Comrade Kim: Dictator, Strategist and Trump Wrangler Extraordinaire

A couple of days ago, I published a post on the Trump-Kim Summit before it was to take place. Now that the Trump-Kim summit took place on June 12th, we have Nikhil D. Mahadeva – a graduate student at National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi who is currently interning at Tan Leroy & Associates, Singapore give us an analysis of this summit. Read on to know more!

As President Trump is fond of saying, he makes good deals. The best deals. Some deals you may never even have heard of, but they’re the best deals. The bitter reality is, however, that President Trump’s bark is just about as ineffective as his bite.

The details on the Trump-Kim Summit are now out, and news agencies have finally got an idea of what kind of ‘deal’ the POTUS has managed to strike with his master negotiation skills. The document signed at the end of the event was hardly particular in its content; It affirmed that the two states will make an attempt at continuing peaceful discourse, that DPRK will ‘work towards’ denuclearization, and that they’d commit to repatriating remains.

This is a little disappointing when the expectation was more of a hard-line stance, considering the bluster which Trump was touting prior. When Obama negotiated the Iran deal, Iran was forced to give up 98% of its uranium, dismantle centrifuges and otherwise cripple their nuclear weapons capacity to unworkable levels. These were up front requirements in no uncertain terms. Even if you were to say that North Korea is a different animal than Iran, it has still consented to tough terms in the past. For instance, consider the 1994 Agreed Framework, which mandated IAEA inspections, stoppage of reactors and negotiation with the South.

Instead, what we have received is a vague commitment to action based on no legally binding terms, with no road map or idea of what the future holds for DPRKs nuclear program or its people. Incidentally, we have also received Kim Jong Un’s biggest fan after Dennis Rodman: Trump himself.

In the aftermath of the summit, Trump has had nothing but praise for the dictator and his spectacular negotiation skills, defending him from those who call him a murderer (as Bret Baier did just yesterday in an interview with Trump) by saying he is a ‘tough guy’.

Trump and Kim in the middle of talks
Trump-Kim Summit

Incidentally, I am not inclined to disagree with Trump. It is not often that a North Korean dictator gets an opportunity at diplomatic jousting. I must make some consideration for the worth of his opponent – however, he has proven himself quite capable. Comrade Kim has effectively managed to con the globe. By engaging in the pageantry of this summit, he has not only bought valuable time -time which he needed to sort affairs at home and consolidate his position while being crushed under sanctions and the like – he has also managed to convince the leader of the free world to cease military exercises and grant him certain security guarantees (which will obviously be paid for by the US taxpayer). Trump has also expressed his willingness to drop sanctions (and indeed, the DPRKs news agency, KCNA, reported that they will be dropped) though at the very least he’s not agreed to do so until evidence of ‘denuking’ is clear.

What we’ve received in return on paper is sparse. Trump on the other hand has other assurances that didn’t make it to the agreement. He says Kim assured him that DPRK would destroy a missile engine testing site, ‘denuke’, and allow checking of the status of this ‘denuking’.

On the plus side, regardless of the end of this uncertain friendship, it can at least be said that the POTUS and the dictator of North Korea have met in person in a diplomatic exercise, which presents a first. It could be a precursor to more progress and a harder stance, if not from Trump, perhaps from his successor. (I for one would pay good money to see a summit between Dwayne Johnson and Kim).

As of right now, Trump has already cancelled the war games and made moves on his part, but Kim is eerily silent following the summit. This is concerning, and more so because it is likely that Comrade Kim isn’t going to follow through on any of the assurances he made the POTUS. It would be in line with his predecessors to do so.

To be fair to him, he never promised to.  But he did promise he’d try though.

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