Cho: Trump and the Nobel Peace Prize

A short while ago, the respective leaders of North and South Korea met again for a second, historic time, but under largely different circumstances. In this meeting, the presence of Trump and America at large was absent, as Trump had voided the meeting between him and Kim Jong Un of North Korea. In doing so, Trump attempted to implement a variation of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Stick Policy,” by using a new “Big Missile Policy” — much to the public’s amusement in his highly publicized and criticized letter to Kim. Despite his best efforts, Trump did little in hindering negotiations between the northern and southern countries in the Korean Peninsula, nor did he affect the actual negotiations between America and North Korea, as Trump, immediately following his letter, changed his mind and decided to attend the summit after pulling out of the meeting with the aforementioned letter. Instead, with volatility, Trump rendered his once legitimate candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize moot, and delineated his lack of awareness in foreign policy.

The Nobel Peace Prize is rewarded for outstanding, international efforts in relation to global peace, with some exceptions, and is given to the individual who has done the most for said efforts. At one point, Trump was a major candidate for the prize with the steps he had taken in negotiating peace and the denuclearization of North Korea, paving the way for unity between the North and South. Thus, Trump was arguably considered a major runner for the prize, despite what seems to be a lack of general, domestic support. Yet, in the letter — which he addressed to Kim — he stated that, “[America’s] nuclear capabilities … are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” in relation to North Korea’s own arsenal, while also severing relations with North Korea, which he promptly rekindled the very next day. While this most likely holds true, the idea of flaunting nuclear weapons capable of mass destruction is not something that was largely expected from someone who is the leader of the supposedly “Free World,” let alone someone who is a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. His constant change in regards to his stance on North Korea also does not help his case. Arguably the biggest factor that played into Trump’s candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize almost vanishing was the presence and efforts of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, who is seemingly using Trump as his puppet in negotiations with North Korea.

Moon was named as one of the Time’s 100 this past year, and was labeled as a negotiator. He proved the title was well received when it was revealed Moon was the key cog in negotiations between North Korea and America. Moon was the one who appealed to Trump to meet Kim in the first place. Moon is the same individual who set up the historic meeting between himself and Kim, allowing for the Inter-Korean summit to occur after decades of failure in those negotiations. It was also Moon that rekindled the Singapore Summit between North Korea and America, convincing Trump to reconsider and eventually proceed with the highly anticipated meeting. Consequently, it would seem Trump was never a viable candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize — rather, it was President Moon who pulled the strings, using Trump as a major tool for peace negotiations in order to achieve a better Korea.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

@TheChrony

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