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Journey of the Hermit Kings

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"...then we fell in love. He wrote me beautiful letters." donald trump, on his relationship with Kim Jong Un

Good morning, Vietnam!

The title of that old Robin Williams movie seems as apt a way as any to draw attention to another vanity exercise in big boy ballistic missile diplomacy by donald trump. As always, it's a matter of concern. He's the "leader" of the world's most powerful nation whose immeasurable pettiness also makes him the world's most enormously small man. And as of this writing, trump's in Central Asia for another intercontinental speed date with perhaps his physical polar opposite and publicly acknowledged out and about love interest , North Korea's rotundly diminutive President, Kim Jong Un.

"Lil Kim," if you will, is the baby-faced, North Korean strongman who has locked down second place on donald trump's "Love Of My Life" list - as long as you don't count the ruling dictators of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, the United Arab Emirates, the People's Republic of China, and Egypt. Outside of those guys, only Putin, it seems, is more beloved. Trump's favorite daughter Ivanka, of course, comes in a very close third. And at least for the moment, despite his well-documented marital infidelity across several wives, Melania's position probably holds firm somewhere in the top ten.

But don't call their rendezvous a hook-up. Both trump and Kim prefer to raise the overall stature of their encounter by branding it a "summit," the same euphemism used to describe their eye-opening (albeit for trump, pointedly fruitless) first date last year in Singapore.

Nevertheless, to both of these fawning heads of state, it probably matters little if their "summit" yields no clearly measurable change in the current status quo on the Korean Peninsula, or produces no results serviceable to the interests of anyone other than Vladimir Putin. Because if their rendezvous accomplishes nothing other than further expanding a pair of already trumped up egos, then its "mission accomplished." And at that point, both the current and future Hermit Kings will jointly declare victory from some grand stage abroad, then triumphantly - and separately - begin their journey back home; Lil Kim to his existing Hermit Kingdom, and trump, to the one he's working hard to create.

Perhaps it should be noted that a "Hermit Kingdom," which is a term often used to describe North Korea, is defined as a country that physically and/or philosophically walls itself off from the rest of the world. Which makes it peculiar that trump's effort to persuade North Korea to eliminate its nuclear program is pitched as the means by which that country can emerge from its current Hermit Kingdom status. Yet trump himself - particularly by way of his immigration policies, trade wars and dogged pursuit of a border wall - seems hell-bent on turning his own country into a Hermit Kingdom of his own making.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a left-handed leftist. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the (more...)

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