The editors of the Washington Post cautiously support President Trump’s offer of direct talks with North Korea:
The challenge for Mr. Trump is avoiding another repeat of that cycle. That means setting an achievable goal: A realistic one might be a long-term extension of the freezing of missile and nuclear tests in exchange for limited U.S. concessions. Unfortunately, by agreeing to a summit, Mr. Trump has already handed over one of the largest potential trade-offs free of charge. Mr. Kim will use the event to portray his murderous regime as a legitimate nuclear power able to parlay with the United States on equal terms. He will no doubt demand a U.S. withdrawal from South Korea and a formal peace treaty in exchange for denuclearization, in the hope that Mr. Trump, unlike every previous U.S. president, will swallow those terms.
Given the president’s decision, the administration’s best course would be to use the coming weeks to hold preliminary talks with the Kim regime that make clear U.S. expectations and place the summit on firmer ground. If it becomes evident that the North is unwilling to commit to a freeze on its nuclear and missile activities, or will make excessive demands in exchange, Mr. Trump can step back. What he should not do is walk blindly into an encounter with a dictator who, we can be sure, will be well-prepared to take advantage of this president’s well-known weaknesses — starting with his penchant for impulsive decisions.
I oppose the talks. Neither side can back away from their central demands. From the U. S. side it’s likely to be the next step towards an illegal, immoral preventive war fought under the banner “We Tried”. Such a war would be likely to draw in the Chinese and, possibly, the Russians and it’s one that nobody would win.
Until and unless the North Koreans attempt to make use of their puny nuclear arsenal against us, our best course of action is to do nothing. Maintain the status quo. Should the Norks be so foolhardy as to attack us we should respond in a way that will ensure that no other country would ever seek nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Presidential energies would be better directed to preparing the American people and the Chinese for such an eventuality.