By: Ryan Kirby, Columnist
North Korea is arguably the greatest security threat the United States faces today. North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have plagued the three previous administrations and remains a prime concern for the Trump Administration. The United States finds itself in an incredibly difficult situation because our primary rival in the region, China, is the principle ally of North Korea. Any military option would drag China into the conflict and place the millions of South Korean citizens and approximately 28,000 American soldiers in harm’s way. Diplomatic pressure has been less than successful because we don’t have anything that North Korea wants and any pressure put on North Korea requires that China abide by the sanctions.
In a surprising turn of events, relations between North and South Korea have appeared to warm. The two countries competed in the Winter Olympics under one flag and have even begun bilateral talks. For the first time in over a decade, the North and South Korean leaders met face to face and crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) into one another’s countries. North Korea announced that it will be closing a nuclear testing site this month and South Korea agreed to take down the loudspeakers that broadcast South Korean propaganda across the DMZ. Without a doubt, it is phenomenal to see progress being made towards peace on the Korean Peninsula.
One of the biggest questions throughout the recent events is: what role did Donald Trump play? I would argue that Donald Trump did make a noticeable difference in U.S.-South Korean-North Korean relations, but the key focus should be on how and why it made a difference. Donald Trump sent many tweets making direct and non-direct threats to “Little Rocket Man.” The threat of direct conflict with North Korea was real, even genuine concern over the use of nuclear weapons. President Trump put the U.S. and North Korea on a collision course for war.
North Korea made threatening statements, but that was as far as it went. They continue to advance their nuclear weapons program, but they have opened the option for peace. Donald Trump’s crazy and unpredictable threats created an opponent that may have been crazier than even Kim Jong-un and the North Koreans recognized this. I credit Donald Trump with creating that unpredictable and crazy enemy for North Korea.
Some reports try to give credit to Donald Trump for his work in North Korea and eighteen GOP Representatives sent a letter requesting he receive the Nobel Peace Prize. I laugh at this notion.
I hardly call a series of angry Twitter rants and vaguely worded threats during a photo op a “strategy.” I think the word strategy is key here. There was no National Security Council decision or policy analysis made. Chief of Staff John Kelly or NSC Advisor did not read each of his tweets to ensure they matched precisely with U.S. foreign policy goals in the region. Absolutely not. They were angry Twitter rants and vague threats made by a narcissistic man driven by ego who felt threatened after watching a segment on Fox & Friends.
Some may argue that President Trump is a fourth dimensional chess player looking hundreds of moves ahead and was able to overcome the odds to help achieve peace in the region. I would love to have an intelligent President wielding foreign policy decisions with incredible foresight and vision. Unfortunately, that person does not occupy the Oval Office right now and there is no evidence to suggest President Trump was, is, or ever will be the dignified and respect President America needs.