President Trump will be in a position to get the United States out of its longest-running conflict when he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week in Hanoi as the two are expected to sign a pact officially ending the Korean War.
Rather than straight reporting ahead of the summit, the Washington Post has used it as another sign the president is failing at one of his signature foreign policy initiatives.
“His intelligence chiefs warn that North Korea is unlikely to surrender its nuclear weapons,” Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post wrote in “’We fell in love’: Trump and Kim shower praise, stroke egos on path to nuclear negotiations.”
“His advisers fret that a breakthrough could prove elusive and that he might make an impulsive concession to score headlines. And his allies around the world worry he could get easily outmaneuvered,” the Post continued.
“Yet, President Trump is steadfast in his determination to meet face-to-face this week with Kim Jong-Un, aides say, because he has an unwavering faith in the power of the pen-pal relationship he has cultivated with the North Korean leader not only to bend the course of history, but to shape his own legacy.”
It’s all about brandishing image and none about making peace and neutralizing a key threat to American security.
“The two men will enter their second summit together on Wednesday as unorthodox leaders who are both distrustful of the global establishment, eager to project dominance and determined to maximize their power,” Rucker and Dawsey wrote.
“They are worlds apart – Trump is a septuagenarian mogul who fancies himself capitalism’s global progeny; Kim is a millennial strongman whose ruthless rule leaves his citizens impoverished and his adversaries off-balance.”
The two “play to each other’s ego with gushing and gratuitous adoration.” Trump “gloats about the half-dozen or so letters Kim has written him as if he were a smitten teenager in possession of valentines from a crush.”
Trump has “responded to Kim with his own mash notes, raving about how much he enjoys his company and vowing to make history together, according to White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private documents.”
Nothing short of full and immediate denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be considered a success, the Post makes clear. “Although they credit Trump with forging a warmer rapport with the North Korean leadership than any other American president, experts in U.S.-North Korea relations are skeptical that the relationship will result in denuclearization or peace.”
It then quotes a President George W. Bush administration official saying “Personal chemistry between leaders is clearly important. But is that personal relationship enough to create success in the policy? We are so far apart that the notion that the friendship alone would create a North Korean decision to give up all of their nuclear weapons is very hard to imagine.”