But now, Kim has gotten a taste of what it’s like to act on the world stage — of, say, appreciating the unprompted squeals from tourists in Singapore, who greeted him on a midnight run — and he likes it. He wants more of it. Long constrained by threat of invasion and treated as an outlaw, his perceived cooperation with Trump is the first step in a path to new degrees of freedom.
As he makes his transformation, Kim will come to understand the past as truly a prologue. This is a man who stands accused of crimes against humanity. As The New York Times reminds us, “Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world.” How quickly will the world accept the brutality of Kim’s past actions? Diplomacy always requires a combination of forgiving and forgetting, but the fact that Kim — who is widely assumed to have ordered the assassination of his own half-brother just last year — is at the table to discuss denuclearization, and that Trump has said he trusts this man, means that a lot has already been forgotten.