Launching another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile [ICBM] Aug. 28, 33-year-old North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un continued to provoke 71-year-old President Donald Trump. Promising the keep North Korea from getting a deliverable nuclear weapon, Trump’s drawn his line in the sand, despite Kim’s ongoing provocations. Keeping his options ambiguous, Trump said the U.S. would manage a growing North Korean nuclear threat. “We’ll handle North Korea. We’re going to be able to handle them. It will be handled,” Trump told the press at his Cabinet meeting yesterday. Complaining that China hasn’t done enough to contain North Korea, Trump vowed he wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of his predecessors former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom practiced “strategic patience.” Trump said the days of “diplomacy” are over with North Korea.
Reading between the lines, Trump’s statement that “We’ll handle North Korea,” refers specifically to preventing Kim from getting an operational nuke-tipped ICBM. North Korean’s July 28 ICBM that traveled some 800 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan sends a loud message to the Pentagon that he days of complicity are over when it comes to Kim’s nuke and ICBM program “I am very disappointed with China,” Trump tweeted. “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them [China] to make hundreds-of-billions of dollars a year in t trade, yet they do NOTHING for use with North Korea, just talk,” Trump tweeted, pressuring China to do more. China doesn’t want a flood of North Koreans refugees across their border when the U.S. started bombing Pyongyang. With Congress voting in new Russian sanctions July 27, there’s little chance of gaining Russia’s cooperation to contain North Korea.
Unlike Bush-43 and Obama, Trump can no longer afford to do nothing, especially if diplomacy won’t force Kim to the bargaining table. Before Congress voted in new Russian sanctions July 27, there was hope that Trump’s July 7 G20 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin could bear fruit. They looked like they had good rapport, opening the possibility of improved relations. Once Congress voted in more Russian sanctions for alleged meddling in 2016 election, it killed any prospects of mending fences. Putin retaliated yesterday notifying the State Department to remove 755 U.S. diplomats from Moscow. Putin warned Congress before their vote that there would be consequences to more sanctions. Trump’s promise to improve relations with Russia was sabotaged by both Democrats and Republicans, currently intoxicated by the anti-Russian hysteria sweeping Washington.
With Trump’s options narrowing in North Korea, he could have used Putin to help rein-in Kim Jong-un’s nuclear program. Voting in new sanctions, Congress killed any possibility of Putin lending a helping hand. Trump’s now forced to go it alone with North Korea, getting little help from anyone. When you consider Kim’s made threats to hit the U.S. with a nuke, Trump must work 24/7 with Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis to draw up contingency plans in the event diplomacy fails. Having Putin on the U.S. side would have put added pressure on Kim to come to his senses. With Congress killing that possibility, it’s now up to Trump to stop Kim from developing a nuke-fitted ICBM. Trump’s tried to apply as much pressure as possible on China to prevail on North Korea but so far it’s yielded little fruit. Whether China can help or not, it hasn’t stopped Kim form launching ICBMs.
Relieving 53-year-old newly minted Communication Director Anthony Scaramuccis of his duties after only 10 days, Trump’s new Chief-of-Staff Gen. John Kelly hoped to restore order in the White House staff. Whatever the fits-and-starts with immigration reform, border security and, most recently, heath care, they all pale in comparison to neutralizing North Korea’s nuclear threat. Starting a trade war with China won’t pressure Beijing to stop North Korea’s nuke program. China’s recent military installations in the South China Sea have created new problems for international navigation. Whether admitted to or not, Trump has limited leverage with China. Starting a trade war with China hurts U.S. companies more than China and won’t force China to apply more pressure on North Korea. Trump’s in the unenviable place of mapping out a way forward to neutralize North Korea.
Whatever problems exist with White House personnel or ongoing investigations into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, the business of U.S. national security goes on. Trump’s first priority isn’t Wall Street, a border wall or repealing Obamacare but stopping North Korea from getting a nuclear-packed ICBM. Kim’s July 28 ICBM test that landed in the Sea of Japan showed that he’s getting closer to delivering a nuke at long distance, perhaps to the U.S. mainland. Telling the press he will “handle” North Korea, Trump lets North Korea know that they’re getting dangerously close to U.S. military action. If diplomacy fails, Trump must act to protect the U.S. homeland from a possible North Korean nuclear attack. With North Korea threatening the U.S. with nuclear war, neither China nor Russia would defend Kim against pre-emptive U.S. military action.