The circumstances of the meeting between Kim and Pompeo are far less significant than its consequences. Despite the odd timing and public exposure, the Trump administration has used a proven channel to attempt an extraordinary mission.
It is uncertain at best whether a Trump–Kim meeting will actually take place. If one does, the central issue will be the huge discrepancy between what the United States and the North Koreans mean by the phrase “committed to denuclearization.”
According to dozens of career diplomats, restoring U.S. leadership abroad requires addressing the social and economic problems facing Americans at home, including wage stagnation, rising inequality, and drug addiction.
The One World of Pax Americana that has existed since the end of the Cold War is already history. US global dominance is still in place, but the peace has been shattered again. The new era is not a replay of the 20th century contest. It may be equally dangerous, but in its own way.
Salman Ahmed is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on the future of U.S. national security strategy and its role in promoting national economic interests.
Erik Brattberg is director of the Europe Program and a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He is an expert on European politics and security and transatlantic relations.
Dalton is the co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment. An expert on nonproliferation and nuclear energy, his work addresses regional security challenges and the evolution of the global nuclear order.
Naím is a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his research focuses on international economics and global politics. He is currently the chief international columnist for El País, Spain’s largest newspaper, and his weekly column is published worldwide.
Charlotte Stanton is the inaugural director of the Silicon Valley office of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as well as a fellow in Carnegie’s Technology and International Affairs Program.