8/20/2019

Kim Jong-un’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

"Mr. Kim thought he had devised an escape from the sanctions trap: His audacious scheme was to influence American decision-making by cultivating President Trump personally. At the United States-North Korea summit in Hanoi earlier this year, Mr. Kim was supposed to game “the dotard” — his sometime epithet for Mr. Trump — tricking the American president into trading general sanctions relief for a freeze on just one of the North’s many nuclear facilities. Having played Mr. Trump at their first summit in Singapore the previous year — winning then almost all of the mainly symbolic opening points in their initial face to face — he and his crew arrived confident for the second.

But “the dotard” didn’t fall for it. No agreement at all emerged from the Hanoi meeting, a disastrous outcome for Mr. Kim, and apparently one he and his team had not even contemplated. Instead of broadcasting the victory dance against the American imperialists that North Korea’s propaganda industry had been preparing, state media went strangely silent about the summit for days, puzzling over how to put a good face on a strategic fiasco and personal failure for their leader."