Syndicated columnist Marc Thiessen’s claim (May 18) that President Trump has North Korea “cornered” is ridiculous.

Thiessen says Trump’s decision to have a summit put the nations on a fast track to negotiation. True, but summits normally are carefully negotiated in advance because failure to reach agreement looks bad. Who will pay the price if the summit fails? The dictator who routinely sends critics to brutal labor camps? Or the president with historically low approval ratings who may be impeached if too many members of his party lose in November?

Trump’s negotiating card is an offer to help make North Korea as prosperous as South Korea, which has an economy 100 times larger. If Kim accepts the deal, how many billions of dollars would it cost to make that happen? And is Congress willing to spend American taxpayers’ money to enrich the regime of the world’s most repressive dictator?

Thiessen says if Kim won’t take the carrot, Trump has the stick of military action and pointed to the joint U.S.-South Korea military exercise. A war with North Korea would inflict unacceptably brutal damage on Seoul. Thus, Trump’s threat horrified our ally. South Korea canceled the joint military exercises because North Korea objected – an entirely predictable event. So much for our stick.

This is what passes for serious policy analysis in the Republican Party today: claims that don’t stand up to 10 seconds of thought. I hope all voters go to the polls in June and November and express their disgust.

Sigrid Olson

Cape Elizabeth

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