You could go blind trying to read all the reporting on the Vietnam Summit before, after, pro, and con. Put Simply, the Media and the left, Neocons, Never-Trumpers, world leaders, China, and even North Korea were ready for Trump to give in. Just like every American President before him. He did not. And it changes everything.
This is a good synopsis which is to say I didn’t go blind yet so there may be better. But it covers the history quickly and gets to the point of what Trump did and why he was always in control.
Remember Trump’s watchword, at the Singapore summit and afterward, was “we’ll see.” Kim had promised to denuclearize. Trump would hold him to it. Yes, he canceled some military exercises. But he kept the sanctions, which Kim and China were urging he drop. In the meantime, as the claque at Fox News painted him the magical peacemaker, author of history’s turning point, Trump enjoyed a respite from one kind of criticism, and gave Kim and the Chinese some rope.
At last week’s summit, Trump jerked the rope.
This is more about China than it is about Kim and Nukes. Sure, there should be a dialogue on the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but that isn’t happening unless China decides it will. And the key to China is tied to global commerce and access to the US market. Or, more to the point, losing that access.
Kim (and China, tacitly) proposed, yet again, accounting and perhaps disabling some nuclear stuff at Yongbyon—they had sold that pooch many times before—in exchange for the lifting of all U.S. sanctions. Trump walked, speaking softly. That is the least he could have done. He did it. No one else has risen to that. Trump also knows, with regard to the Korean nukes and missiles, he is really dealing with China, with which he is engaged in a high-stakes confrontation over trade.
Trump is Playing a Different Game
If you read elsewhere, you will find that even Democrats were impressed by Trump’s abrupt departure from the summit. China has been reminded that The Donald is not a fool (as the left and the media insist). And Mr. Trump is prepared to use leverage in all its forms on multiple fronts to advance several priorities at the same time, on different schedules.
It’s why the left continues to underestimate the President. He is not your typical comms driven PR knee-bending Republican appeaser. And they hate him for it. And he doesn’t care — not one bit.
He made some promises he intends to keep. Some could take longer than others, but he always seems to be moving pieces in the right direction.
He is playing a different game on a separate timetable. And most of the time “they” have no idea what to expect, which is where he will try to keep them because it works to his advantage.