Who’s Flattering Whom?



Early on the morning of May 10, Donald Trump tweeted a dramatic 32-second video celebrating the return home of three U.S. citizens held until last week in North Korea. It was a made-for-TV moment, and the slick video ensured that millions of Americans who didn’t stay up until 3 a.m. to watch it live could experience this moment of triumph.

It was a triumph: for the three former detainees, for their families, for the president, and for the country. But it was also just a moment—a split second of joy amid decades of North Korean betrayal and duplicity. The president would be wise to expect that any diplomatic encounters with Kim Jong-un will be defined more by the latter than the former.

As he stood on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, Trump said with evident conviction that he believes in Kim Jong-un. When ABC News’s indefatigable Jonathan Karl asked the president why the North Korean leader had chosen to release the Americans, Trump said: “I really think he wants…

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