It is the images that remain. First it was a photo of the political leadership of the West trying to face down an intransigent Donald Trump, and then two days later the extraordinary sight of a smiling US President standing beside an equally pleased Kim Jong Un; making it easy to forget that just a few months before, the former were close allies, while the latter was in conflict with the US.
In both instances the pictures powerfully illustrated how the US President is rebuilding the international order in ways that will touch nations that have neither military nor economic power.
In the case of North Korea, the vague agreement signed in Singapore implied that the two Presidents were equals. Although it may lead in the short term to a reduction in tension on the Korean peninsula, what it does not guarantee is a process that will lead to verifiable nuclear disarmament. Instead it speaks about ‘working towards’ denuclearisation, suggesting a desire to reward any nation prepared to threaten lethal force. ….