The rapid about-face in relations between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, from one marked by insults and invective to the verge of what is billed as an historic face-to-face meeting, is welcome (assuming it actually happens). Success would be in the whole world’s interest. Trump always wants a win. Kim wants punishing economic sanctions lifted and guarantees of long-term survival. South Korea wants to avoid a cataclysmic conflict on the Korean peninsula. So do China and Japan. Success seems less likely, though, than the possibility that a meeting would produce yet another false start, perhaps a dangerous one. Over the past quarter-century there have been much-hyped agreements to restrain North Korea’s nuclear-weapons ambitions, followed by cheating in Pyongyang and aggressive escalation. Today, the hope that Kim might relinquish his nuclear weapons is a false one. The best Trump can get is a verifiable freeze in a program that’s probably close to being ...

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