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Trump undercuts the national interest by Mollycoddling Kim



My colleague Tom Rogan superbly handles the disaster, in direct practical terms, that is Donald Trump's decision today to reverse new sanctions that were about to be implemented against North Korea's murderously unhinged regime. What remains to be said, again, is this president's adolescent admiration for "strong men," including authoritarians and totalitarians, along with his purely-transactional approach to foreign affairs, a truly dangerous disregard for, indeed denigration of, the

Trump's abrupt decision is stunningly counterproductive.

It is beyond dispute that North Korea in general, and Kim Jong in particular, is one of the most vicious violators of human rights on Earth. They run a brutal slave state, and, we forget, they tortured an innocent young American into what was to brain death

But, as with Trump's attempted excuse-making for the Saudi regime when it hacksawed journalist Jamal Khashoggi to death last year, and with his repeated defenses of the brutalities of Russia's Vladimir Putin, and with his praise for the vicious Philippines' strongman Rodrigo Duterte, Trump's bizarre man crush on Kim leads him to put his own, strange, personal friendliness with Kim The White House statement explains the gobsmackingly wrongheaded reversal of sanctions almost defeated. The reason Trump removed the sanctions it said was because "President Trump likes Chairman Kim."

Tell that to Otto Warmbier's family.

Trump's complete lack of concern for human rights runs against the entire grain of American diplomatic history. And now, to say if much is decidedly not to argue that, Jimmy Carter-like, human rights should be almost the all-and-all of American foreign policy. American national interests still must predominate

What Trump doesn't seem to appreciate, though – worse, what he seems to deliberately reject – is the reality that rational and measured insistence that human rights are important is an essential part or US national interests. Concern for human rights is not a diversion; it is an insistence on the essence of what the American nation is. If human rights are treated as unimportant, tyrants will have free rein. Where tyrants have free rein (and unfiltered reign), they almost invariably threaten others as well. They inflict suffering and poverty on peoples within and outside their borders; they militarize; and they interrupt commerce or free movement of Americans as well as others. They destabilize everything around them – and if they do, there is nothing like the dictator Kim. For an American president to say so, much less to base policy on it is outlandish. Worse, to elevate this thug in the eyes of the world is to undermine American values ​​ and our morally just interests. Trump's actions are both immoral and just plain dumb.

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