Let us begin by lowering our expectations: President Donald Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un will not be a Nixon-goes-to-China rerun. After all, Trump is no Richard Nixon, nor does Kim remind anyone of Chou Enlai or Mao Zedong.
Nixon was a classic paranoid, while Trump is a posterchild for narcissism. But then again nobody’s perfect. Unlike Mao and Chou, who led the Chinese Revolution, Kim inherited his post from his father.
Kim and Trump – self-aggrandizing, obese, with vast inherited wealth and sporting strange hair styles – hardly fit the mold of seasoned statesmen who place their nation’s fortunes before their own.
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A couple of weeks before the surrender of Japan ended World War II, troops from the Soviet Union seized the Northern half of Korea, while the Americans controlled the South. The historical die was thus cast, leading to the Korean War, and then the permanent occupation of North Korea by the communists. Then, since the mid-1950s, the heavily armed Koreas faced each other across the so-called “demilitarized zone,” which was anything but.
Although we tend to focus on North Korea’s nuclear arm