Analysis & Opinions - USA Today

Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un summit was Bluster and Balloons

| June 13, 2018

At his Singapore meeting with Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump gave away important U.S. bargaining chips, used North Korea's talking points and blindsided South Korea.

I supported President Trump’s decision to meet with Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea. From my own experience in negotiating with the North Koreans, I know that their leaders believe only they can make consequential decisions for their country. This makes sense since North Korea lacks a free press, an effective legislature and any sense of "we the people." 

Although the United States is a democracy, President Trump has said that he feels that only he makes decisions for our country. I thought, then, that perhaps these two leaders might develop a framework that would authorize negotiating teams to move forward with a plan to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and ballistic missiles in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

Instead, the Singapore summit wasn’t much more than bluster and balloons. It was a celebratory summit where Kim publicly received the respect and recognition he and his predecessors have long sought, and Trump didn’t get much more than a vague promise. Optics were arranged to portray Kim as the equal of a U.S. president. Flags of both countries were hung side-by-side, photo ops were arranged, and the leaders signed an official statement that was far weaker than at least three previous documents signed by North Korea in years past.

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For Academic Citation: Sherman, Wendy.“Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un summit was Bluster and Balloons.” USA Today, June 13, 2018.