Trump says behind-the-scenes efforts to entice North Korea into the community of nations have shown slow but steady progress. He allows that his personal relationship with Kim Jong Un has warmed, and that with the right incentives the dictator could conceivably come around. This would be a tremendous coup for the President — an accomplishment so significant and praiseworthy that even his most hardened foes would find it difficult to criticize. The worst they could say is that we shouldn’t trust Mr. Kim. But so what?
Trump’s success would start to look even better as North Korea did what everyone knows it can do — i.e., lift itself from economic hell to become an industrial powerhouse like South Korea. Were this to happen, Trump’s legacy as a consequential president would be sealed. China is in no mood at the moment to help bring the two sides together, but that could change. Meanwhile, Mr. Kim has asked the Pope to visit. This is a very peculiar request, considering that North Korea is one of the harshest environments in the world for Christianity. Even so, it’s hard to imagine a cynical purpose behind the request. Taken at face value, it can only suggest that North Korea is capable of surprising the world in a good way.