Irrespective of one’s political perception of the recent summit between North Korea and the United States of America, I think it’s safe to say that what happened was at the very least amusing on several levels, was inarguably nerve-wracking, and also has the potential to completely re-define the global geo-political picture. Both sides are claiming victory, which is to be expected, and my personal favorite moments were Kim getting a chance to stick his head inside “The Beast,” which is President Trump’s up-armored limo, and President Trump offering to help Kim build condos on North Korean beaches. I also cringed at CNN’s Jim Acosta’s mortifying behavior of shouting questions at both leaders without being invited, a gaffe that would get anyone else booted out of the press pool. The fact that Mr. Acosta then said in a hot mic moment, “That’s what happens when you don’t invite me to the f---king party,” and as of this printing still has a job anywhere, is proof that an industry that no longer seems to have any standards just landed unceremoniously in the cellar.
Some folks are championing the temporary cessation of the U.S. war games held off the coast of Korea, and some are horrified that this signals a softening that could be disastrously interpreted as a lack of a state of readiness in the South China Sea. As is often the case, I could make an argument for both concerns, and to me the only reasonable thing is to take a “wait and see” approach. I heard the president promise to rebuild the military when he spoke in Nashville two weeks ago, and he was very clear as to what he was going to do, how he was going to do it, and how much it was going to cost. I have no problem believing him, and I am convinced that he truly has our service members’ best interests at heart.
As a businessman, I do appreciate the fact that the president is unusually gifted when it comes to determining if there has been fiscal reciprocity when it comes to the manner in which our tax dollars are spent. He is all for a strong defense and giving our soldiers what they need to get the job done, yet I must say that as a soldier supporter, I had never heard anyone on either side assert that those particular war games were not effective, either from the standpoint of cost or readiness. Prior to June 12, I would have assumed that they were just a necessary way of keeping both the North Koreans as well as the Chinese at bay, literally.
The only thing at this point that keeps me from hollering, (figuratively, of course,) “Mr. President, what are you thinking of?” is the fact that it appears that “The Art of the Deal” is most definitely in play. By that I mean that, perhaps, Mr. Trump is re-purposing the war games as a way to insure that the North Koreans, in fact, keep up their end of the bargain by following through with denuclearization. If they do, no war games within reach of the beach. If they don’t, we show up off their coast while someone says, “Let the games begin.” So, while it’s risky, it might also be really smart. Time will tell, as it always does.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner