Building a Diplomatic Foundation for the Trump-Kim Summit
Ambassador Cameron Munter writes in Stratfor about the missing fundamental elements that are required to support any nuclear negotiations by the United States with North Korea.
Much has been written since U.S. President Donald Trump surprisingly announced on March 8 that he was willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In general, even critics of the president have noted that dialogue is better than insults or threats of war. There is a sense of expectation that the president is now getting his opportunity to show, in fact, whether he truly can introduce a paradigm shift in the way international relations operate and apply his oft-stated ability to close a deal to address a problem that has vexed his predecessors since the end of the Cold War.
The president appears intent on forging his own path on this issue, challenging traditional norms of diplomacy and negotiation. However, diplomatic negotiation is composed of many specific elements, with most practitioners emphasizing two fundamental measures. First, both sides (or all sides, as the case may be) in a negotiation must agree to the terms of the discussions; that is, they must agree exactly about what they're talking about. Should they come to terms, those terms have to mean the same thing to all involved. There can be no gray areas.
Second, the details of implementation must be as clear as possible.