In an at times rambling statement to reporters at the White House, Donald Trump appeared to disavow statements from his neocon National Security Adviser John Bolton who earlier indicated a “Libya model” for Korean de-nuclearisation. Based on what the US did to Libya between 2003 and 2011 and based on Bolton’s previous statements in favour of a total war with the DPRK (North Korea), Bolton’s statement was understood to mean that the US would follow a model of cooperating with a “former” adversary to disarm said country only to later invade the newly vulnerable state and destroy its government.
Bolton’s statement led to harsh rebukes from the DPRK which threatened to withdraw from next month’s planned Singapore summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump as a result of Bolton’s remarks. Now, Trump has issued a statement where he admitted that Libya, Syria and Iraq qwew countries with “no protection” that were intentionally “decimated” by the United States.
Trump then said that he was “against” the George W. Bush and Obama wars in the Middle East, stating that the $7 trillion spent on those wars was like “throwing it (the money) out the window” – aka wasted.
He further said that if the DPRK and US are able to reach an agreement on de-nuclearisation that Kim Jong-un will remain in power with maximum protections and that the DPRK will then become a highly wealthy country, ostensibly due to a combination of foreign investment and the necessarily accompanying dropping of sanctions.
However, Trump did say that if the DPRK and US were unable to reach a deal then a “Libyan style” situation (aka total war on the DPRK) could take place. This is what Trump said was his interpretation of John Bolton’s remarks, even though the DPRK and most observers have taken a radically different interpretation of what Bolton said.
Taken in totality, it would appear that Donald Trump has a very different idea about what can be achieved in his still scheduled talks with Kim Jong-un than do John Bolton, Nikki Haley and other neocons in the Trump administration.
The US leader’s unscripted remarks indicate that there exists a large and worrying schism in the White House regarding what the US actually wants and plans to do with the DPRK when and if any agreement can even be reached.
However, the fact that the DPRK borders both China and Russia continues to make a Libyan scenario far from likely as in the past, China has given the DPRK guarantees of protection in the event that it was attacked without provocation.