U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walk after lunch at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

The Singapore summit was mesmerizing political theater. In this latest installment of “diplotainment,” live from the Oval Office, U.S. President Donald Trump assured the American people that they could trust Kim Jong Un and that North Korea's supreme leader was sincere about denuclearization. Further adding to the spectacle was a faux film trailer that Trump had prepared for Kim. Claiming to have been produced by “Destiny Pictures,” the video featured footage of Trump and Kim as tense music played in the background; a male narrator spoke in overly dramatic tones: “A new story, a new beginning, one of peace. Two men, two leaders, one destiny. A story in a special moment in time. When a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated, what will he choose?” 

Trump is certainly correct in pointing out that he made history in meeting amicably with his North Korean adversary.

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  • DANIEL R. RUSSEL is Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute, in New York. He served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2013–2017 and was Special Assistant to the President for East Asian Affairs in President Barack Obama's first term.
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