There was no grand bargain in Hanoi between President Trump and Kim Jong-un at the second summit between the two leaders. After meeting and taking some questions from reporters in which both were optimistic (Trump was more guarded about what would be accomplished at this summit), they didn’t even go through with a planned lunch. While disappointing for some hoping for concessions from Trump and Kim that would yield at the minimum “confidence building” measures, the news of a no-deal outcome came to me as a relief. Here’s why. . .
President Trump has already been over-the-top generous towards Kim and owes him exactly nothing. The first summit in Singapore was a PR victory for Kim, who is known internationally for what he is: a cruel, ruthless dictator who sits atop a strange (though don’t confuse it for irrational) brand of Communist authoritarianism and deserves global isolation. The state’s official ideology is juche, which infuses racism and dynastic rule and has Communist influence. It’s dangerous and still deserves global isolation.
But Trump, committed to decreasing the hostility of the two countries in the hopes of making progress on the issue peacefully, has taken an unprecedented approach: give Kim the flattery and photo opps not as a reward for disarmament, but instead as an inducement for more. Trump is trying to get the young Kim drunk on praise and fame with the promise that more will follow in greater degrees, if only Kim will accept the deal of all deals with President Trump and choose economic prosperity in exchange for his nuclear missile program.
So far, Kim has rebuffed this offer. According to the president, in Hanoi, Kim demanded total sanctions relief upfront in exchange for only minimal steps towards denuclearization. It is an absurd demand and if those disappointed with the results of the summit want someone to blame, the blame rests with Kim Jong-un and him alone. . .
One, every missile and nuclear weapon that was in North Korea at the time of the Singapore Summit is still there. And just because the regime has stopped testing missiles doesn’t mean it has stopped producing them or producing nuclear (and chemical and biological) weapons. In fact, we have reason to believe the regime is doing just that. Moreover, there are reports that indicate North Korea continues to proliferate weapons outside its borders including chemical weapons technology to Assad in Syria. Recall, North Korea and Iran have a history of cooperation. (Read more from “After Trump’s Walkout, What Comes Next in the U.S.-North Korea Nuclear Negotiations?” HERE)