The blunderer-in-chief has let North Korea’s dictator emerge unscathed over his regime’s appalling human rights abuses
Donald Trump’s self-reverential style of personalised, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants diplomacy just crashed and burned in Hanoi. It is fitting, perhaps, that Vietnam – scene of past American humiliations – was the setting for the blunderer-in-chief’s greatest flop. Trump tried to wing it in nuclear talks with North Korea’s more canny leader, Kim Jong-un, and got what he deserved: precisely nothing. The summit, like last year’s effort in Singapore, was a Trump vanity project – and proved a labour in vain.
In principle just about everybody, including close neighbours South Korea, China and Russia, would like to see North Korea’s nuclear arsenal brought under international supervision, and preferably eliminated altogether. To make such a mess of things, given this exceptional consensus, is a true measure of Trump’s incomparable incompetence. Yet this is barely a surprise. It is entirely of a piece with his amateurish approach to key foreign policy challenges the world over.