This will be short and bittersweet.
The idea has begun floating out there, advanced by such esteemed eminences as the Prime Minister of Japan, that if the Trump/Kim meeting brings ‘peace in our time,’ Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Trump has been shedding credibility by blustering and bluffing before caving to whatever happens and subsequently trying to claim credit for his ‘brilliant’ deal making. Trump’s posturing is not a serious effort at international diplomacy; it is distorting a rational process for selfish results. Why else would he have fired Tillerson who had been promoting the idea?
If there is a Peace Prize in the offing when they meet – if a meeting actually occurs – the party who clearly most deserves it is Kim. He has played Trump like a Stradivarius by showing the world his nuclear capability and now (since he evidently is not suicidal) proposing to trade it away for peace and prosperity (with no more sanctions).
Trump, for all his “fire and fury” rhetoric, has been largely a bystander in this process, outplayed by Kim and his South Korean counterparts who have taken the lead in exploring avenues of cooperation (the Olympics) and rapprochement.
Along with many Americans, I struggle with the thought that we have to overcome our understandable basic prejudice against Kim and North Korea. Closed off from much of the world for the last 65 years, we know little of the nation but its most egregious outbursts – assassinations, state-sponsored hacking, and, of course, its now-realized nuclear ambitions.
Compromise being what it is, the world may have some trouble with this crazy idea. It is possible to imagine that the Nobel Committee, fearful of offending an unhinged madman with access to nuclear weapons, could decide to give a prize to Trump, as well. Perhaps at a minimum either both should get it or neither should.
Perhaps neither is the best and safest answer, because Trump getting it alone is too risky to contemplate.
Trump’s true talent is an uncanny ability to delude himself and those around him. The more enamored he becomes with himself, the riskier he will become to others. Lending credence to the idea that he is a man of peace, incapable of harming anyone, will encourage him to double down on threats of military action as a way of bluffing his way through complex situations. It may be a great plan while it works, but a prescription for disaster in the end.
We have to find a way of harvesting what Trump gets involved with that is good for the world, WITHOUT stimulating his narcissism until he truly goes bonkers.