Negotiating With a Dictator

Is it automatically and always wrong to negotiate with a dictator, such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un?

No — so long as you hold the full context, that the dictator is a liar, a thief and a murderer.

Communist totalitarians are, by definition, liars, thieves and murderers. Kim Jong-un is no exception.

I do believe President Trump is smart enough to know this. I trust him, until he gives me reason to decide otherwise, that he won’t do something to harm the interests of the United States in any deal he comes up with.

Also, as the President has demonstrated with Iran, he acts and speaks as if a deal is null and void the moment there’s evidence of a lying, murderous regime — like Iran — breaking the deal.

I’m still puzzled as to why President Trump sees it as worth his time to even travel to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong-un. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I would never extend that benefit of the doubt to Barack Obama. Barack Obama’s deal with Iran suggested not just that he’s naive, but that he may be openly against the interests of the United States. That “deal” quite literally paid an enemy government to build nuclear weapons against our allies and even ourselves. Obama’s mistakes were not innocent ones.

Whatever is true of President Donald Trump, he’s no Barack Obama. This doesn’t guarantee success or wisdom in all his actions or policies. But I don’t question that he’s on our side. After what we’ve been through with the literally traitorous terms of Obama, it’s frankly a huge relief.

Yes, Trump is a pragmatist. While it’s good to be practical, it’s unwise and ultimately impractical to proceed without principles. I’d like it if President Trump had a more cohesive and consistent ideology about the role of government, including on the international stage. But his pragmatism is no worse than any other Republican. And, unlike Obama — and like Ronald Reagan, the best president prior to Trump — there’s no question that he’s actually on our side.

I wish President Trump well with his summit. I’m intrigued to see what he comes up with. While it’s neither moral nor practical to ever delude yourself into thinking there’s any hope of negotiating with a lying and murdering dictator, I’m all for manipulating or doing whatever may advance our interests, even a little bit, in this very dangerous world.


Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1, and see “Michael Hurd” on MeWe.