Talks between America and North Korea might succeed—at a terrible price

Jun 07, 2018

WHEN a great power promises a smaller country a “win-win” deal, diplomats mordantly joke, that means the great power plans to win twice. Yet the summit between America and North Korea in Singapore on June 12th may prove an exception: a negotiation that could conceivably allow not only the two main protagonists to preen and claim victory, but that might also please several interested observers. Both South Korea and China have high hopes for the meeting. Japan is more suspicious. But the biggest loser, if a deal is struck, is likely to be totally obscured by the flashing cameras and swooning anchors: the American-led security architecture that has brought decades of stability to Asia.

The summit is taking place in a posh hotel on Sentosa Island, a resort district connected to the rest of Singapore by bridge, cable-car and monorail. Close at hand are many golf courses, beaches, a wax museum and a Universal Studios theme park, complete with a space ride billed as an “intergalactic battle between...

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