The dust has yet to clear from the Trump-Kim summit, but so far it appears that nothing concrete was accomplished. Unless details on when and how the North Koreans plan to denuclearize emerge soon the entire event will turn out to be nothing more than a chance for Trump to take some PR photos and play make-believe at diplomacy.
Hopefully, that does not turn out to be the case, and the summit marks a turning point in American-North Korean relations. Both countries stand to gain from a warming of relations, and it’s only through an easing of tensions and an opening of communications and economic development that Kim’s iron-fisted rule on his homeland will begin to ease.
That said, since it’s Trump, one must keep an eye out for the grift. Our president is always looking to line not only his pockets but those of his family members and closest advisors. It seems not only possible but likely that an opening of North Korea to new businesses will see the Trump Organization prominently featured at the top of the list.
Now, Trump has revealed that he specifically discussed real estate development with Kim. During a press appearance, the president said that he tried to sell Kim on robust economic development in North Korea.
“As an example, they have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. Right? I said boy, look at that view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo behind…” Trump said.
“And I explained, you know, instead of doing that you could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective. You have South Korea you have China and they own the land in the middle. How bad is that right? It’s great,” he continued.
The bit about the “best hotels in the world” is especially jarring, given that it’s the kind of superlative language he usually reserves for his own hotels and golf courses. While it should be stated again that tourism development is almost inarguably a net good for North Korea and could help raise many of its citizens out of poverty, it must not be discounted that the hotels Trump was trying to convince Kim are a good idea could end up bearing the garish Trump logo across their front.
Trump could have chosen to focus on any of a million different types of business, but he zeroed in on the one he knows the most about, which constitutes the source of most of his wealth, and which his family is still working in.
If through some miracle, this summit does lead to a denuclearized North Korea and an economic renaissance, Americans must keep an eye on their president. He can’t be allowed to abuse his power to enrich himself further or coerce the North Koreans into giving the Trump Organization sweetheart deals.
Trump said he brought Kim to the table by showing him what the future could look like should he choose the path of peace: "Instead of [testing missiles] you could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective" https://t.co/XBC0Sh0nRK pic.twitter.com/dlxvxLPcLG
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 12, 2018