Jun 10, 2018

Setting expectations for the North Korea summit

Media wait outside the entrance of the Shangri-La Hotel for the arrival of President Trump in Singapore. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

No matter what happens during the summit on June 12, it will be impossible to know immediately afterwards whether it's been a success.

The big picture: Trump himself has acknowledged as much, playing down expectations in his public statements and describing this as the first of a potential series of meetings designed to thaw relations and ultimately denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

  • Jeremy Bash, chief of staff to Leon Panetta when he was CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, told me “the only yardstick by which you can measure success is whether or not they get rid of their uranium enrichment, their plutonium program and their missile program."
  • "Everything else is just pageantry," he added. "Of course that can’t happen on day one, but the only way to judge success is to see if that happens over time.”

Go deeper

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 38 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."