What they don’t want to acknowledge is that Trump’s strategy is working: the North Koreans are making real concessions. Pyongyang’s pledge to undergo inspections and dismantle specific facilities in full view of foreign experts is really the breakthrough we’ve all been waiting – and hoping – for. The implications are enormous, for this means the North Koreans are committing themselves to a formal agreement with detailed provisions allowing access to North Korean facilities and the building of a permanent architecture of observation, perhaps under the aegis of the Nonproliferation Treaty.
The progress made by the Singapore group is really being driven, on the ground, by the Koreans. The White House, delighted, is merely going along for the ride – and eager to take all the credit. Kim and President Moon are quite willing to let Trump claim the crown of laurel leaves, while they both reap the material and psychological benefits of peace – after seventy-plus years of frozen conflict.