The Big Picture Strategy of the Singapore Summit – If We Read Trump’s Thoughts We Can See the Future
At President Trump’s post-summit press conference in Singapore, an action movie trailer-style video was shown. President Trump reportedly showed this video to Kim Jong-un earlier during the summit to pitch the message of building a new relationship with the United States in order to achieve peace and prosperity. The video wasn’t just entertainment. It was part of Trump’s strategy to achieve his big picture goal.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the statements that were made in the Trump’s video to Kim Jong-un. I have spotted 21 key points from the video.
1. “History may appear to repeat itself over generations. Cycles that never seem to end.”
In North Korea, there was Kim Il-sung, then Kim Jong-il, and now Kim Jong-un. The leader may change, but the lives of the North Korean people stay the same. A reminder of the communist dictatorship regime of North Korea over the past three generations.
2. “There have been times of relative peace and times of great tension. While this cycle repeats, the light of prosperity and innovation has burned bright for most of the world.”
This is the first reference to light in the video. For 70 years, North Koreans have lived in literal and figurative darkness. Now, there is an opportunity to welcome the light.
3. “There comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference, but the question is what difference will the few make.”
Here, we see pictures of Trump and Kim Jong-un. For 70 years, the North Korean people have been trapped in misery. They need to be liberated. That is the mission given to Trump and Kim Jong-un.
4. “The past doesn’t have to be the future.”
Three generations of rule by the Kim family has only made life worse in North Korea. Why? It doesn’t have to be that way.
5. “Out of the darkness can come the light.”
For Kim Jong-un, Trump signifies the light, which ultimately represents God and freedom and truth. Although Kim Jong-un and the North Korean people have been stuck in the darkness for a long time, there is hope because even from far away light can be seen and overcomes darkness.
6. “And the light of hope can burn bright.”
Another reference to light. Even though the hope presented by Trump may seem distant now, it is by no means out of reach.
7. Here, we see the handshake between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in right after Kim crossed the 38th parallel earlier this year. There is a spotlight on Kim Jong-un. The fake president Moon Jae-in is excluded. At this crossroads in history, Trump is willing to acknowledge Kim Jong-un, but not Moon Jae-in. Simply put, Moon is treated like a loser.
8. “Two men. Two leaders. One destiny.”
Here, we see images of Trump and Kim Jong-un. Moon Jae-in, of course, is not shown because he does not belong. Two men and two leaders, but one destiny. The message is that Trump and Kim Jong-un are bound together as part of “one destiny.” This is a remarkable statement. In the history of nations, has there ever been a time when the world’s most powerful leader offered a helping hand to its enemy, the poorest and weakest nation? This may be the first and last time. Finally, it’s worth noting that when the narrator says “one destiny,” there is an image of a brightly shining sun. There is a constant emphasis on leaving the darkness and choosing the light.
9. “A story about a special moment in time when a man is presented with a chance that may never be repeated. What will he choose?”
Just prior to the summit, Trump said Kim Jong-un only had a “one-time shot” to make this happen. This is Kim Jong-un’s first and last chance. He knows this and it showed in his facial expressions and body language.
10. “There can only be two results. One of moving back. Or one of moving forward.”
When the narrator says “moving back,” we see images of war. For Kim Jong-un, the question is whether he wants to live in chaos and misery. Does he want to go back to the days of the Korean War? When the narrator says “moving forward,” we see missiles in rewind. Instead of being launched, they are going back into the ground. Then, with upbeat music playing, we see images representing a bright and prosperous North Korea and the Korean Peninsula as a whole. The difference between the two results is stark. Which is it going to be?
11. “A new world can begin today.”
The implication is that a new world should begin today. The opportunity will not be there tomorrow.
12. “Investment from around the world, where you can have medical breakthroughs and abundance of resources, innovative technology and new discoveries.”
Money, medicine, food, technology, infrastructure. These are things to be gained by choosing to work with Trump. Conversely, they are things to be lost by choosing to work with Kissinger. This is Trump’s “carrot and stick” strategy.
13. “What if? Can history be changed?”
When this question is asked, Kim Jong-un’s picture is shown. It is as if Trump is asking him, what have you decided? The spotlight is on Kim Jong-un because he is the one who has to make this all-important choice.
14. “It comes down to a choice. On this day. In this time. At this moment.”
Notice the repeated emphasis on the timing of the choice. Trump is reminding Kim Jong-un that this is a one-time deal. It’s now or never. Kim Jong-un, make your choice wisely.
15. “Will this leader choose to advance his country and be part of a new world? Be the hero of his people?”
Interestingly, a North Korean version of the word “people, or in-min” was used. As the President of the United States, Trump did not have to do that. But he did it anyway because he is showing that he understands Kim Jong-un’s position. He is showing that he has put himself in Kim Jong-un’s shoes. By asking if Kim Jong-un can be the hero of his people, Trump is showing that he has thoughtfully considered Kim’s circumstances. Implicit in the question are considerations of Kim Jong-un’s personal safety, whether his people will respect him, and assurances of his leadership.
16. “Will he shake the hand of peace and enjoy prosperity like he has never seen? A great life or more isolation? Which path will be chosen?”
Again, Kim Jong-un is being reminded of the choice he has to make. Prosperity or isolation? Life or death? Light or darkness?
17. “In the next scene, there is a photo of President Trump with the words, ‘I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful.’”
Trump is telling Kim Jong-un to make a decision. There are only two paths. Which is it going to be? Trump is encouraging him to make the right choice.
18. Next scene has an image of Kim Jong-un with the words, “We no longer will have to tighten our belts.” Kim Jong-un was referring to the fact that his people have been starving. With this quote, Trump is once again emphasizing the dichotomy in the choices before Kim Jong-un. Keep starving? Or be prosperous? The message is being hammered into Kim Jong-un’s head.
19. “To shine in the sun. One moment. One choice.”
The emphasis here is on “one.” Kim Jong-un has only one chance. He gets to make one choice, not two. If he wants to live, if he really wants peace, then he has to make the right choice. Surrender, work with Trump, give liberal democracy a chance, choose the light.
20. “What if?”
Can this become reality? Trump’s message is that it can become reality. However, Kim Jong-un has to make the right choice first. Trump is urging him to do the right thing. Trump does not have to take it easy on Kim Jong-un. From a position of strength, Trump is giving Kim Jong-un an opportunity to turn away from evil and create a better future for the people of North Korea.
21. “The future remains to be written.”
This is the end of the video. Not surprisingly, the conclusion is yet another reminder to Kim Jong-un that he has a choice to make. He has one chance to get it right. It’s life or death, light or darkness.
In addition to the video, President Trump himself made statements at the press conference. Significantly, the press conference was held by Trump alone. It was not Trump and Kim Jong-un side-by-side. It was Trump’s show. He was the one calling the shots. Let’s take a look at some of the things that were said.
1. We will be stopping the war games.
This statement is concerning for some Korean patriots. Some even said Trump has betrayed the South Koreans. That’s a short-sighted response. Trump said certain training exercises would stop, not that he was withdrawing the US military.
2. Does that mean US-ROK joint training will stop?
Look at it this way. The training has already been completed. They studied for the test, and they passed the test. Why do they need to do it again?
3. Now, there were 5 items President Trump and Kim Kong-un have apparently agreed on. Let’s take a look at them and see what they mean.
(1) Kim Jong-un promised to destroy a major missile engine testing site.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons are a threat to the United States and other countries only if the warheads can reach them. Without missile engines, a nuclear warhead cannot hit any external target. The promise is the important part here. A man’s word is his bond. Americans will not hesitate to hold a promise breaker accountable. It’s as if Trump is saying, if you break this promise, you’re dead.
(2) Many people will have input in verifying North Korea’s denuclearization.
Whether its UN personnel, US personnel, the IAEA or someone else, people from outside North Korea will be overseeing the process. With all of these outsiders coming into North Korea, its current system has nowhere to go but collapse.
(3) Kim Jong-un has accepted an invitation to the White House, which will happen at the appropriate time.
Trump is showing that he wants to build a relationship with Kim Jong-un.
(4) In a short time an end to the Korean War is a real possibility.
The US would be the victors. Communist North Korea and China would be the losers. The victors have a right to claim damages from the losers. In this way, Trump can strengthen the effort to take down communist China.
(5) We want to stop the US-ROK joint military training exercises.
This was already covered, but it’s worth noting again that Trump is giving Kim Jong-un a way to take some credit for what happened in Singapore. Trump is showing his good faith in exchange for Kim Jong-un’s promises and surrender.
In addition to the statements that were made by Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore, the two also signed an agreement. The agreement has four main points.
First, the US and North Korea commit to seeking normalized relations. This is what Kim Jong-un wants the most. North Korea is heading towards collapse. In order to find stability, North Korea needs leadership. Such leadership can be established if its arch enemy, the US, suddenly becomes a friend. Not only would Kim Jong-un get credit if that happens, he would have a path to survival. Trump knows this. It’s his gift to Kim Jong-un.
Second, the US and North Korea will work to build peace on the Korean Peninsula. Consider the context in which this point was agreed upon. North Korea, even if it enlisted the help of its allies and the US’s enemies, does not have the ability to defeat the US. Trump, on the other hand, was working from a position of strength and did not have to take a conciliatory approach. The declaration that the US and North Korea will join efforts to achieve peace shows exactly who is in charge.
Third, North Korea reaffirmed its commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is the most important part of the agreement. Trump was criticized by some because there was no mention of CVID denuclearization. But even putting aside that complete denuclearization and CVID denuclearization are basically the same thing, the vagueness of the agreement can work in Trump’s favor because it gives him flexibility in interpreting the agreement. He can use it as a weapon.
Fourth, the US and North Korea commit to recovering POW/MIA remains. Americans place high importance on honoring the lives of those who served in their military, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They are the nation’s greatest patriots and heroes. From the US perspective, it was critical for this to be included.
Through the Singapore agreement, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a gift, asserted US authority and power, set up the framework for denuclearization, and secured a prize for himself and the American people. Some say the Singapore agreement isn’t a big deal. They are off the mark. The agreement is very important. It was a big win for Trump.
Just prior to the Singapore summit, North Korea and China expert Gordon Chang wrote a column titled “Will Trump Steal Kim Jong Un Away From China?” Is Kim Jong-un switching sides? Needless to say, that would be a huge development. If we look at what Gordon Chang said, together with our analysis of the trailer-style video shown at the Singapore summit, we can get an even clearer picture of what Trump is thinking. Let’s take a look at Gordon Chang’s article.
1. “Rarely has a summit been as unscripted as this one.”
Trump previously said that he would know within the first minute whether Kim Jong-un was serious. Trump obviously had the big picture in mind, but for decisions he had to make in the heat of the moment he seemed content to rely on instinct.
2. “Trump has a clear objective: reaching an agreement with North Korea to turn over nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and dismantle weapons infrastructure.”
In other words, complete denuke.
3. “Saturday, the president said he is hoping to establish a ‘relationship,’ a sure sign that nothing substantive will be achieved.”
To accomplish his big picture goal, Trump believes that establishing a relationship with Kim Jong-un is the way to go. Trump knows that many want him to take a harsh stance toward Kim Jong-un, so he was adjusting expectations.
4. “Earlier, he had talked about needing more than three summits to disarm the militant Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Denuclearization is a process. Although it’s not clear exactly how long it will take, what is clear is that it cannot be done in one shot.
5. “In addition to disarming Kim, Trump is apparently thinking of getting the young dictator to ditch his longtime Chinese sponsors.”
Note the plural “s” at the end of sponsors. Trump is not just targeting Xi Jinping alone. There is also Kissinger behind Xi Jinping. For Kim Jong-un, does he go with Kissinger or Trump? Kissinger? Or Trump?
6. “A realignment in North Asia could be Trump’s opening shot in a multi-decade struggle with Beijing. Call it this century’s version of the Cold War.”
Trump has bigger fish to fry than Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in. His sights are set on communist China. In order to get there, he is first taking care of Kim Jong-un. Once he takes care of Kim, he can get Xi Jinping. Once he gets Xi Jinping, he can get Kissinger. The conventional thinking was that Trump would deal with Kim Jong-un as an enemy. Now, however, it looks like Trump may have flipped Kim Jong-un to his side, which is even better in terms of taking down communist China. Chia lost an ally, the US gained one. Mathematically, the US is ahead by two. Good job, Mr. President.
7. “From the very beginning, Kim Jong-un, from all appearances, has meticulously gamed-out events, and Trump, clearly, has reacted on instinct. For instance, the president on March 8 accepted on the spot Kim’s invitation to meet. Before his acceptance, there were no studies, no interagency reviews, no consultations with friends or allies. Trump, after about 45 minutes of thinking about the matter, said yes to the two emissaries sent by South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, who conveyed Pyongyang’s groundbreaking offer.”
Kim Jong-un wanted this meeting at all costs. He needed it for the sake of his own survival. Trump didn’t need much time to accept the offer to meet. But, he did have a condition. Surrender, or die.
8. “Trump places more value in gut feelings than preparation. Trump said, “I’m very well-prepared.” when asked by the reporters”
Don’t be fooled. Trump has been negotiating his whole life. Contrary to what it may look like on the outside, Trump knew what he was doing.
9. “On the topic of getting things done, Trump has the power to convince Kim that it is in his interest to give up nukes and missiles, but the American president has been reluctant in recent weeks to use leverage.”
Kim Jong-un had no choice but to seek out Trump. Somewhat surprisingly, however, Trump received Kim and presented him with a path for him and the North Korean people to live. The question for Kim Jong-un was whether he could trust Trump. Kim really had no choice, but it looks like he said yes to Trump.
10. “Of course, Trump and American officials say they are committed to denuclearization, and on Saturday in Quebec, at the G-7 press conference, the president declared Kim had only a ‘one-time shot’ to make it happen.”
Again, this is a one-time opportunity for Kim Jong-un. If he makes the wrong choice, it’s game over.
11. The North Korean supremo gets much of what he wants from the meeting: legitimization. Legitimization, in turn, solidifies Kim’s shaky-looking grip on power.
This is a gift from Trump, and a gift only Trump could provide. Xi Jinping does not have the ability to do this for Kim Jong-un. It’s a message to Kim that if you follow Trump, there are good things in store.
Trump is seeking to methodically defeat his enemies.
To remove them in order one by one.
To bring about their complete collapse.
To achieve complete victory.
He is in the process of taking care of Kim Jong-un. Up next? Moon Jae-in, Xi Jinping, Kissinger.
Here’s more from Gordon Chang.
“Relationships are not especially important if you’re using raw power to disarm a foe, what the administration was trying to do until a few weeks ago. Relationships are critical, however, if you are trying to woo away your adversary’s only formal military ally. North Korea is China’s sole alliance partner.
If Trump believes he can entice Kim from China’s embrace, his policies of the last week make sense. Why else would Trump float the idea of inviting Kim to the U.S. when the North Korean was showing few signs of giving up his arsenal?”
The key outcome of the Singapore summit was relationship building, not necessarily denuclearization. The people of Korea must make a proper evaluation of the summit. The people of Korea must properly grasp the principles that will defend the Republic of Korea. As we saw in the video, the answer is to choose the light. Reject the darkness and choose the light. Unless Trump loses his mind, he will not let the Korean Peninsula fall to communism. But the people of Korea have to do their part too. Discerning between what is right and wrong, we must pass the test that is given to us. Otherwise, what right do we have to receive the gift of a free and unified Korean Peninsula? ★
The Force that Defends Korea.