Unable to do anything to de-escalate tensions with North Korea during the eight years Barack Obama occupied the White House, Democrats now think they know what Donald Trump needs to do to keep his second summit with Kim Jong Un from being a flop.

Democratic strategist Leslie Marshall, appearing on the Fox News Special Report program on Monday, insisted that photo ops will not be enough.

“Unless we are hard and push on full denuclearization, we are not taking baby steps toward our goal because in a sense, in this regard, Kim Jong Un is holding the cards and we’re not getting anywhere," Marshall said. "What kind of a deal do we have? Really nothing and I fear that we will have that again.”

Trump and Kim have done a lot of work to bring their nations back from the brink of war but denuclearization is not something that can or will happen overnight. The threat of war has diminished greatly since these two unique men first met last year for an unlikely summit. They appear to like each other but trust is tough. It takes time.

Chairman Kim has watched his economy collapse under the pressure of crushing U.S. sanctions and world isolation, and would like nothing more than to experience some of the economic growth he has seen in Singapore and Vietnam in recent days. But Kim knows there is a price to pay and he must make some risky decisions to get from here to there. It will take time.

Trump, on the other hand, has far less to lose. Time is on Trump's side. War with North Korea appeared unavoidable when Trump took office but he was able to walk the crisis back from the abyss. Trump wins if he keeps the two sides talking and not shooting at each other.

Success has been measured. American prisoners have been released and some remains have been returned. Small steps indeed, but steps in the right direction. A pledge to return additional remains and perhaps even a discussion about ending the decades-old war that has been old hold for more than 60 years would be more positive progress.

Anyone expecting a rapid resolution to the North Korea crisis is expecting too much. If nothing more substantive than an agreement to meet a third time is announced this week in Vietnam, then the summit will have been a success. As long as we are talking, the guns remain silent.

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 barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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