Kim jong un, bill cosby, ronny jackson the 4 biggest stories of the week, explained – vox gas in babies that breastfeed


North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un made a historically unprecedented trip across the Demilitarized Zone to have a highly publicized sit-down meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (right) and South Korea‘s President Moon Jae-in walk together after a tree-planting ceremony at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press (Pool)/AFP/Getty Images

• Diplomatic breakthroughs: This was the first trip to South Korea since the country’s de facto partition in the wake of World War II, and it presages the possible completion of a formal peace treaty between North and South Korea while laying the groundwork for Kim’s anticipating meeting with President Donald Trump.

• What’s really happening? The Trump administration’s view of events is that tough rhetoric from Washington is paying dividends in bringing the North to the table. It’s far from clear, however, that this is actually what’s going on — the flurry of high-level meetings appears to be aimed at establishing the DPRK’s legitimacy as a state, while the announced freeze on nuclear tests has little concrete value because Kim already has a working nuclear arsenal.

• What’s next? The Trump-Kim meeting will be crucial, of course, but in the shorter term, US participation in the multilateral nuclear arms deal with Iran may not last through May, and backing out of US commitments there will surely have consequences for other rounds of nuclear diplomacy.

Former television star Bill Cosby was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault Thursday, a small legal down payment on a much larger set of credible allegations against him. Bill Cosby‘s star on the Hollywood Walk Fame is tagged with the jury’s verdict on April 26, 2018. Damian Dovarganes/AP

• A win for #MeToo: A jury failed to reach a verdict in an earlier Cosby trial a year ago, with the blockbuster Harvey Weinstein exposé and subsequent #MeToo movement arising between trials. Cosby would be the first celebrity assaulter to face concrete legal consequences for his actions.

• Signs of rollback: At the same time, there’s already talk of Charlie Rose coming back with a new show — and Rose, at age 76, could have credibly vanished into quiet retirement in a way that some of the younger men looking to claw their way back to fame can’t.

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the chief of the White House medical staff, withdrew his name from consideration for the post of secretary of veterans affairs after a series of unflattering allegations about his conduct came to light. Nominee no more, Dr. Ronny Jackson departs the US Capitol on April 25, 2018. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

His nomination hit a couple of speed bumps on the way, but CIA Director Mike Pompeo was confirmed this week as America’s next secretary of state, giving him the chance to rebuild the stature of an institution that was devastated by Rex Tillerson’s disastrous run. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (center left) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speak to media prior to a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 27, 2018. Virginia Mayo/AFP/Getty Images

• A Rand in time: Pompeo’s confirmation initially seemed in doubt because Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced he would oppose the hawkish Pompeo, which could have killed the nomination in committee. But after the White House leaned on him, Paul flip-flopped, clearing the way for passage.

• Democratic defectors: Most Democrats voted no on Pompeo, citing, among other things, an extensive history of ties to Islamophobia, but six Democrats crossed party lines to back him. For red-state incumbents looking to show independence from party leadership, crossing the aisle on foreign policy issues that don’t really have organized progressive interest groups behind them is just too tempting.

• An opportunity: More quietly, even several of Pompeo’s Democratic opponents hope that his ascension could mean change for the better. Trump knows and likes Pompeo, which means that, unlike the hapless Tillerson, he could have some actual influence over policy. And unlike Tillerson, Pompeo seems to understand that deliberately destroying the institution he runs is a bad idea.