Trump Keeps Sabotaging Tillerson’s Diplomatic Effort In North Korea. He’s Desperate For War
On Sunday, Donald Trump fired off a tweet blasting U.S. diplomatic efforts with North Korea, leaving experts baffled and sparked speculation Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would resign.
Well, on Monday, the White House further undercut Tillerson’s role, doubling down on Trump’s stance that diplomacy has no place in a nuclear crisis.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders reiterated the administration’s position at a White House briefing: “Now is not the time simply to have conversations with North Korea.”
Huckabee-Sanders comments followed a whiplash weekend regarding U.S. strategy toward North Korea. On Saturday, Tillerson said the U.S. was directly communicating with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program. But by Sunday, Trump subverted that message, tweeting that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
The stunning development has experts again questioning the president’s strategy.
“If diplomacy prevents just one soldier from having to die on the battlefield, it is worth the energy,” said William Perry, defense secretary during the Clinton administration.
If diplomacy prevents just one soldier from having to die on the battlefield, it is worth the energy
— William J. Perry (@SecDef19) October 1, 2017
Others echoed his sentiment:
“I had a slight bit of hope to hear of diplomacy with North Korea. Then: the Tweet. This Prez wants war. He wants to go down history,” Jeffrey Tucker wrote on Twitter.
I had a slight bit of hope to hear of diplomacy with North Korea. Then: the Tweet. This Prez wants war. He wants to go down history.
— Jeffrey A Tucker (@jeffreyatucker) October 2, 2017
Dan Shapiro, former U.S. ambassador to Israel under Barack Obama, speculated Trump’s comments would force Tillerson to quit: “He’ll resign, today or after a brief face-saving interval.”
Former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, suggested Tillerson-Trump could be playing “good cop, bad cop” with North Korea, but added, “I fear it’s not.”
Vali Nasr, a former senior adviser to the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, called Trump’s comments “astonishing,” while Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the UN, said it was “life-or-death presidential malpractice.”
“How could any diplomat (or human) tolerate being treated as Tillerson is?” she said.