Trump’s impulsive actions and the subsequent failure of his summitry amply demonstrate the limitations of a president who operates from the “gut” with virtually no understanding of the complex issues involved. Rather than win a Nobel Peace Prize, he once again has proved himself to be clownish and incompetent. How things proceed from here is anyone’s guess.
Trump is famously thin-skinned, and his letter reflects his personal pique at the tongue-lashing his administration received. His letter spoke in highly personal terms, praising the “wonderful dialogue [that] was building up between you and me” and then thanking Kim for releasing the Americans he never should have detained (“a beautiful gesture“). To complete the unprofessional tone, he threw in a classic Trumpian boast that while Kim talks about his nukes “ours are so massive and powerful.”
The problem now — and this was among the most troubling aspect of an impulsive decision to hold a summit almost certain to fail (or never occur) — is where we go from here. It’s hard to imagine that lower-level diplomats can resume discussions if the president has thrown in the towel on diplomacy. Trump will no doubt begin banging the drums of war again, enjoying the credit from right-wingers who yesterday were praising him for dropping his bellicose tone.