On a five-nation Asian trip, 71-year-old President Donald Trump met first with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, playing a round of golf at Kasumigaseki links golf course, dining on hamburgers and a Coke. “I welcome President Donald J. Trump most wholeheartedly to Japan! We’re getting down to business right away over hamburgers for a working lunch,” said Abe on his Facebook page, showing the kind of rapport expected between close post-WW II allies. Trump promised Abe that the U.S. support for Japan is unshakable in the face of North Korean nuclear threats. High on Trump’s priority list on his five-nation Asian swing is to rally support behind his North Korea containment strategy. Trump told the U.S. General Assembly Sept. 19 he would ”totally destroy” North Korea if the rogue state continues to threaten nuclear war against the U.S. and its allies.
Trump expects to get more support and apply pressure on China and Russia when he meets with leaders at the East Asia Summit Nov. 13 in Danang, Vietnam. Before that, Trump will make a personal appeal to Xi in an effort to avoid war with North Korea. Trump wants Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin to get through to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un that North Korea must disarm its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal or face the U.S. military. So far, Kim has shown no interest in disarming, insisting he needs his nuke and ballistic missile to stop a U.S. invasion. Kim knows that since the Korean War ended July 27, 1953 there’s been no invasion. Kim uses the excuse to justify his nukes and ballistic missiles. Unlike his predecessors, going back to former President Bill Clinton, Trump has drawn a red line on Kim’s nukes and ballistic missiles.
Twenty-five years of so-called U.S. and U.N. diplomacy has given the Kim family the green light to build its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal. Trump plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the East Asian Summit to see if Putin’s willing to help out in North Korea. Trump’s many Democratic and Republican critics on Capitol Hill, like Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and others, want no part of Russian diplomacy. With former Special Counsel FBI Director Robert Mueller busy investigating Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, Russian hysteria in Congress shows no interest in resetting U.S.-Russian relations. Trump decision to meet with Putin is exactly what’s needed to avoid war on the Korean Peninsula. Whether or not Putin can help defuse the crisis is anyone’s guess.
Improving U.S.-Russian relations is critical to deal with North Korea and a host of hot-spots around the globe. Whatever Putin’s reason to invade Crimea March 1, 2014, Ukraine isn’t enough to wreck U.S.-Russian relations. Whether admitted to or not, the pro-Western coup against duly elected Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovich Feb. 22, 2014 sacrificed Russian national security. With military bases and a large Russian-speaking community in Crimea, the pro-Western coup threatened the Kremlin. Ukraine’s President Petro Porshenko is no reason for the U.S. to sacrifice relations with Moscow. Poroshenko’s Ukraine holds no real national security significance to the United States. Yet members of Congress have done everything possible to sabotage Trump’s attempts to improve U.S.-Russia relations, citing wild speculation about the 2016 election.
Mueller’s Oct. 30 indictment of 67-year-old former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort raised eyebrows but doesn’t have anything to do with his mandate to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Charging Manafort with “conspiracy,” racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion for transactions in the Ukraine 10 years before joining the Trump campaign goes over the top. Mueller needs to take into account all the shenanigans that went down under former FBI Director James Comey. Mueller knows that Comey used Hillary’s paid opposition research as “probable cause” to get warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance [FISA] Court to wiretap Trump campaign officials. Comey knew that Obama’s Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch authorized National Security Advisor Susan Rice to unmask Trump campaign officials to sabotage Trump’s campaign.
Trump’s Asia trip offers the best chance to deal with North Korea but only if he can reestablish better relations with Moscow. Whatever Russian operatives did to influence the U.S. election, it didn’t do too much for Trump since Hillary got nearly 2 million more popular votes. Members of Congress need to stop the outrageous political attacks on Trump. Regardless of all the partisan attacks, the president deserves support from Congress to deal with pressing national security issues, like North Korea’s nuclear threats. Extending his trip one day to attend the East Asia Summit in Vietnam, Trump hopes to get Putin on his side to deal with Kim Jong-un. Trump wants to impress on world leaders that he’s not bluffing when he says he won’t tolerate a nuclear armed North Korea. If he can enlist Putin’s help, Trump’s critics should show some restraint for U.S. national security.