"Shields and Brooks on North Korea summit takeaways, Trump’s family separation policy" PBS NewsHour 6/15/2018
SUMMARY: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the conclusions of a watchdog report into the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, the politics of the Trump administration separating families at the U.S. border, and more.
Judy Woodruff (NewsHour): And now to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
Welcome to both of you.
Let’s start with what happened this week on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
David, the President met, historic meeting, Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea. The President comes away saying there’s no more nuclear threat, he’s got very good personal chemistry, personal relationship with Mr. Kim.
What’s your take?
David Brooks, New York Times: I read a joke this week that the lion can lie down with the lamb, but you got to get a new lamb each day.
So, I give him more credit than a lot other people that I’m reading. We were — and people who really knew the North Korean situation were terrified six, eight, 10 months ago that we were really heading in a bad direction and things — there was some danger of things spinning out of control.
And now that doesn’t seem to be the case. Now, there’s — tensions have settled. There seems to be no risk of any confrontation or war. And so, to me, that’s the big story, and that’s the lead and that’s a good thing.
Now, once you get down to the second and third paragraph, it begins to deteriorate quickly. And the things Trump said about the regime, calling a murderous dictator a tough guy, that’s horrific.
The way human rights are treated, the way he just flippantly tossed off the practice, the war games, is horrific. But, to me, those are serious deficits. He did a good thing in the worst possible way.
Judy Woodruff: What’s your take, Mark?
Mark Shields, syndicated columnist: Well, Judy, quite frankly, a few months ago, you had two major powers flexing their nuclear biceps and issuing threats, serious threats, to each other, and we thought we were on the edge of war.
We’re not today. That’s good. I have no idea what’s in it — I don’t know anybody else who does — in the agreement. The President has assured us there’s no longer…
Judy Woodruff: Well, there’s not an agreement yet.
Mark Shields: There’s not an agreement, but in the documents.
But to treat North Korea as this — this is a regime that stands alone in the world, for hundreds of thousands of people being exterminated, that has consistently, as a matter of policy, used rape and forcible abortions and starvation on its own people. Hundreds of thousands of people have been exterminated.
And for the President to blithely — I’m not, you know, insisting that Human Rights be the centerpiece, but it has been important in every American element of foreign policy over the last generations. I mean, from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan, it’s been central.
And human rights — the United States didn’t invent human rights, but, as Carter said, human rights, to a great degree, did invent America. And the President is blithely indifferent to that…
David Brooks: It’s also as a foil to what happened in Europe or in Quebec with the G7 the week before.
And you see him with two different sorts of relationships. With somebody like Putin or with somebody like Kim Jong Un, it’s like dictator to dictator. It’s like, we understand how to deal with power relationships. He feels comfortable in that kind of thing.
When he’s dealing with Trudeau or Merkel, it should be friends, and it should be a relationship on affection and mutual trust and reciprocity. And he’s a little uncomfortable in those circumstances.
Judy Woodruff: How do you explain that?
David Brooks: Well, I think, through his business life, he’s not had a series of relationships based on friendship, trust, and reciprocity, and affection.
He’s had relationships based strictly on self-interest and the urge to dominate. And he just feels comfortable in one kind of relationship. And, frankly, that’s even true within his White House. He has relationships based on who’s useful to who, not we are a band of brothers in this together.
Judy Woodruff: But, at this point, Mark, your point is that at least we’re not — we don’t think we’re on the verge of war.
Mark Shields: No, we aren’t. And I think that’s good. I think that’s a positive.
Churchill said it far better and shorter, that jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war. And I think that’s true.