May we all have the unearned confidence of mediocre white men.
Anyone who has actually done the finely tuned and nuanced work of diplomacy knows that it can take months or even years of meetings with lower level staffers to get to the point where the leaders of respective countries can meet. State Department specialists have studied the histories and past interactions with other nations and come with specific guidelines and recommendations for goals and communication points. Protocol officers chime in with hints about the proper phrasing and points to avoid. And then presidential advisers will sit down with the president and they run through scenarios and suggested responses.
If any other president was in charge, it would be the work of hundreds of people to get to the point of a sit down.
But we have Donald Trump.
Trump, you see, doesn't think preparation is necessary.
"I think I'm very well-prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done," Trump said.
What he wants to get done is still not clear, since Kim has already said that denuclearization is not something that he'll agree to. But it's about "attitude".
So how will the world measure this historic meeting a success? Cynics among us might point out that the very validation of being treated as a legitimate leader puts this as a win for Kim already.
How will Trump know if it's a win for the US?
That's right, he'll just feel it in his bones.
"That’s what I do,” the president said.
Trump then launched into a rambling monologue in which he appeared to compare meeting the North Korean leader with deciding if he might have a schoolyard crush on someone.
“You know, in the way they say you know you’re going to like somebody, like in the first five seconds? You ever hear that one?” Trump said. “Well, I think that very quickly I’ll know whether or not something good is going to happen. I also think I’ll know whether or not it will happen fast. May not. But I think I’ll know pretty quickly whether or not, in my opinion, something positive will happen. And if I think it won’t happen, I’m not going to waste my time, I’m not going to waste his time.”
Is he trying to negotiate nuclear disarmament or is he trying to date Kim? It's really hard to tell.