In a remarkable turn of events, America went from many pundits with their hair on fire claiming we were on the brink of nuclear war to a historic diplomatic path to forge a peace deal with North Korea.
Despite the constant noise and distractions from his adversaries in Washington and abroad, President Trump pulled off the impossible on Tuesday, defusing a metaphorical and potentially literal ticking time bomb. Something no predecessor has ever come close to doing.
In a mere three months, North Korea has halted its missile testing, destroyed parts of their nuclear production plants, agreed to end the Korean War, released three American hostages, and now signed an agreement to denuclearize.
As this deal progresses, can the Democrats continue calling for impeachment and obsessing over witch hunts? This “resist” mentality is the battle cry of Democrats heading into the 2018 midterm elections — even if it means undermining one of the most historic resolutions in the history of the world.
Let’s remember something – many on both sides doubted him: they were all wrong.
In a New York Times op-ed last August, former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice said President Trump should halt the "reckless rhetoric,” become “pragmatic," and "tolerate" nuclear weapons in North Korea.
House Democrats went as far as to push a measure restricting President Trump’s authority to use nuclear weapons; while in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer nearly blocked then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State.
Pompeo, who has been critical to the negotiations with North Korea, only cleared the Senate by a 57-42 vote, with every Democrat on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee opposing his nomination. Compare that to the Obama administration when Republicans, who were no fans of Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, supported bipartisan votes of 94-2 and 94-3 respectively in their favor.
Democrats may now try to hijack this peace agreement.
They have the voting leverage to filibuster any legislation lifting the existing sanctions on North Korea, and if an actual treaty emerges from the June 12 agreement, it would take a 67-vote supermajority to pass the Senate.
Democrats, including Ohio’s Senator Sherrod Brown, sent President Trump a list of preemptive demands they wanted carried out during the meeting that they themselves played no part in creating. These are the same politicians who have supported the same strategy on North Korea for decades despite the lack of any progress whatsoever.
Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama all essentially traded resources for peace; a polite way of saying appeasement.
For instance, in 1994, Clinton reached an agreement with North Korea to provide $4 billion in aid in return for the regime’s agreement to gradually dismantle its nuclear development program. The aid was paid, but instead of dismantlement, North Korea only enhanced its nuclear development. I was there as an intelligence officer in this effort – and I know from direct experience, the Clinton effort reflected the Obama Iran effort – appeasement from weakness using bribes.
President Bush later found out that North Korea was cheating on the deal, but directed more of his focus to the Middle East, allowing the Kim family to continue on their nuclear quest.
In 2016, Obama said of North Korea, "there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions." Yet, the aid continued to be paid and any sanctions or diplomatic pressure from the Obama administration could be summed up as feeble at best.
And, unlike Obama’s Iran Deal, President Trump didn’t allow North Korea to continue is uranium enrichment process, and didn’t fly in $1.8 billion in cash overnight to seal the deal.
What worked was President Trump’s campaign of maximum pressure and deft negotiating tactics. After a year of tough talk, crippling sanctions, and military pressure, Kim Jong Un finally realized that the old way of doing things would lead to his demise.
President Trump proved all the doubting Democrats and Never-Trumpers wrong. He is one big step closer to doing the impossible — bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula. The American people want peace, and if Democrats try to obstruct this progress, voters can and should make their voices known this November.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer is a retired senior intelligence operations officer who served more than 20 years with the United States Army. He is now vice president for operations of the London Center for Policy Research and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir “Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Operations on the Frontlines of Afghanistan.”