Donald Trump suddenly called off the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. This will no doubt please the hardliners in his administration and the foreign policy establishment who for some reason seemed to view the prospect of a summit that was not loaded with preconditions for disarmament as a bad idea.
North Korea had reacted angrily to recent statements by John Bolton and Mike Pence suggesting that North Korea should follow the ‘Libya model’. Why this should surprise anyone is hard to imagine. When Libya is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is a country that has been devastated by the US and its European allies wit its leader who had dismantled his nuclear program being brutalized before being killed by mobs. Anyone who tells the North Koreans that this is the model that the US favors is pretty much asking for a hostile response. In fact, the North Koreans calling Pence a ‘political dummy’ was pretty mild and actually accurate. Have we forgotten that Trump had already called Kim ‘little Rocket Man’ and Kim replied that he was a ‘dotard’?
What was interesting was the tone of the letter that Trump wrote to Kim cancelling the meeting. It sounded oddly like the kind of letter a spurned lover might send to the person who dumped him, appealing for another chance to try and re-start the relationship. It does not surprise me that reports say that Trump personally dictated the letter. And indeed, now there are reports that the summit might still happen, even if not on the original date.
Instead of writing a letter, maybe Trump should have sung to Kim this great old song by Neil Sedaka that was the inspiration for this post’s title. It captures perfectly the tone of the letter.