Donald Trump has a problem. World leaders are starting to figure him out. His tweeted bluster is at odds with his repeated, stated desire to avoid additional foreign conflicts. So he speaks loudly and carries no real stick. Or, he’ll change his tone entirely and indulge even the worst of men with the highest of praise.
Even worse, if you commit the ultimate act of defiance — like testing a hydrogen bomb or missiles that can likely reach the U.S. mainland — you can get one of the world’s ultimate diplomatic rewards: a “great power” summit with the United States.
And, finally, putting aside the nuclear calculations for a moment, we cannot ever forget that Trump’s praise is fundamentally false. Kim Jong-un does not have a “great and beautiful vision for his country.” He’s one of the worst human-rights violators in the entire world. He runs gulags, persecutes Christians at a scale Americans can’t comprehend, and slaughters his political enemies in the most gruesome of ways. And rather than condemning his crimes against humanity, the president is praising his “vision.”