North Korea has been on the news and in the minds of most Americans for the past week or so. I suppose that statement could be “most people in the world.” Much attention is certainly on Pyongyang as the world responds to provocations by North Korea. President Donald Trump and his administration are determined to let the world know that there is “a new sheriff in town.” The Obama “lead from behind” and “appease the enemy” era is over, and the Trump era is here.
Kim Jong Un, the current dictator in North Korea, continues the crazy diplomacy of his father and grandfather. He has been called “a dangerous, unpredictable menace” by James Carafano at The Daily Signal. Carafano asks an interesting question after his description of Kim. “Otherwise, why would anybody care to deal with the world’s poorest nation at the far end of the planet.” He explains:
Not only is the current showdown with North Korea unlikely to lead to a military conflict, it is likely that all the countries involved will walk away believing they have achieved something for their side. In fact, it could be the perfect storm of crisis diplomacy that’s a win-win for everybody – for now….
Usually the annual military parade gets no more attention than a joke on the late-night shows. This time around, Kim Jong Un’s half-serious salute got worldwide coverage. The question for Kim is how to parlay fear-mongering into some kind of strategic advantage.
Seoul [South Korea] and Tokyo [Japan] got a big reassurance of commitment from Washington, as the U.S. rushed to show both that we’d honor our obligations to mutual defense. Nothing says we care like an armada of ships and a fleet of nuclear-capable bombers.
The USS Carl Vinson strike group sailed from Singapore north to the Korean area by order of Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Commanded. The aircraft carrier-led strike group is accompanied by a fleet of Japanese ships and two more aircraft-carrier strike groups from the U.S. Even as North Korea threatens to nuke America, the U.S. is ready to shoot any rockets down or whatever else needs to be done.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are now “best friends” as they play “let’s make a deal.” Beijing sent back barges of North Korean coal and ordered some from the United States. This hurts the North Korean economy while it strengthens the American. Trump looks like a strong leader as he “met with top foreign leaders, including Xi, dealt with the situation in Korea, and handled a crisis in Syria.” Americans and the world welcome his leadership and maintain that he has done well so far.
It appears that World War III has been avoided, but what happens now? North Korea is still a threat with its nuclear weapons and crazy leader who will never surrender them. North Korea is so poor and so isolated now that they do not have much more to lose. China cannot be depended upon to do anything because the Chinese like things as they are now. They do not want to destabilize North Korea any further, and they certainly do not want any refugees from North Korea moving into their country.
The question remains, how will President Trump and his administration handle the situation going forward? Carafano suggests that Washington needs to have “a sustained responsible policy” and “send clearer signals that it is not planning to ratchet up tensions.” There needs to be “a serious long-term plan that might create future opportunities for de-escalation.” Washington cannot wait for China to solve the North Korea problem but must take the lead in solving it.