Why Team Trump Should Learn to Love Kim’s Nukes

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

October 3, 2018

Why Team Trump Should Learn to Love Kim's Nukes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Sunday, the State Department announced Tuesday. The Trump administration remains fixated on denuclearization, but it may be time to reset expectations – and learn to embrace a nuclear North Korea, suggests Joshua Shifrinson in Foreign Affairs.

"With its nuclear arsenal in place, the survival of the North Korean regime is virtually assured. The regime in Pyongyang no longer has to rely on saber-rattling and warmongering to intimidate its neighbors and keep their superior conventional militaries in check," Shifrinson writes.

"Just as important, Kim's arsenal forces the United States, China, and other regional players to find ways to accommodate North Korea. Washington may continue to call for denuclearization, and Kim may continue to issue vague half-promises to keep this useful fiction alive. But the real driver of lasting regional stability may turn out to be North Korea's bomb. Trump's failure thus may sow the seeds for a new and better Northeast Asian power equilibrium."
 

China Schools America on Soft Power

China's universities are proving to be an increasingly attractive option for the world's students. The US is still the higher education leader, but it is losing its edge – and, in the process, an important element of its soft power, argue Cheng Li and Charlotte Yang in Foreign Policy.

"China's outreach to students in African and Asian countries, especially in developing regions where it has growing economic ties, so far has been highly successful. In 2016, over 60 African and Asian countries sent more students to China than to the United States…Since 2014, the total enrollment of African students in China has surpassed that of the United States," they write.

"America's rising tuition costs and limited scholarship opportunities for international students have left the US education system inaccessible for many parts of the world. Canada and Australia boast friendlier work visa policies and lower tuition costs, but even they are a stretch for the many students from low- or middle-income countries. In contrast, China has energetically rolled out policies and generous financial aid packages to attract students from Asia and Africa."

A Bad Idea that Won't Die

The Trump administration indicated last week that it intends to push ahead with the concept of an "Arab NATO" made up of US allies in the region, notes Daniel Larison for The American Conservative. It's a bad idea that just won't die.

"The shorthand of referring to it as 'Arab NATO' is…misleading. The administration's proposed Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) will have none of the virtues of NATO and all of its flaws," Larison writes.

"The anti-Iran gang that Trump is trying to organize will exist mainly for the purpose of picking fights rather than deterring them. The creation of a formal alliance organized in opposition to Iran will intensify existing regional rivalries and increase tensions between the alliance's members and Iran, and the US will then be on the hook to support the alliance if those tensions spill over into conflict. The creation of an anti-Iran alliance will deepen US ties to clients that it should be distancing itself from, it will become a new excuse to flood the region with more weapons, and it increases the likelihood of getting the US into yet another regional war that it doesn't need to fight."

Trump's Quiet Loyalty Test

Largely overlooked in President Trump's new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico is a provision that would allow one of the parties to the pact to be kicked out of it if they make a deal with a non-market economy, Politico Europe reports. It's a big escalation by Team Trump with one country in mind: China.

"The language has President Donald Trump's fingerprints on it, and represents an escalation in the China trade war by essentially pulling Canada and Mexico into the US camp when it comes to trade with China. The clause represents a loyalty test that is expected to serve as a template for future US trade agreements with other countries," Politico Europe notes.
 

How Trump Overreached on China

President Trump is making a mistake if he thinks he can turn the screws on China like he did with Canada and Mexico, Martin Wolf writes for The Financial Times.
 
"When countries are as asymmetrically dependent as Canada and Mexico, some sort of victory is likely. In a bilateral negotiation, the US was likely to get much of what it wanted (though it seems not to have got it all)," Wolf writes.
 
But "China cannot deliver bilaterally balanced trade because it is unable to force Chinese people to buy goods they do not want. The point about US trade with China is not that its imports are so high: relative to GDP, they are much the same as the EU's. The difference is the low level of its exports. That shows lack of competitiveness. Finally, China will not abandon hopes of technological upgrading. No power would."

 

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