The nuclear disarmament summit that occurred in Vietnam at the end of February seems to have been for naught, coming as no surprise to most of the people who were paying attention at the time. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met for the second time nearly two weeks ago to continue talks about neutering North Korean nuclear capabilities.
The fact that the first summit ended with increased activity on the rocket launching front should have been a pretty easy indicator for how well the second summit would go.
Commercial satellite imagery taken on March 6 and 8 and analyzed by the Beyond Parallel program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies showed preparations for the “delivery of a rocket” at the Sohae launch facility.
The Sohae location was not the only place with increased activity since February. The destruction of the underground testing site last May that Trump touted as evidence of North Korea taking steps toward disarmament was never inspected by anyone to confirm its destruction — Kim Jong-un did not allow it to be seen after the entrances were blown up.
Additional commercial satellite photos suggest the buildings containing the control rooms and computers used to trigger and study the explosions were not actually destroyed, simply put into storage and carefully mothballed, according to the New York Times.
On top of this, intelligence estimates suggest that North Korea could have produced enough uranium and plutonium to fuel at least six new nuclear warheads.
The only thing Trump offered as a retort to this growing anxiety was unhelpful.
“Some people are saying that and some people aren’t,” he said, as if it wasn’t his very own intelligence officials giving him this critical information.
This subpar level of international diplomatic skills have really been one of the many examples reinforcing Trump’s ineptitude over the course of his presidency. Much like everything else he does, his incompetence is beginning to affect the world in much more dangerous ways.
Even just focusing on the multiple failings of his disarmament talks with North Korea, if Trump does not begin to understand that his methods of interaction are not working, the world will pay the price. There are certainly ways of reducing the nuclear threat of North Korea that do not include violence, that aspect of his policy I can at least somewhat understand.
But when you tweet as soon as you land on American soil that there is “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” then continue to ignore every bit of information about the situation that your aides give you, you put the United States and the world at risk due to your stupidity.
The last time I recall the president of the United States ignoring foreign intelligence, thinking too highly of the abilities of himself and taking risks without any thought of the supreme consequences, we went to war in the Middle East for more than a decade, arguably to this very day.
And as we now know, Iraq didn’t even have nuclear weapons. Now Trump has shown that same hubris, with no benefit of a second try if everything goes horribly wrong.