Our Presidency is in deep enough trouble without adding to our nation’s crisis of authority by putting Trump face to face with another mirror-image despot who loves publicity and cannot be trusted and who is excited by his new nuclear button.
Trump apparently takes seriously his self-styled “tough-guy” image, and believes he can out maneuver his enemies, whether the Special Counsel or the Supreme Leader. He fantastically expects North Korea to capitulate to the overwhelming force of his own abilities and personality.
Kim Jong-un has already pulled off a near miracle in this face-off by getting an American President to agree to sit down with him—something neither his father nor grandfather could achieve. He really no longer needs a meeting because he got what he was looking for—respectability–with one phone call.
Trump, on the other hand, has almost certainly already lost. It is beyond all reasonable hope and expectation to believe that North Korea will ever completely de-nuclearize which was and is Trump’s only publicly-stipulated goal for their meeting. North Korea obviously has zero intention, and no real reason, to do so. Ironically, both men believe their belligerent rhetoric has worked in bringing his opponent to the table. Why would either stop now?
So what does Trump think he can get out of a meeting? A few tweets, likely with little fidelity to reality, will dart around, causing at best consternation. Trump lovers will feel better.
Congress, in its oversight role, should immediately step in and warn Trump to be careful in his preparations (because he likely won’t be), to let diplomacy lead the way (Bolton won’t let him) and not, under any circumstances, agree to any phony promises (it’s not clear he knows the difference).
It would also probably be wise to let Kim enjoy his momentary victory and postpone the whole process until we have a proper State Department organization on board as well as a National Security Advisor and staff that have the essential capabilities to deal with such an important and delicate challenge.
This is not the moment to entrust our lives to a bunch of rank amateurs who think they can bluff, bullshit and bully their way through any problem.