Trump hit upon a very simple analogy to politics- sports. You support your local team. You don’t say anything good about the New York Yankees if you support the Chicago Cubs.
But Trump’s analogy just doesn’t work in politics. What gets big results is diplomacy and consistency. – and that takes a lot of time and international cooperation. You can’t slam China one day for currency exchange manipulation with hostile trade policies aimed at coercing them into changing, and then the next minute, expect their assistance in an embargo of goods to North Korea. That’s Trump’s plan apparently. It really makes no sense.
This “punch them in the mouth and then hug and praise them next , and ask them for a favor” destroys trust and cooperation.
“To jaw-jaw is always better than war-war” is a famous quote from Winston Churchill. International cooperation is a buzz word to many, but it is exactly what happens everyday in government. A lot has happened in the last month that makes me optimistic.
It is not a case of wanting to win, but how to do it. The choice is “winning alone” or “winning together.” The arrests of ISIL terrorists in Belgium made headline news. But, the capture Khalid Al-Barnawi with Ansaru, a radical terrorist group associated with Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries called for celebrations in the street.
“Put your money where your mouth is”, is a great saying. The US put a 5 million dollar bounty on Al-Barnawi’s capture. It is obvious terrorism doesn’t respect the boundaries of any country. Boko Haram has caused the death of 17,000 people and caused millions to flee their homes. Al-Barnawi- may you rest in peace along with your insane and barbarous gang of thugs.
The announcement that China was not going to import coal from North Korea, appears to be another big win for nuclear non-proliferation. It is part of the UN sanctions against North Korea for their nuclear program. I suspect a lot of credit goes to John Kerry and Sandra Powers (US Ambassador to the UN) for this “win” – but it will be a long and frustrating road ahead. A carrot and stick approach must be applied and this requires cooperation of the major world powers working within the framework of the UN. This is why the UN was created, to resolve disputes without war. You may get talks going through “stick” policy, but if the carrot isn’t there, nothing will change. The carrot is a lifting of the sanctions, once North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program and agrees to highly intrusive inspections.
The US international policy has been to villainize a country to a point, where there is no incentive to change. The “jaws-jaws” approach has resulted in a better relationship with Cuba- and it was badly overdue. It will take time for many in the US to adjust to the new policy. Efforts in international cooperation are really bearing fruits, with advances in world health and control of epidemics, the space exploration and the international agreements on climate change.
Mr. Trump should know, the “jaw-jaw” approach is working. But, there are no quick wins, or home runs in diplomacy. Translating talk into action takes time to achieve the necessary unity and a lot of perseverance.
It is “together wins” not the US wins which will determine the future.