FP Interrupted

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FP Interrupted

Seems the honeymoon is over. Back in June, Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un were all smiles and handshakes. Trump called Kim “honorable” and said that he had a “great personality.” (Could have sworn Trump was more of a “looks” guy…) They wrote letters. Trump said they “fell in love.”

It seemed that that bromance would continue when Trump and Kim sat down for dinner on Wednesday night in Hanoi — to kick off their second summit. With a beaming Kim by his side, Trump said that their relationship “is a very special relationship” (the UK and the EU were like 👀).

Things changed the next day, however. Kim demanded a lifting of sanctions. In exchange, they would dismantle North Korea’s most important nuclear facility Yongbyong, but nothing more. That was a dealbreaker for Trump. Both walked away.

What’s next? Good question. In the best case scenario, officials from both sides will try to continue to push the process forward. In the worst … tensions might heat back up between Little Rocket Man and Dotard.

It is important to note, however, that Trump went into a meeting where the outcome was unclear. There is still a long way to go on repairing U.S.-North Korea relations and bringing North Korea into the global community. North Korea already scored big when Trump met with Kim in June — and had done little to earn that photo-op. Trump argues that it saved the world from a nuclear confrontation. What will save the world from a future one?

Watch this space.

On the Hanoi Summit: 

  • What has been accomplished since the first Trump-Kim summit? Rachel Martin talked to Jean Lee about it. (NPR)
  • Women marched for Korean reconciliation. Washington is in our way, write Gloria Steinem and Christine Ahn. (Washington Post)
  • A peace treaty could be essential to North Korean denuclearization, writes Bonnie Jenkins. (Axios)
  • Katrin Fraser Katz and Victor Cha took a look at what to expect at the second North Korea summit. (Foreign Affairs)
  • There are three big questions that U.S. allies will be looking to answer in Hanoi. (Monkey Cage)
  • Kim Jong Un broke with precedent to directly answer a reporter’s question. Laignee Barron with what he said. (Time)
  • What does Russia want from the Trump-Kim summit? Heather Timmons explores. (Quartz)
  • Some South Koreans say Trump-Kim summit is “all political theater.” Kelly Kasulis reports. (PRI)

Tensions in Kashmir 

As we noted last week, tensions have risen in Kashmir, a contested territory between India and Pakistan. This past week, Indian and Pakistani jet fighters clashed, with an Indian pilot captured in Pakistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he will be released. Whew.
  • The India-Pakistan relationship is facing the most serious escalation in decades. Joanna Slater and Pamela Constable explain how it got to this point. (Washington Post)
  • “I have never seen my country at peace with its neighbor. But never before have I seen a war played out between two nuclear-armed states with Twitter accounts.” Fatima Bhutto on hashtags for war between India and Pakistan. (NYT)

Women and ISIS

There’s been a lot in the news about Hoda Muthana and Shmima Begum, two women who left their homes in the U.S. and UK, respectively, to join ISIS. They’ve now repented and want to come home. Both the U.S. and UK have said they can’t and have stripped them of their respective citizenships. We’re going to dive into this more next week. In the meantime, we recommend this report that the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate just put out: Gender Dimensions of the Response to Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters. A few other pieces on the topic:
  • The human trafficking-terrorism connect: It’s complicated— just take the case of Shamima Begum. Jayne Huckerby explains. (Just Security)
  • We need a new language for female militants, Azadeh Moaveni ‏argues. (Guardian)


  • Maduro’s fate may ultimately depend on his access to Venezuela’s wealth, Frida Ghitis writes. (World Politics Review)
  • Venezuela’s pro-democracy movement has learned from its past and has the potential to make a breakthrough, if it can harness the momentum behind domestic and int’l pressure, and if it can make that momentum last, Isabella Picón and Maria J. Stephan write. (Washington Post)
  • While most international media outlets focus on the humanitarian aid blockade, women suffer extraordinary violence at the Venezuela-Colombia border, writes Julia Zulver. (Monkey Cage)


  • Theresa May’s job is getting harder by the day, says Jane Merrick. (CNN)
  • Britain is hemorrhaging jobs and investment as prime minister Theresa May tries to ram through what she calls a “deal” with the EU in exchange for £39bn. Yet the country seems becalmed, according to Camilla Cavendish. (FT)

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