Despite All The Doubters, Trump Might Have Achieved Something
Now it is all down to Kim Jong-Un.
You’d be mad not to be sceptical.
President Trump has praised the murderous dictator Kim Jong-Un as a “talented man who loves his country.”
After three hours of meetings and a shared lunch of sweet and sour pork, Trump believes they have a “special bond”. Donald Trump said he could travel to Pyongyang and “when it’s appropriate” Chairman Kim could come to the White House.
To earn all this love, all Kim Jong-Un had to do was promise to look for the bones of long-dead American soldiers and sign his name to a “firm and unwavering commitment to denuclearisation.”
That was it.
Kim was not required to accept any verification schedules, there are no concrete plans for international inspectors, no measurable promises to destroy nuclear stockpiles or facilities.
When asked why not, President Trump said simply they hadn’t had time. For veterans of the North Korean diplomacy game, it was a face-palm moment.
North Korea has signed denuclearisation pledges at least eight times since 1992.
Each time, it has broken its word.
Just last month, after signing yet another denuclearisation pledge with South Korea, the regime snarled at the United States for “trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment.”
Yet now Trump is convinced their promises are real.
He even announced the abandonment of joint US-South Korean military exercises -- the “war games” that have long infuriated North Korea. They are gone -- just like that -- because Trump now believes they are “provocative.”
Yes, this is the man who threatened North Korea with “fire and fury”.
There is no question people will laugh at Trump and point to the traps that swallowed Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. For Trump the stakes are even higher because his own Presidential prestige is now so invested in the outcome.
But Donald Trump thinks it’s different this time because Kim “really does want change.”
And here’s the truly provocative thought.
What if he’s right?
Kim is a young man. He could easily imagine ruling North Korea for 40 years. What is the country going to look like by then if he doesn’t change something now? As Trump helpfully pointed out, North Korea sits between South Korea and China – two economic juggernauts.
Kim has been to Beijing. He has seen how the Chinese communists have freed up the economy while retaining political control.
Even his trip to Singapore must have left an impression.
On the eve of the summit meeting, Kim and his entourage toured the sights of the host city.
He dropped in unannounced on revellers drinking and splashing in the world’s highest infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands. All around were the gleaming towers of commerce. This, in a small state that is effectively like North Korea, a one party dynasty. The current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the son of Lee Kwan Yew. Father and son have held power since modern Singapore emerged in 1959.
And yet Singapore has embraced the world and been embraced by it.
Everything now rests with Kim Jong-Un.
If he is fair dinkum, the Singapore Summit really will be one of those great hinges of history. If he is not, it will be just another lost opportunity.
It’s too early to say if he will seize this moment. He will never get another one like it.
But if he does, we should all rejoice. The lives of North Koreans will almost certainly improve. The world will be safer. And Donald Trump will deserve the credit for doing something no-one thought possible.
“Our eyes are wide open,” said the US President. “But peace is always worth the effort.”
Who can argue with that?