Is there value in President Trump meeting with Kim Jong-un? Images would dictate that this is the single most distasteful meeting since Chamberlain met the Fuhrer in Munich in 1938, or since Roosevelt sat with Stalin at Yalta.
It's truly disgusting. Kim wanted a place on the world stage, standing as an equal with America, and he got everything he wanted, tied with a big Trumpian bow.
But do we throw away the possibility of a successful outcome because of this? I'll ask again: is there value in the personal relationship?
The agreement that came out of the meeting is weak tea, I'll admit. We've had stronger documents with North Korea, which they summarily ignored.
The sideshow of Trump's press conference should make South Korea very nervous. The president indicated he'd stop joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea's army.
This is more than troubling, since the ROK Army is very much intwined into American forces in its command and control structure, operations, and even manpower. KATUSAs (Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army) serve in American units, similar to the "purple suiters" at NATO. Would Reagan have promised Gorbachev that NATO would stop exercises in West Germany? That's what Trump just did.
But give it time. On the left, all Obama's cheerleaders thought the Arab Spring was a wonderful thing, until it wasn't. They thought withdrawing from Iraq was the end of terror, until ISIS. They thought the Iran deal would keep Iran from developing nukes, until they found out Iran never really stopped developing nukes.
Obama did very little to stop North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons, despite rounds of talks, agreements, half-measures, and half-half-measures. Basically he did what other president have done: kicked the can down the road.
Trump took the can and opened it. Now that Kim has gotten what he desired, this could either go like what happened in Munich, 1939 (Hitler reportedly said "Angels have come from heaven and given us a gift!" when he learned Chamberlain was personally coming to visit him), or it could go like Reagan's continuing negotiations with Gorbachev, leading to the fall of the Soviet Union.
We know North Korea is the worst nation on Earth.
But what should we do? Nothing? Spill the lives of a million soldiers and civilians? Start a nuclear war? What Trump did is bile-inducing and distasteful. His style and substance of pissing on our allies and friends while obsequiously glad-handing evil murderers is gross. However, beyond that, are his instincts worse than Obama's or G.W. Bush's? So far, they haven't been.
I'll take a few stomach-churning moments on a stage over another few decades of starvation and crimes against humanity, and living under the Sword of Damocles of North Korean nukes and intentions toward South Korea. At least Trump did something different.
Give it time. It could be the worst move ever, but let's not judge it until we see.