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The Art of (No) Deal

Via Instapundit I came across this fine editorial from the New York Sun:

“Sometimes You Have To Walk”

The collapse of President Trump’s summit with the North Korean party boss, Kim Jong Un, certainly takes us back — to October 12, 1986. That’s when President Reagan stood up and walked out of the Reykjavik summit with another party boss, Mikhail Gorbachev, of the Soviet Union. We can remember it like it was yesterday. The long faces, the dire predictions, the Left’s instinct to blame the Americans.

“What appears to have happened in Iceland is this,” the New York Times editorialized. “Mr. Reagan had the chance to eliminate Soviet and U.S. medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe, to work toward a test ban on his terms, to halve nuclear arsenals in five years and to agree on huge reductions later. He said no.” The Times just didn’t see that the Hollywood actor turned president had just won the Cold War.

It’s too early in the morning — this editorial is being written at 3 a.m. at New York — to know whether that’s the kind of thing that just happened at Hanoi, whence news reports are just coming in. Messrs. Trump and Kim were supposed to have a working lunch, to be followed by the signing of some sort of agreement. The next thing you know, Mr. Trump is heading home.

It’s not too early, though, to caution against over-reacting to this development. What appears to have happened is that the Korean Reds wouldn’t agree to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization that we seek. Absent that, we wouldn’t agree to the dismantling of all the sanctions the North Koreans seek. “Sometimes you have to walk,” Mr. Trump told the press.

Good for him, we say. It would be a fitting epitaph for any statesman.

The tags I chose for this post will serve as my only further comment.

17 comments to The Art of (No) Deal

  • bobby b

    “Sometimes You Have To Walk”

    What a slap at May this was.

  • @Bobby b:

    I think that would be wishful thinking. Not everything in the world is about BRExit. 🙄

    My view is that Trump’s comment is not just a reflection of reality, which as a businessman he understands, but if a dig was intended then it was more about his problems getting funding from Congress for the wall rather than a dig at the foreign policy of allies in Europe.

    While I don’t accept the 4D chess argument, Trump is very effective at disrupting the cosy cabal between Republicans and Democrats (screwing over his own side’s RINO’s when they are doing “dumb shit” as much as the Dems), so from that perspective I find the Trump Presidency a refreshing, if oftentimes bizarre experience.

    The 2020 Presidential Race is warming up to be as lulzy as the 2016 one.

  • bobby b

    Tongue in cheek, JG. 😀

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    I was just about to add this, as an SQotD, which is what Glenn Reynolds says about the above, before checking whether anyone else had noticed the same thing:

    It’s all part of the process. Trump is demonstrating that, unlike previous American presidents, he won’t go for a deal just to announce that he has a deal. He’ll get what he needs out of the deal or he won’t do the deal at all.

  • We really need to add some kind of sarcasm diacritic to Internet English.


  • Brian Micklethwait (London)


    I also like how you included “European Union” and “UK affairs” in the category list. As you say, no further comments are necessary.

  • Mr Ed

    Makes me think of an old Ramones song, Commando.

    ‘They’re doing their best, they do what they can, to get them ready for Vietnam.
    From old Hanoi to East Berlin, Commando, involved again.”

    “Third Rule is:

    Don’t talk to Commies!”

    (Unless they can be pinned down!)

    But for Mrs May, it’s the first rule: The laws of Germany.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Well, that is what the EU did: they walked away.
    Now the question is, who is going to get the message first: May, or Kim?

    We really need to add some kind of sarcasm diacritic to Internet English.


  • Patrick Crozier

    Politicians put themselves under extraordinary pressure to make a deal – any deal – when they enter negotiations. I saw this at Maastricht and then again in the run up to the Good Friday Agreement. I’ve never quite understood why.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    It made me think also of Munich.

  • Paul Marks

    The left (the “mainstream” media and so on – such as the poxy “Economist” magazine which is advertising on television as I type these words) said that President Trump would agree to anything just to get an agreement. Now President Trump has walked away – thus proving the left wrong.

    But the left will not admit that they were wrong. Just as they falsely claimed that President Trump would agree to anything just to get an agreement, now they will denounce him for NOT getting an agreement.

  • @Paul – Maybe the “Left” are just a bunch of lying sleazeballs?

  • Paul Marks

    John Galt – yes, but they also have principles.

    There is no contradiction between them having principles and them being a “bunch of lying sleazeballs” for their principles are the principles of evil.

    bobby b – it is even worse than you guess.

    The United Kingdom could have had a Canada style Free Trade Agreement with the European Union – David Davis (the minister at the time) has confirmed this.

    So there was no need to “walk” from the talks – as we could have had such an agreement with the European Union. It was Mr “Olly” Robbins and Mrs THERESA MAY (the Prime Minister) who destroyed this.

    The Prime Minister is not some weak person cowed into agreeing to a surrender to the European Union that she did not want to do. Mrs May is, and has been from the start, ON THE OTHER SIDE – she has been working for the European Union against this country.

    Will Mrs May now betray her masters the European Union as she has betrayed us? Even that is possible – although I doubt it.

  • […] (e.g. Obama). Trump is at least trying something new and, as Natalie Solent points out over at Samizdata, walking away from a bad deal is not a sign of weakness, let alone something to be sneered at by […]

  • Chip

    The talks with NK are really just a game within a bigger game involving China.

    China uses NK to rattle adversaries like Japan, the US and SK.

    Trump, as part of his now long-running plan to weaken China, is seeking to drive a wedge, however small, between China and NK.

    The trade dispute with Canada and Mexico was also about China, which was using NAFTA as a backdoor to the US market.

    Ultimately it’s all about China.

  • CaptDMO

    “What appears to have happened is that the Korean Reds wouldn’t agree to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization that we seek.”
    What appears to have happened is that the Korean Reds L’il Kim wouldn’t (publicly) agree to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization that we seek.
    Fixed It for Ya.

    I wonder how many Korean Reds of Li’l Kim’s entourage *sigh* posse did little shopping on the streets in Viet Nam while they were there?

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    Good for Trump.

    Now, “Walk away, Renee” should be reissued as “Walk Away, May-ay.”