Looks like President Donald Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton aren’t on the same page about what the “Libya model” really means.
After Bolton infuriated North Korea by saying the United States was “looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004” to pursue the hermit regime to end its nuclear weapons program, the commander-in-chief openly contradicted his adviser and went on to say the administration was not thinking about following the Libya model at all.
“The Libya model isn’t the model that we have at all when we’re thinking of North Korea,” the president said.
While he seemingly assured Kim Jong Un that the United States wasn’t seeking a regime change, Trump also subtly warned the country could suffer a fate similar to that of the African nation – which saw its leader, Moammar Gaddafi, being killed during the Arab Spring uprising.
“The model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely,” the president added. “But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy… This with Kim Jong-un would be something where he would be there. He would be running his country. His country would be very rich.”
To put it simply, Trump’s words suggested Kim could suffer the same unfortunate fate if he didn’t agree with the United States’ terms.
Now, apart from the fact the former reality TV star appeared to have threatened the North Korean despot just weeks before the highly-anticipated summit between the two countries, he also seems to have completely misunderstood what Bolton was actually referring to in his statement.
In his interview with the CBS News, the warmongering national security adviser was talking about the 2003 agreement with Gaddafi, where the Libyan leader agreed to completely give up his nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Whereas, what Trump appeared to be talking about was the extreme violence Libya faced after NATO intervention that led to rebels capturing and murdering Gaddafi in the city of Tripoli in 2011.
“This is probably the wrong time to be making threats, three weeks before the summit,” opined Joel Wit, a former US negotiator who is now a senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, according to The Guardian.
As The Washington Post noted, North Korea called Bolton’s “awfully sinister” and will probably not be satisfied after hearing Trump’s failed attempt at clarification.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst