‘Mad King Foreign Policy’
President Donald Trump is literally conducting foreign policy via Twitter. Friday afternoon from Mar-a-Lago the President tweeted that he is reversing sanctions Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin imposed just 24 hours ago.
It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2019
The President did not accurately describe when they were placed into effect, as CNN’s Sarah Westwood reported:
Administration officials are confused about the meaning of President Trump’s sanctions tweet, per @kylieatwood. The Treasury Department penalized two Chinese companies yesterday for helping NK evade sanctions, but those were neither new sanctions, nor were they announced today.ADVERTISEMENT
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) March 22, 2019
The White House reportedly scrambled to support Trump’s unilateral decision, seemingly made without consultation with Treasury.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, according to The New York Times.
On social media, many – including experts – were stunned:
Richard Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, noted Trump usurped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly this week:
in just 24 hours the secstate was surprised by Golan Heights tweet & now @realDonaldTrump has lifted new Treasury sanctions vs NK b/c he likes Chairman Kim. There is not even the pretense of a national security process. Hard to imagine what would occur if there were a real crisisADVERTISEMENT
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) March 22, 2019
Former principal deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs weighed in with a simple but powerful three-letter statement:
— Kelly Magsamen (@kellymagsamen) March 22, 2019
Professor of international relations, political scientist, and CEO:
Quite apart from the chaos the NK reversal creates, the weakness it communicates to NK, the undermining of Mnuchin (and Bolton?), this kind of mad King foreign policy sends shockwaves through alliances and makes everyone think the US is run by an unfit leader. (We are.)ADVERTISEMENT
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) March 22, 2019
A professor at American University who teaches intelligence and analysis mockingly referred to a top-level official at the National Security Council:
The NSC senior director for Korea is at a bar now, knocking back his 5th whiskey, thinking “I actually sought out this job.” https://t.co/Epei1cUBJ4ADVERTISEMENT
— Aki Peritz (@AkiPeritz) March 22, 2019
Democratic 2020 presidential candidate:
The United States of America no longer has a foreign policy. https://t.co/SnMkzYadG6ADVERTISEMENT
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) March 22, 2019
Boston Globe columnist:
The president of the United States “likes” a sociopathic, totalitarian dictator https://t.co/9eEhQAcad4ADVERTISEMENT
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) March 22, 2019
National political reporter for NBC News:
Less than 24 hours ago, top National Security Council officials sat down reporters in the EEOB to walk through these #NorthKorea sanctions and how important they areADVERTISEMENT
— Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) March 22, 2019
New York Times DC correspondent:
The word “unprecedented” has been beaten into the ground, but this one really really is. Breathtaking move to undercut Mnuchin — and side with genocidal dictator of rogue nuclear state — while WH nervously awaits Mueller report, via @arappeport https://t.co/FhKC02surnADVERTISEMENT
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) March 22, 2019
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins notes the sanctions are important for denuclearization:
Big. The sanctions were on Chinese shipping companies that the Trump administration said helped North Korea evade international sanctions. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the “full implementation” of those UN sanctions is “crucial” to the success of North Korea denuclearizing. https://t.co/RVLbxEXF2MADVERTISEMENT
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) March 22, 2019
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.