That the meeting was historic is beyond doubt. But is it really possible Trump’s accidental “madman” strategy has actually worked?
What a difference a year makes. Perhaps the most terrifying moments of a terrifying first term for America’s impulsive president involved the war of words between Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. Kim called Trump a “dotard”. Trump threatened to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” North Korea tested missiles that could, theoretically, strike at targets in mainland America. Armageddon seemed imminent.
On Tuesday, in front of a towering wall of dozens of flags of both countries, the two former nemeses finally met and shook hands, smiling broadly like old friends. Any way you look at it, this was an historic occasion; the first time such a meeting, between a North Korean leader and an American president, had ever taken place.
Then they went in to a closed-door working lunch – the menu included beef short ribs and sweet-and-sour pork, as well as Trump’s favourite dessert, ice-cream – emerging later to jointly sign a document that Trump called “comprehensive”.
What many had described as Trump’s evolution of Nixon’s “madman” strategy – unpredictable behaviour designed to force an opponent to make concessions – what The New Republic called Trump’s “crazy guy” strategy appears to have worked. Possibly this is because, unlike Nixon, Trump is genuinely an unknown quantity. No-one knows whether he would actually push the button; Trump does not read briefings, and does not seem fully always to understand things he says. “Take him seriously, but not literally,” was his defenders’ last way of understanding him, but many feared that approach in nuclear diplomacy would lead to disaster.
But, in this limited instance, it did seem to work. Partly, that was because, in Trump, Kim may …read more
Source:: New Statesman