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Andrews Air Force Base, this morning

North Korea’s Best Bargaining Chip Is They Know Trump Wants To Look Good

In An Impressive And Unprecedented Action (And One Guaranteed To Dominate Coverage On Every Morning Show), President Trump Rushes Out To The Airport At 3 O’clock In The Morning Today To Greet 3 American Captives Who’d Been Released By The North Korean Regime.

Trump brought Melania and Vice-President Mike Pence out with him. You can catch some video from C-SPAN by clicking on the photo above. Earlier, Trump referred to the 3 men in a way that struck us as odd: “three what they were calling hostages; we call them ‘fine people’…’really fine people’”. That seems not too far from a previous comment he’d made about preferring “people who weren’t captured”. But never mind: no sour grapes from us here. It was really a cool move by the President.

Even with the release, lots of questions today about whether Trump pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran will jeopardize upcoming talks with North Korea. We believe the answer is a resounding “no”.

Why? It’s simple: Trump isn’t any ordinary President . All he cares about his creating “wins” for himself. He could come out of North Korea with something that looks a lot like the Iran deal. But it’ll be his. The Iran deal was Obama’s.

Just like Trump always says “President Xi (or President Macron or Chancellor Merkel) is “for” China (or France or Germany), and he’s “for” the U.S., above all, Trump is always “for” himself.

Example: getting North Korea to release those 3 American citizens is an admirable diplomatic accomplishment no matter how you slice it. (Although we disagree with political analysts who say North Korea is giving up an important bargaining chip: compared to nukes, it costs them nothing.) But Trump has repeatedly lied and said he got them out when the previous administration had tried and failed. In fact, 2 of the 3 captives were arrested after Trump took office.

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But why go out of your way to “embellish” when its be a great accomplishment on its own? Because the lie makes it look like even more of a “win”. For him.

Trump chatted briefly with the media about it ahead of a Cabinet meeting. Here’s a clip:

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That doesn’t mean we expect the North Korea negotiation to be successful necessarily. But if it fails because the U.S. demands too much too fast and is willing to give up next to nothing in exchange, that would’ve happened anyway: Iran or no Iran. And Trump will then portray his “toughness” as the “win”.

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