About the Author
View more articles by Andray Abrahamian
Andray Abrahamian is the 2018-19 Koret Fellow at Stanford University
You could hear the complaints almost before Trump and Kim had turned back around to face southward. “Meeting the leader of North Korea like this just gives him legitimacy”; “The U.S. President is legitimizing Kim Jong Un”; “Kim gets legitimacy while Trump just gets a photo op,” etc. etc.
This not-uncommon hot take has been rolled out before and after every Trump-Kim meeting. “Legitimacy” in these assertions might mean three things: one is dead wrong, one is slightly true, and the other is true.