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We're back where we started with North Korea

A man walks past a television news screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump at a railway station in Seoul on May 16, 2018.
A man walks past a television news screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump at a railway station in Seoul on May 16, 2018. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump’s abrupt decision to call off the scheduled June 12 summit with Kim Jung-un does not change the fundamental dynamics between the U.S. and North Korea: There was no way the summit could have succeeded so long as the Trump administration defined success as a North Korean agreement to total denuclearization.

Better that the summit was postponed than to have ended up in dramatic failure, which would have led some to conclude (incorrectly) that diplomacy had been tried and failed, leaving a dangerous and costly war as the only U.S. alternative.

Yes, but: The cancellation does highlight the lack of a viable U.S. strategy. Given the regime's resilience, allied with Chinese and Russian assistance, sanctions and war threats will not bring North Korea to its knees. Worse yet, there is the risk that North Korea could now increase the quality or quantity of its arms.