Coming against all odds, enduring withering criticism, and facing deep cynicism, Donald Trump announced his decision to become the first sitting American president to meet North Korea’s supreme leader. The Kim family regime invited previous U.S. presidents to meet, but Trump’s swift acceptance of Kim Jong Un’s invitation is a bold gamble that seizes an opportunity produced by a hard-edged pressure strategy. Assuming it takes place by May, the summit is also made possible by Kim’s recent burst of diplomatic dexterity. The two leaders are mirroring each other, gambit for gambit.
The Trump administration’s much-maligned North Korea policy always included two countervailing parts, like the positive yin and negative yang forces in the circle of the South Korean flag: engagement and maximum pressure. Before the Olympics, pressure took center stage; now it appears likely that post-Olympics will focus at least for a while more on engagement and diplomacy.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
CommentaryUniting the Techno-Democracies
The world’s advanced democracies have something the autocracies don’t: a long history of multilateral cooperation for the benefit of all....
By Jared Cohen & Richard Fontaine
CommentaryBeijing Believes Trump Is Accelerating American Decline
When China’s perception of American strength shifts, its strategy generally changes....
By Rush Doshi
CommentaryThe Untapped Power of Trump’s Leverage
The Trump administration would bequeath a stock of leverage to its successor....
By Richard Fontaine
CommentaryStop Calling the Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un Relationship a Bromance
It appears the faux bromance is finally over....
By Joshua Fitt