American leaders regularly meet with authoritarian leaders as equals, whether as partners, allies, or rivals.
The key is how those meetings affect status — and in this case, Kim Jong Un came out ahead after the summit in Singapore.
Discussing whether the US legitimized a dictator is a difficult accusation to disprove, because it’s hard to measure legitimacy — it’s also incredibly narcissistic on the US’s part to assume we make or break foreign governments.
Status, however, is something that we can track on a hierarchical scale. It is also something very important to pariah states like North Korea, who are usually outside the system.
Trump’s meeting gave North Korea status in the international community — and once North Korea can make a claim to be in better standing, they become harder to isolate.
In a June 12 editorial, the Washington Post described the recently concluded summit in Singapore as a “triumph for Kim Jong Un and his North Korean regime. A dictator who ordered the murder of his own family members, and who oversees a gulag comparable to those of Hitler and Stalin, was able to parade on the global state as a legitimate statesman.”
Indeed, numerous commentators contend that the summit conferred upon Kim Jong Un much-desired legitimacy as the first leader of his country to be treated as an equal by the United States, while simultaneously legitimating North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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