Sometimes You Have to Walk [OPINION]
President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un have reached an impasse in their talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. Both leaders expressed disappointment as they walked away from their recent summit empty-handed, leading me to believe that this process is far from over.
I remember well the 1986 Reykjavík Summit when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev walked away in frustration after being unable to reach a nuclear weapons agreement. Their two days of talks collapsed in the final moments when Reagan refused to budge on his Strategic Defense Initiative, or Star Wars, program.
The two leaders had established a strong relationship built on trust and respect which allowed them to finally sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty the following year. Reagan held strong to his principles and beliefs during those talks and was unwilling to accept a deal he thought was less than what the American people expected.
Trump could have left Vietnam with a signed agreement for denuclearization but he would have had to lift the economic sanctions against North Korea. Trump held true to his insistence that there be no pre-conditions.
“Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to de-nuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.” said Trump, who walked out on the meeting. "I'd much rather do it right than do it fast."
Kim, obviously disappointed at winning no concessions from Trump, told western reporters he truly does wish to denuclearize.
“If I’m not willing to do that, I won’t be here right now," he said.
I predict that Trump and Kim will meet again sooner rather than later, and that a meaningful agreement will be adopted that will result in denuclearization and a beneficial relationship between the U.S. and North Korea.
As with Reagan and Gorbachev, there is a trust and respect that is developing with Trump and Kim. With a little time, the world could be a bit safer for their efforts. But sometimes you have to walk.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.