Every now and then a media double standard is so glaring that even people not associated with the right feel obliged to acknowledge it.
Let’s get real. The press would be
in the midst of a collective orgasm if this Korea summit happened under Obama’s watch. So let’s call the meeting what it is… an unalloyed good thing.
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) April 27, 2018
That’s the executive editor of the Daily Beast. This guy, whom you may have heard of, agrees:
I would… not use this metaphor. But I agree with the underlying sentiment. https://t.co/vSgUI7TN5w
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 27, 2018
It’s not that the press is unenthused about the summit, but the White House’s role in making it happen would be much more heavily stressed during a Democratic administration. It would be treated as an object lesson on the superiority of neoliberalism, with its emphasis on dialogue and international cooperation, over the GOP’s warmongering. If anything, Trump would be held up as an example of the sort of Jacksonian mindset that could never pull this off. His only solutions to foreign policy problems, we’d be told, are “bombing the sh*t” out of people or rolling up the drawbridge and disengaging entirely. Only the cool-headed, diplomatic Obama could have midwifed an historic Korean detente. He’d be a lock for a second Nobel prize.
As it is, at least one foreign relations scholar says Trump should be a lock too — if this detente holds, of course:
I’ve been critical of Trump foreign policy missteps in past year: TPP, Paris, too many unnecessary missteps with allies to count.
But today’s historic North/South Korea breakthrough does not happen without priority & pressure from US President.
Trump deserves full credit.
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) April 27, 2018
Obviously, still a lot of work to do before there’s sustainable Peace.
But it’s not like the Nobel Committee doesn’t give Prizes in advance of accomplishment…
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) April 27, 2018
I’m not sure Shachtman is right that the summit is an “unalloyed good thing.” Ben Shapiro’s point that this may be more of an Arafat-Rabin meeting than a Sadat-Begin meeting is well taken. But I lean towards Shachtman’s position for the same reason I reluctantly support Trump’s decision to meet Kim: At this point, what’s the alternative? Ten years ago, five years ago, we could have concocted an argument that only resolute isolation of North Korea had a chance of disarming them by bringing them to their knees economically. Maybe we could starve them into denuclearization, as harsh as that sounds. But to all appearances, it’s too late now. They have the bomb and they’ll very shortly be able to deliver it to the mainland United States. If we’re not game to fight Korean War II, and I don’t think we are, then all diplomatic options are necessarily on the table.
Since some outside the right are being brutally honest about their side’s media double standards this morning, I’ll repay the kindness and acknowledge the obvious truth that righty media would be tearing Obama a new poop chute if he had agreed to meet with Kim. It’d be seen as his most disgraceful capitulation, a surrender even more noisome than the Iran deal, and another blow to the prestige of the American presidency by deigning to formally recognize a degenerate gulag commandant like Kim. That critique wouldn’t be pure partisanship at work: Obama had spent eight years punting on engagement with North Korea while they perfected nuclear miniaturization and ballistic missile tech, so to have him come running to the table at the eleventh hour when they’re already all but fully armed really would have looked pitifully weak. It doesn’t look the same for Trump because he inherited the problem.
But the fact remains that just as wider media would be dunking on the GOP relentlessly for ideological reasons if Obama had pulled off the Korea summit, we’d be dunking on them for ideological reasons in return if he had done what Trump has agreed to do by meeting Kim. And needless to say, a lot more righties would be scoffing at the Kim/Moon meeting as just more fools gold from Pyongyang along the lines of the Kim Jong Il/Madeleine Albright summit in 2000 than as some historic breakthrough for which POTUS should rightly receive a Nobel.
Via the Free Beacon, here’s Lindsey Graham echoing the Nobel Peace Prize chitchat for Trump. Can you imagine that speech in Oslo? It would be the most peaceful, believe me. So much peacefulness you wouldn’t believe it.