Great Again

​Trump has even managed to turn the boring stuff of world-leader summitry—usually a tightly scripted, rigidly controlled affair where the outcome is largely determined in advance—into a dramatic event more akin to a prize fight than a nuclear negotiation. And he’s tried to turn his reported lack of preparation or interest in the gritty details of uranium enrichment and ICBM throw weights into a strength, touting his flexibility and fingertip feel for a deal. “I think I’m very well prepared,” the president said last week before setting out for the Group of Seven summit in Canada.

 “I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about the attitude.”Most presidents are careful not to set too high a bar for themselves before embarking on difficult, if not impossible, tasks like cutting a (good) deal with North Korea. Yet Trump has toggled between setting wildly unrealistic expectations for the summit and seemingly remembering that he’s not supposed to raise hopes too much. “I believe we’re going to have a terrific success,” he said last week before adding, “or a modified success.”

All of it—the historic nature of a summit between a volatile American president and a little-known North Korean dictator, the uncertainty of what Trump will do once he’s in the room with Kim, the potentially nuclear stakes of a failed deal – has made Tuesday’s meeting the most closely watched, and hotly anticipated, summit since Ronald Reagan sat down with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik in 1986.

Whether he succeeds or fails, to his supporters, is almost beside the point—the president is making diplomacy great again. When Trump landed in Singapore, touting the “excitement in the air” despite not setting a foot outside, his former communications staffer Jason Miller tweeted, “Clinton couldn’t do it. Bush couldn’t do it. Obama couldn’t do it. Trump IS doing it!”