This G.O.P. petulance was bad for America. Bolton helped kill the Agreed Framework, so that North Korea hugely expanded its weapons program. Similar petulance led Trump and Bolton to try to destroy the Iran nuclear deal this spring; as a result, Iran this week announced that it was increasing its uranium enrichment capacity. Boy, that went well.
Now a similar partisan petulance seems to be turning some Democrats into spoilers. Trump’s engagement with North Korea has been chaotic and should have begun with working-level talks, but it’s still better for leaders to exchange handshakes than missiles.
Granted, there’s plenty of reason to be nervous about Trump’s deal making with North Korea, and plans can still collapse. How will Trump manage Kim when he can’t even manage a summit with the Philadelphia Eagles?
Still, even if North Korea won’t hand over nuclear weapons in the next few years, I can imagine it committing in coming months to a sustained moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile tests, on production of plutonium and uranium fuel, on transfer of nuclear technology to other countries, such as Syria.