Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Kim Jong-un and President Trump, after the Singapore summit's signing ceremony on June 12, 2018. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

The Singapore summit was textbook Trump, namely, his equation of the personal and chemistry with policy and accomplishment. The problem is less (as so many are saying) the legitimacy the president accorded the North Korean leader, so much as the one-sided outcome that yielded little in the way of substance.

Between the lines: The released statement is almost entirely aspirational. There are no definitions of denuclearization, no specifics as to the requirements of verification, and no timelines. History would suggest that implementation is everything when it comes to North Korea, yet there is nothing firm about what is to be done or when or how.

It is most troubling that Trump agreed to suspend all joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea and mentioned the desirability of removing U.S. troops from the peninsula. That he used the phrase “war games” to describe the exercises only makes it more worrisome. There was no mention in the summit statement of reducing North Korea's conventional military threat to the South. The outcome seems to be nothing so much as the “freeze for freeze” proposal China floated months ago linking North Korean weapon and missile testing with U.S.–South Korean exercises.

It will be extraordinarily hard for the United States to maintain pressure on North Korea given that sanctions will begin to unravel (with China and Russia leading the way) and given that South Korean President Moon has committed to normalizing relations with the North. The only reference to a future process assumes a continuation of bilateral talks. None of this bodes well for future North Korean concessions or for the concerns of American allies.

The bottom line: The good news is that the Singapore summit initiated a diplomatic process with the potential to make a contribution to stability and peace. War seems much more distant than it did just months ago. The bad news is that "potential" is the operative word here, and we are off to an unbalanced start.

Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “A World in Disarray.”

Go deeper

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.

1 hour ago - Technology

Review of Trump ban marks major turning point for Facebook

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to attempt "emergency economic relief" by executive order

President Biden. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will continue his executive action blitz on Friday, issuing two more orders in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling families without waiting for Congress.

Why it matters: In his second full day in office, Biden is again resorting to executive actions as he tries to increase payments for nutritional assistance and protect workers' rights during the pandemic.