If you're having trouble following the mainstream-media commentariat on the minor matter of Donald Trump, North Korea and the human future, here's a short précis and a prediction.
Until about a month ago, the two madmen, presidents Trump and Kim, were thought to be on a collision course that would herald a nuclear Armageddon.
Last weekend, after it was divulged that CIA director and secretary of state-designate Mike Pompeo had met privately with Kim, North Korea announced the immediate suspension of nuclear testing and a willingness to negotiate full denuclearization with the United States. South Korean president Moon Jae-In responded immediately—both with warm words and a balmy bilateral peace offering that included a summit with Kim (scheduled for Friday), the installation of a hotline between the Korean capitals, and the cessation of South Korea's propaganda broadcasts at the border. President Trump stated that he intended to keep to his plan to meet with Kim in May, but made it clear that he did not trust the DPRK dictator and would therefore walk away from the talks if he smelled a rat.
Yet instead of welcoming these developments as promising signs that some form of enduring peace might break out on the Korean peninsula, on editorial pages everywhere Trump was called a rank amateur and worse for being suckered yet again by the wily Kim. As Max Boot put it in Saturday's Washington Post, "Kim may be evil, but he’s not stupid—or suicidal. He’s stringing Trump along, making vague promises that he has no intention of keeping. And Trump, the rube who thinks he’s a sophisticate, shows every sign of falling for the bait."
Today, however, pundits everywhere have begun to concede, in their typically miserly and partisan fashion, that President Trump's foreign policy, though "jarring and juvenile," might actually be "effective." An op-ed in this morning's Washington Post asks, "We’re all preparing for the Trump-Kim summit to go wrong. But what if it goes right?"
Here's what will happen if it goes right.
The Korean War will be declared officially over. North and South Korea will begin to chart a course towards détente if not outright peaceful coexistence for the first time in three generations. Donald Trump will rightly take credit for helping to de-escalate a crisis that bedeviled his predecessors, and for demonstrating that the noble ideal of nuclear non-proliferation might yet have some life left in it.
Then presidents Moon, Kim and Trump will be named joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.