Trump and Kim: The Summit of the Sneetches
The Summit of the Sneetches: off again, on again as insults fly like intercontinental rockets
At the time of going to print, the summit between Donald Jong-un and Kim Trump (not related) was on again. This could of course have changed overnight. Twitter never sleeps.
To recap: the White House stunned the world by announcing that Trump and Kim, until then taking the world to the brink of nuclear war, would sit down together and make peace.
So far, so good. On April 8, Trump said: "We’ll be meeting ... and I think there’ll be great respect paid by both parties and hopefully we’ll be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea."
On May 10, he said the summit would take place on June 12 in Singapore.
A couple of weeks later, Trump’s new security adviser, John R Bolton, put his foot in it. The meeting, he said, should focus on de-nuclearising similar to that which took place in Libya 12 to 14 years ago, saying he would ship the weapons to Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The good folks of Oak Ridge were perturbed. Kim was horrified. Perhaps he was planning to ship the weapons to Robert Mugabe’s retirement village for safekeeping.
Then US vice-president Mike Pence chimed in, saying that if Kim did not dismantle his nukes, North Korea would "end like the Libyan model" (not well, by all accounts).
North Korea’s vice-foreign minister Choe Son-hui said Pence was "ignorant and stupid" and made threats about a nuclear war.
Enter Trump who wrote to Kim, saying that "based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting ... You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used." (God was not available for comment, but is believed to be in favour of de-nuclearisation.)
The summit was off.
Then, miraculously, last weekend the summit was on again after South Korea met North Korea and talked Kim down.
The whole circus brings to mind the epic Dr Seuss poem The Sneetches in which otherwise identical creatures believe themselves to be superior based on whether or not they have a star on their belly.
The real money is to be made by the shrewd operator who has a machine that removes or embeds stars. "Off again! On Again! In again! Out again! Through the machines they raced round and about again, Changing their stars every minute or two."
And so — the world awaits the Summit of the Sneetches.