As recently as yesterday morning, Trump said his second meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un would end with the two of them signing a piece of paper together, but they didn't even do that.
The final day of talks between the American and North Korean delegations were seemingly canceled on a whim early this morning and Trump walked away with nothing.
The two leaders began their summit by expressing optimism and the White House announced they would sign a joint declaration, widely expected to at least reaffirm the general goals agreed to when Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore last year.
The ceremony, as well as a working lunch, was abruptly canceled.
“Not only did the Hanoi Summit fail to produce meaningful results, but Trump and his team have clearly squandered the seven months since Singapore to make progress on even modest steps toward the lofty Singapore Summit goals,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association.
This is somehow both a better and worse outcome than I expected.
On one hand it's good that Trump didn't formally give the entire game away by signing another piece of paper, but on the other hand he may as well have. Trump walks away from this meeting with nothing to show up for it except another highlight reel and more legitimacy for Kim Jong-un. The two sides did not agree to the meaning of words or even move toward formally declaring an end to the Korean War.
Kim Jong-un is in a better position today than Trump is because Trump was more thirsty for another meeting than Kim was. Trump agreed to this meeting on a whim and left his lackeys only a few weeks to prepare for it. The fact that they departed Washington with no clear goal or path to achieving something did not matter to Trump because all he wanted was another spectacle.
Here's a wonderful propaganda film for Kim Jong-un that was produced for him by the White House.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2019
I don't see how anyone could still believe that Trump will negotiate his way to a nuclear-free Korea.