Give credit where it is due: President Trump walked away from a bad deal with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi. He refused to end all U.S. sanctions in exchange for the closure of a single North Korean nuclear facility.
But let’s not go overboard. His actions were not on a par, as some have suggested, with President Reagan’s decision to end arms-deal discussions with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev at the Reykjavik summit in 1986, a move that hastened the end of the Cold War.
Even in the midst of high-stakes negotiations, Reagan regularly criticized the Soviet Union’s egregious record on human rights and its communist ideology, demonstrating a moral leadership that cut to Moscow’s core. By contrast, since opening a dialogue with Kim, Trump has avoided reference to North Korea’s oppression of its people or its totalitarian roots, giving Pyongyang’s tyranny a free pass on the world stage.
Where Reagan undermined the foundations of America’s greatest enemy in his day, Trump has risked propping up a dangerous adversary, at least rhetorically — and other adversaries will take note.
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