Just like another great Republican president before him, Ronald Reagan, U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and managed to get the maximum while giving the minimum.
In the 1980s, the Soviet Union was the designated “evil empire.” Reagan, the B-movie actor whose abilities were often underestimated by his rivals, met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1985 in a move that led to the near-voluntary dissolution of the Soviet empire.
On Monday, it was Trump’s turn to make a similar move vis-à-vis the Asian evil empire. Even before the summit, Kim has already agreed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, said he was willing to shelve the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and freed three American prisoners. What did the United States offer in return? It wouldn’t even discuss lifting the sanctions imposed on the north.
Long live the difference between the U.S. talks with North Korea and its negotiations with Iran; the difference between a superpower and a regular country and, in other words, the difference between former U.S. President Barack Obama and Trump.
The Trump era began as soon as he took office in January 2017, but the new world order became a reality on June 12, 2018—a historic date our grandchildren will one day learn about.
The Singapore summit demonstrated, again, that the 45th president of the United States should not be underestimated, even if for some it means eating crow. Contrary to his critics’ claims and predictions, Trump’s America has resumed its position as the world’s leader. Gone are the days of the Obama-style “leading from behind,” as seen in the wars in Libya and Syria; enter the era of charging from the front, from the cockpit, all while considering the ramifications on the ground.
The Trump doctrine also means that the United States does not fret over what other Western leaders, such as the members of the G-7 summit, think, especially if their plans do not correspond with the interests of the current administration.
On Tuesday, Trump proved to the world that resolute foreign policy pays off, and that when one has no choice, one must exercise force because that is the way of the world, and at times, the only way to earn an adversary’s respect.
As president, Trump is cut from a different cloth. True, he is not a conformist, nor does he meet conventional political-science definitions, but perhaps that’s a good thing. Academia today teaches us that man is inherently good and the media is all about peace-loving ideas, but reality does not obey the dictates of the sages in the ivory tower. The global arena is cold and there are hostile regimes out there. As Trump so directly puts it, “Some people are very, very bad.”
The Singapore summit and the agreement outlined with North Korea have presented the world—and supporters of Obama—with an image of how a nuclear agreement should be crafted. While Obama’s approach to Tehran was based on obsequious appeasement, which was taken as a sign of weakness, Trump approached the summit from a clear position of strength. Obama had set out to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran, while Trump made sure to keep them in place as the proverbial sword swinging above North Korea’s head.
But what about human rights in North Korea, my colleagues cry out. What about human rights in Iran? They were abandoned by Obama. He ignored the Green Movement, whose members sacrificed themselves in June 2009 for the freedom of the Iranian people, all while resuming nuclear talks with the ayatollahs’ regime that same October.
Speaking of which, what about human rights in the Gaza Strip for those who believe the time has come to negotiate with Hamas? Or the human rights of our Palestinian neighbors? Where were the critics when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994? The hypocrisy knows no bounds.
It is therefore OK to ignore the Israeli media’s headlines stating “there is nothing to celebrate.” There is something to celebrate: The free world has a leader, who happened also to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move his country’s embassy there.
One last thing: There is no need to hold a ceremony in Oslo. The Nobel Peace Prize committee should just ask Obama to hand over the prize to his successor.
Boaz Bismuth is editor-in-chief of Israel Hayom, where this column was originally published. JNS has exclusive distribution rights for Israel Hayom’s English-language content.