Kim Jong-un emerged as the clear loser after his second summit meeting with President Trump, who spurned the North Korean dictator’s unrealistic demands and sent him back to his failed state empty-handed.
Deluded by their own fantasy — fueled by the record of pitiful decisions of every U.S. president from Clinton to Obama of appeasement — on that Donald Trump is so petty that he’d sign just about anything in order to prove he got something done in Hanoi, the American press was ready to pick apart any deal that came out of the summit.
Instead, the president adhered to the first rule of good dealmaking and simply walked away when Kim refused to give America what we require: an enforceable commitment to denuclearize the rogue state.
While Kim got no material benefit from the summit, certainly not the sanctions relief he wanted, he did get a needed lesson regarding negotiating with President Trump.
So, we go right back to the status quo. President Trump is the leader of the free world with a powerful military and a roaring, prosperous economy behind him.
Kim is the tinpot dictator of a hermit kingdom, full of starving people, who is rattling a nuclear saber because it’s all he can do with an economy that can’t make a modern washing machine let alone operational fighter jets.
There’s no deal to spin as a loss for Trump or a win for Kim, so the president’s critics can only grasp at straws. Claiming that Trump is failing is an existential need for his critics, so they’re now arguing that the whole summit was a win for Kim because he gained “credibility” and is now “emboldened.”
Who are they kidding with blather from national security “experts” who have failed and failed miserably? Kim Jong-un was not magically transformed into a respected world leader merely by virtue of having been in the same room with the American president.
If anything, Kim looks like a fool who just threw away the best opportunity his country has ever had to rejoin the international community, in addition to being an incompetent tyrant who brutalizes his own people to maintain his grip on power.
Any credibility Kim had was an intentional gift from President Trump, who wanted Kim to be in a position to make concessions, as he proudly told the media last summer in a statement that was widely misinterpreted.
The gift of credibility is a far cry from the sort of gifts previous American presidents have given North Korea in hopes of jumpstarting productive negotiations. Unlike aid payments, which can’t be rescinded once they’re delivered, credibility is transient, not permanent. Any credibility Kim gained from sitting down across from the most powerful man on Earth evaporated the moment Donald Trump was no longer willing to negotiate with him.
It’s not as though Kim can now hop on his train and go to Paris to demand shipments of wine and cheese from French President Emmanuel Macron.
If anything, Kim will now have to worry about how the summit will play at home. Anything can happen to North Korean leaders, as Kim himself well knows, and now he’s got to go face his generals after having made a fool of himself and embarrassed his country on a world stage that North Korea is so rarely allowed to grace.
Chairman Kim unambiguously lost at the Hanoi summit. Kim knows it, President Trump knows it — heck, even Nancy Pelosi knows it. The only ones who don’t seem to know it are the liberal media.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, an Ohio native, is a retired senior intelligence operations officer and acting president of the London Center for Policy Research.