A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet

Photo by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff | CC BY 2.0

President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to run away from a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should not be a surprise to anyone. The White House is encouraging the notion that China’s Xi Jinping is to blame for souring the notion of a U.S.-North Korean summit and for toughening Kim Jong Un’s negotiating position, and the mainstream media is doing its predictable best to validate such a self-serving explanation.  In actual fact, the Trump administration was never prepared to discuss any issue that resembled arms control and disarmament, and national security adviser John Bolton, the formidable chairman of the new “war cabinet,” was never agreeable to the idea of U.S.-North Korean diplomacy.

Any exercise in arms control and disarmament involves two sets of negotiations: first is the internal set within the administration itself; second is the external set with foreign counterparts.  Typically, the internal negotiations within any administration is the tougher road. One of President John F. Kennedy’s greatest successes was disciplining the Pentagon in 1963 in order to negotiate the Partial Test Ban Treaty.  Over the past fifty years, there has never been an arms control and disarmament treaty that the Pentagon has welcomed.

President Richard Nixon and national security advisor Henry Kissinger were particularly skillful at disciplining the national security bureaucracy that found the…

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