Some have speculated that President Donald Trump’s historic agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may earn him a Nobel Peace Prize. But wait: critics believe it could lead to an even more nuclearized and aggressive North Korea, making the U.S. president’s efforts look foolish. Only history will decide the true impact from this unexpected agreement, reached in a summit between a merciless dictator and the president who has publicly demeaned him as “Rocket Man.” In the meantime, here are some thoughts from both sides on this event.
10. “Here’s the truth: We don’t know what this will be yet. If it turns out that Trump has a trick up his sleeve — if it turns out that Trump has indeed convinced Kim to denuclearize and liberalize his country — then this will go down in history as a move of extraordinary genius. If, however, it’s a photo op designed to allow Trump to claim status as a diplomatic wizard, and if Kim gives up nothing while the United States legitimizes an evil tyrant and ratchets down military exercises with South Korea, it will be a debacle.”
— Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro
9. “While very light on substance, Trump and Kim Jong Un’s meeting is a positive step in de-escalating tensions and addressing the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Congress has a key role to play in making sure this is a meaningful process, not just a series of photo ops.”
— U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders
8. “Let me give you my first reaction: It might be the best thing anybody ever did in a negotiation. Period. It might be, in the history of the world, the best thing ever did. It is so good. It hits every note perfectly.”
— Scott Adams, creator of the cartoon Dilbert, talking about the short movie-trailer-type video Trump played for Kim at the summit. If you missed it, check it out here.
7. “It goes without saying that Democrats would view President Trump’s North Korean negotiations quite differently than Republicans, but I was honestly surprised by the strong negative reaction of Trump critics on the right. Don’t get me wrong; some Trump critics on the right reflexively oppose everything he does or says, but my gut reaction when first learning of the summit was that even they would grudgingly acknowledge this as a positive development. But their reaction was viscerally negative, harsh, cynical, pessimistic and absolute. Either I overestimated their capacity for some fairness concerning Trump or I am radically wrong in how I interpret the summit results.”
— Conservative commentator David Limbaugh
6. “This is what North Korea has wanted from the beginning, and I cannot believe that our side allowed it. I am quite simply surprised that months of negotiations produced so little.”
— Joseph Y. Yun, a former State Department official who has negotiated in the past with North Korea, in the New York Times.
5. “Kim’s gulags, public executions, planned starvation, are legitimized on the world stage. U.S. gives up one of our biggest negotiating chips — military exercises. North Korea ends up backtracking on previous promises on denuclearization. What the hell?”
— Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), on Twitter.
4. “We must always be clear that we are dealing with a brutal regime with a long history of deceit. Only time will tell if North Korea is serious this time, and in the meantime we must continue to apply maximum economic pressure.”
— Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
3. “Suspending U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises is a mistake. Making unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests — and it is a bad negotiating tactic. Parroting Chinese and North Korean propaganda by saying joint exercises are ‘provocative’ undermines our security and alliances.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), sharing a common refrain from politicians on both sides who questioned Trump’s decision to shut down the exercises.
2. “It is Donald Trump’s recurring boast that with the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un, he has succeeded in negotiations with North Korea where his predecessors failed. But the claim obscures a long history of agreements made and broken by both countries. The lesson of two major deals, in 1994 and 2005, is that it is much easier to reach agreements than to implement them. In fact, the complex, fraught process of implementation has usually brought with it new flashpoints and new crises.”
1. “I too have concerns about how all this with North Korea will turn out. But I don’t recall all the ‘experts’ criticizing Obama when he met with a brutal dictator in Cuba who also oversaw a police state and also killed and jailed his opponents. … President’s meeting with (Kim) exposed incredible hypocrisy of many in media. When Obama did these things, he was described as enlightened. When Trump does it he is reckless and foolish. One year ago they attacked Trump for leading us towards war, now they attack for being too quick for peace.”
— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)