The pundit George Will in the Washington Post has joined those who describe President Trump as having "done badly ... with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Others speak of Trump as having been played. CNN has tells us about intelligence reports that "cast doubt on Kim Jong Un's intention to dismantle his nuclear and missile programs."
And, of course, we all know about North Korea's human rights record, which some believe should impact our judgment about the Kim-Trump summit at Singapore. They tell us that from North Korea we should expect deception, and they decry Trump having given away advantages for nothing in return and that we should expect nothing good from the negotiations between Kim and Trump.
A less rushed assessment is expressed by Joel Wit, an internationally recognized expert on Northeast Asian security issues and non-proliferation. Yesterday (July 5) he was interviewed on the PBS NewsHour.
... North Korea, like any other country, is continuing to improve its weapons capabilities, until they have a detailed agreement with the United States on denuclearization. ... I think it’s wrong to expect them to stop doing that before they have that kind of agreement. And their behavior is like any other country, the United States, the Soviet Union. We all continue to build while we were negotiating. ... what North Korea is doing now, is building up leverage. And, secondly, negotiations may fail, so North Korea doesn’t want to be caught short if the negotiations failed and it stopped doing all of its weapons programs. ... as you know, the North Koreans have stopped testing their missiles and stopped testing nuclear weapons, so they have done that unilaterally. ... It’s going to be a negotiation. There’s going to be give-and-take between the two sides. It’s going to take time. And that’s something we all need to understand. ... This is going to be a process. It’s going to take time to negotiate an agreement. You need negotiators, but you also need the secretary of state and the president to be actively involved throughout the process.
My opinion: I stand by my June 18th article below. North Korea may never completely destroy its nuclear capability, but its move in that direction and a reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula and between North Korea and the US is a worthwhile goal. Eventually, after North Korea joins the world and the regime has less of an enemy to point to, there will be changes — as there were in the Soviet Union following Stalin's death and as there was in China after Mao.
Copyright © 2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.