tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC June 11, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
as crazy as it sounds was part of the brief every president gets because for a time that was the only american who saw this north korean leader. victor, you've been lni to our conversation. what would you add, based on either body language or overheard language itself? >> i think, brian, at the very beginning when they first met, it was clear that president trump was talking to kim jong-un, there werno interpreters around and kim jong-un was responding in english. so he does speak english as sue said. i think the other thing is this bigger meeting, as ben said, is important but not nearly as important as the one on one and not as important as the working lens particularly if kim and trump sit next to each other where they can have more quiet, trust building conversations. the other thing we're missing is the surprise.
both leaders like surprises. when kim jong-un met with the south korean leader in april, remember they met at the rcion line but then kim pulled the south korean leader over. and when president trump made his first trip to south korean, he said there was a surprise, he tried to make a trip to the demilitarized zone but it was called back because of heavy fog. we haven't seen the surprise piece of this but both leaders like surprises. >> can you imagine a communique coming out tomorrow morning our time here, in which kim agrees to denuclearization how would it go over with the north korean people to give up what they've worked for all these years? can he give it away? is that feasible? imaginable? >> i don't think so. he has a domestic audience, too.
and the information to he would publically give it all away isn't likely. i think what's holding up the joint statement is our side, the u.s. side, wants some sort of time frame. for president trump domestically he has to get it by 2020. a 15, 20 year time line, all the critics will say that's nothing. we've had those in the past and they've failed. so there's a pressure on trying to get some sort of time line. i think the president is trying to get this in his one on ones withhe north korean leader. he may say it but we'll never know whether the north korean leader actually agreed to something like that. >> victor, i was struck by one of the things that was seen visibly in the leadup to this meeting in singapore tonight was that president trump hosted the former head of north korean military intelligence in what seemed to be a sort of impromptu meeting in the oval office for more than an hour, about an 80 or 90 minute meeting. that former head of north korean
military intelligence is credited with turning assets into some of the greatest hacking powers on the face of the earth and also credited with having master minded a lot of other aggreive military action by north korean, including the torpedoing of a south korean ship in 2010. is it possible we're going to have multilayer continuing interactions with north korea in a way we haven't led up to with this meeting. the military intelligence chief sitting in the oval office seems like a breach itself in terms of the relationship we've had with what's been a pyorrhea state. >> yes. he's designated under treasury circumstances. under any other circumstances he would be arrested if he went to any other country. a lot of us are looing at this and expecting there will be a statement between the two leaders but there's a process that follows it. and there, you know, the high
level that you would be looking for is the continued interaction between mike pompeo and kim yong cho, the number two who mentioned was a guest of the president in the ovalofce. but until we see that sort of real negotiation, that institution being established for negotiations along a specified time line, everybody is going to say, well, this is the same horse, we just bought it again for a fourth time. >> yeah. >> what is -- what is the north koreans think when they look across the table and see john bolton there, with his mush tap and all. they know this guy is a hawk. what do think think of his presence there? i'm curious how much they know about our politics. >> they know he's a hawk. and the north koreans have hawks too. i had one come up to me during negotiations, i know you're a
hawk, but i'm a hawk too so we understand each other. there's nothing wrong in negotiations with having a hawk at the table. john bolton invented the term complete verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. when the president came out and said we're not doing cvid, we're not doing libya, it cut him. but they know the guy they're working with is pompeo. >> let's talk about the working lunch. what percentage working and what percentage lunch? >> a lot of it depends on the seating. if they put somebody between the president and the north korean leader they won't be able to interact as much. i've seen past presidents switch name cards so they could sit next to each other and continue the conversation they've been having from earlier in the morning. if they are sitting right next to each other, i think there'll be a lot of business. there's not a lot of time left
to this summit meeting. and the president is going to want to get as much time as h can trying to get the statements he wants out of the north korean leader. >> something you both pointed out to me in the last couple days, donald trump isn't an in-person negotiator. there will not be a great exchange at this lunch. he talks and people that have interviewed him, if you listen or watch, people don't get a lot of questions in -- >> he fills the space. >> -- with donald trump. a comment is made, a position is put on the table by the north koreans or by pompeo, and then trump can go for 25 minutes. it's not inconceivable they don't make much more progress. something else that was reported and shared at 4:00 p.m. is both men are liars. he said kim jong-un lies and donald trump lies. it is at this point, and i've talked to two former senior official intelligence officers,
it's a known/unknown what was discussed and it's not noble we'll ever know what happened in the meeting because both men are established liars. >> that was harsh. >> that was kushner simmo-- >> that was kier simmons reporting. >>oes it make it a dangerous meeting because everybody knows both men lies. it's one thing if you had somebody you trusted and they said x happened in the meeting and the other person contested it but you didn't know whether or not to believe them, that would be a more dangerous situation than two guys saying x happened, no you rode in on a unicorn. >> it means to their domestic audiences they can say whatever they please. >> nobody will believe either of them. >> trump's base consumes what he'll say and i'm guessing the
state run media will consume what kim said. >> i'm glad you mentioned domestic audience. we have a message for our domestic audience. that is that it's 10:07 p.m. normally in this hour our viewers are showing up looking for "the last rd with wrence o'donnel o'donnell". tnchts they show up looking for lawrence o'donnell and company because my guests are smarter than i am. >> we've built a whole show around that theory. your thoughts? >> this is the problem of two liars walk into a room. and they close the door, less -- they spent less time than the president predicted they would by the way. it was less than the 45 minutes. so we will, in fact, nevknow. history will never know. the idea that no one was taking notes is certifies for history we will never know. the translators are so intensely involved in literally that job of translating and saying as quickly as possible what the
other person just said, and saying it in accessible language to the person they're speaking to to ask them after the fact what was said is the closest you can come to getting something accurate. but anyone who's been in meetings like this can tell you it is impossible to remember every word. donald trump we know will lie about what was said in that room. he might also say something true that was said in that room. that might happen. he will also take something that was said in that room and twist it to his advantage in a way that a lot of politicians might. but he will definitely, without question, invent things that were not said in that room, and claim they were. >> do you see h translator, interpreter, is taking notes? >> yes. >> what's that tell us? >> i've watched translations like this happen. they sometimes will make steno notes to themselves as they go, which i suppose can be read back as a skeleton of the
conversation. >> that depends how long the speaker speaks. sometimes, especially with kim and donald trump, they can go on at some length so when it's your turn to now say exactly what was said, you better have a few notes there. but these are also people not trained in what the key words are. what are the most important words. >> denuclearize, for example. >> that's a good one. >> in terms of who's winning here, i'm struck by the fact that china is kind of the elephant in the room. so we have china responsible for more than 90% of the economic activity -- economic support that north korea gets. we have previously in this country seen china as the road to all outcomes when it comes to north korea, they would be the determining factor in terms of what happened or couldn't happen with north korea. does china want this to be happening right now? how does china feel about what's happening in this room? presumably they could still kye
bosch any deal. >> it's true. but i think china does want the meeting because it will lead to improvement in relationships, if it leads to reduction in troops -- >> china wants troops out of south korea as well. >> exactly. in fact, after xi jingping met th kim jong-un second time, remember kim jong-un came back and he had problem with doing exercises -- u.s./south korea joint exercises. when kim jong-un couple months prior to that he was okay with exercises. he told south koreans that. there's a theory out there that maybe xi jingping told kim jong-un that's the ask to ask the united states. china is playing a hand. they want to make sure they have their influence. continue the maximum influence over north korea. that's paramount for china and they don't want to be sidelined. they want to be a player. they want to be involved in the process. >> china wants us to remain
dependent in tough situations with north korea. it's one of china's strongest assets it's had with the united states whenever we considered sort of a response to china on trade or currency or other things in the past, one of the thingsd inside the white house would be well, but we do need them onhis thing we're trying to do with north korea. china will always want to hold onto that. there's some optimal level of progress for china and nothing beyond that would be welcomed by china. >> is there any chance that north korea will try to make a break from china? in the future, in the years coming. and try to establish itself as an independent force over there? >> i think that's a long-time coming. maybe way into the future. i think as rachel said, north korea is still 93% integrated with china still. so that's a long time later possibly down the road. i don't see it happening any time soon. even though north koreans are
not happy with chinese. they're not. the whole blood alliance relationship has changed from the earlier years. ere was truelood alliance relationship, but that has evolved and changed. still, they're still allies, still have mutual interest. don'tee north korea breaking away from china towards the united states any time soon. >> let's bring back to the conversation, richard engel who joins us from seoul and who was talking to us for the first time this evening when president trump and kim jong-un so rudely inupted him. richard, we're hap to have you back. one of the things we have been talking about tonight repeatedly is the prospect that one of the things that may be on the table tonight for lots of different reasons is a reduction of u.s. troops in south korea. how is that playing? how does that look from where you stand right now in seoul? >> reporter: so one of the things i noticed about this moment, as i was speaking and then the two of them came out,
is how many photo ops there have been. there was the initial moment where prentrump and kim jong-un came out and they shook hands, then they walked in together into the room. and then they came out and very deliberately paused at the balcony and then there was the other photo on in the extended conference with president trump and kim jong-un reaching over and shaking hands. so you have to think, who was the audience here? how are each of these countries going to spin this tomorrow? i think it's pretty clear how president trump is going to spin it tomorrow. he's going to say, i did something that president obama was never able to do. that no other president did. i reached over to an enemy and i had this historic summit and did something amazing. kim jong-un national tv i think he's going to splash it all acrossyongyang and it's going to show the kim dynasty after
having achieved its nuclear weapons is now recognized by the united states and recognized by the international community. here where i am in seoul, and getting back to your questi, i think the president here is going to say that h peace initiative worked. that he wanted this peace initiative. he began with the pyongyang olympics, which he called the peace olympics. and now we're seeing two enemies sitting down, american flags, north korean flags in the same room. and he can tell his audience in this country that he did something. and already the south korean president's approval ratings are somewhere above 70%. so these three individuals, just from this photo on are p are go get a tremendous amount out of this. what's down the road, will there be more than a photo op? will it lead to reduction of
troops, to a denuclearization? i think we eel have to see what happens. but tomorrow i think all three of these people are going to be claiming this was an enormous success just from wha we've seen so far. and who knows if there will be a reduction of troops on the korean peninsula, will that benefit china? will the north koreans actually allow inspectors in? in that could play out over months, if not years. >> we've seen, richard, the north korean a south korean leaders meet at the demilitarized zone. we've seen the discussions between them that never seemed possible before this year. one of the things that was described as potentially on the table that president trump might be either conceding or pushing for in these talks is potentially a peace treaty between the north and south. it's one of these strange bits of trivia that you learn in foreign policy 101, even though
the korean war ended in 1953, techniy it's still ongoing because there was no peace treaty to end it. what would be the consequences from seoul's perspective, where you stand in sth korea? >> again, it would be a huge victory for the current government. the moon jae-in government. it's largely symbolic, and everybody knows that the korean war is over. the korean war ended. about 40,000 americans lost their lives in that war. technically the parties are still at war, but it would be just a formality really at this stage. ending that war. it would be highly symbolic. both the north and the south would say this is a positive step that could lead to more political interactions between the two of them. it would be an important thing. and i think at the end of the day, perhaps even today in some sort of joint communique that
we're going to get, there will be some talk about reaching an end of the war. i wouldn't be surprised if at the end of the day we have some statement that says that the parties are committed to working toward denuclearization of the korean peninsula and working toward ending the war, formally ending the war. that's what we're seeing -- the guidance we're getting here in seoul, anyway, that that will be the main messages. that will be what they've been driving for. but the devil is in the details. does ending a war that has been over for decades actually do anything? it gives people here a symbolic victory, and does working over some unspecified time period to denuclearize the korean peninsula actually change anything? the photo op is the victory. we'll see if there's any follow-up. >> richard engel joining us from seoul. thank you, my friend.
to the point he's raising about whether that is a symbolic thing. i think the point earlier, an agreemento end the war might also be expected to take away the legal if not political justification for having tens of thousands of u.s. troops in south korea. so whether it was greeted symbic practically we'd have to see. >> there's a difference between piece declaration and a peace treaty where you sign. >> an armistice. >> yes. >> you can have a peace declaration. say it, let's end the war, the hostilitie hostilities. we can do that particularly if north korea puts something on the table. but formally ending the war by signing the peace treaty, that does take away the legal justification of u.s. troops being there. >> this is why we've had the leading experts in the field in the studio with us tonight. a brief break, if anything
>> chairman kim, will you denuclearize? mr. presiden's it going so far, sir. >> very good. >> what do you think? >> very, very good. excellent relationship. thank you. thank you very much. >> chairman kim, will you denuclearize? >> that's when the two leaders were about to leave for a meeting with aides and then it's from there to a working lunch. our sit rep, our situation report is unchanged. we don't know anything more from the inside. we do have some folks standing by with a lot of experience with north korea specifically. our next guest has been -- let's run through it, congressman, a governor, an ambassador, and an cabinet secretary,long-time former governor of new mexico bill richardson is one of the new americans alive today who have negotiated with the north and successfully brought people out of there. governor if you had just a
moment to take the president aside, give him a nugget, kernel of truth to remember during his talks with kim jong-un, what would it have been? >> well, it would have been what he's done. take him aside, get a relationship going, develop some trust. don't listen back and forth to the grievances that each country has. what i liked was the body language. i liked the vibrati that both kind of emanated. you know, the president says very good about everything he's ever done. so i think we have to wait for the details. especially on the nuclear side. on the good news, just looking at the table, where they sat for and maybe some questions.itives on the positive side, the
foreign minister is there, i've met him. he wants to work things out. he wasng almost across with pompeo on the far right. i did notice on the north korean side, i didn't see anybody from the korean military, the korean people's army. they're very powerful but don't seem to be among the top people at least in this symc meeting. and then i didn't see their nuclear negotiator for many years who has been involved in some of the negotiations, or at least i didn't recognize him. so that's a sign that kim jon himself is the nuclear negotiator because he does know these issues very well. what i am picking up, just from the visibility of the meeting, is that on the issues of alization, liaison offices
perhaps, intensive cultural relations, family reunification issues, issues relating to hot lines that that normalization process is going to come out well in these meetings. but i want to see some of the meet on the nuclear issue. are they going to denuclearize? are we going to see a time line and verification and unfettered access by inspectors? are we going to see ways that the missiles are not pointed at our allies or to the united states? that they stop the development of new research and technology fo those missiles and on nuclear weapons? they have 60 nuclear weapons. this is what the defense intelligence agency says, how many of those are going to be destroyed? i've seen an estimate that it's going to take ten years. so i think we got to see some of
the nuclear results, but my sense is that maybe a lot of this, through the good work of secretary of state pompeo, i got to hand it to him, maybe a lot of these things have been precooked already in the meetings they've had at the dmz, theechnical meetings that have taken place. >> governor one more question, without nuclear weapons we both know none of this happens so what is the incentive to denuclearize? >> i think kim jong-un is going to want to keep some if he wants to stay in power. i think that is his leverage. that is what put him on the world stage. hopefully he will recognize that maybe in exchange for those nuclear weapons the west, the united states, south korea, china, other countries will help him modernize his very, very country with infrastructure, with investments, with an energy
grid which he doesn't have. a lot of people are starving there. maybe he figured out he's going to trade his nuclear weapons, or some of them, for economic prosperity, which is going to take a long time. >> i know you're -- >> no, will he give up his weapons, all of them, i don't think so. even if he signs a paper, every agreement we had has said denuclearization that north korean is going to do it, under bush, clinton, it hasn't happened. >> keeping some could mean san francisco and seattle. >> no, i think that -- that will be worked out. i think stopping the -- freezing that development, that technology, i think that -- it's the nuclear weapons itself. the 60 that he has. the detonations that many of them are underground. they're in sites that we don't know where they are. this is why inspections are
critical. verification. international atomic energy inspectors, american scientist inspectors, unfettered access. otherwise this agreement is going to end up like the other ones. >> governor, it's chris. let me ask you, i keep hearing one of the reasons he likes nuclear weapons is it protects the dynasty, protects him from a military coupe? how does that work? how does it protect him from his generals and his enemies? >> i feel felt his generals, generally the military in north of the leader.hips to i found a lot of these military leaders in north korea to the left of the leader when we negotiated, for instance, on the reins of our soldiers, we brought seven back from the bush administration in 2007. they realize the danger of facing a powerful country like the united states.
but, chris, as the only politician here amongst all you distinguished scholars and journalists i can tell you kim jong-un's number one objective, maybe he brought it up in the meeting with the president is don't talk about regime change. i want to stay in power and i want an assurance you're not going to mess with me, you're not going to try knock me off. i ink he said that, but i think that's his number one objective. yes, he wants a peace treaty, yes, he wants sanctions off, but i think more than anything when you look at him and the way he's treated members of his family and other members of the regime that he thought were a threat, you know, he's annihilated them, but this is his paramount objective and i think we should give it to him early on. i would hold back on a peace treaty, wait to see how they perform. wait to see what they do, because they never say no. they never say yes. they never give you an answer.
this is why you have to verify extensively whatever is agreed to. >> that's why we had you on and wanted to toss a few questions your way, former congressman, governor, ambassador, bill richardson temporarily with us tonight from boston. thank you very much. >> i want to bring into the conversation, speaking of expertise, ambassador wendy sherman, she was an under secretary of state for political affairs in the year 2000 when madeleine albright became the first secretary of state to visit north korea. wendy sherman was there on that trip. she's also a former policy coordinator in the clinton administration. thank you for being with us tonight. it's a privilege to have you here. >> good to be with you, rachel. >> you've been through the wars when it comes to negotiating with north korea, lots of different instances. and you've seen lots of different ways that north korea hasheated and talked their way
of things that they previously talked their way into. do you think that the approach that you've seen tonight from the president and this administration reflects those lessons learned? >> rachel, i was someone who supported this meeting because in north korean culture, at least, and i think sue would agree with this and victor, that only leaders make decisions because in north korea he is the only one that makes decisions. yes, he has to worry about the military as governor richardson just said but there isn't a free press, there isn't a we the people, there's no one to constrain him, except from his perspective the united states. i agree it's all about regime security. in a very strange way, the interests of donald trump and the interests of kim jong-un may be aligned. kim jong-un wants to stay in power, he's a young man. in november he really completed his arsenal. he got his nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.
in december he took a trip up mount pactu, which is in the north korean culture, a sacred place. he got to the top of the mountain, he got there in his dress shoes won wonders in december, but it is symbolic to the north korean people that he was about to begin a great new adventure on their behalf. and he's been preparing his people there's going to be an opening to america. so he wants to stay in power. and as you discussed on the panel tonight, donald trump wants to stay in power. he wants to get through the 2018 midterms in a better way than anticipated and be re-elected in 2020. whether the interest of these two leaders who like surprises, like to act on instincts, at least president trump does, i think kim jong-un came with a very prepared script, the president not so much, but there may be an alignment of interests here that gets us further than we have gone in the past.
but i agree with all the panelists getting to complete denuclearization that can be verified, permanent and irreversible, is a very tough negoti point, rachel, the iran negotiation which i was a part of took years. the europeans began before the americans got involved. it became serious from 2013 to 2015. it took two years to write those 110 pages after many years of failed attempts. so interests have to align, you have to have the right moment and the right team ready to do it. i haven't seen that team yet, i hope it exists in the wings. >> i'm struck by what you said about how kim jong-un has assembled his arsenal within the past year we've seen more than 20 missile tests, the way he celebrated fourth of july, american independence day last year was with an
intercontinental ballistic missile, the sixth and most recent nuclear test in north korea appears hydrogen bomb, which is a different order of magnitude than the other weapons he had detonated. after he invited president trump to this summit in march, in april, kim jong-un said he no longer needed to do any missile testing or nuclear testing. basically implying it was done, they put together what they needed so they could give up testing for now because they didn't need to do it anymore. is that a true statement? is that something we should see as spin? or was he accurately representing his country's achievement at that point? >> i think he was letting us know that he felt he reached this achievement. for him to perfect his weapons, he would probably need to test
them. to make sure you have all the pieces that you need to have a usable weapon. that said, he was really increasing the narrative he has with his people. that he has now gotten them in a powerful and strong place, where the u.s. cannot assail them, the u.s. cannot do themin. so now he is ready to open his country a bit to yes, get economic advantage. he's already started some free market enterprises. it was the only way they could move forward, he understands that now. he's gone to china, which has for a long time tried to get north korean to engage in the economic reforms done in china. so he is saying to us, to the world, we've seen how he's had this diplomatic entree all over the world now. and i think putin will be next on the agenda to say we're at a different point in our history i'm going to make a difference. but that doesn't mean he's ready
to give up his nuclear weapons. during the time of president clinton and secretary olbright's trip to north korea, they believed the sunshine policy would be they crack the door a little bit and they could go all the way through and change things. it didn't work out. there was a change in administration in our country and their country. and continuity in foreign policy isn't just a problem in the united states. it's a problem in north korea. and certainly a problem in south korea as well. >> ambassador wendy sherman, former under secretary of state for political affairs. thank you for being with us tonight. >> thank you. >> the question becomes, we heard from two very smart veterans of the diplomacy trade, a bunch of college degrees between the last two guests. that's the best they can get us on denuclearization?
>> i've been hearing from folks fixated on that image and people pointing out that pompeo is his second secretary of state, and bolton is his third national security advisor, but there's been a lot of reporting that trump is finally a free range president. he's ready to roll as he wants. it's important to point out at least in pompeo and bolton's foreign policy pedigree this is not what they have ever agreed in before. john bolton, someone described him before as a hawk. that doesn't mean he's prowar, but his foreign policy would have had him seek some preconditions. i think trum answer tha would be three detainees were released. he would have wanted more. pompeo who's credited by people, from democratic and republican intelligence circles, for being the only reason this meeting is
happening. pompeo also, someone very skeptical of having a high level meeting like this president to president without any preconditions having been met. but it says something about this moment in trump's presidency, he is truly a free-range commander in chief carrying out the foreign policy he wanted to do. i heard from two friends, more involved in his political side of his life, this was everything to h this is a meeting he relished having. they call him the sun king, he loves the spotlight. this is what he wanted when he thought that winning meant he got to play president. >> let's not leave the imagery of the meeting in that room without noting that if president obama entered that room with those people under exactly the same terms, every republican who's in that room right now, including donald trump, would be attacking president obama for even having this meeting.
>> brian, here's the thing. how do we guarantee regime security for north korea? we're talking about we need to guarantee their regime security? how do we do that? we've given that previous in 2005. we gave them statements we're not going to attack, we're not lookingor regime change. it's already there. so it goes back to what do they want? what do we have to do to guarantee their regime? is it a peace treaty? pull out the troops? it has to be more. why would they believe us by another statement? >> kim guarantees his regime by killing people. so if donald trump says, i guarantee you'd be able to hold power for life, that means you have to tell us, who are you willing to kill to keep kim in power. >> that would be different. in terms of what we're used to
here. to lawrence's point. this is from mike murphy, often a guest on our broadcast. huge long wished for and legitimizing win for the north korean regime, and we got nothing for it. if barack obama had done this, gop heads would have exploded. now we'll see what we get this big kiss to a mini satan. long time gop campaign aide, mike murphy. a break. we're still watching and waiting. if we see anything we'll come out of the commercial. otherwise we hope to see you on the other side.
we are back. that is indeed the event we're covering, this nuclear summit between the leaders of the united states and north korea. there's been no activity with the camera crews who were allowed to go in at specific times. the two leaders are meeting with their various teams. except a new member of our rt. extended on air family has stios. us in our new york he's veteran columnist for "the washington post," eugene robinson. i'm curious to get your take on the coverage you've been watching. >> i've been trying to strip away the trumpness and kimness of -- >> good luck. >> i know. inside of all that, there's an
event. this is a major change in a crucial relationship in the world. a conflict that had never ended, still has not ended, perhaps a dangerous nuclear flash point with north korea having achieved nuclear weapons and the missiles potentially to deliver them. and when donald trump and kim jong-un came out and had that handshake and then the subsequent meetings we've seen with all those photo ops, a lot of photo ops. i think that's the deal. that's the big deal of this summit. potentially bigger than the details of what will come out. and it will not be full denuclearization. i understand the argument that the united states has given north korea a lot without getting anything in return, but as i've argued in a column recently, not talking to north
korea really wasn't working very well. that had allowed north korea to develop a very sophisticated -- more sophisticated than we suspected -- nuclear program, amass an arsenal of nuclear weapons and develop istic missiles tt could reach the continental united states possibly. so that seems a change worth trying because i don't think it can do worse than the prior policy. can this administration with its dysfunction bring home -- bring this to a conclusion that is happier than what we have now? i'm not at all sure. but i think it's a good step. i think it's a good thing this has happened. >> this has been a trump hobby horse. he wants credit for doing something about the problem. in his view, it had to be done, he had to step in, people had been kicking the can down the
road, previous presidents these past few decades would have you know it has taken hard work to remain where we are today and a peaceful korean peninsula. >> people do w they can do and trump didn't get to the presidency by doing his homework. he didn't have a lot of work and due diligence. he popped off. and i think he likes the show. a friend of mine once said that everybody gets a job and everybody takes themselves and puts them in the job. for some people like jimmy carter, he's an engineer, he turned the presidency into an engineering job, he has a checklist, all these ways of doing things. ronald reagan turned it into a tv history show. this guy turns it into a reality show. here we are all of us watching an hour or two of television that is the show. this is it. this is it. this meeting is a reality event,
a faux event if you will, a press conference, he's the master of it. we were talking about it, the physical way of escorting kim into theoom with him, holding his arm. >> almost macron levels of touching. >> you pointed out pal paability. will this be marked, this day, june 12, 2018, as the end of the nuclear threat from the north asia? i tell you, there's two or three places in the world we worry about right now. we worry about iran, potentially pakistan, and this country. i think if this does stop this danger, it'll start here. he'll get credit for it, but he shoots the moon, does the opposite of everyone else. and also, is it only right wingers who are allowed to do this stuff? is it only nixon that can go to china? >> why are you looking at me?
>> maybe hawks -- >> it already is an inflection point because he left canada with, you know, a big up yours, and landed in singapore and said it's an honor to meet meet you. the inflection point has come and gone. and he's now carried about as we talked about --t felt like seven hours ago. it's probably only two. he started carrying out a foreign policyhat is precisely what vladimir putin would like it to be. i think the question is do we achieve denuclearization, and i think people that know a lot more than i do -- >> coincidentally. >> right. we either end up on the path toward -- >> but are we going to remember quebec? >> are we going to remember that -- >> are we going to remember quebec or singapore? >> he loved being in canada and sticking his finger in the eye -- i mean the inflection point has come and gone. he distrusts our allies, and he loves dictators. >> but complete denuclearization of the korea ns peninsula is not
the only potential outcome that changes the situation. one other outcome that changes the situation is that in some way, the united states and the rest of the world, which has tolerated a nuclear north korea for a decade, continues to tolerate a nuclear north korea with tension lessened, with less of a threat that something sparks into a conflagration. i think even if there is a negotiation whose putative end is denuclearization, for many years -- for years there's going to be the reality of north korean nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. they're just going to be there. so potentially that handshake and the photo opps made living with that condition until whatever point -- maybe he gets rid of them eventually, but made
that period of living with that threat less dangerous than it was before. >> let's bring into the conversation an additional expert who we want to add to our ranks. ian bremer is t, thank you very for being with us tonight. nicolle wallace is arguing that an important inflection point has already been reached, with just the photo opportunity, just the pictures of bringing the dictator of this pariah state, which has wanted a meeting with the u.s. president for decades, bringing that dictator into a one-on-one, equal relationship with the u.s. president, with this sit-down meeting. that is the threshold that has already been reached regardless of what is agreed in terms of nuclear weapons on the peninsula. what's your view of the historic significance that we've seen thus far? >> i think trump's done an extraordinary amount of lifting to get to this point. the threats of preemptive military strikes, the
willingness to tie cooperation with the u.s. on tightening sanctions against north korea in return for having a constructive economic relationship with the chinese. that did lead the chinese to take the north korea much more serious will the united states and it brought the north koreans to the table. it didn't happen under bush, under obama, under clinton. that'sdeal. >> did the north koreans -- was there any question that they would come to the table, though? wasn't the issue about whether the american president would come to the table? >> i'm not talking the united states. i'm talking come to the table generally. before trump talked about fire and fury, before trump pushed the chinese hard -- now you've had two summit meetings with the south korean president. you've had two meetings with xi jinping. you've had the russian foreign minister come to pyongyang. and now you have this meeting with donald trump. now, there's no question from the perspective of making
history, first american president to have the meeting, from the perspective of the media, this is extraordinary coverage. but if you ask me, what matters more, it's the fact that the chinese are engaging again and they're responsible for the vast majority of the north korean economy. and over time, i think it's very -- i don't believe, and i think no one on the panel believes that we're going to reach cvid in terms of denuclearization from north korea. they're going to give up all of their nukes. i think over time the united states is going to become a more marginal player like it is in syria, where the russians and the iranians, the players in the region with the real equities, the cash, the military engagement -- they're the ones that matter the most. over time that will be the case. the united states will not be the most important player in north korea. but for right now, this is trump's moment, and we'll see how much is actually accomplished as a consequence. but the big deal here is that we've taken the risk factor away
from the idea of a military conflict between the u.s. and north korea and the actors in the region who weren't engaged before now are. i think that's actually most of what's happening around north korea right now is notmanating from donald trump or washington anymore. it's now between the north koreans and the south koreans, the north koreans and china. that's the way it's been for most of history. that's the way it's returned. >> ian bremer, founder of the political risk consultancy, appreciate having you here. it is remarkable the transformation he's talking about there. we talked about this at the very beginning of our broadcast tonight that before -- not only before this year, b before this spring, kim jong-un, the dictator of north korea, had never, ever met with the head of another country. now because of this opening that the american president has given him, he's met with the leader of south korea. he's met with the leader of china twice. he's met with the prime minister of singapore. he's now tonight meeting currently with the president of the united states. we expect that the president of
russia is going to be next. what has he done to achieve. >> very notably he's left his country, which is very rare. >> this is the fuirst time he's done that as head of country. what has he done to earn that sort of international acceptance at treatment a legitimate leader, as the dictator of the most totalitarian regime on earth? he's done nothing -- >> nuclear -- >> well, yes. that's what made him a pariah. what brought him into -- he was not having these meetings before donald trump started calling. >> big nuclear weapons. seriously. >> a big button. >> you start developing nuclear weapons and usually you get isolated. in this case, what happened to turn that around was we got a new president. they didn't change anything. >> our coverage continues after a break. stay with us.
news we're covering tonight. two volatile leaders, one handshake that has changed the course of history. the unprecedented summit between the american president donald trump and noirkrth korean dicta kim jong-un. a special edition of "the 11th hour" as our live coverage continues on a monday night. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. we've been at it all evening. this was day 508 of the trump administration, and these are the images, the historic photo opp being broadcast around the world tonight. we just don't know yet what this all means. it's currently just after 11:00 a.m. in singapore where donald trump and kim jong-un are still