The media are filled with reports and praise of Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un. However, the Weekly Standard questioned Trump’s curious admission: “I honestly think he’s going to do these things,” Trump said of Kim’s promises, before allowing for the possibility that Kim will not, in fact, do these things. “I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that I was wrong. I’ll find some kind of excuse.”

The nervousness was clear in the rest of the conservative publication’s article:

It is disconcerting to watch the president’s eagerness to serve as a character witness to Kim Jong-un. “He trusts me and I trust him.”. . .

Even allowing for Trump’s characteristic hyperbole and the niceties of diplomacy, it’s an absurd thing to say about the leader of a regime defined over the last 30 years by its mendacity. And it was one of many bizarre and troubling things to come out of the disastrous Trump-Kim face-to-face meeting in Singapore on June 12. . .

The U.S. president celebrated Kim Jong-un as “very talented” and praised him for running North Korea—home to modern-era concentration camps, mass starvation, widespread state brutality —in a “tough” manner. Trump said he’d “developed a very special bond” with Kim, whom he determined has a “good personality, very smart—a good combination.”

Trump said that while the U.S, would not be removing troops from South Korea as part of this agreement, he’d like to do so in the future. He parroted North Korean talking points about American troop exercises and war games, calling them “provocative” and promising to end them. . . Trump says that history doesn’t concern him. He knows better. . .

[The] Trump campaign sent out a statement from “Lara Trump, Senior Advisor to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc,” touting the summit not just as a victory but as a win that validates Trump’s election. . .

We can all hope that history records the summit this way. But the certitude in the Trump campaign statement, like the cocky assurances from the president himself, ignores the recent history of negotiations with North Korea.

And another failure, with the president having staked so much of his credibility and that of the United States, could be catastrophic.

Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, similar to the Weekly Standard, is also dubious.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un both received what they most wanted from their one-day summit in Singapore on Tuesday: Images of the two men shaking hands, talking across the table and getting along famously. Whether this photo-op summitry achieved anything beyond the bonhomie is a lot less clear. . .

The communique itself is a terse and general statement promising to “contribute to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.” In return for Kim’s commitment to denuclearize, the statement says, “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees” to the North. There are no details about timing or process or specific goals. Asked at his press conference about the lack of details, Mr. Trump said “we didn’t have time.”. . .

If the past is a guide, all of this will be subject to painful and perhaps endless negotiation, and the North will insist on concessions from the U.S. at every stage. Having committed to talks, Mr. Trump will be under pressure to make more concessions lest Kim walk away.

Mr. Trump made the first large and unilateral concession Tuesday when he cancelled what he called U.S.-South Korean “war games.” The exercises are a North Korean bugbear, and Mr. Trump even adopted the North’s language in calling them “very provocative.” . . .

Amid all the smiles and handshakes, no one should forget that Kim rules North Korea as a vast penal colony. It is also the regime that kidnapped and killed American Otto Warmbier. Mr. Trump at least acknowledged the Warmbier family, though his surmise that Otto’s death changed the political dynamics in the North seems fanciful.

Meanwhile, Dagen McDowell says on Fox that Trump has lost leverage because of the face-to-face meeting, which North Korean leaders have always wanted, see video below:

And the conservative Washington Examiner says Republicans in Congress are stretching to find hope in Trump’s gambit.

Republicans who spent eight years critical of then President Barack Obama’s so-called appeasement policy strained on Tuesday to find the diamond in the rough in President’s Trump’s initial agreement with dictator Kim Jong Un to ease tensions with North Korea.

In a series of statements issued in the wee hours of the morning after the Singapore talks, Republicans in Congress were hopeful that Trump’s gambit would succeed but skeptical Pyongyang would accede to U.S. demands for “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.” They worry Trump made too many concessions up front and placed too much trust in Kim to deliver.

“I’m glad the president is seeking peace through diplomacy. Kim Jong Un has gained much from step one, including an apparent promise from the president regarding important U.S.-South Korea defensive military drills,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said.

Perhaps the oddest thing was a video that Trump had prepared to flatter Kim.

Donald Trump’s salesman pitch to Kim Jong-un included a bizarre video, in the style of a Hollywood trailer, to persuade the North Korean dictator that he can be “a hero” by choosing peace and prosperity over nuclear weapons.

The four-minute film, contrasting images of warplanes and artillery with skyscrapers and speedboats, portrays Trump and Kim as the stars of history in the making – “two men, two leaders, one destiny” – with the US president getting top billing. The narrator suggests that “a new world can begin today, one of friendship, respect and goodwill”.

But analysts in Washington described the video as more characteristic of a property developer making a hard sell than a world leader seeking to thread the diplomatic needle. One observer dismissed it as “a word salad topped with gratuitous appeasement of a monstrous regime”. . .

Michael Green, senior vice-president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. . . “It was Donald Trump applying what he did in business to diplomacy. It probably showed Kim Jong-un that Donald Trump wants a deal. But it’s not the deal Donald Trump’s thinking, I suspect.”. . .

Michael Cornfield, a political science at George Washington University in Washington, said: “Most world leaders would be appalled by such a cheesy appeal to choose the world of colour over the world of black and white. Or they might be secretly pleased because they would figure anyone negotiating on such primitive terms would be easy to roll.”

And, finally, Twitter is having a field day, calling it “the Bad Hair Summit.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. I understand that many of naysayers referenced in this article are conservative. I also have lived long enough to realize that any agreement between two parties can be reneged by one or both of the parties. What I have a hard time understanding is why these supposed learned people are so busy tearing down this summit and the subsequent agreement.?

    For 65 years the Korean peninsula has been in a truce, however the Korean war has never officially ended. For the first time in those 65 years a sitting US president met face to face with the Korean leader, be it grandfather, son or grandson. You would think this in and of itself would be considered a monumental accomplishment.?

    It is so sad that instead of dwelling on the negative these folks can’t see the positives of this summit.?

  2. Japan originally ruled Korea but lost it in August of 1945 when the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. As a result of the Soviet Union moving into what is now North Korea, the United States moved into what is now South Korea, following World War II (1945). In June of 1950, with the help of China and the Soviet Union, North Korea invaded South Korea starting the Korean Conflict. In 1953, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed with both sides agreeing to put an end to “all acts of armed violence”. Now we have another summit agreement, All the U.S. gets from this one is Trump’s assurance that Kim is a really good guy, which former NBA star Dennis Rodman has already told us, and that Kim is “very talented,” meaning God-knows-what. There is no reason to believe that Kim will honor Trump’s expectations — or vice versa. The so-called agreement includes nothing substantive to justify optimism from either side— no defining terms of what denuclearization would look like, no outline for verification, not even a timeline. And if their deal should collapse, Trump is prepared for that, too. “I may be wrong,” he said to reporters. “I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

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