America’s presence as a global superpower is on thin ice under President Donald Trump.
The president is struggling to reign in three of the biggest nuclear military nations, North Korea, India, and Pakistan. In the past, the US has played a crucial diplomatic role in easing nuclear tensions around the world. Not any more.
Yesterday, the president failed to reach a deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, with the much-hyped summit ending early. Meanwhile, his inaction in the India-Pakistan crossfire has left two nuclear powerhouses on the brink of war.
With Trump way out of his depth at the diplomacy table, there’s a huge power vacuum growing on the global stage.
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 28, 2019
Trump’s North Korea Summit Ends Early
Trump promised a “very productive summit” when he flew to Vietnam to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. But the summit was cut short with both sides leaving early.
Heading over to Vietnam for my meeting with Kim Jong Un. Looking forward to a very productive Summit!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
A signing ceremony and lunch were both cancelled and a media conference was rescheduled two hours earlier.
Asked why, Trump blamed Kim’s demands for full sanctions relief:
“It was about the sanctions basically,” Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that ... Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.”
Trump and Pompeo being quite specific. Says Kim was ready to give up the whole Yongbyon nuclear complex in return for complete lifting of sanctions but not other parts of the nuclear programme, including covert elements, including at least one uranium enrichment plant.
— Julian Borger (@julianborger) February 28, 2019
“Sometimes You Have to Walk”
Kim Jong Un allegedly offered to close its Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for US sanctions lifted. But the notorious dictator refused to shut down covert uranium plants. Trump explains:
“They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas we wanted but we couldn’t give up all the sanctions for that.”
But as the US editor of The Telegraph notes, why didn’t Trump see this coming? Instead of anticipating this move and offering a counter, he simply gave up and left.
One critical qu from the Hanoi no deal - why didn’t negotiators see this coming? Traditionally leaders only meet when most details in a deal are agreed, signing off the last few bits. Raises big questions about the whole US approach.
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) February 28, 2019
Where Is US diplomacy in India-Pakistan?
As CCN reported earlier this week, Trump’s voice has been suspiciously absent as tensions flare between India and Pakistan. Two nuclear states with immense military firepower at their disposal.
India launched airstrikes into Pakistan territory on Monday 21st February, breaching the de facto border for the first time in 40 years. The aggression came after Pakistan militants killed 40 Indians in a suicide attack.
Typically, the US has used its diplomatic leverage to act as a peacemaker in the region. Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice famously pulled India and Pakistan back from the brink of war in 2008. She visited India to urge caution after the Mumbai attacks.
Neither Trump nor his secretary of state Mike Pompeo has shown much tact or diplomacy in addressing the tensions this time around.
Since elected, Trump has come down hard on Pakistan, slashing US military aid. Meanwhile, he has heaped praise on India and strengthened military deals. If war breaks out between the two nuclear nations, it’s clear where Trump’s allegiance lies.
Meanwhile, China is lining up behind Pakistan, supplying the nation with nuclear technology and arms. There’s an epic power battle escalating behind the scenes and Trump appears clueless.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.