Monday’s historic meeting between President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a high-stakes gamble for Trump, says Costas Panagopoulos, a political science professor at Northeastern. It could lead to Nobel Peace Prize nominations for the pair, he said, or to utter disaster.
The summit, held in Singapore, marked the first meeting between leaders of the two nations and resulted in Trump’s pledge to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea and Kim’s pledge to dismantle his nuclear arsenal.
Beyond those assurances—and the fact that two adversaries who were hurling threats of nuclear warfare at each other on Twitter months ago have now shaken hands—how significant was the meeting? Is Trump really in line to win a Nobel Peace Prize, as South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In suggested he should be back in April?
“If there are positive developments moving forward, and if Kim Jong Un does what he say he’s willing to do—and addresses the myriad human rights violations alleged against him—that could make both of them completely eligible for Nobel Peace Prizes,” Panagopoulos said.
“At the same time, this is a big gamble for Trump,” Panagopoulos said. “If the deal falls apart, he’ll be criticized in the United States for being naïve. Or worse yet, if he feels betrayed by the North Koreans, he might be inclined to react in a very hostile and exaggerated way, and that could be disastrous.”