Daniel DePetris faults Mike Pence for lacking a possibility to have interaction with North Korean officers on the Olympics:
But Pence had a golden probability nonetheless to ascertain some extent of contact with the North Korean regime to ship a message to the fats man in Pyongyang. He had a gap to make clear to Kim what the United States desires, what it expects, and what would happen if he was silly sufficient to assault the U.S. or its allies in Northeast Asia.
Unfortunately, Pence didn’t take that chance. President Trump could applaud him for his defiance when he lands again in Washington, however the reward may have come at the price of daring, low-price exploratory diplomacy.
DePetris is true that Pence missed a possibility right here, however that’s only one a part of the administration’s failure. The a lot greater drawback with the vice chairman’s posturing is that it put the U.S. in the absurd place of being extra against engagement between the 2 Koreas than North Korea, and the U.S. shouldn’t enable itself to finish up in that place. Contradicting a excessive-profile allied initiative whereas Pence was on a go to to their nation isn’t simply unhealthy kind. It is diplomatic ineptitude. Perhaps Moon’s efforts to enhance relations with Pyongyang will result in nothing, or maybe they may create a gap for negotiations, however the U.S. shouldn’t be prejudging and rejecting the hassle earlier than giving it an opportunity to work. It is telling that Pence went to the Olympics particularly to counter North Korean propaganda efforts, however by way of his statements and actions he haplessly aided these efforts by being the rigid arduous-liner we already knew him to be.
Pence is a part of an administration that has no curiosity in diplomacy or the compromises that it requires, and he shares Trump’s disdain for engagement. He comes from a celebration and an ideological background that view negotiating with the likes of North Korea as appeasement pure and easy, and so he has realized to view any try at thawing relations with these regimes as worse than ineffective. Pence and his allies are mistaken about all of this, however this is the reason he was by no means severe about speaking to or assembly with North Korean officers this week or at another time. All of this can be a reminder that Pence’s whole Asia journey was misguided from the beginning, and the U.S. relationship with South Korea is arguably in worse form now than it was earlier than Pence’s go to.