To be sure, it is a positive development that Trump has walked away from his own threats to launch a nuclear war, and it is heartwarming to see the family reunions between small numbers of elderly South Koreans and their relatives in the North after decades of unforgivable separation.
Still, the stated objective of Trump’s policy is to bring about the denuclearization of North Korea, and at this moment there is absolutely no sign that that it will happen, no matter how much Trump has slathered praise on the country’s young tyrant.
The summit alone gave North Korea and its dictator a prize that had eluded his dynastic predecessors. Three generations of ruling Kims wanted the recognition of a face-to-face meeting with the American President. What should have been the reward for a successful negotiating process, instead came at the start. Another mind-boggling concession was the cancellation of US military exercises with the South.
As Trump admitted, his trade war with China, North Korea’s only ally, has complicated negotiations. But that should hardly come as a surprise.
In fact, Trump has broken with the advice of experts, and the result has been as predicted.
Trump may claim his presidency is a raging, unprecedented success on all fronts. But so far, his North Korea policy can charitably be graded an Incomplete, if that.