I spoke with Monocle 24’s The Briefing on Friday about the turmoil around US policy towards North Korea, whipped up by a recipe of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s ill-considered invocation of a “Libyan model” points to denuclearization and regime change, Donald Trump’s ignorance, and an approach caught between Trump’s ego and American objectives.
The discussion explains Bolton’s mis-step, Trump’s clarification which clarified nothing, and North Korea’s likely exploitation of the situation.
Pyongyang at one level will have their suspicions confirmed that there are those within the Trump Administration who are looking to take them down.
At another level, they will play this pragmatically. They have targeted Bolton to get Trump to detach himself from his advisor: they are calculating that Trump is desperate for his photo opportunity with Kim Jong-un.
And the evidence is they are right: Trump, albeit in a muddled and confused way, will push his advisor aside to save that photograph while putting American policy in confusion, if not jeopardy.
Listen from 1:25: