Donald Trump had barely finished shaking Kim Jong-un’s hand before the liberal media were trashing his achievement – conveniently forgetting that such a meeting between the leaders of the US and North Korea was deemed impossible a year ago.
The Economist’s line was ‘zero summit gain’. Trump had signed the blandest of agreements, they said. It was as though they couldn’t wait to ‘diss’ the agreement and mock him. Two days later the same organ decided that, without doubt, it was Kim who had trumped Trump and got the best of the deal. How satisfying for them.
CNN went further, inviting film directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to conjure up their ‘troublesome movie’, The Interview. ‘I didn’t think the vain, egocentric talk-show host character’ who winds up meeting Kim Jong-un ‘would be the president of the United States, but it seems like a possible dynamic nonetheless,’ Rogen said. ‘It’s a little much how on point it is,’ Goldberg added. So that was Trump ridiculed and duly dismissed.
Likewise in the UK where the BBC decided pretty much straight away that few of the best analysts of US policy towards the Koreas – or indeed of US security policy more generally – believed that Mr Trump had emerged the winner. The prevailing view, the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent opined, was that the North Korean leader departed with more tangible gains and that the real beneficiaries of the Singapore summit were most likely Pyongyang and Beijing.
You’d be forgiven for believing they never wanted it to succeed. If Obama had cornered Kim into talking that of course would have been another matter.
Well, all I can say is that to date Trump’s naysayers have been proved wrong, and wrong again.
Which is why it was good to find one positive assessment of Trump’s achievement. Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, also made the observation that ‘Air Force One had not even left the ground in Singapore’ before the media drumbeat had begun.
If the mainstream US media were to be believed, Trump got nothing in return for suspending joint US military exercises with South Korea. The delighted conclusion of the American liberal elite was that the president had been hoodwinked.
Not so, as Ruddy points out. It ignored the obvious facts and major concessions he did win: ‘In early May, North Korea, without any conditions, released three American prisoners. (It should be noted that President Obama secured the release of US hostages held in Iran only after the nuclear deal was signed and the US made a $1.7billion cash ransom payment to the regime.)
‘More remarkably, North Korea, without officially being asked by Washington, stopped all testing of nuclear devices and ballistic missile launches.’
Furthermore, Ruddy continues: ‘When the summit appeared in doubt just over a month ago, North Korea destroyed a nuclear test site as a sign of good faith.
‘And, at the summit, Kim agreed to President Trump’s request to finally return the remains of American PoWs and MIAs to bring closure to their families after 70 years.’
But more important than all of this is the biggest concession, which is indeed yet to be realised. It is that for the first time Kim has agreed in principle to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
These are major concessions which Ruddy says are conveniently set aside and which Trump collected for his ‘small chip’: the suspension of military exercises.
Time will tell, but if the past is anything to go by it will be the liberal Left who find egg on their faces, not the (he’s not such a fool) Donald.