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A Foreign Policy Expert Just Explained Why Kim Jong Un Really Invited Donald Trump to Meet, and Trump Is Getting Played

President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in May, according to a White House announcement late Thursday night. Should the meeting actually take place, Trump would be the first sitting American President to engage North Korean leadership since the armistice that paused the Korean War in 1953. Technically speaking, the United States and North Korea are still at war, since no formal peace treaty was ever signed to officially end the conflict.


Foreign policy columnist Jeffrey Lewis believes Trump is getting played by North Korea. "But Kim is not inviting Trump so that he can surrender North Korea's weapons," Lewis tweeted Thursday evening. "Kim is inviting Trump to demonstrate that his investment in nuclear and missile capabilities has forced the United States to treat him as an equal."

“President Trump has made his reputation on making deals,” an administration official said. “Kim Jong Un is the one person who is able to make decisions under their authoritarian, uniquely authoritarian, or totalitarian system, and so it made sense to accept an invitation to met with the one person who can actually make decisions instead of repeating the sort of long slog of the past.” It should be noted that the Trump administration has no ambassadors to either North or South Korea.

Attempts by Trump's predecessors were universally unsuccessful in gleaning any meaningful action by North Korea, and there are concerns that this time could be more of the same, or worse. North Korea has ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, a result of a decades-long nuclearization program which the reclusive country is unlikely to surrender.

"North Korea has a track record of escalating and then lowering nuclear tensions to win diplomatic and economic benefits. A 1994 deal to freeze its nuclear program, brokered by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, collapsed in 2002," wrote David Tweed and Kanga Kong of Time Magazine. "A year after North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, multinational talks produced an agreement to close its nuclear facilities in exchange for food and energy assistance. That accord collapsed in 2009."

Given the history of North Korea's behavior and habitual backsliding on promises to abandon their nuclear ambitions, it's reasonable to see why many think Trump is going to be used as a propaganda tool; North Korea now has the United States treating them like an equal. For free.

Trump "doesn’t realize that Kim Jong Un has accomplished what his father and grandfather couldn’t. The optics of sitting across from a US President," Gerry tweeted. "If Trump knew history these negotiations will be long and not necessarily fruitful."

Trump, though, believes he can fix anything. "I alone can fix it" was one of his favorite campaign lines, and he very well may think he can strongarm Kim into denuclearization with a "great deal."

Previous talks have all ended in failure, and Americans have little faith Trump's direct engagement will bring any meaningful change.

In fact, Trump's own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has said that talks are a long way off. Yesterday's news makes the growing rifts between the President and his staff all the more obvious.

The talks are, supposedly, going to take place in May, somewhere. It's going to be a long spring.