There were no concrete resolutions from the North Korean summit in Hanoi this week leading some to label the talks a failure but the biggest win is not being covered. The president said he is in no rush to push these talks to an unfavorable conclusion and no one is talking about how Kim Long Un has now left North Korea twice in the span of a year. He needs to get out and see the world, and if nothing else, Trump is getting him to do just that.
The line of North Korean dictators has rarely ever left their stronghold in Pyongyang save for short curated trips to China. They spend their days in their manicured city ruling over a complex web of lies and deceit about the outside world. If you lie and consume lies for long enough, you start to believe them. The lines between truth and falsehood become blurred. Getting Kim Long Un to Singapore and Hanoi forces him to see the world for what it is and not for what he tells his people it is.
Singapore is a glittering jewel of capitalism, a modern mega city built on free trade and friendly neighbors. Hanoi is a growing center of a reformed and rising Southeast Asian economy. These are good places for him to see and places that are firmly outside of the Chinese bubble of control that North Korea spends most of it’s time.
Hopefully there is a third peace summit somewhere on the horizon, maybe in Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, not only for peace but to open the mind of a dictator.
How many cities do you have to see before your city seems more and more what it truly is: a facade. Pyongyang is a fake, propped up by a flow of cheap Chinese goods. It produces nothing and Kim’s people can’t appreciate it. Returning from Hanoi, it can only look that way, even to the only person who truly lives in it.
The more he sees the better he’ll understand what he’s missing out on. As soon as he covets what the rest of Asia has he’ll begin to come around (if he hasn’t already). The big thing standing between him and the things he wants are the sanctions. I can bet they’re looking worse by the day. Trump says he wants to do this right and not quickly. More time for Kim Jong Un to realize that his country is a hermit backwater the likes of which the world rarely sees.