Summit

Trump Says North Korea Summit Back On

It’s tiring, isn’t it, trying to keep up with global politics today? Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all political again. Rather, I started thinking of that word summit today.

It’s one of those common words that can have two quite different meanings, which yet never stands out as being obviously unusual in that regard. It can mean the top of a mountain or hill, or a highest point in a more metaphorical sense. It’s also come to be used as a verb in this regard too, e.g. to summit a mountain. And can also of course, refer to a meeting of political leaders, generally heads of government.

The word gained its diplomatic meaning in the 1950s after a speech by Winston Churchill. Speaking in Edinburgh in 1950 about foreign policy in terms of the nascent Cold War, he proposed a parley at the summit to improve East-West relations. By this he meant a meeting of heads of government, such as himself, Joseph Stalin, and Harry Truman. Summit here was used to refer to the fact that each was in the highest political position in their respective countries: i.e. at the summit.

The term took off in diplomatic circles, and such meetings quickly came to be referred to simply as summits. The term’s perhaps become a little diluted over time, as it isn’t always used to refer solely to meetings between heads of government.

The North Korea – United States summit, if it does happen (and it will probably have been cancelled and reconfirmed three times via Twitter in the hours between writing and publishing this), will at least be a true summit, being a meeting between the President of the United States and the Chairman of North Korea.

I really hope it goes ahead, for the prospect of peaceful relations and denuclearisation, obviously, but also just for a chance to know what they actually say to each other. Will they call each other Little Rocket Man and Dotard? Will Trump say bigly, and will Kim understand it? Will covfefe!?

I for one, can’t wait to find out.

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