But if America should be willing to sit down with the representatives of “hell,” why not just sit down with Kim himself, cut out the middlemen and negotiate directly?
The simple fact is that in one handshake, in one photo that would go viral around the world, President Trump would be legitimizing one of the world’s most evil human beings and governments of all time, indeed, what one North Korean refugee described to me once as his people’s “own personal Hitler.” While certainly not intentional, the Trump administration would be sending a signal that things like prison camps, torture, the use of chemical weapons against your own citizens, and centuries of human rights norms could be just cast aside in order to “cut a deal.”
Take this all a step further. Imagine President Trump and Dictator Kim walking side by side in the halls of the White House or along the boulevards of North Korea’s capital. That should turn your stomach. There could be nothing viler than the leader of the free world making small talk with the pariah of Pyongyang. And that is why it should never happen.