Dear America,

Do you remember Donald Trump on the campaign trail in 2016 deriding prior American leaders as "stupid people" of whom leaders like Kim Jong-un and his father, Kim Jong-il took advantage?  Do you remember him bragging about the great deals he was going to make for the United States if he was elected?  My recollection is that he even singled out President Obama for the deal he made with North Korea on which North Korea reneged after getting hundreds of thousands of tons of free food aid from the United States.  And now, he is bragging that he has done what other presidents--stupid presidents--failed to do, and what is that?  He got Kim Jong-un's signature on a worthless piece of paper promising to do what he has promised before only to fail to do so.  It seems to me that if all of Trump's predecessors who dealt with North Korea were stupid presidents, Donald Trump is just the latest one, not the savvy deal maker he claims to be and the "pretty smart guy" that he has said he must be.

When he had a big celebration over the passage by The House of a health care "repeal and replace" bill, some of the smarter people, even in his own party, said that it was like spiking the ball at the fifty yard line.  And sure enough, that bill--which Trump had touted at the celebration but now was calling "mean"--failed to be passed by The Senate.  Now, he is tweeting that the North Korea nuclear threat is over, and it sure looks to most people, at least honest ones, like he's standing on the fifty again.  The fact is that Trump didn't notice that Kim, sitting right next to him, looked like the cat that swallowed the canary...again.

Still, I hope I'm wrong.  I hope that North Korea destroys not just all that we can see of its nuclear missile program, but all of it that we can't see as well.  I hope that in some way, he can be prevailed upon to unite the north and the south as the Germans did with their east and west counterparts.  But I have to be candid...well, I don't have to be but I will.  Watching Trump eat his words in the political sense will be a pleasure.  As a country, we will have lost nothing except what little Trump promised in exchange for what little Kim promised.  And like any other contract, once one side breaches, the other side has a right to do the same.  I've watched Trump get away with his relentless self-promotion for forty years, ever since he was given $40 million of daddy's money and started claiming to be a boy genius because he managed to make more with it, albeit only after who knows how many bankruptcies.  He has managed to live off his one or two successes and sweep his failures under the rug for all those decades, but this one, if indeed it turns out to be a failure, is way too big for that kind of obscuration.  Because hopes for world peace are so profound, this failure, and the braggadocio that accompanied it, might well be unforgivable, even for the Teflon Donald.

In one sense, I'm rooting for failure.  Trump has gotten away with so much just since he has been president--so much deceit, hyperbole, self-aggrandizement, self-enrichment and degradation of the American political process just to name a few of his vicious tactics and gains--that the bursting of an empty bubble wouldn't be too big a price to pay to see him gone once and for all.  If this deal fails, everyone who wants to believe in his jingoism and nationalist fervor will be forced to look at the other things he says he's done but hasn't, like the constant claim that he is deregulating an over-regulated nation, which never gets specific.  No one talks about the implications of vitiating the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by putting one of his putative free-market minions at the helm of the agency.  No one talks about Scott Pruitt's attempts to repeal environmental protections that the Obama administration created relating to waterways, automobile emissions and power plants, much less why such deregulation is destructive as opposed to constructive.  (Pruitt's venality and corruption are bad enough, but his cronyism verges on medieval Simony, yet, like his boss, he keeps getting away with it.)  And deregulating the big investment banks, given what they did before the Dodd-Frank Act was passed, seems imprudent at best, and then only if you are inclined to be forgiving of not just venal, but mortal political sins.

So, in one sense this North Korea deal is a no-lose proposition.  Either we get one step closer to world peace, or one step closer to a Trump-free government...a win-win if you ask me.  My thanks to Kim Jong-un and his dupe, our Michelin Man president. 

Your friend,

Mike

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