American-North Korean relations have been subject to much scrutiny and controversy in the past several months. President Trump famously tweeted a number of insults about Kim Jong-Un and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea last year. President Trump called the leader of North Korea various iterations of “Little Rocket Man” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea.
The Singapore Summit was also a story of will-they-won’t-they, as it was cancelled and reconfirmed as a conference between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un. The results of the Summit, held June 12, 2018, were watched with bated breath. When the details of the agreement the two leaders signed was released, the press gobbled it up voraciously.
Dennis Rodman, a retired American basketball player, is known for visiting North Korea and befriending Kim in 2013. Rodman has publicly advocated for a policy of open negotiations with Kim and North Korea, expressing that he is “trying to open Obama’s and everyone’s minds.”
From the perspective of political scientists and political leaders deeply engaged in nuclear disarmament and the mandate of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), dedicated to regulating nuclear technology, the Singapore Summit may have done more harm than good. Trump signed away American leverage in pursuit of an empty North Korean stock phrase, “toward complete denuclearization,” wielded time and again by North Korea. There is no mention of a verification process, angering the international community. Many criticize the Trump Administration for currying favor with a brutal dictator, and legitimizing his regime in exchange for a cheery photo opp.
However, Rodman is one of very few Americans who have met Kim. Most descriptions of Kim’s volatile and unpredictable foreign policy are inferences, but Rodman’s assessment of Kim is based on some semblance of a personal relationship. He describes Kim as a “big kid” who, despite the demands on his time as a political leader of an authoritarian regime, “just wants to enjoy his time.” According to Rodman, Kim reviles the US because he envies the US. When Rodman promised to bring a basketball team to North Korea, and later made good on his word, Kim reportedly told him, “this is the first time someone has ever kept their word to me and my country.”
If Kim is a childish bully who lashes out because he wants to sit at the adult’s table, then perhaps Trump’s approach is not a lost cause. Laid out in vague terms, the agreement is a springboard for future negotiations between the two leaders. Whether Kim responds positively and offers concessions of denuclearization as a response to the good faith, then President Trump’s time in Singapore can be recorded as a veritable success. In the meantime, members of the left and right are stressed by this lack of concrete terms.
What do you think? After the Singapore Summit, will President Trump and Kim Jong-Un play nice? “Yes, progress!” said 93% of you. The remaining 7% said, “nope, not buying it.” Read more about the Singapore Summit on the Guardian here.
Here’s how people on the Zip app are weighing in on this all over the country!
After the US- North Korea summit in Singapore, do you think President Trump and Kim Kong Un will both play nice?
Zip users in 120 cities and 35 states weighed in on this question.