It’s becoming clear that there really is an art of the deal, and President Trump is using it to get results on the Korean Peninsula.

Let’s work in reverse.

By now you know that yesterday, when a reporter asked the president if he’d talk on the phone with Kim Jong Un, he answered, “I always believe in talking.”

Clearly, that depends on what happens this week, when Kim’s regime will hold high-level talks inside the DMZ with South Korea — thanks to Trump.

Those talks are in part a result of the U.S. and Republic of Korea pushing back the 2018 Foal Eagle joint military exercises until after the upcoming Olympics, along with a Twitter slap by the president in response to Kim’s fiery New Year’s Day speech, in which Kim declared, “The United States should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table.”

Trump’s reply: “… Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

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Predictably, the media took that in isolation and suffered another nervous breakdown, but they’ve always failed to look at anything beyond “Rocket Man” tweets.

Trump is all carrot and stick.

Last November, in Seoul, he addressed the North Korean dictator directly: “North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves. … We will offer a path to a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime.”

He also said, “It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world.”

Now for the “bigger and more powerful” stuff.

For the past year, the U.S. military has been making its own statement. Marine Corps F-35Bs began conducting exercises in the area with live munitions. The fighter jet can go undetected by radar, carry nuclear weapons and also AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles) which can shoot North Korean missiles out of the sky. At any point, these fighters could have slipped undetected over Pyongyang and let loose.

It’s gotta be an uneasy feeling.

Earlier this year, Defense Secretary James Mattis oversaw delivery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to South Korea, which can pick off North Korean rockets — think Israel’s “Iron Dome.”

Add to those two threats the ROK’s own “Blackout Bombs” — graphite bombs meant to short-circuit North Korea’s power supply — and you’ve got a military trifecta that Kim doesn’t have the stomach for.

Meanwhile, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has been enlisting the support of the world community and harsh sanctions have dealt a devastating blow to the regime.

There is no doubt that Trump is in Kim’s fat head — and not just because of Twitter smackdowns.

The walls are closing in on Kim. He’s ready to talk. The message being sent: The end is inevitable and only Trump can save him.

The hope is that Kim doesn’t want to be reunited with his grandfather just yet.


(c)2018 the Boston Herald

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