While it’s still way too soon to be dancing in the streets, President Trump does indeed deserve significant credit for “the historic opening between the two Koreas.”
Whether Trump deserves as much credit as he’s claiming or is wise to bullishly declare a new era of denuclearized peace is open to question since many pitfalls still lie ahead.
Still, the summit between Kim and Moon keeps alive the possibility of a legacy win for Trump that would rank as one of the top presidential achievements since World War II.
If he were to preside over the verifiable destruction of the North’s nuclear and missile programs, formally end the 1950-53 Korean War and usher in the destruction of the world’s last Cold War-era frontier, Trump would claim a feat that has eluded all of his most recent predecessors.
The President and other key players in the initiative would also be shoo-ins for the Nobel Peace Prize as Moon suggests. How Trump would love to join his nemesis Barack Obama on the list of honorees.
Such accolades are years away, and months of treacherous and intricate diplomacy looms if negotiators are to defy grim historical precedent. Every previous diplomatic effort to ease the Korean standoff has foundered on effectively verifying the North’s willingness to dismantle its weapons programs — and its propensity to cheat. There is no sign yet that the Trump administration has solved that fundamental problem — despite its repeated vows not to make the same mistakes as its predecessors.
But to judge by Trump’s reaction, you might think that a final, comprehensive deal with North Korea is already in the bag.
“KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” Trump tweeted on Friday.