Trump’s Missing North Korea Strategy
By arbitrarily re-designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, US President Donald Trump has demonstrated yet again that he has no policy or strategy for resolving the current nuclear crisis. When former President George W. Bush removed North Korea from the terrorism list in 2008, he at least got something out of it.
DENVER – US President Donald Trump certainly has a point when he complains that he inherited the difficult problem in North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has shown no interest in negotiation, or even in listening to what anyone has to say about his reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles needed to deliver them.
But the fact that Trump inherited the problem does not absolve him of responsibility for addressing it. So far, he has failed even to articulate, much less implement, a strategy for dealing with North Korea. Almost one year into his presidency, his only achievement has been to secure additional sanctions at the United Nations. Worse still, his bitter complaints about his predecessors suggest that he has no idea what to do next.
Trump’s latest attempt to deal with the problem came earlier this month, when he noisily announced that his administration was putting North Korea back on the US Department of State’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. His decision, though justified in light of Kim’s behavior, was largely symbolic, as was former President George W. Bush’s October 2008 decision to remove North Korea from that list in the first place.