Boot Discards Trump-Kim Summit as Something ‘Any Previous President Could Have’ Done

CNN global affairs analyst and anti-Trump Republican Max Boot has had a rough day with this Trump-Kim summit. So, it was natural for him to repeatedly dismiss the Singapore gathering on Monday’s CNN Tonight as something that “any previous president could have done” and it was only Donald Trump who foolishly decided to make North Korea’s dreams come true and legitimize them on the world stage.

Connecting the Singapore summit to Trump’s previous stop at the G7, Boot surmised that Trump’s “war of words” with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was “a calamitous development” that could destroy “the underpinning of American peace and prosperity since 1945.” Yeesh.

 

 

Boot was first asked to comment on the latest installment of the CNN feedback loop (Dennis Rodman crying to Chris Cuomo in the past hour) and replied that it “add[ed] to the spectacle of the day and from the standpoint of spectacle, you'd have to say what happened is a success and I think that's primarily what both Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are interested it.”

On cue, Boot deemed North Korea the winner of the summit before it had even ended:

For Kim Jong-un this is already a victory because he wants legitimacy, he wants a place on the international, he wants to be recognized as an equal by the president of the United States, he wants to seen as nuclear power, and he's achieving all of that. This is a tremendous propaganda victory for him. 

He then took issue with comments raised by conservative political commentator Scott Jennings that this was a victory for Trump and United States. 

Why? Because “any previous president could have easily had a summit with any previously leader of North Korea because they've been very eager to be legitimated by the President of the United States, and Donald Trump is the first one to agree to do that.”

Jennings responded that if any of Trump’s predecessors could have gotten Kim to the negotiating table, they would have done it (click “expand” for more):

Where I think Trump has, gotten it right and I don't think Hillary Clinton would have pulled it off if she had won. I don't think Obama tried hard to pull it off. The Bush 43 White House didn’t pull it off. The Clinton White House didn’t pull it off. Where they all came up short was they never drove the sanctions deep enough to drive Kim to the table and never made Kim believe that the military option was truly on the table. I think Trump did that on both fronts and that’s why Kim is here. So, you can say that it’s legitimacy in the short-term, but I’m willing to give that up if it means long-term denuclearization. I want the President to stick to that, though. I don’t want to let him off the hook.

As for the G7, Boot lashed out at Trump’s behavior as a “fiasco” that he’s never seen before “and the contrast is all the greater when we see the way Donald Trump is glad-handing Kim Jong-un, who is the enslaver of his people.”

Boot continued on with his apocalyptic tone by suggesting that Trump was more comfortable with a murderous dictator than his fellow Western leaders (click “expand”):

Somebody who keeps more 100,000 people in slave labor camps and he's talking about how honored he is to meet him and how — what a great relationship they have and how they're going to get along great. And, on the other hand, his aides are saying that Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of our closest ally and neighbor, Canada, he's going to rot in hell. I mean, that is a striking contrast and a difference between the way that Donald Trump approaches dictators and Democrats.

Expanding on that, Boot ruled that Trump’s feuding was “not something that should be happening” and “very destructive for the American position in the world” that could have a bigger global impact “than whatever happens here with Kim Jong-un.”

“[B]ut the fact that Donald Trump is undermining the unity of the western alliance, which has been the underpinning of American peace and prosperity since 1945. I think is a calamitous development,” he concluded.

To see the relevant transcript from June 11's CNN Tonight, click “expand.”

CNN Tonight
June 11, 2018
10:19 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT JENNINGS: Well, it looks great for Donald Trump so far because he’s done what he promised the American people he would do and that’s drive the North Koreans to the table for the purpose of them giving up their nuclear weapons Now, we’ll have to see if North Korea is willing to follow through on what they say they want and I think the President must be prepared for these people to lie to us because they've about lying to the world for a long time, but right now, from a policy perspective, from a political perceptive, Donald Trump looks like he's in command of this situation and I suspect that the American people are rooting for him to succeed. Nobody wants to be in a nuclear war with anybody and this is the most clear and present danger to that, so good for the President tries to make peace with a guy that no one previously has been able to solve. 

(....)

MAX BOOT: Well, I just think the Rodman comments kind of add to the spectacle of the day and from the standpoint of spectacle, you'd have to say what happened is a success and I think that's primarily what both Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are interested it. As we know, President Trump is all about the ratings. He views success as being the center of attention and now he has the entire attention of the world on him and, you know, I'm sure people are watching and they’re riveted by what's going on. They’re riveted by Dennis Rodman's comments. For Kim Jong-un this is already a victory because he wants legitimacy, he wants a place on the international, he wants to be recognized as an equal by the president of the United States, he wants to seen as nuclear power, and he's achieving all of that. This is a tremendous propaganda victory for him. Now, Scott just suggested it was a huge victory for Donald Trump simply to come to the summit. Well, I know, I beg to differ because, in fact, any previous president could have easily had a summit with any previously leader of North Korea because they've been very eager to be legitimated by the President of the United States, and Donald Trump is the first one to agree to do that. Now, the question is, is he actually going to receive something in substantial in return? At the end of April, Donald Trump said he's going to judge the success of the summit on whether they'd give up their nuclear weapons or not and there’s, so far, zero indication that the North Koreans are actually going to give up their nuclear weapons, but I suppose we can always be pleasantly surprised. 

DON LEMON: So, let’s talk about — Scott — let's talk about what max just said. Do you think this gives Kim legitimacy? That’s the first part then I have another question for you.

JENNINGS: Well, sure. I think that, in the short term, they're both operating from an area of legitimacy and that's okay for now. The North Koreans do have to, ultimately, give up their nuclear weapons and they have to be better world actors and the President has to be prepared for them to lie about this and disappoint us in the long-term. I absolutely agree at that — with that. Where I think Trump has, gotten it right and I don't think Hillary Clinton would have pulled it off if she had won. I don't think Obama tried hard to pull it off. The Bush 43 White House didn’t pull it off. The Clinton White House didn’t pull it off. Where they all came up short was they never drove the sanctions deep enough to drive Kim to the table and never made Kim believe that the military option was truly on the table. I think Trump did that on both fronts and that’s why Kim is here. So, you can say that it’s legitimacy in the short-term, but I’m willing to give that up if it means long-term denuclearization. I want the President to stick to that, though. I don’t want to let him off the hook.

(....)

JENNINGS: Well, I tell you what he gets and what America gets, today, is we get to stop banging our head against the wall. We’ve been banging our head against the wall on this problem for decades and, today, it feels like at least there's a light open here, a door open, a window is open for us to go through it and see what's on the other side. What are the possibilities? When Trump ran for president, like it or not like it, he said I'm going to do foreign policy different than the way the political establishment has done. He’s clearly doing that today and if he manages, somehow, to pull it off, he will have pulled off what the political establishment could not for all those decades. So what does he get, Don? I think he gets America for the short time we're not banging our head against the wall. 

LEMON: Go ahead, Max.

BOOT: That's a huge what if that — that Scott is throwing out there and let's remember how he and other Republicans would be acting if this was Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama who would agree to a sit down with Kim Jong-un without having gotten any significant concessions in return. They would be apoplectic. Now, I mean, I’m all in favor of diplomacy and I certainly hope this works out, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and claim that simply meeting with Kim, which again, is something that any previous president could have done. Meeting with him is not an achievement. The achievement comes if he agree to complete verifiable, irreversible, denuclearization and, so far, there's very little indication that he's going to do that and I do have to give — I mean, I do have to give President Trump credit for his maximum pressure policy on North Korea. I mean, I agree with Scott there. I think increasing the sanctions was a good move and it may well have brought Kim Jong-un to the table. 

(....)

BOOT: Well, I mean, this was just the fiasco at the G7. I’ve never seen anything like this and the contrast is all the greater when we see the way Donald Trump is glad-handing Kim Jong-un, who is the enslaver of his people. Somebody who keeps more 100,000 people in slave labor camps and he's talking about how honored he is to meet him and how — what a great relationship they have and how they're going to get along great. And, on the other hand, his aides are saying that Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of our closest ally and neighbor, Canada, he's going to rot in hell. I mean, that is a striking contrast and a difference between the way that Donald Trump approaches dictators and Democrats. And, you know, we're not going to be successful in dealing with our problems whether it's North Korea, China, Russia, Syria or so many others unless we have unity in our western alliance, but Donald Trump is destroying that unity. He is waging trade war with our allies. He is in a war of words with the Prime Minister of Canada. I mean, let's remember how amazing this is. Canada, one of our closest allies, a country that has fought with us for 100 years and Donald Trump is angrily castigating its prime minister? This is not something that should be happening. This is just very destructive for the American position in the world and whatever, in fact, this may ultimately turn out to be more significant than whatever happens here with Kim Jong-un, we'll see what happens, but the fact that Donald Trump is undermining the unity of the western alliance, which has been the underpinning of American peace and prosperity since 1945. I think is a calamitous development.


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