In diplomacy, Trump is the anti-Reagan

An optimistic take on Mr Donald Trump's historic meeting on Tuesday with Mr Kim Jong Un is that it's Geneva Redux - a reprise of the 1985 summit between Mr Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that established their rapport, fundamentally altered the tenor of relations between the superpowers and led within a few years to the end of the Cold War.

Let's hope so. Because another take is that it's the Plaza Redux, meaning the 1988 real estate debacle in which Mr Trump hastily purchased New York's Plaza Hotel because it looked like an irresistible trophy, only to be forced to sell it at a loss a few years later as part of a brutal debt restructuring.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'In diplomacy, Trump is the anti-Reagan'. Print Edition | Subscribe