It now appears highly unlikely that President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be meeting after all. Indeed, this came as no surprise to Whitehouse advisors, who had rated the chances of such a meeting taking place as less than even.
This outcome seemed as inevitable as the ending of a Greek tragedy. However much the two leaders may have wanted the meeting to take place, their hubris was stronger than they were.
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Once the North Korean regime had labeled Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy,” it probably took every ounce of Trump’s self-restraint from once again calling Kim “little rocket man.”
Still, after cancelling the meeting that had been scheduled in Singapore on June 12th, Trump did leave the door open if Kim decided to once again reach out to him. But in the meanwhile, both men would need to refrain from name-calling.
It appears, Mr. Trump can kiss that Nobel Peace Prize good-bye – at least for now. As he penned his letter to Mr. Kim calling off the meeting, he was well aware that his chances were slipping away.
Had a fruitful negotiation taken place, who could have said that Trump, and perhaps Kim as well, were not deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize? But for Trump, this loss is personal.
Surely, he has reasoned, he would have been much more deserving than his predecessor, Barack Obama. And then too, was it fair that the man who did the most to promote his candidacy for the prize should be unrewarded for his prodigious efforts?
That man, of course, just happened to be Donald Trump.
A successful conclusion of the peace talks probably would have provided the Republicans with a substantial boost in the upcoming Congressional elections. After all, Trump surely would have been unable to resist taking a months-long nationwide victory lap, and Republican candidates could have basked in his reflected glory.
Rather than reminisce with audiences of the faithful about his great electoral victory of 2016, he could have flaunted perhaps the most prestigious prize of all. Grateful Americans – among them even some peace-loving Democrats -- would love him almost as much as he loved himself.
Therefore, I believe that Trump would still be genuinely open to giving peace another chance. Perhaps if Kim thinks he’ will also have a shot at sharing the Nobel Peace Prize, the two leaders could costar in a real-life version of “the art of the deal.”
About the Author
Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) which was published last August.