In Trump's zero-sum world, the summit already has a winner -- and it's not him

“He’s done quite well for himself,” Town said of Kim, who reportedly had a number of top North Korean officials executed by anti-aircraft gun and his half-brother assassinated with a nerve agent in a foreign airport. “He’s really done quite a lot to rehabilitate his reputation.”

Perhaps more dangerous for the U.S., Japan and particularly South Korea, Trump’s eagerness for the summit has given more leverage to Kim, who may now be in a much better position to give only token concessions in return for a meeting that puts him on par with the world’s only real superpower, Town said.

“The messaging now on the summit is more ‘We have to have a summit,’” she said, adding that none of the groundwork for a meaningful deal — such as even understanding precisely how many nuclear weapons and how much nuclear material North Korea possesses — has been completed. “That’s the risk we run now, having the show for the sake of the show. This isn’t normal diplomacy.”