Dear President Trump

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Dear President Trump

Bae Myung-bok
The author is a senior columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.

As I was embarrassed after predicting your electoral loss four years ago, I won’t make a prediction this time. You may overcome weak poll results and score a surprise victory again. Or you could be defeated by “Sleepy Joe” Biden and end up a single-term president. Regardless of the result, I would like to show my appreciation for your four years of service. I have many reasons to thank you.
Thanks to you, the Korean Peninsula has managed to avoid a war over the last four years. Who would have imagined a “bromance” between a septuagenarian American president and a North Korean leader in his mid-thirties? You frequently exchanged letters with Kim and built up a friendship. Korea was saved from fire and fury thanks to your generosity and willingness to make a friendship transcending ideology, race and generations. In the meantime, North Korea’s nuclear arsenal increased, but that’s not a big deal. As you said, it’s important that a war did not break out on the peninsula during your term. It was possible because of you. As a Korean, I cannot help but express my gratitude.
Thanks to you, we also realized that there is indeed no such thing as a free lunch. You reminded us that a fair price has to be paid to maintain an alliance. As you boldly demanded South Korea increase the U.S. Forces Korea defense cost sharing by five times, we once again realized the high price of freedom we enjoy with the help of America. The valuable experience of acknowledging the sorrow of relying on another country for security will be a bitter yet healthy tonic for Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Panmunjom on July 1, 2019 as President Moon Jae-in looks on. [JOONGANG ILBO]

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Panmunjom on July 1, 2019 as President Moon Jae-in looks on. [JOONGANG ILBO]

We also want to thank you for enabling us to have a broader world view. With “America First,” you broke away from the international community, and yet we realized that the world moves on even without the United States. America’s absence was significant, but it was not apocalyptic. The world did not end when America abandoned its leadership role and left international organizations. We also learned that China, which is trying hard to replace the United States, is a country that copies and steals American technologies and tramples on the international order. It’s thanks to you that we now have a composed sense of reality that being located next to China is both a blessing and curse.
I am also thankful that we could get over the pandemic scare. You showed courage to confront the coronavirus without a mask. As you got infected and recovered in a few days, I saw the spirit of Superman saving humanity from the pandemic. With a strong conviction that the economy was more important than disease control, you saved the world from an economic crisis.
Thanks to you, politicians around the world learned the clear lesson that politics of the 21st century begins and ends on Twitter. You are the visionary of a new era in politics with the bravery of David against Goliath, fighting against mainstream news in the media, and also with Twitter. You taught us that truth is not just one thing, and there can be an “alternate truth.”
I am also thankful that I realized politics can be funnier than comedy. Your self-centered humor showed the possibility of comical politics that no one else can mimic. You gave us a big laugh as we lead our difficult lives, making a big contribution to the mental health of mankind. You are not just the commander-in-chief but also the comedian-in-chief.
The world has become a fairer place, thanks to you. Many leaders find consolation in America under your leadership. Your accomplishment of leading the world into a constant decline and downward equalization will be celebrated in history.
Your biggest contribution is that you taught us the importance of elections by personally showing how much a leader can change a country in a single term. Before you were elected, I believed the United States was not a country particularly swayed by its presidents. I believed that the country was stabilized not by a person but the system. That belief was broken in four years. The United States is divided, shaken and wandering. It is no longer the America it used to be. People are now worrying whether this election can even be completed smoothly. Despite the disappointment of four years ago, when my belief in American voters’ collective intelligence was betrayed, I am watching the election with hopes once again.
We’ve all learned a lot from you in the past four years, Mr. President. That cannot be denied.
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