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Donald Trump, June 13, 2018:
President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer - sleep well tonight!

trump dictator envy

Neville Chamberlain, 1938, after the Munich conference with Hitler:
I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now I recommend you go home, and sleep quietly in your beds.

Probably not Mark Twain:
History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes.

Definitely Karl Marx:
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

While Kim probably took this initiative after careful calculation and consultation, with China in particular, it is pretty clear that Trump did it on impulse.

The President’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un must be given due credit. Trump and Kim, both autocratic leaders and challengers in distinct ways to the established international order, saw the opportunity to put half a century of conflict behind them, and they took it, riding roughshod over the objections of their respective foreign policy establishments.

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While Kim probably took this initiative after careful calculation and consultation, with China in particular, it is pretty clear that Trump did it on impulse, with his characteristic unlimited faith in his own instincts and negotiating skills. Staff work be damned!

Judging by the initial communiqués, Trump managed to extract from Kim a promise to give up his nuclear weapons, with no messy details about how or when, and nothing about verification. In return, Trump promised to suspend military exercises with South Korea, and offered the progressive and reciprocal easing of sanctions as disarmament proceeded. He thus essentially surrendered the possibility of maintaining strong sanctions against North Korea. He has given up whatever leverage he might have had.

Future staff work may yet yield more, but Trump the Great Negotiator has not given them much to work with.

The outcome of this episode: very likely at some point the two sides will fail to agree, Trump and Kim will return to their mutual and picturesque denunciations (“Little Rocket Man” vs. “Mentally Deranged Dotard”). We will be back where we started, after much Sturm und Drang.

impeachment unavoidable

Life in the Age of Trump: it doesn’t rhyme, but it is a farce.

John Peeler