Executive Intelligence Review


Trump’s Strategy Choosing Singapore and Vietnam for Kim Summits

March 3, 2019 (EIRNS)—Graham Allison, in a commentary in The National Interest on March 1, states that the chorus of naysayers calling the Kim-Trump summit a “failure” have missed the point. He points to the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik in October 1986, in which Reagan was not only interested in the arms deal, but in “the mind of an autocrat whom he thought he could persuade to try to transform his entire country” [emphasis in original]. Allison does not identify the real cause for Reagan walking away from the deal—i.e., LaRouche’s SDI, which Gorbachev and Reagan’s advisors wanted to trade away but which Reagan refused to give up, which ended up confirming LaRouche’s warning to Moscow that the U.S.S.R. would collapse economically if they refused to cooperate on the SDI.

But Allison also makes clear that President Donald Trump’s selection of Singapore and Vietnam for the two summits was a brilliant strategic move.

“Consider Trump’s selection of Hanoi and Singapore last spring as the sites for his summits with Kim Jong Un. If the objective were to excite the imagination of the leader of one of the most impoverished, isolated nations on Earth, it is difficult to imagine a more captivating venue. Only 55 years ago, the United States was at war with Vietnam, and Singapore was a notoriously corrupt, poor port that could have reminded one of North Korea today. Even with authoritarian leadership, they embraced the magic of market economics and integrated into the global economy, becoming economic powerhouses. This message was surely not lost on Kim.”

In fact, North Korean press is placing a major focus on Kim’s state visit with Vietnam, both before and after the summit with Trump. While in Hanoi, Kim met with President Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also the general secretary of the Communist Party, at the Presidential Palace, then met separately with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. He also toured several industrial sites before being given a grand send-off on his train ride back to North Korea. The “Vietnam model” is now an active concept in North Korea, whereas Kim, like his father, has been very hesitant to discuss or implement the similar “China model”—the massive neighbor which Koreans on both sides of the DMZ are glad to cooperate with, but hesitant to be dominated by.