Nearly every foreign policy expert predicted that after Donald Trump gleefully gave the North Korean dictatorship precisely what they’ve been asking for for twenty years, a face-to-face meeting with an American president that would finally, at long last, demonstrate to their citizens that the isolated kingdom had arrived as a major power on the world stage, North Korea would follow up on the meeting by doing … absolutely nothing. To Donald Trump, the meeting was an ostensible first step towards reaching a nuclear disarmament agreement that would give him bragging rights over his allegedly dimwitted predecessors; to North Korean officials, the purpose of the meeting was fulfilled after the first pictures were snapped of the United States and North Korean flags standing side-by-side-by-side as apparent equals.
Lo and behold, now that the meeting is done and over with the Trump team is finding that their North Korean counterparts are blowing them off.
Diplomats say the North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money and failed to maintain basic communications, even as the once-isolated regime’s engagements with China and South Korea flourish.
According to the Washington Post, not only has Trump been caught off-guard by this entirely predictable and predicted outcome, he’s now “bristling” at the inability of his team to deliver on his previous promises.
Officials say Trump has been captivated by the nuclear talks, asking staffers for daily updates on the status of the negotiations. His frustration with the lack of progress has been coupled with irritation about the media coverage of the joint statement he signed […]
Yes, of course. It’s all somebody else’s fault, and it’s certainly the media’s fault for reporting skeptically on a vacuous “joint statement” with no actionable promises or Trump’s own fault for ignoring the warnings of experts who warned him that a meeting with a United States president is what the North Korean dictatorship is a concession to be contemplated after that dictatorship has made substantive denuclearization progress, not before.
What’s next? Probably not much, at least not for now. It is likely that the relationship between the two administrations is going to continue to devolve. North Korea still has little incentive to denuclearize, given that its nuclear capabilities are precisely why they have now gained the publicity coup of being treated as diplomatic partners even by the hated United States; it may be slowly dawning on Trump that the regime played him for a fool, in which case he will likely respond with the same petty fury and public belittling of the North Korean dictator that pointlessly inflamed tensions between the two nations to begin with.
And that will likely be the status of things until a new president is elected who does not willingly surround himself with morons. At least, that is the best case scenario. There are worse ones, but let’s not contemplate those for now.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.