It was reported by the White House on Sunday that despite President Trump’s announcement on Friday that he was pulling out of the planned Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un, all hope is not lost when it comes to getting North Korea to the nuclear table. Trump himself confirmed on Twitter that U.S. officials were on the ground in Pyongyang, still hoping to move past the public strife and find a path forward for the two countries to work together.
“Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,” Trump wrote. “I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”
The one frustrating and yet exciting thing about Trump’s foreign policy (and hell, his entire approach to the presidency) is that you can never be quite sure of the direction he’s going in. This is a deliberate strategy on the president’s part, we’re quite sure. He not only enjoys the idea of keeping the world in a state of suspense, but also believes that his unpredictability is one of his greatest strengths. Given what he’s been able to accomplish over the last year and a half – not just when it comes to North Korea – we’d be hard pressed to disagree. Still, it makes it difficult to perform any kind of analysis about, well, ANY situation until all the cards are out on the table.
One thing is certain: Trump seems to have Kim Jong Un’s number in a way that no previous president has. And we include, by saying that, Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il. He seems to almost have a sixth sense about this gangster dictator and knows exactly where his pressure points are, how and when to flatter him, and how and when to excoriate him in a public tweets. This made his letter canceling the summit a rollercoaster of a text: One paragraph, he’s praising Kim for releasing the U.S. prisoners. In the next, he’s not-so-subtly threatening to wipe North Korea off the map with a nuclear bomb.
In the end, though, if he comes back from Singapore with a denuclearization deal, the method to his madness may become clear. And even if he doesn’t, he’s gotten us further down the path to security and peace than any of the last three presidents. For that alone, Trump deserves the highest commendations.