The forty-fourth president of the United States of America was more concerned with building his legacy than building lasting peace. President Trump, do not make the same mistake with North Korea.

Two Pieces of News

Two major pieces of news came out on April 30th. South Korean President Moon suggested that President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that Israel had stolen thousands of documents from Tehran that proved that Iran had lied during the signing of the Iran Deal.

Two Nobel Peace Prizes

The lesson of Nobel laureate Barack Obama and Iran should caution us to slow down in praising Trump for bringing peace. Obama did not enforce the red line in Syria, leading to the deaths of half a million. He allowed Putin to increase Russia’s global influence. Obama oversaw the endangering of Israel and the enrichment of Iran in the Middle East. And yet he is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, praised for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

This is not to say that the Nobel Peace Prize has a noble history. It was also awarded to noted terrorist Yasser Arafat in 1994, along with two Israelis, for their ultimately futile efforts to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Nonetheless, the prize remains a way for the global community to appreciate peacemakers. But Obama, Rabin, Arafat, and perhaps now Moon and Kim, are dealmakers, not peacemakers. Obama cared more about legacy-building with Iran by getting any deal signed than actually pursuing peace. As a result, Iran may now have an easier time obtaining nuclear weapons.

Now, many on the right and even the global left are calling for Trump to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in bringing the Korean leaders to peace talks. However, Kim Jong Un has already shown himself to be duplicitous in the matter of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. He framed the closing of a nuclear facility as a “concession,” when parts of the facility had already fallen into disuse before the summit. When it comes to North Korea, distrust and verify.

Two Paths to Legacy in North Korea

If President Trump really wants to create peace and truly merit a Nobel Peace Prize, he should pursue verification measures that go much farther than those of the disastrous Iran Deal. He should not pull out U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula during the denuclearization process. Additionally, he should attempt to win concessions that dissemble North Korea’s death camps. Peace is not just denuclearization between Koreas; it is also peace within Korea.

I implore our current president: do not make the same mistake as your predecessor. Pursue real peace, not your own legacy.