The meeting of two tyrannous leaders sparked the world with numerous speculations on whether the third world war is on the edges or a historic alliance is taking place. The historic meeting between President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a high-stakes gamble for Trump, says Costas Panagopoulos, a political science professor at Northeastern University. It could lead to Nobel Peace Prize nominations for the pair, he said, or to utter disaster.
The summit, held in Singapore, marked the first meeting between leaders of the two nations and resulted in Trump’s pledge to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea and Kim’s pledge to dismantle his nuclear arsenal. Beyond those assurances—and the fact that two adversaries who were hurling threats of nuclear warfare at each other on Twitter months ago have now shaken hands—how significant was the meeting? Is Trump really in line to win a Nobel Peace Prize, as South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In suggested he should be back in April?
In the United States, this meeting reinforces Trump’s contention that he is the great negotiator who can bring parties to the table and make things happen. And he’s likely to get a lot of credit for doing something different, for his willingness to meet with Kim Jong Un. North Korea has made similar pledges to denuclearize in the past and hasn’t necessarily kept its end of the bargain. So, while there’s definitely a reason to be optimistic, there’s also a great deal of uncertainty moving forward. However, the devil is often in the details. Things could fall apart in the negotiations over these details; it’s a delicate situation moving forward. So, this will be a delicate process not only between the two nations but in many ways a different approach within the Trump administration in terms of how these things are handled.