Home/Daniel Larison/Trump Isn’t Bothering to Prepare for the North Korea Summit

Trump Isn’t Bothering to Prepare for the North Korea Summit

The summit with North Korea is still scheduled to take place next month, but the president isn’t bothering to do much work to prepare for it:

With just one month until a scheduled sit-down with North Korea’s leader, President Donald Trump hasn’t set aside much time to prepare for meeting with Kim Jong Un, a stark contrast to the approach of past presidents.

“He doesn’t think he needs to,” said a senior administration official familiar with the President’s preparation. Aides plan to squeeze in time for Trump to learn more about Kim’s psychology and strategize on ways to respond to offers Kim may make in person, but so far a detailed plan hasn’t been laid out for getting Trump ready for the summit.

There was never much time for the administration to prepare for the summit once the president agreed to it earlier this year, but it seems that what little time Trump has to get ready is being squandered because he can’t be bothered to do the work. Trump’s lack of interest in preparation doesn’t come as a surprise, but it is all the more alarming when we consider that he is probably one of the least informed, most inexperienced presidents ever to conduct high-level negotiations with a foreign leader. This is one more reason to worry that the summit will end up being a huge setback for a diplomatic resolution to the current standoff.

The fact that he will be meeting with Kim to discuss very significant and technically detailed subjects just makes his aversion to preparation that much more disturbing. Trump’s lack of understanding of the nuclear deal with Iran shows how susceptible he is to being influenced by bogus claims. The president’s ignorance and unpreparedness will make him an easy mark for both his hard-line advisers and the North Koreans. His failure to do the necessary work prior to the meeting makes it that much more likely that the summit will achieve nothing of value.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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