The Singapore Summit successfully opened a door out of the North Korea maze.
Donald Trump’s summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un was preceded by endless speculation and is now being followed by endless handwringing in some circles and euphoria in others. Those wringing their hands are upset about the alleged vagueness of the summit’s joint memorandum and the non-discussion of a grab-bag of issues including as human rights. Meanwhile, while those who are euphoric—including Trump himself—now believe the U.S. is no longer in imminent danger of being attacked by North Korea’s nuclear weapons so Americans can finally “sleep well.” In reality, both positions are mistaken.
Critics of the summit, and its outcome, allege that Trump gave North Korea’s brutal dictator the prestige of an international extravaganza without exacting any certain concessions. In addition, by stating that U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises will be suspended, Trump made a unilateral concession that threatens the stability of the alliance. Trump made these poor moves, the argument goes, because he’s personally obsessed with attention and the wily Kim milked his gullibility for all it was worth. Put succinctly, Trump—in pursuit of his interests—betrayed to some extent both America’s national interest and his more general humanitarian duties. Nothing so miffs proponents of this view as Trump’s description of Kim as “honorable.”