I was born and raised in Missouri and have pretty much lived my life along the lines of our state motto. “Show Me.” I have always looked at every issue through the eyes of a skeptic, waiting for actual results. Talk is cheap and promises even cheaper; the divorce rate in our society is a prime example of broken promises. The meeting today between President Trump and Kim Jong Un was successful by most standards. I’ve already heard media criticism that went from the handshake to Trump’s failure to address human rights. This was just the first step in a long journey that will hopefully take the world to a safer place. There was agreement by both parties to denuclearize but I doubt there is anyone who is willing to accept this promise on blind faith. We have been down this road before and the North Koreans are not always (in fact never) faithful to agreements. The President stated that he believed Kim Jong Un to be trustworthy, but I’m sure President Trump is of the “show me” mindset as well. Signing an agreement to denuclearize was the easy part, the difficult part will come with completing the task. We have limited intelligence on how many nukes Kim has in his possession and where they are located. This undertaking will be much more complicated and difficult than the previous denuclearizations of Libya and South Africa. The President understands that sanctions must remain in place until most (or all) of the deal is done. As the great Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over until its over.” Unlike previous presidents, this president will keep a credible military threat option at the ready if needed. No one questions the President’s willingness to use force if warranted.
Surprisingly the North Koreans have also agreed to destroy rocket testing facilities and return the remains of military members killed in the Korean War. Families of former POWs/MIAs asked the President to petition the North Koreans for any existing remains. Our Japanese allies want the return of civilians unjustly taken by the North Koreans and held as hostages. The President couldn’t address every issue with Kim Jong Un and many of these are topics that can be adequately handled by other staff members. The Singapore Summit opened a dialogue between the U.S. and a former member of the “axis of evil.” Future meetings will be required to outline verification and methods for the destruction and disposal of nuclear weapons. Other controversial topics can also be approached in later discussions. We have stepped back from the brink of nuclear war and everyone, regardless of political party, should be grateful. I was fortunate to watch most of the news conference that followed the meetings. I especially liked the President’s quote, “War is easy, peace is difficult.”