Trump is taking the wrong approach to North Korea


Credit: Lillian Li / The Foothill Dragon Press

Alex Dodos

President Trump reveres himself as a tough alpha-leader who will put “America first.” Recently, he’s taken this role to an extreme in confronting North Korea. The president’s so-called “tough” mentality is getting twisted with impetuous and reckless thinking.

Trump isn’t keen on learning new things. After all, he is our omniscient emperor. Yet, he seems to be taking tips from a certain despotic, thin-skinned buffoon. If your first guess was “a mirror” then you’re not far off. Like Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a paunchy, comically-haired snowflake who lies across the pacific.

Tension with the Kim regime isn’t new. It’s been an underlying concern for the U.S. ever since the Korean War came to a standstill. The status quo of denuclearizing North Korea is the same today as it was under the Bush and Obama administrations. The difference today is its tone, the belligerent one that Trump brings to the table.

After the rebellious Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) tests, a realization that Kim could strike the United States was enough to propel Trump into lunacy. He promised “fire and fury like the world has never saw” and threatened nuclear annihilation at the United Nations General Assembly. Kim slammed him as a “dotard” in return. At a peaceful and celebratory dinner, Trump managed to further stir apprehension among newsreaders. This is the “calm before the storm” he declared. The statement made everybody, including close aides, confused on what he meant.

North Korea’s nuclear strides are, at this point, irreversible. Tempting as it is to stop worrying and love the bomb, the time to take decisive military action was Bill Clinton’s back in 1994, not today. America’s commander-in-chief is blind to the reality that North Korea’s weapons function as a deterrent. Deep down in his black hole of an inside, Kim Jong Un knows that a preemptive attack on the United States would spell the end for his hermit kingdom.

Given that one surrounds his or herself with responsible people, a leader with integrity will turn to his cabinet for support. “Rocketman’s” threats can then undergo analysis and a proper response conducted. But who needs that? Trump, the guru who “knows more about ISIS than the generals do” is already winning against North Korea from his Twitter account.

Seeing no wrong in escalating to nuclear war is an approach that will destroy the Korean Peninsula. Calling peace efforts made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a waste of time stretches delusion’s bounds. Anyone with an iota of sagacity can see through North Korea’s threats. Its mutual backlash to Trump is nothing more than insecure bluster from a country unwilling to lose its bargaining chip. To Kim, nukes are key in eliciting leverage, fear and respect from his international superiors.

Is denuclearization preferable? Yes. Practical? Unless you think mass carnage, devastating fallout and a humanitarian crisis are minor inconveniences—then no, it isn’t. I don’t have a silver bullet, but neither does the president. Feeding into North Korea’s attention-seeking charade has drawn us closer to war and instability. Trump has to be the bigger man. If not, the situation will take a turn for the worse.


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