A Second Trump-Kim Summit Is Good, But I'm Skeptical

A Second Trump-Kim Summit Is Good, But I'm Skeptical

The North Korean leader will meet with President Trump in Vietnam on February 27 and 28.

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I didn't watch the State of the Union address. Despite all the hullabaloo that had been made over it while President Trump and Speaker Pelosi were caught in the government shutdown standoff, I completely forgot that it was even happening.

The only reason I even remembered? I caught the tail end of it on TV while running on a treadmill at the gym.

Now, shame on me and my poor current affairs skills, but despite it all, I didn't actually take the time to watch Trump's speech as it was happening. I did watch the Kansas-K-State basketball game though (congrats Wildcats) and got a truncated version of the speech from my roommate later.

Included in that review was the knowledge that President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will be meeting in three weeks' time in Vietnam.

I was blindsided by that. Their previous summit, held in Singapore on June 12, 2018, had originally been proposed by the North Koreans during and right around the time of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which were held in PyeongChang, South Korea in February of that year. Comparatively, the declaration for this summit, scheduled for February 27th and 28th, has had no similar lead-up.

As of my writing this, the Trump administration has just 21 days to pull things together.

Now, of course, the fact that knowledge of the Vietnam summit (which will be held in either Hanoi or Da Nang) was not public until the State of the Union address does not mean there wasn't already groundwork being laid for the event. In fact, I'd be very much doubt if there hasn't already been some sort of dialogue over where, when, and how to hold this upcoming summit. And yet, it still seems curious to me that there had been no mention of it before now, especially given the issues the Republicans faced in the 2018 midterms.

After all, up to this point, the talks with North Korea have been primarily about optics. One would be hard-pressed to argue otherwise. If Trump had advanced knowledge of such a continued conversation, why not unleash it during the midterms as an example of successful Republican foreign policy?

That is unless you don't see the Trump-Kim summits as a successful foreign policy, which in many ways I don't. Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, one of the most militarized regions in the world, is a goal most all of us want, and when news first broke about the Trump-Kim summit of last year, I was encouraged.

Now? Still encouraged, but also skeptical.

While saying no to diplomatic dialogue is often a foolhardy action, being railroaded and manipulated in said dialogues by foreign counterparts is almost worse.

While Trump has declared major foreign policy wins in regard to both Russia and North Korea and (supposedly) improved diplomatic relations with each, neither has taken definitive action that would seem to truly satisfy American interest. When President Trump met with Vladimir Putin, also last year, their joint press conference was widely seen as American capitulation, especially as Putin continued to deny that Russia was responsible for running interference in the 2016 election. Likewise, despite the cessation of nuclear testing on the Korean Peninsula, Kim Jong-Un has taken few, if any, steps to complete denuclearization of his rogue nation. If anything, the process has become only more convoluted, with some figures in the area of international affairs warning that the North Korean regime will merely move and conceal its nuclear weapons from international inspectors, rather than comply with any substantive agreement with the United States.

Ultimately, such lack of progress after the first summit some eight months ago leaves me dubious that this time around things will be different. If Kim wasn't willing to make a significant change last June, what would be different now that could convince him to change course? If anything, the Republicans' loss of the House of Representatives in 2018 likely signals to the rest of the world that Trump and his ideologies do not have nearly the same kind of stranglehold on American life as do true authoritarians like Putin and Kim.

And yet, with that being said, I'd hate to entirely snuff out hope. After all, Kim has agreed to talk again and, if anything, the prologue to these talks seems to be going much smoother than the last time around, when a variety of factors almost led to the summit being canceled.

This second summit should be met with optimism, albeit a cautious kind.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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