Donald Trump - Nobel Peace Prize winner, or the next Neville Chamberlain?

Since the historic meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea, there has been growing speculation Donald Trump could be next recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

As recently as eight months ago the US President was promising to hit the hermit state with "fire and fury like the world has never seen". Earlier this month he was not only warning Russia of incoming missiles, but bombing its ally Syria in response to a chemical attack Russia denied even happened.

But since the Korean summit, UK bookies have slashed the odds on Mr Trump and North Korean despot Kim Jong-un getting the Peace Prize, and some of the former reality TV star's fellow Republicans are openly backing their boss to win the prestigious honour.

"We're not there yet, but if this happens, President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize," said Lindsay Graham, who has been an outspoken critic of Mr Trump, and didn't even vote for him in the 2016 election.

So how realistic is the prospect of a Peace Prize-winner whom many fear might actually bring about World War III?

University of Waikato international relations expert Al Gillespie has been following the bookies, who currently have the real estate mogul at 10/1.

He told Newshub while there have been plenty of winners who didn't deserve it - depending on who you ask - if the current thaw on the peninsula results in a peace treaty, both Mr Trump and Mr Kim absolutely should win.

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in shake hands at the division between North and South.
Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in shake hands at the division between North and South. Photo credit: Reuters

But even 10/1 means only a one-in-11 chance of success.

"We've been here twice before - in 1994 and 2005 - and both times the North Koreans cheated," said Prof Gillespie. 

He said Mr Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are playing a kind of "good cop, bad cop" strategy - no prizes for guessing which is which - that appears to be working.

He compared it to former US President Ronald Reagan's approach in the 1980s - like Mr Trump, many thought the ex-B movie star was more likely to start a war with Cold War enemy Russia than find a lasting peace.

While Mr Reagan didn't get a Nobel for his efforts, his self-described friend and rival Mikhail Gorbachev - the last President of the Soviet Union - did. Mr Gorbachev gave Mr Reagan a lot of credit however, saying he entered history "as a man who was instrumental in bringing about the end of the Cold War".

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Photo credit: Getty

Even if the North Koreans are genuine, it's still a long-shot because North Korea is likely to demand the US remove its troops from South Korea and dismantle its missile shield protecting its ally - a big risk when the North hardly has a reputation for being trustworthy.

Prof Gillespie says it remains to be seen whether Mr Trump's trip to North Korea will make him the new Ronald Reagan. He believes there's still a very real chance Mr Trump instead emulates the achievements of Neville Chamberlain - the British Prime Minister who tried appeasing Adolf Hitler, hoping the Nazi Fuhrer would be happy with a piece of Czechoslovakia.

Less than a year later, World War II was underway.

Last year's Peace Prize was won by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Favourites for the next prize, in addition to Mr Trump and the Presidents of North and South Korea, include Catalan leader Carlos Puigdemont. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, whistleblower Edward Snowden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.