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Attitude adjustment

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By John Burton

It is said that generals always fight the last war. The same can be said of much of the commentary that is coming out of Washington, D.C., ahead of the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi at the end of February.

The traditional national security community in the U.S. is already predicting the summit will be a failure. That view is influenced by dated Cold War strategic thinking. There is a reluctance to acknowledge that Trump, Kim and President Moon Jae-in are trying to break the long-standing stalemate over North Korea's nuclear issue with experimental and top-down diplomacy that challenges conventional wisdom.

The first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore last June was largely dismissed by U.S. commentators on both the right and left as a triumph of showbiz over substance. This ignores the fact that the meeting deliberately focused on establishing a personal bond between the two leaders, an essential element if a deal should be reached. It also explains why the emphasis at the first summit was on establishing the overarching principle of the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" instead of diving immediately into details........

© The Korea Times