Trump In Singapore

Ken AshfordNorth Korea, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

In the simplest form of nuclear weapon, two portions of uranium are hurled together to reach “critical mass” resulting in a enormous explosion. With Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un both in Singapore on Monday morning, on the brink of being face-to-face, the world is braced for what happens with that critical mass of ego, ignorance and plain-old mass is achieved.

Expectations for the Trump–Kim meeting are exceptionally low, but concerns are frighteningly high. For most world leaders, “just don’t break anything,” might seem to be a low bar. But as Kim and Trump come together, that bar may prove to be miles over their heads.

Still, US media is laboring mightily to give Trump not just the benefit of the doubt, but a guaranteed victory. CNN on Monday declared the meeting “an opportunity granted to few historic figures” and that it was an “opening awaited for 70 years.” This follows an article on Sunday where the New York Times waxed lyrical over Trump’s “deal making swagger” and how, in his own very, very special way, “Mr. Trump has been preparing for this encounter his entire adult life.”

If Trump could be recalled at this point, his followers could resume their Nobel Prize submission and the media could go on discussion the landmark, once in a lifetime, utterly unique, and extra-crispy meeting without any actual consequences. Unfortunately, in a matter of hours, Trump and Kim will actually meet.

A press release from the White House has indicated that Trump and Kim will first meet one-on-one, chaperoned only by a pair of translators. Exactly why this seemed like the best way to begin isn’t clear, though it may relate to Trump’s deep insight that he would know whether he and Kim were sympatico within the first minute. And at least it’s better than the meeting Trump held with Vladimir Putin, in which only Putin’s translator was along.

But as Trump and Kim sit on the ground in Singapore, both have their own obsessions. For Trump, that’s continuing to attack the leaders of America’s long-term allies. Overnight, Trump continued laying into Canada, Germany, and the whole NATO alliance. Which is not the same as the G-7, though it’s unclear if Trump knows that. On the other hand, Kim’s concerns were more … earthy.

First to arrive in Singapore was an IL-76 transport plane carrying food and other essentials for Kim as well as his bullet-proof limousine and a portable toilet that will deny determined sewer divers insights into to the supreme leader’s stools.

If your own job seems difficult, you can be happy that at least your title is not “sewer diver.” And, so far as we know, Trump left his golden toilet at home.

What CNN describes as a meeting “awaited for 70 years” is actually a face-to-face that any American president of that period could have had for the asking. In fact, it’s a meeting that American presidents have explicitly refused. They’ve refused because giving Kim that meeting would do for him exactly what Trump has already done—elevate the isolationist dictator of a tiny, closed-off nation into an accepted world ruler to be dealt with as a legitimate power among the the community of nations.

Kim has every reason to come into this meeting smiling. He’s already achieved everything he could hope for. However, there’s a reason to be worried that Kim will come out of his one-on-one with Trump happier still.

Trump is coming off a disastrous G-7 meeting in which he showed disdain for America’s allies, behaved in the most boorish, uncivil manner possible, and despite massive attempts by both media and all involved governments, could not finish the meeting with even the appearance of adult behavior. He left Quebec an unrelieved failure.

So Trump may be out to get a “win” in Singapore. Some kind of achievement that he can hang his big golden name on. And that should be a point of major concern.