[Ed. – The author, who has room to talk, was an undersecretary of State under Obama and led the U.S. negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal.]
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.