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Diplomatic breakthrough taking the Olympics as an opportunity

Diplomatic breakthrough taking the Olympics as an opportunity

Posted February. 05, 2018 08:01,   

Updated February. 05, 2018 08:01

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“The White House is so severely split into nationalists, members on political affairs, and internationalists, the National Security Council officials, over North Korea policy that they seldom have talks with each other,” said Michael Green, the senior vice president for Asia and Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the former NSC senior advisor to George W. Bush, in a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo. He attributed the Trump administration’s rejection of Victor Cha who obtained South Kore’s official agreement, to serious disagreement on North Korea policy within the presidential office.

Green said Trump’s White House is like a black box and the American version of Machiavelli in the 15th century. The unprecedented withdrawal of the appointment of the nominated ambassador has to do with what is actually going on inside the White House, where nationalists and internationalist are at odds, the mainstream hardliners consider a limited strike on North Korea without sparking a wider war – a concept known as a bloody nose strategy, and a sentiment to force loyalty to Trump.

“White house senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, Trump’s closest aids as well as key nationalist figure, was displeased with Victor Cha, who raised his concerns over a bloody nose strategy and also objected to the revision of a bilateral trade deal with Seoul. Miller took Cha’s policy disagreements as lack of loyalty to Trump and dropped his nomination as U.S. ambassador to South Korea,” added the vice president of the American think tank.

Green also served in the Bush administration with Cha at NSC and is currently colleague at CSIS, so he is known as a person familiar with the nomination process and its developments.

Asked what he thinks about some attributing the unusual derailment of Cha’s nomination to his personal matters, saying there’s nothing to do with a bloody nose strategy,” he replied, “It is a ridiculous and cowardly attitude just to calm controversy.”


jkim@donga.com