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Diplomacy is harder when you're simply shouting the loudest

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Posted: May 25, 2018 10:57 AM
Updated: May 25, 2018 10:58 AM

Well, there goes the Nobel Peace Prize. But could President Trump ever have seen himself sharing such an honor with anyone else? Or, for that matter, could he be seen as sharing a global spotlight with someone he'd not so long ago been calling Little Rocket Man?

We also need to look at the bizarre events of the last few months from the other end of the telescope.

Could Kim Jong Un ever have trusted the likes of Trump to guarantee his safety, his survival, his continued rule as a power-hungry dictator without a single nuclear sidearm, let alone a full-on arsenal? Hardly likely.

After all, would Kim really have faced down the leader who, confronted with the most urgent pleas from all of his most loyal allies abroad, was prepared to withdraw from another nuclear pact -- with Iran -- that was in fact guaranteeing exactly what Trump wanted from Kim? Zero nukes for a very long time. Not likely.

Yet, isn't that what French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson were warning Trump about?

Their message was a simple one, and indeed as it turned out, quite prescient: That his act of summarily withdrawing from the Iran agreement could poison the well of a truce with North Korea and the elimination of its nuclear deterrent.

The timing of Trump's announcement on Thursday, unilaterally putting a stake through the heart of his long-sought summit, was hardly unexpected.

Just hours earlier, the North Korean leader had welcomed the world press to witness the destruction of the deep tunnels where he'd set off the atomic and hydrogen bombs that so inflamed Trump's passion.

Suddenly, Kim was showing that he was the big man, capable of the grand, theatrical gesture. Television teams from around the world, admitted to one of the most isolated and carefully guarded locations in the world's most secretive nation, carefully positioned for a truly dramatic act.

If that doesn't sound like a scenario ready for prime-time television, what does? How do you spell one-upmanship?

There's nothing facile, even easy, about nuclear diplomacy. It's the diplomatic equivalent of three-dimensional chess. But both Trump and Kim have long seemed to be laboring over a game of checkers.

At the same time, Trump was doing little to smooth the path to the summit for an individual like Kim for whom paranoia is built into the DNA of his entire family.

"We will guarantee his safety. He will be safe, he will be happy, his country will be rich," Trump pledged earlier this week with the president of South Korea sitting by his side in the Oval Office.

But guarantee his safety where? In a forced exile in Singapore or Mongolia -- another spot that was at one point under consideration before Singapore was finally selected as the venue for the summit?

Neither is a very appealing prospect to an absolute dictator accustomed to having everyone tremble at his beck and call.

When it comes down to the now apparently demolished Kim-Trump summit, it's clear that it's all but impossible to play on a level playing field with a weapons-grade egomaniac. Moreover, when two individuals each has the ability to rain down nuclear horror on the other, and when at least one is just a bit mad, then the odds multiply many times.

No, we should hardly be surprised. What the world must now be holding its breath over is just how many other test tunnels, how many storage sites for missiles and weapons is Kim Jong Un harboring that no inspector will now able to identify.

Perhaps Trump has acted as impulsively and ill-advisedly in pulling out of this summit as he did when he surprised the world by accepting Kim's invitation without considering where it all might end up.

We can only hope that neither side is in an impulsive move to demonstrate that his nuclear button is bigger than the other's.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
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Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
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Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
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Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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