Trump-Kim Summit: Big Show, Little Substance
June 12 was supposed to be a big win for world´s diplomacy and peace-keeping process but was it really so successful? The historical meeting between American President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which took place in Singapore, was expected to bring peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. The result of the summit is a document which President Trump labeled as ‘very comprehensive’, but it lacks specific details about denuclearization and the only one who seems to have gained from signing the document is the North Korean leader. The only noticeable outcome until now is the suspension of US-South Korean joint military exercises in South Korea – which Trump has denoted as ‘very provocative war games’ – a huge concession to Kim Jong-un. But just time will show whether the concessions are worth it.
53% of Americans say Pres. Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un is unlikely to lead North Korea to denuclearize—but that number is down from 67% who said so before the summit, @ABC News/WaPo poll finds. https://t.co/yJ1mQtD9bV pic.twitter.com/WMoxKwIDhy
— ABC News (@ABC) June 19, 2018
After the summit, a storm of criticism of President Trump´s rhetorics unleashed. The American President stated that Kim Jong-un is someone who “loves his people”, “is very talented” and “funny and smart”. To defend his critics, saying that the brutal dictator who sticks at nothing and is responsible for human rights abuses, political imprisonments, starvation and assassinations in North Korea loves his people and glorify his talent seems just ridiculous and insulting. To vindicate himself, Trump called Kim Jong-un “not nice” and elucidated his statements. “Anybody who takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it, and run it tough—I don’t say ‘he was nice.'” added Trump. But his admiration for Kim Jong-un went further – “He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same” – he told the Fox News.
Critics are also arguing that Trump has legitimized a brutal dictator and the underlying idea that the acquirement of nuclear weapons makes a legitimate leader.
When History Divides the Present: the Eternal Influence of Alexander the Great
When the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev signed the agreement about the new name for Macedonia last weekend, the world media described it as a historic moment for the world politics. One that ‘moved mountains’. The attempt was to finally end the cultural and territorial disputes which go way back to the past and still divide the populations of both states. As an exchange for the deal, Macedonia should gain an easier access to the EU and NATO through Greek support.
The two leaders who should win the Nobel Peace Prize did not meet in Singapore last week. Instead, argues Edward P. Joseph, they met on Sunday by a clear, freshwater lake that borders Greece, Macedonia, and Albania. https://t.co/5dRfBajjiK
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) June 19, 2018
The change of name from the Republic of Macedonia (or the tongue-twisting “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” [FYROM]) to the Republic of North Macedonia is expected to be done before the end of this year. It requires a change in the Macedonian constitution but also in the course of history – the Macedonian people should not be called descendants of Alexander the Great anymore. As a first step, the airport in Skopje already removed Alexander out of its name and from now on it will be known simply as Skopje International Airport.
However, the deal angered some, causing large demonstrations in the streets of Skopje and in the border regions. The protests soon turned into violent riots, ending with many arrests. The protesters did not agree with this ‘shameful agreement’, as Alexander is their national hero and part of their identity and culture.
The pact still requires a Macedonian referendum and the ratification of both governments to be official.
Italy Loses Patience with Immigration
In the last few years, Italy has witnessed an unprecedented influx of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa via the Mediterranean Sea. Several humanitarian organizations are assisting the migrant boats in reaching Italian shores. This activity has been criticized by the right-wing newspapers and political parties, who accused the NGOs of collaborating with the smugglers.
— Bloomberg Graphics (@BBGVisualData) June 19, 2018
Migration became one of the main topics of the Italian elections of 2018. Matteo Salvini of the right-wing populist party Lega promised to deport 500 000 migrants if his party wins. Lega formed a government with another populist party, the leftist M5S. In his latest move, Salvini, who became the Minister of Interior, banned Aquarius, a ship operated by the NGOs with more than 600 migrants onboard, from entering Italian ports, attracting criticism from both home and abroad. Nevertheless, the new socialist government of Spain has agreed to accept the migrants. But Salvini’s stance remains unchanged. On June 16, he declared that no ships operated by the NGOs shall be allowed to enter Italian ports. Since the Spanish government, as well as the public, support accepting more migrants, it is possible that the migrant routes in the Mediterranean will change and that Spain will become the main recipient of migrants.
Image source: Flickr| Andy Montgomery (CC BY-SA 2.0)
STRATPOL Memos is a project which on a bi-weekly basis provides a short overview of the most important selected moments of Euro-Atlantic security and related areas. Our goal is to provide brief and informative comments with short analysis putting news into broader context.
Responsible editor Ondřej Zacha.
The text has not undergone language revision.