In this Korean crisis, Trump’s bullying tactics aren’t working and never will

The more that Trump threatens North Korea the more paranoid its leaders become; and the more they intensify efforts to successfully develop a nuclear strike capability.


“All options, including military actions, are on the table.” When asked if he was serious about possibly launching an attack on North Korea, Trump replied, “We’ll see.” Tough words coming from this country’s “work in progress” Commander-in-Chief!

That kind of macho rhetoric does nothing but exacerbate an already very troubling situation. Instead of those reckless threats we need deep thinking and rational decision-making to prevent some ill-advised action by one side or the other from igniting a massive war.

The more that Trump threatens North Korea the more paranoid its leaders become; and the more they intensify efforts to successfully develop a nuclear strike capability.

North Korean leaders want this nuclear program as the means by which they can hold the U.S government and its military at bay; they strongly believe that, if they possess this power, U.S. leaders will think twice before they ever take steps to launch any kind of attack on their nation, attempt to depose its current leader, Kim Jong-un; or some leader in the future.

Many experts in world affairs believe that if it were not for America’s highly aggressive military agenda that has been aimed at North Korea for many decades, that that nation would never have initiated a nuclear development program.

It’s common knowledge that North Korea has thousands of sophisticated artillery pieces located on its border with South Korea, by which it can launch missiles at any given time that would devastate the city of Seoul and kill untold numbers of its citizens. This is why the U.S. military has, at least so far, decided not to launch an attack against the North and its leader, Kim Jong-un.

So we now have a deadly standoff between these two sworn enemies. Negotiations to come to some kind of agreement are not on the agenda at this time. So the impasse continues and North Korea intends to launch more ICBM’s until this weapons system is fully functional.

Here’s another example of how Trump’s dangerous rhetoric fans the flames of war; Business Insider reported that, “The White House on Sunday published a readout of President Donald Trump’s talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that listed ‘nuclear capabilities’ as an option for dealing with North Korean aggression; pure madness!

That kind of misguided threat should scare everyone in America, North Korea and the entire world. More and more psychiatrists and associated mental health experts are issuing warnings about Trump’s mental state; that he shows clear signs of mental instability. What’s going to happen if this president, in some fit of rage, loses control and gives the order to launch an attack, possibly a nuclear one, on North Korea?

This is not just speculative thinking; this could actually happen at any given time, it’s that dangerous.

Trump keeps prodding China to get involved to persuade North Korea to back off its nuclear program but China is very reluctant to do so. He has threatened to cut off trade with China if continues to refuse to use its powerful influence in this matter.

Wow, cutting off trade with the country that manufactures the lion’s share of your consumer goods; that’s brilliant thinking. U.S. imports from China are about $480 billion so if Trump cuts a significant portion of them off he will bring American commerce to a near standstill, virtually crippling the economy.

What would he do next; try to resurrect the U.S. manufacturing sector and restart the process of making the bulk of our own products? Good luck with that!

Trump recently tweeted that the U.S. was also going a step further and thinking about stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.

Nothing like threatening other major trading partners, including many of our allies; that’s bull in a china shop thinking.

In the past, when America was in the midst of some monumental crisis, much like this one that involves a nuclear threat, what former presidents stand out as examples of leaders who dealt with them in a controlled, resolute manner in order to defuse a dangerous situation?

Two former presidents immediately come to mind. President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced one crisis after another during World War II and he, together with his close advisers, made decisions in a rational, controlled manner. As the war progressed, his leadership convinced Americans that the U.S. would prevail and they would be safe. He was certainly an inspiration to this country’s citizens during those trying times.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, during that same war when he was a U.S. general and the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe, also faced various crises in which he had to act decisively but with necessary caution and careful planning.

In one of his greatest achievements he planned and implemented Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, which proved to be the turning point in that war, leading to the defeat of Nazi Germany. He was an example of what a true leader is, calm in the midst of a crisis, resolute about his mission.

Does Mr. Trump remind us of either of these two giants of history?  Does he have any of the characteristics of these strong leaders? FDR and Ike had their faults, to be sure, and some of their decisions were criticized, but they knew how to act when it was necessary. The America of today does not have those kinds of leaders.

How in the world is this crisis ever going to be resolved without a deadly war erupting? There are two scenarios that come to mind when trying to determine what will happen.

The most viable solution to defuse this rapidly escalating situation appears to be the one that many experts on this matter, together with Russia and China, are proposing. What just might convince North Korea to enter into negotiations would be a promise by the U.S. to remove its 28,500 troops out of South Korea, cease its joint military exercises in that country, and remove various weapons systems from the Korean Peninsula. That would assuage a great deal of North Korea’s paranoia relative to U.S. military power.

This is, without a doubt, the best solution. Does the U.S. need that military presence in South Korea and the Korean Peninsula? Absolutely not because it has unlimited air, ground and naval power located within striking distance of Korea in any number of bases in that region.

If Trump and his military advisers totally reject this proposal then they are not only foolish but grossly incompetent. They will be giving Kim Jong-un and his military even more incentive to escalate the development of their nuclear program and build a nuclear arsenal.

If that happens, i.e., the U.S. refuses to remove those troops and weaponry from South Korea, historians will record that the most powerful nation and military in world history could not prevent North Korea from becoming the 10th nuclear power on this planet.


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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.