Kim Jong Un understands Trump better than the G-7 did

Kim Jong Un understands Trump better than the G-7 did
© Getty Images

We are a matter of hours away from the first-ever meeting of an American president and the head of state of the “Hermit Kingdom,” North Korea.

Right now, the chances of something historically significant happening are high.

ADVERTISEMENT
The rapidity with which Pyongyang sent its No. 2 man scuttling back to the White House to ask President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE to “un-cancel” the summit — after both the U.S. vice president and the U.S. national security adviser had been publicly insulted by the dictatorship — clearly demonstrates desperation on behalf of the regime.

 

The communist elites of North Korea successfully internalized who Donald Trump is and how he plays the game of global geo-strategy. When he stated that this is Kim’s last chance, a “one-time shot,” the Central Committee knew this wasn’t one of Obama’s “red lines.”

They have come to understand that Trump will give no quarter if crossed, that he means what he says when the stakes are at their highest — which they are in this case, given that we are talking about potentially closing the book on the Korean War and forever preventing nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula. In just over 500 days, President Trump and his team, especially Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump directs Pentagon to create 'Space Force' | Lawmakers say new branch needs their approval | Senate passes 6B defense policy bill | Pentagon suspends planning for 'war game' with South Korea Pompeo: China's calls for trade openness, globalization 'a joke' A mandate for change in Armenia MORE, have created the possibility for moving from a future of “fire and fury” to one of "peace and prosperity” for all Koreans.

Yet, incredibly, the Korean dictatorship apparently better understands the 45th American president and the broader phenomenon of the "Trump effect" than our allies seem to. Why?

Allow me to explain, by way of a story. A real one.

One of my first official responsibilities as strategist to the president was to travel to a friendly capital and speak at a gathering of that nation’s military leaders and intelligence professionals. And not just any ally, one of our closest ones.

My brief was to explain who the new president was and what our friends should expect in the transition from President Obama’s “leading from behind” strategy to the new commander in chief’s “America First” approach.

As the only White House official at the event, and being only a matter of weeks into the new administration, I made the decision to play it safe, to inform without editorializing, and so I followed a simple plan. Having advised candidate Trump during the presidential campaign and then having moved into President Trump’s administration, I simply stuck to primary sources: I quoted statements he had made, promises declared before Nov. 8, 2016, then quoted him after his inauguration and, finally, listed the concrete measures he already had taken in the Oval Office. My goal: to allow our friends to simply make their own judgment on what had been said and what subsequently had been done. Their reaction was fascinating.

After a long day of presentations and getting to know one another, there came the formal, full-protocol dinner. Over pre-prandial drinks, three of the national security professionals privately made the same inference to me, while the fourth made the same point explicitly. He brazenly commented: “So I guess you’re not all monsters then.”

No, we are not. By illustrating what Donald Trump had said and then actually done after winning the election, I had made a simple point: We are still your friends, the president is a serious man, and we wish to remain your allies. So why were these elite members of an allied nation’s government so surprised?

The reasons are multiple, but one of the most obvious is that “fake news” is as much an international problem as it is an American one. The fact that seemingly reputable European media organs will regularly peddle falsehoods is remarkable. But the other reason is a more psychological one. Donald Trump is not misunderstood so universally because of his politics; the problem is as prevalent on the right as it is on the left. He is misjudged, unjustly lambasted and, in fact, vilified most often because he is not a member of the political elites who have so disastrously shaped international affairs for two generations now. This is why the Singapore summit was preceded by the absurd, churlish G-7 kerfuffle.

Donald Trump owes nothing to the mode of thought that created an international trading system which penalizes U.S. companies and employees. He is not tied to a naive, incompetent strategic culture which resulted in the decisions which brought us the Iraq war, the collapse of Syria, the rise of China, the facilitation of Iran, or the empowerment of a faceless, unacceptable bureaucracy in Brussels over the sovereign desires of European citizens.

The idea that members of the G-7 can gang up on the president of the most powerful nation in the world — which, in fact, still subsidizes and provides security guarantees to each of them — and then individual members can use social media to send a virtue-signaling message at Washington’s expense isn’t simply galling, it is so shortsighted as to beggar belief. And the facts are on President Trump’s side, morally and intellectually. 

How do Prime Minister Trudeau and the Canadians justify a 270 percent tariff on American milk? Or who deems it equitable that the EU collectively imposes a 10 percent tariff on U.S. vehicle imports when ours on European auto-products is just 2.5 percent? 

I am sure the elected officials ensconced in Ottawa, Berlin, Rome, London or Brussels, think little of American dairy farmers or Ford and GM welders as they enjoy another round of meetings over fois gras and langoustines — but if they think Donald Trump doesn’t, they are sorely mistaken and their detached arrogance will have more consequences. 

It was an electrifying moment — a truly “American” one — when, on a sunny day last year, standing in the Rose Garden, the president justified our leaving the Paris Climate Accords by saying: “'I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” 

Any politician of any country who would not say and do the same, not understand why our president fights for our national interests and the interests of all American citizens, is not worthy of representing any constituency in a democracy or a republic. Donald Trump is a true leader in the classical sense, not the member of some disconnected elite that has no connection to the average person who has a job that makes you sweat, your clothes dirty and your body ache by the end of your day. (His father’s background, first as a carpenter, then as a contractor from Queens, and his own early life working for him are very instructive here.)

From BREXIT to the election of Donald Trump, the elite has demonstrated itself to be isolated and irrelevant. When an Asian dictator who hates us understands our president better than our erstwhile allies, you realize just how Marie Antoinette could get it so very wrong.

Donald Trump will not change, but he has changed the global geopolitical order in less than 18 months. Those who do not believe or understand this will politically condemn themselves to a new post-MAGA "ash heap of history." Hopefully this will not include those who once called themselves our friends.

Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaIs the Department of Justice inspector general truly impartial? Kim Jong Un understands Trump better than the G-7 did Hannity and Gorka headed to Singapore for Trump-Kim summit MORE (@SebGorka), Ph.D., is a national security strategist with Fox News and former deputy assistant and strategist to President Trump. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.”