After recently calling for “fire and fury” against North Korea, President Trump has been criticized for adopting such a harsh tone. Top cabinet members such as James Mattis and Rex Tillerson were quick to defend Trump by saying that he spoke “in a language that Kim Jong-un can understand.” Since that statement, President Trump has doubled down on his words, citing that maybe he “wasn’t tough enough.”
What the American people can safely conclude from Trump’s tone is that the current administration will be taking a hard-line approach towards North Korea. Such a hard-line approach will certainly cause concerns on both sides of the aisle; many will believe that a war may be unnecessary while others believe it is absolutely justified. I undoubtedly believe that North Korea is a threat to South Korea and has proven itself to be hostile towards the United States. Overall, the path the Trump Administration is taking is definitely more assuring than the imaginary “red line” policy of the Obama years.
But in order to handle North Korea well, the current administration must do more than talk tough from the White House. The current approach can be improved if we make it clear to North Korea that we are more than willing to take military action. Trump is definitely going out of his way to show that. Nevertheless, I would like to see President Trump attempt diplomatic measures with Jong-un while negotiating from a point of strength.
Jonah Goldberg’s recent article at the National Review laid out key advice to follow when initiating diplomacy:
“If you don’t decide before you enter negotiations what you want from negotiations, all you are doing is negotiating for more negotiations while your opponent is negotiating for more time in pursuit of a concrete goal.”
In other words, the Trump Administration must decide beforehand what they want from North Korea through diplomacy–and the answer is clear. We all want North Korea to completely stop their nuclear program, and end their hostility towards the United States and South Korea. Although it seems delusional to think that Jong-un will follow these requests, it is imperative that our enemy knows that we are after a goal. In addition, the fact that Trump can certainly talk a good talk means that at the very least, there is a remote possibility that Trump’s big mouth can talk us out of war.
But if Kim Jong-un remains uncooperative throughout negotiations, and he likely will be, a preemptive strike would be the next step.
Since the deal Bill Clinton negotiated with the North Koreans in the mid-90’s, North Korea has continued to build up their nuclear arsenal. Once North Korea attains their desired arsenal, their first targets will likely be Seoul and the West Coast of the United States. If we continue to stand idly by while they build up their weapons, then we would be fools. It would be foolish not to wage a war with North Korea when we know all too well what their endgame is. That is why I believe that a preemptive strike may be necessary.
However , it is necessary that the Trump administration begins with diplomacy to assert our position and advance American interests. From there, it is also necessary that should we not achieve our goals through discussions, launching a war would be the only sane and logical action to protect America and its people from this rogue despot in North Korea.