‘Diplotainment at its pinnacle’: Critics fear Trump’s style eclipses substance on North Korea

President Trump’s strategy on North Korea has played out in full public view over 16 months with dramatic, made-for-TV moments designed to focus global attention on his risky faceoff with dictator Kim Jong Un.

But as North Korean officials abruptly cast doubt this week on Trump’s planned historic summit with Kim in Singapore next month, critics fear that a president determined to declare victory where his predecessors failed will allow his desire for a legacy-making deal to override the substance of the negotiations.

In the social media era, Trump’s public showmanship is “creating a huge buzz where everyone wants to know what’s going on and what comes next,” said Jung Pak, a former CIA official who is now an Asia analyst at the Brookings Institution. “It’s a very dramatic way of conducting foreign policy and national security. But it creates a thin veneer of understanding. It’s mostly about symbolism.”

The risks involved in Trump’s approach were underscored this week when a top North Korean official threatened to cancel the summit and lambasted national security adviser John Bolton over his hard-line declaration that Pyongyang must fully relinquish its nuclear weapons before the United States offers reciprocal benefits.

Trump has invested significant political capital in the summit, and a no-show by Kim would be a major embarrassment.

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/diplotainment-at-its-pinnacle-critics-fear-trumps-style-eclipses-substance-on-north-korea/2018/05/16/19882cb6-5848-11e8-858f-12becb4d6067_story.html

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