Who Gained and Who Lost What from the Trump-Kim Summit

June 12, 2018
Joshua Pollack

The following is an excerpt from the New York Daily News.

Give Donald Trump credit: He’s a showman. There’s nothing in the joint statement he signed with Kim Jong Un in Singapore that couldn’t have been drawn up by the professional diplomats, letting the leaders stay at home. Indeed, we’ve seen the same sort of language before, more than once.

But who cares? What will be remembered are the visuals: the flags, the handshakes, and the smiles. By meeting the North Korean leader on an equal footing, the first U.S. president from reality television closed out the first season of his new show. Never mind “fire and fury” — Season Two will be all about engagement.

The probable effects of the summit are several. First, Kim Jong Un has cemented his standing at home by delivering on his claim to be a sought-after world leader. North Korea’s official news media have played up the Singapore trip for all it’s worth. Members of the public can’t eat prestige any more than they can eat nuclear missiles, but no one can say that Kim has failed to accomplish what he set out to do.

Second, Trump has effectively cashed in the chips earned from the earlier policy of “maximum pressure.” Since the initial agreement to hold a summit was announced in Washington, Kim has met with the leaders of South Korea (twice), China (also twice) and Singapore, not to mention the foreign minister of Russia. If Kim’s hand is clean enough for the President of the United States to shake, then who else will refuse it? After about a year of deepening diplomatic isolation and stringent enforcement of sanctions, North Korea can look forward to improved political and economic ties around the world.

Third, in casually discarding combined military exercises with South Korea in his post-summit remarks to the press — calling them too expensive — Trump once again openly signaled his mercenary attitude toward alliances.

Continue reading at the New York Daily News.

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