Trump, North Korea, China, Lessons From GOP Debate, and Economic Diplomacy…

by Sundance (The Last Refuge)

On January 1st, 2017,  North Korea made the claim they were close to development of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).

As you look at the tweet reply from Donald Trump about this claim, it’s worth remembering two very important details:

  1. This issue came up in one of the February 2016 GOP debates.
  2. The sequencing of the two tweets below.

trump-tweet-north-koreaThis declaratory tweet message was immediately followed up with the following:


The connection to both messages will be lost on the media.  Trump’s media critics have declared him guilty of transactional politics, or viewing global challenges as a series of potential winning or losing transactions.

I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with the outlook of America is either better or worse because of a deal or policy outcome; but suffice to say Trump critics see this win/lose outlook as a bad thing.

On this very specific issue of North Korea and China I would suggest everyone revisit an earlier prediction from CTH about “Economic Diplomacy”.  Excerpted below:

FEBRUARY 7th 2016 Following the New Hampshire Debate

[…]  ♦  In another revealing moment in the debate, the topic of a North Korean missile launch was raised.   The question posed was what should the U.S. do, if anything, about the North Korean government pursuing an intercontinental ballistic missile program.

Here’s where Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush immediately jump into military mode, and begin to stake adversarial positions about preemptive strikes against N-Korean launch sites.   It was a moment when the national audience sees a neo-con militaristic approach on full display.  Again, watch:

John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush immediately jump into full military expansion mode.  Ultimately arriving at a determination that bombing North Korea, preemptively, might be needed.

Think about that carefully.

Kasich, Rubio, Bush and Cruz immediate gut reaction is the military, war.


Contrast their approach with candidate Donald J Trump who carefully and intelligently states the current economic relationship the U.S. has with China, vis-a-vis a $500,000,000 (billion, per year) trade deficit, can be used as leverage to have China intercede to stop North Korea from action.

China holds immense leverage over North Korea; leverage of a similar comparative scope the U.S. holds over Puerto Rico.  North Korea is financially dependent on China for its very survival.  If China pulls back money from North Korea, N-Korea collapses upon itself.

Rather than go to war or engage the U.S. military in strikes against Korean military facilities, Donald Trump identifies economic leverage as the solution.

The United States have a $17+ trillion dollar market that China is dependent upon.  Candidate Trump says use the principle trade leverage within “most favored nation status” as a bargaining tool to get N-Korea to stop military provocations and expansions.

The economic status of “most favored nation” is a golden ticket to the U.S. market:

In international economic relations and international politics, “most favoured nation” (MFN) is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade.

The term means the country which is the recipient of this treatment must, nominally, receive equal trade advantages as the “most favoured nation” by the country granting such treatment. (Trade advantages include low tariffs or high import quotas.) In effect, a country that has been accorded MFN status may not be treated less advantageously than any other country with MFN status by the promising country.

If China ever lost their golden ticket entry into the U.S. economic market it would cost them hundreds of billions almost immediately – their tenuous economic model collapses without customers.  China lobbies congress with tens of millions to keep their golden ticket in hand.

This is another excellent example of the benefit for a Trump presidency.  Because Trump is not beholden to their financial lobbying efforts, he can make decisions that entirely in the U.S. larger global best interests.   In doing so the direct downstream consequences are as wide ranging as keeping North Korea from military expansion. (link to more from February 2016)

Now, revisit the second tweet again:

US President Barack Obama (R) listens to

Boom, there it is.  President Elect Trump is not only taking an approach that was/is entirely predictable; he has previously seeded this ground because he knew it would be needed at a later date.  Ground, upon which this latest declaration is born.

The seeding began when Trump staked out the geography for an economic battle with China:…


…Now, with the North Korean declaration of military intent in mind, Trump begins to fertilize the soil containing his seeds of leverage.   Eventually the economic negotiations with China ends up beginning based on an agreement that China will leverage (persuade) N-Korea to stop it’s nuclear/military ambitions.

The basis for entering into Trade or Transactional negotiations with China is based upon their visible exhibition of leverage against N-Korea.  If China doesn’t expend their leverage, they will not benefit from negotiations with the Trump administration.

China is more dependent on Trade with the U.S., than they are a zero sum political relationship with North Korea which provides them zero financial or economic value.

It is transparently clear what President-elect Trump is establishing.  Ultimately willing to concede a small fraction of international commerce to avoid the U.S. having to spend hundreds of billions in a military strategy.

Very Trumpian !

kim jong nuke 2


2 thoughts on “Trump, North Korea, China, Lessons From GOP Debate, and Economic Diplomacy…

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