After 70 years of “war” in Korea, was this the breakthrough we were waiting for?
The Singapore Sling is an iconic drink, created more than 100 years ago. You take an American mixture of something strong and something sweet, add a few Asian flavors, and you’ve made history.
That was also the recipe for today’s summit on Sentosa Island, Singapore, the first-ever meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea.
Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy made the phrase “Speak softly, carry a big stick” famous. That’s not the first expression you would use about Donald Trump, but he does seem to have somehow broken through to the world’s weirdest regime. Despite several many potential flies in the ointment, that itself is a big achievement.
A Fool’s Errand
From threatening mutual destruction to suddenly embracing each other as friends, Trump and Kim have come a long way.
Only last year, they were calling each other a madman and a dotard, respectively, and worse.
”I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”
“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason.”
“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”
”Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”
Objectively speaking, they were probably both correct.
And perhaps this is one of the real reasons they apparently hit it off in Singapore today – they are both equally crazy, and on some level understand each other.
Critics say that Trump has played right into Kim’s strategy. Certainly, as argued in Politico, “Kim’s diplomacy is a progression of Kim’s strategy.” His agenda includes better international relations and improved quality of life for his people.
In that light, the summit and agreement is a big win for Kim. And personally for Trump, who has not had many policy breakthroughs and is facing mid-term elections later this year.
It also weakens U.S. bargaining chips, say some, but if the end result is lasting peace in Korea, doesn’t that make us all winners?
In today’s press conference Trump was confident and spoke almost like a statesman, especially in his prepared statement. Hats off to the ghost writer, but also to Trump himself for saying words such as:
“The past does not have to define the future. Yesterday’s conflict does not have to be tomorrow’s war. And as history has proven over and over again, adversaries can, indeed, become friends.”
To an oratorically deprived audience, such words from the president seemed almost blissfully out of character. In the following Q&A he reverted occasionally into his usual self-defense mode, but still with more composure than has often been the case.
Ten years ago on this blog I was hoping for a thaw in relations between North Korea and the world, but not a whole lot happened. Will it this time? Only time will tell.