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Dems, Grow Up About the Trump-Kim Summit

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

June 7, 2018

Memo to Team Trump: Bullying Doesn't Work Here

President Trump is heading to Canada for the G7 summit starting Friday. There is something he should keep in mind, suggests Stephen Walt: Bullying doesn't work, including in foreign policy.

"Even at the height of the so-called unipolar moment, when American power was at its peak, vastly weaker states still found ways to deflect, stifle, distract, bind, bog down, exploit, or resist US pressure," Walt writes in Foreign Policy.

"States can balance US power by coordinating their positions with others, or creating alternative institutions that bypass Washington as the remaining members of the TPP are doing. Or they can simply balk at whatever the US proposes, dragging things out interminably. Other states and some nonstate actors can defy the United States not by trying to confront it directly but by some sort of asymmetrical response, such as acquiring weapons of mass destruction or employing terrorism."

"The more the United States tries to throw its weight around, and the less respect it shows for the 'decent opinion of mankind,' the more incentive others have to resist and the more effective all of these tactics become."
 

Dems, Grow Up About the Trump-Kim Summit

Sure, plenty could go wrong with President Trump's deal making with Kim Jong Un, Nicholas Kristof writes in The New York Times. But in outlining completely unrealistic demands for North Korea, some Democrats seem like they want next week's talks in Singapore to fail before they even begin.

"It's almost unimaginable that North Korea will allow" the kind of intrusive inspections demanded by seven senior US senators in a letter to President Trump, Kristof argues.

But "even if North Korea won't hand over nuclear weapons in the next few years, I can imagine it committing in coming months to a sustained moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile tests, on production of plutonium and uranium fuel, on transfer of nuclear technology to other countries, such as Syria. North Korea might also destroy an ICBM or two and accept inspectors at its nuclear sites in Yongbyon," Kristof writes.

"North Korea might well cheat, and these are half-steps, not rapid denuclearization. But half-steps toward peace are better than full strides toward war."
 

Kim's Other Weapons Threat for Trump to Think About

The focus on the direct threat posed to the United States and its allies by North Korea's nuclear weapons program is understandable. But there are actually two elements to the danger that the Trump administration needs to address, argues Bruce E. Bechtol, Jr. in Foreign Affairs.
 
"The first is the ability to intimidate and threaten both its neighbors in the region and the United States. The second, less well-known purpose is to proliferate weapons—conventional, unconventional, and weapons of mass destruction—to desperate and unstable regions around the world in exchange for hard currency," Bechtol writes.

"For decades, North Korea has proliferated weapons, including conventional arms, ballistic missiles, and chemical agents, to states such as Iran and Syria (and by extension to their nonstate proxies), helping them to evade international sanctions and providing them with the necessary technical and military assistance to develop their own weapons programs."

Report: America's "Cruel and Inhuman" Poverty Levels

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has released a new report on the United States. It isn't good.
 
"For one of the world's wealthiest countries to have 40 million people living in poverty and over five million living in 'Third World' conditions is cruel and inhuman," UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston says.

The United States also "has the highest youth poverty rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the highest infant mortality rates among comparable OECD States. Its citizens live shorter and sicker lives compared to those living in all other rich democracies…"
 
Unfortunately, the report argues, the outlook is just as bleak—and what happens in America won't stay in America.
 
"There are also global consequences. The tax cuts will fuel a global race to the bottom, thus further reducing the revenues needed by Governments to ensure basic social protection and meet their human rights obligations. And the United States remains a model whose policies other countries seek to emulate."
 

America Is Missing Out On the World's Next Success Story

Rapid working age population growth over the next several decades will mean Africa's future will look increasingly like the rest of the world's. It's sad, then, write Salih Booker and Ari Rickman in the Washington Post, that the Trump administration is following its predecessor's lead in viewing the continent primarily through a military prism.
 
"By 2050, one in every four humans will be African. At the end of the century, nearly 40 percent of the world's population will be African," they write.
 
"The impending demographic dividend will only add to Africa's economic importance. Since 2000, at least half of the countries in the world with the highest annual growth rate have been in Africa. By 2030, 43 percent of all Africans are projected to join the ranks of the global middle and upper classes."

 

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