US President Trump has repeatedly promised to deal with North Korea, whether as a presidential candidate during the 2016 elections with hefty promises of protecting South Korea from its big bad brother, or as fully fledged President promising fire and fury in case Kim Jong-Un even looks at the US funny.
Trump is exceptionally skilled at making promises, although keeping them may not be his forte. During his year of Presidency the only successful move against North Korea was tightening UN sanctions on the country, which is Trump’s achievement only partially at best. Even then, North Korea did not seem deterred, apparently continuing to grow its military and nuclear power, despite the US deploying its THAAD systems in South Korea.
And that nuclear power is growing. North Korea’s first successful ICBM test launch on July 4 saw President Trump making the usual round of promises, after firing up Twitter, of course. “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?,” the President asked through his medium of choice. The second launch on July 28 led Trump to promise that he will not allow North Korea to obtain an ICBM that can deliver a nuclear warhead. The fifth launch over Japan should have raised some flags. The final test to date saw North Korea successfully conducting a test of a hydrogen bomb on September 3. Trump responded by vowing that he will “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatens the US.
Kim Jong-un reacted to Trump’s claims by calling him a “mentally deranged US dotard”. Trump, using Twitter, urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to waste time seeking a diplomatic solution with “Little Rocket Man”, adding that he won’t be nice unlike his predecessors, with everyone else rushing in and trying to defuse the tension by saying that the US is open to a diplomatic solution.
Meanwhile, reports started showing up that North Korea was on the brink of developing a missile capable of reaching the US West Coast. US started sending three aircraft carriers near North Korea, and conducting military drills with South Korea and Japan.
Speaking of North Korea’s neighbors, Japan is the country with everything riding on this, considering that the missiles are flying across its skies. No wonder the Japanese don’t want to put all of their eggs into a single stars-and-stripes basket. Japan understands that the US’s help won’t amount to much in case Kim finally decides to go nuclear. Now more than ever before Japan is likely to formalize its JSDF into an actual military, with re-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe considering amending the constitution that had abolished the army after World War II.
China does not seem to be all that impressed by the US either. Despite intensive talks between the two countries, China is making mostly formal gestures, doing little to deter the North’s nuclear ambition.
Trump is currently taking a trip across Asia, prioritizing finding a solution to the North Korean crisis. Whether he is aware of that or not, any deal better than deterrence appears increasingly far-fetched by the minute. Considering quite surprising remarks during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where he claimed that the US is to blame for getting the short end of the stick in US-Chinese trade relations, the US President seems more and more like he’s all bark and no bite. Where is Trump that with such gusto had previously criticized China, accusing it of “raping” the US economy and being the country’s “enemy”? Will tweeting insults at Kim Jong-un in the end become a formal apology?
The White House has to make a move. Is it ready to accept diplomatic defeat? Is it ready for war? The US has to act now, or it will be too late. North Korea is growing its nuclear potential by the minute, and the more time is wasted, the closer its nuclear arsenal to a full fledged deterrent force. Undoubtedly the Kim regime considers to strike back at the US in case of a “judgment day” scenario. What Trump plans, only he and God know.