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President Trump arriving in Singapore yesterday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

As the curtain goes up on what may be the summit of our lifetime (9 tonight ET, 9 a.m. Tuesday local), a dispatch from Singapore for Axios readers by Frank Lavin, former ambassador to Singapore under George W. Bush, former National Security Council summit organizer, and now an e-commerce CEO based there.

The big picture: "When there's confusion or turmoil," Frank writes, "it's to Trump's advantage because his self-confidence is imperturbable."

Here are some more X-factors, via Frank:

  • "Level of ambition: Trump typically likes the grand gesture, but the moment calls for calibrated steps."
  • "Focus: Trump is the ultimate loner, but the negotiations call for him to pay attention to details and forge a consensus."
  • "Relationships: Trump wants the U.S. to drive policy, but an agreement that does not have buy-in from South Korea and Japan will be undercut from the start. Even China should be courted."
  • "Curveball: Don't be surprised if there's a public gesture such as a two-person walk (a neat trick with no interpreters). Don't surprised if there's a joint meal and public toasts. Don't even be surprised if Dennis Rodman gets in the photo."

Just give me the ball ... Your summit cheat sheet, reminding you of Axios' months of exclusive reporting on how Trump thinks about Kim Jong-un. These insights cascade from the hyper-connected Jonathan Swan. (If you don’t get his Sunday Sneak Peek, you're missing a treat. Sign up here):

  • Trump views the North Korean crisis as his “great man” of history moment. He came into office thinking he could be the historic deal maker to bring peace to the Middle East. Now Trump wants to sign his name even larger into the history books, and he views North Korea as his moment.
  • This is the single key to understanding this summit ... A source who has discussed North Korea with Trump: "He thinks, 'Just get me in the room with the guy and I’ll figure it out.'"
  • Trump “definitely thinks it’s a duel of personalities,” says another source familiar with his thinking about North Korea.
  • Trump mostly projects strength behind the scenes. But there’s also been at least one quiet moment when a source saw Trump reflect on how he doesn’t know what Kim is capable of.
  • A little wild unpredictability goes a long way, Jim VandeHei writes: "Even Democrats begrudgingly tell us North Korea would not be returning hostages and talking denuclearization absent Trump’s mad-man routine. The stilted, scripted, sclerotic ways of tradition are not always terribly effective tactics."
  • Lest we get swept up in the theater, a senior GOP foreign policy official wrote us in March: "Kim Jong-un remains a murderous dictator ruling over brutal regime with death camps. Not someone who's looking  for peace."

Be smart: In their final conversation, President Obama warned Donald Trump his presidency would be defined by North Korea. Now, Trump himself sees a peace deal as his “great man” historic moment in power. 

Go deeper:

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Go deeper

America's child care sticker shock

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Parents looking to return to the job market may find child care options have gotten pricier — and that's if they can enroll their kids at all.

Why it matters: The fate of the recovery partially relies on the return of parents who left the workforce to care for their children.

Biden's major border shake-up

A migrant family waits to be taken to a Border Patrol processing facility after crossing the Rio Grande River. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris' trip to the border on Friday will play out amid the Biden administration widening shake-up of U.S. border policy and leadership.

Driving the news: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) tells Axios that he's been advised by a border official that as soon as mid-July the Biden administration will end all use of Title 42, a Trump-era policy citing coronavirus as rationale to block migrants at the border.

DeSantis signs law requiring college faculty, students to take surveys on beliefs

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation requiring state colleges and universities to annually survey their students, faculty and staff about their beliefs to ensure "viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom."

Why it matters: The legislation doesn't specify for what the survey results will be used, but at a press conference on Tuesday DeSantis said that schools found to be "indoctrinating" students aren't "worth tax dollars" and are "not something we’re going to be supporting going forward."

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