It ended abruptly. Many were surprised. It had started so hopefully. It had lasted so long. Love is blind. Being in love is believing the unbelievable. It is full of trust. It is full of seeing what one wants to see and not what is. Yet, anyone familiar with these May to December romances know they are fraught with peril.
Trump saw in Kim a man he wanted to be. A man whose whole country seemed to adore him. He wanted that for himself. After all, he has told us he is the greatest president the country has ever had; that he is the smartest president in our history; that he accomplished more than any other president in his first two years; and that those presidents who dealt with North Korea since the end of the fighting on the Korean peninsular were incompetent.
Trump believed that someone could fall in love with a person from the other side of the tracks. We’ve read many novels or have had numerous tales where the parents frown upon the child marrying someone so vastly different from their child in his or her upbringing that they try to dissuade their child from continuing with the relationship sometimes attempting to forbid their marriage. In novels those mix matches often succeed; in real life they may, but most don’t. The differences are so stark, the expectations so different, the experiences so insurmountable that the destiny of the relationship is bleak and short-lived.
The tracks separating Trump from Kim are those that separate dictatorships from democracies. The dictator is used to getting what he wants; the leader of a democracy sometimes gets very little of what he requests. If a dictator enters into a discussion with some of his subjects and they balk at his request he eliminates them and finds some who will follow his directives; the democratic leader in facing obstructionists in a negotiation can’t replace those people, he is only able to walk out on the negotiations. Trump’s world was that of negotiation; Kim’s of dictating.
Dictators don’t care about facts, all that matters is what they believe. Trump has some of those instincts believing mightily in himself but to negotiate he needed to know some facts despite his unwillingness to hear them. He heard from some that his love Kim was not being faithful. He received incontrovertible evidence Kim had been cheating on him.
Despite this he believed when he brought it to Kim’s attention that he was aware of this Kim would accept that it was true and amend his ways. When they met they exchanged their usual pleasantries in public embracing as they had in the past. When they went off to the privacy of their room to spend time alone Trump affirmed his love for Kim but told him that Kim would have to give up his new love.
Kim was surprised that Trump knew of that. He had gone to great extents to hide it. He vowed to himself that when he got back home some heads would roll for this breach.
Kim always knew that Trump was aware of his first love, Yongbyon. At their meeting in Singapore they discussed it. He told Trump he was willing to give it up. He thought though that his new love, Kangson, he could keep and Trump would not know about it. Kim at first denied having a new secret love. He expected Trump would take his word on that as the people in North Korea accept whatever he says.
Trump didn’t. He showed Kim photographs of Kangson. Kim told Trump he needed his new love. He hoped Trump would understand. He explained that their nuptials could still go forward and knowledge of his new love would remain secret. He reminded Trump of the enormous advantages he would gain by doing that. He’d be the Great Peacemaker – the King of the Deal – the future Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Trump was torn. Not only would he be giving up his love, Kim, but also some of his fondest dreams. He was sorely tempted to agree. They’d go on and fool most of the world, or at least the people of the United States, for Trump would also understand that the rulers of Russia, China, and some other countries also knew of Kim’s new love. Could he depend on them keeping quiet about it? What would they extract from Trump for their silence?
He didn’t worry that the American intelligence communities knew of Kim’s secret love. They gave him the evidence of it and photographs to support their knowledge. He had already gone head to head with them diminishing their credibility among his followers. He knew his support would remain unchanged. He knew Republican leaders would keep quiet. Why not chance it? He thought, “you can fool some of the people all of the time.” He had done well doing that. Why not continue?
Trump left their room telling Kim he needed time. He thought of those words in a song he once liked: “only fools fall in love.” He’d fallen in love before only to see it not work out. He expected his partner to be faithful even though he did not expect that of himself. Riding back in his limousine the image of Kim became blurry, the face of Ivana replace it and then that of Marla Maples. Old loves but not true loves.
Trump recognized there was only one thing he could not forgive which was being two-timed by anyone, even Kim. It was too hard of a mountain to climb. It broke his heart but he knew KIm’s betrayal of trust would cause the relationship to end in disaster. He had Mike call Kim to call it off.
I’ve always said Trump had to be blind not to know Kim is a nobody without his nukes. They are as much a part of him as his heart. He cannot live without them for he cannot think of himself as not being a somebody. Nicholas Kristol who said Trump was right to end the love affair noted this: “Unfortunately, North Korea is an otherwise unimportant country that gets attention only when it behaves provocatively.”