I heard an interview with the former Governor of New Mexico and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson this morning on Fox News. During the interview, he told anchor Sandra Smith that he is “getting good vibrations” about President Trump’s trip to Singapore. And now I can’t get the Beach Boys song out of my head. Thanks, Bill.
I’m the first one to admit that I am no fan of Bill Richardson. Richardson was Secretary of Energy in the Bill Clinton administration, as well as a member of the House of Representatives. He’s a career political gadfly, to say the least. Most notably, though he held a prominent position in the Clinton administration, he decided to support Barack Obama instead of Hillary Clinton in 2008. He’s an opportunist, who went on to watch his nomination chances of success for the Secretary of State position with Obama crash and burn as a pay for play scandal involving his political action committee (PAC) Moving America Forward surfaced. He became involved in occasional trips to North Korea as an unofficial ambassador to pave the way for the release of hostages so now the opportunity to get some face time on camera has emerged. Suddenly, Richardson is relevant again.
He’s been making the rounds on television. Also this morning, he appeared with Savannah Guthrie on TODAY, which you can watch here. During this interview, Richardson voiced support for Trump’s success overseas but remains “worried”. It’s one more case of a political hack saying one thing to one audience and another to others. He’s worried that Trump won’t take advice from his Secretary of State, among others. This flies in the face of Mike Pompeo’s assurances that Trump has been extensively briefed by Pompeo himself on a daily basis.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Richardson offered some advice about photo opportunities with Kim Jong-un and a possible treaty.
“The only caution I would give the president is not be photographed too much with a smiling Kim Jong Un, because they use that in North Korea for dramatic propaganda purposes,” Richardson said. “The North Koreans have already gotten one major concession: a meeting with the president. They are going to want a peace treaty, a security guarantee.
“I would wait on those until the North Koreans deliver some kind of verification, inspections, timelines,” Richardson added. “I think that’s going to be very important.”
Richardson was honest during this interview to acknowledge, inadvertently, the failure of his own diplomatic efforts. The son is said to be different than his father.
But Richardson acknowledged that the North Korean leader merits a different approach from his predecessor, Kim Jong-il.
“Kim Jong Un, I understand, is not like his father,” Richardson said. “His father was like a rug merchant. You know, you get a political prisoner — in exchange you get the visit of a former president. Kim Jong Un is not that way. I think he’s more strategic. I think he wants private-sector assistance for North Korea rather than what his father wanted, which was handouts and foreign aid.”
The old ways of diplomacy failed repeatedly with North Korea during past administrations. The traditional strategy of just paying them off and giving freebies to the previous corrupt leader only humiliated America – North Korea continued its path to nuclear weapons. If the younger Kim is more interested in a better future for his country, bringing in American businesses is the way to go. Donald Trump is the right guy to get some deals going in that sector. Unlike the presidents of the past who dealt with North Korea, Trump has a business background. It’s worth a shot.