Who Could've Guessed Kim Jong Un Would Be Erratic and Unreliable?

Remember when everyone (not everyone) was congratulating Donald Trump for ending hostilities between North Korea and South Korea, and everyone (not everyone) was pretending that it suddenly didn't matter that the Trump administration had decimated the State Department and were wholly unprepared for the sensitive diplomatic mission that meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un would be, because everyone (not everyone) was inexplicably also pretending that Trump and Kim are reasonable people who keep their word?

Yeah. Well. First this happened:

Which should have been entirely expected by anyone who's been paying the slightest bit of attention to how Kim operates.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped.

Anna Fifield at the Washington Post: North Korea Expands Threat to Cancel Trump-Kim Summit, Saying It Won't Be Pushed to Abandon Its Nukes.
North Korea is rapidly moving the goal posts for next month's summit between leader Kim Jong Un and [Donald] Trump, saying the United States must stop insisting it "unilaterally" abandon its nuclear program and stop talking about a Libya-style solution to the standoff.

The latest warning, delivered by former North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Gye Gwan on Wednesday, fits Pyongyang's well-established pattern of raising the stakes in negotiations by threatening to walk out if it doesn't get its way.

...If the Trump administration approaches the summit "with sincerity" for improved relations, "it will receive a deserved response from us," Kim Gye Gwan, now vice foreign minister, said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday.

"However, if the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit," he said, using the abbreviation for North Korea's official name. He also questioned the sequencing of denuclearization first, compensation second.

...Trump and his top aides, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, have repeatedly said that the United States wants the "complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization of North Korea" — a high standard that Pyongyang has previously balked at.

Bolton, known for his sharply hawkish views, has said that North Korea must commit to a disarmament similar to "Libya 2004." He was undersecretary of state for arms control in 2004, when Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi agreed to give up its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

But this is not a tempting model for North Korea. Seven years after surrendering his nuclear program, Gaddafi was overthrown, then brutally killed by opponents of his regime.
There is much more at the link.

This is indeed "not a tempting model for North Korea," especially when Trump has just reneged on the Iran deal, signaling that the United States' word is garbage.

But neither party in this summit are actually interested in the ostensible goal of the summit, anyway. Kim wants legitimacy — an objective to which he's gotten closer care of Trump even agreeing to the summit, irrespective of whether it now happens. Trump and Bolton want an excuse to launch a preemptive strike on North Korea — as does Mike Pence.

Kim wants Trump to keep demanding denuclearization, so he can have an excuse to walk away from the summit. Trump wants Kim to walk away from the summit, so he can have an excuse for war.

That isn't diplomacy. It's amateur gamesmanship from two of the most erratic, unreliable, egomaniacal, dangerous leaders on the planet.

How embarrassing for anyone covering this mess who indulged the absurd pretense that it could ever be anything else.

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