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The promise and peril of Trump’s North Korea meeting

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On a special all-North Korea episode, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s secret meeting with Kim Jong Un, the clearest sign yet that the Trump administration is serious about setting aside the belligerent rhetoric and having a historic face-to-face summit between Donald Trump and Kim. There’s no guarantee the meeting will happen, or that the two men will strike a deal. One thing is clear, though: The diplomatic push is the biggest and riskiest gamble of Trump’s entire presidency. Yochi tries to quote Jenn’s colorful language and fails, Jenn says “shit kickin’” like a true Texas girl, and Zack says a lot of funny stuff that got cut in editing. Links! The Washington Post piece that Jennifer referenced breaking the news that Pompeo met with North Korean leadership Yochi wrote a piece about what a war with North Korea would look like. Spoiler: It’d be grim. Yochi mentioned Zack’s piece about Trump’s policy contradictions Zack mentioned that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was sometimes perceived as a moderate but also pushed for more hawkish approaches. Here’s some more context on that. Jenn mentioned that Tillerson and Pompeo had very different relationships with Trump, and went into what that might mean for their influence on his foreign policy choices. This article goes into that a little more. We have a lot of pieces about North Korean denuclearization at Vox, but here’s one from Jenn that talks about what that denuclearization might mean and walks through some of the possible trade-offs that might be made to get there. Jenn’s take was that some of the “madman” rhetoric out of the White House might have foreign leaders scared. Here’s the piece about Xi that she mentioned while defending that take, and another piece diving into the subject. She also mentioned interviews with a high-level North Korean defector. Zack sided with North Korea experts who are skeptical of the idea that North Korean leaders are scared of Trump’s rhetoric. Here’s a piece that outlines their pushback. The Washington Post piece we pulled the statistics on South Korean support for reunification from. Jenn touched on the differences between the current and previous presidents of South Korea. Zack spoke about political data from the US that suggests political identity is shaped early. Our daily Vox podcast, Today, Explained, also has some fantastic foreign policy episodes! 

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