What did Trump say? The Korean peninsula is about as close to a natural experiment as you can get: divided at birth, the two halves went in diametrically opposite directions. This divergence provided the arc of the National Assembly speech, noting the progress in the South and the outlier political system in the North. Among the defter touches were references to culture, including the fact that Korean authors have published no fewer than 40,000 books this year. Some North Korea
watchers bridle at the Orientalism of writing on the country, particularly those that emphasize the bizarre. And Trump's stylized history was arguably cliched. But honestly: does anyone who studies North Korea
not believe the bulk of what the President had to say about the fates of the two countries and particularly the Kim regime's excesses? No one expected a human rights speech, but that is exactly what they got.