With the abrupt breakdown of the Hanoi summit, the diplomatic negotiations between the United States and North Korea got a reset, and that’s a good thing. If dialogue resumes, it will be on a firmer, more realistic basis.
President Trump’s swoon for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had worried many observers who feared the president would make a rushed, overly generous deal just to claim a win. Cautioned by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to avoid concessions on sanctions before he had hard evidence that North Korea was truly moving toward full denuclearization, Trump decided that “sometimes you have to walk.”
After the summit collapsed Thursday without an agreement, some commentators blamed Trump for lack of preparation. This president doesn’t prepare very well for anything but, in this case, the criticism is somewhat misplaced. It was the North Koreans who blocked adequate groundwork, by resisting U.S. efforts to plan for a productive meeting.