Trump Vs. Kim: The Meeting That Could Change the World
South Korea’s announcement earlier this week that Kim Jong Un was ready to give up his nuclear weapons and negotiate with the United States was met with a mixture of hope and skepticism from international experts who know the regime’s shady history. But that morphed into something closer to stunned surprise on Thursday when North Korea’s mad dictator actually confirmed the announcement and invited President Donald Trump to a meeting. Could we be on the verge of seeing Trump accomplish what no other president before him could manage? Or is Kim playing games, buying time that he can use to further his world-threatening weapons program?
Whatever the answers to those questions may be, this is a meeting that could easily change the face of geopolitics forever.
According to the White House, President Trump has accepted Kim’s invitation. Speaking to reporters from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, South Korean official Chung Eui-yong said the historic meeting could take place within the next couple of months.
“He expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Chung said of Kim Jong Un. He said the president had agreed to meet with the dictator “by May to achieve permanent denuclearization.”
As for the president, he was optimistic about the dictator’s intentions on Twitter, saying that Kim had “talked about denuclearization with the South Korean representatives, not just a freeze.”
“Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time,” Trump wrote. “Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”
We, along with everyone else in the known world (including the president, we suspect) remain skeptical – if not outright cynical – about Kim’s ploy. It cannot be ignored that we have been down this road many, many times with this regime, and every previous time they have played the international community like fools. We have a feeling that Kim takes Trump more seriously than his predecessors – if only because our current president has proven to have more bite to his bark than them – but that doesn’t mean he’s coming to the table with open arms. It doesn’t mean he’s backing down.
That said, a face-to-face meeting between the sitting U.S. president and the leader of North Korea is uncharted territory and one of the clearest signs yet that Donald Trump is not like any previous president we’ve ever had. His M.O. is the “art of the deal,” and for him to even entertain the idea of giving Kim Jong Un personal face-time shows his commitment to a new species of foreign policy. Let’s face it – when you’ve exhausted all of the typical strategies, it’s time to try something new. This is, in many ways, exactly what the American people voted for when they pulled the lever for Trump.
The experts will all have something to say about it, but they don’t know how this is going to turn out any more than we do. At this point, all we can do is admire Trump’s willingness to try a fresh approach and hope for the best.