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President Trump speaks about the cancelled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a bill signing ceremony in the White House on May 24, 2018. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

President Trump's cancellation of the June 12 nuclear summit with Kim Jong-un is unlikely to be the last word. Trump and Kim are engaged in a high-stakes game of chicken, with each convinced the other wants and needs the summit more. The cancellation is Trump’s response to Kim's taking denuclearization off the table. The ball is now back in Kim’s court.  

Why it matters: Both leaders still likely want this meeting to happen. For Kim, the meeting itself is the message, granting him the legitimacy his father and grandfather sought but never secured. Meanwhile, Trump has so hyped his ability to succeed where his predecessors fell short that declaring preemptive failure would be a huge embarrassment.

Kim has been operating from a position of strength. His charm offensive reduced U.S. leverage by taking the credible threat of a preventive U.S. attack off the table. The world won't countenance the U.S. using force as long as Kim is talking peace, and even less so if Trump bears responsibility for scuttling the summit.

What to watch: If the meeting happens, sanctions enforcement — which the Trump administration has effectively ratcheted up — would likely be reined in, as both Beijing and Seoul are anxious to restore economic relations with North Korea. Kim would still be able to develop his missiles and bombs, albeit without the testing required to perfect them.

The Kim family long ago perfected the art of the steal: String out talks, wring out economic concessions, walk away from any hard commitments, then repeat.

Tony Blinken is the former deputy secretary of state and the co-founder of WestExec Advisors.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.

Women politicians are under siege

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Kevin Dietsch, Stefani Reynolds, and Alex Wong/Getty Images

Women in Congress feel besieged and singled-out amid surging threats against lawmakers at all levels, with some frustrated more hasn't been done to halt the trend.

Why it matters: As record numbers of American women are being elected to public office, their growing political power is being met with death and rape threats, sexist and racist abuse and online disinformation. Collectively, it's discouraged women from running for office.