Donald Trump’s North Korea Triumph

    Curt Mills

    Security, Asia

    U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore

    The president risks hawkish Republican dissention, but for restrainers, this was the finest day of his presidency.

    “Anyone can make war, but only the courageous can make peace,” a triumphant President Donald Trump told a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Singapore.

    A politician who prides himself on his deal-making ability has secured the biggest moment of his young presidency—the opening touches on a landmark deal with North Korea, and the beginning of detente with Kim Jong-un.

    Only a half-year ago, the president was still calling Kim “rocketman”; this week, he toasted their “special bond.”

    Polling shows this is popular.

    In a survey conducted by the Charles Koch Institute and RealClearPolitics, 70 percent of Americans said the two leaders should meet. 81 percent of South Koreans said the two should meet.

    A majority of Americans want U.S. troops to come home from the Korean Peninsula if certain objectives are achieved—namely, denuclearization.

    “Americans and South Koreans support more peaceful approaches,” writes William Ruger on the survey.

    But denuclearization need not be the be-all and end-all—so say the voters. Assiduous politicians, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have likely taken notice.

    “Tellingly, a strong majority (62 percent of Americans and 55 percent of South Koreans) favor further diplomatic engagement even if North Korea doesn’t wind down its nuclear program,” writes Ruger.

    While before the summit, Democratic leaders—Sens. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi—openly worried that Trump would give too much away, some Obama and Kerry alumni are quietly lauding the administration’s efforts.

    “Let’s take a step back: does the #TrumpKimSummit make war on Korean Peninsula less likely?” asked Perry Cammack, now at the Carnegie Endowment. “I suspect the answer is yes.”

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