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June 13, 2018

NOT OUR KIND, DEAR: Why does the commentariat so despise Trump’s success?

The bizarre thing about the anti-Trump response to the Singapore summit is how simple-minded it is in its sophistication. Donald Trump clearly understands the tentative exploratory nature of his diplomatic initiative. He understands that the diplomacy might not work. But the possibility of effecting the denuclearisation of North Korea is too great an opportunity to pass up. It is a possibility, which means that it might fail. That’s one reason Trump is maintaining the tough sanctions that are imposed against North Korea. His strategy of maximum pressure brought Kim to the bargaining table. Let’s see what else it can do.

Notwithstanding the cavils of the ATMC, Trump won major concessions from Kim. The agreement they signed calls for the rapid, complete, and verifiable denuclearisation of the country. In a late addition to the agreement, it also calls for the destruction of a major missile test site. Kim also agreed to return the remains of some 6000 American dead to their families.

Will all of this happen? Stay tuned. Two final thoughts. One, this is what bold diplomacy looks like. It is two parts theatre, one part substantive agreement. You don’t get the result you want instantly. It is, to use a word Trump deployed a week or two before the summit, a “process.” You don’t get a reformation of human rights and McDonald’s and the beach-front condos all at once. You don’t even get all the military concessions all at once. But you start the ball rolling. You say nice things about Kim. You tell the world that he is “talented,” that only “one in ten-thousand” young men would have been able to step into the role and maintain power as he has. You flatter him. “Do you see Kim Jong-un as an equal?” one reporter asked. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make the world a safer place,” Trump responded, even share a stage with him. Who is the bigger man, the clucking reporter or Donald Trump?

It’s been embarrassing to witness.