s diplomatic strategy was merely “diplo-tainment,” the inevitable path to “major embarrassment” for the president.
In the same newspaper, Paul Waldman (who wrote a book alleging media bias against Barack Obama in the 2008 election) mocked President Trump for being “played” by North Korea—as if the peace deal were an everyday partisan initiative.
Then came Thursday’s news that the White House had postponed the Singapore talks. Once again, the WashPo could not help itself, accusing Trump of “impulsively” tanking the peace process. The United States was accused of swallowing the “wildly unrealistic possibility” that Kim would ever disarm. The liberal schadenfreude was clear to see.
Part of me wants to ignore the naysayers. After all, the mainstream media has spent the best part of three years in its anti-Trump tailspin, trying to pour cold water over any sign of the Donald’s political success. (Let’s not forget that these are the same analysts who excitedly foresaw an economic slowdown if the GOP pushed ahead with November’s tax cuts.) If there’s been a more tragic prediction in recent American history, I must have missed it.
Then I remember what is at stake here. This is no ordinary negotiation. Kim Jong-Un is a brutal dictator who personally presides over a political system built on slave labor. In 2016, U.S. Treasury officials, in introducing new sanctions against the regime, estimated that up to 120,000 North Koreans are currently held in political prison camps where execution, sexual torture, and starvation are commonplace. Remember that Otto Warmbier was left severely brain-damaged after 17 months in a North Korean prison.
While more than half of his fellow North Koreans are trapped in poverty, Kim is estimated to be worth more than $10 billion, some of it raised through drug dealing and ivory smuggling. Those in any doubt about his ruthlessness should remember that this is the man who personally oversaw the executions of his uncle and half-brother. It is a truly inhumane regime.
Then there are the missiles themselves: since the end of the Korean war, the North Korean regime has consistently flouted international law in building its nuclear arsenal. In seven years, Kim has fired more than 90 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapon tests, more than the regime launched in the previous 30 years. Independent analysts believe North Korea is capable of hitting the entire U.S. mainland, with the potential to murder millions.
Yet despite all of this, a disturbing number of anti-Trumpers seem delighted at the failure of the June summit, just so they can take another cheap-shot at the president—and, by extension, the 63 million Americans who voted for him. If there is a better example of moral blindness in modern politics, I have yet to come across it.
Back in 2011, when President Obama launched a NATO mission to oust Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, many conservatives were forthright in criticizing its lack of planning. None would have thought for a second to actively cheer on Gaddafi, or write hubristic editorials praising the guile and resilience of Libyan fighters.
Liberals are fond of telling others to check their privilege. In this case, it’s time they checked their morality. If you are siding with the most brutal regime on earth rather than hoping for peace in Korea, you have well and truly lost your marbles.