The internet news cycle is a voracious beast. It rages on, day and night, ever hungry for more content.
Cable news journalists, eager to preserve their dwindling industry, chase the monster from story to story. Look, another presidential tweet. Over there, an outrageous celebrity tidbit. And here, there and everywhere, immediate analysis, via talking-head punditry, of an event still in the making.
Some of this is appropriate. When an important event occurs, especially one with the potential to upset or enhance the delicate balance of international relations, it’s good policy to inform the public in a timely fashion.
But often cable news — and, really, any outlet with a continuously-updated online presence — goes too fast, missing the forest for the trees.
I’m afraid that might be what’s happening now with the United States–North Korea nuclear summit.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump met with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, in a historic summit months in the making.
The two leaders rendezvoused on neutral turf, meeting in a swanky Singapore hotel, whose grounds have, in the past few days, been swamped by reporters from across the globe. In front of the world, Trump and Kim shook hands, dedicating themselves to ensuring peace between two nations that, just last year, were at each other’s throats with threats of nuclear war.
It’s the first time an American president has ever met with a North Korean head of state since the onset of the Korean War — a conflict that, by the way, has never formally concluded.
For now, it remains to be seen if the North, which claims to be fully committed to “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” will continue its uncharacteristic detente. Likewise, we don’t know if Trump, himself prone to tempestuous rants, even against major American allies, can effectively negotiate an agreement that will promote peace in Northeast Asia.
But North Korea might. And Trump very well could.
That’s why it’s best, for now, to let the process play out. No one, save Trump and Kim themselves, know how things are likely to proceed.
So hold your horses. There’ll be ample time in the coming months to determine whether this summit is truly a groundbreaking moment in international diplomacy, a historic turning point akin to President Richard Nixon’s landmark trip to China, or merely another failed attempt at peace.
It’s much too soon to tell if Trump deserves a Nobel Prize. ■