4 September 2017   Leave a comment

The media continue to focus on the North Korean nuclear test, and it is hard to figure out the dynamics of the crisis.  The US has issued a number of warnings, first from US Secretary of Defense Mattis, who warned that any threat to “the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response”.  UN Ambassador Nikki Haley followed this warning in a statement to the UN Security Council that argued that North Korea was “begging for war”.  The rhetoric has been fierce, but much remains ambiguous about US policy since the rhetoric has remained constant since President Trump’s statement promising “fire and fury” on 9 August despite three missile and one nuclear test since that date.

There are also some confusing elements to US policy.  President Trump has delayed talking with South Korean President Moon Jae-in until today and the US currently does not have an Ambassador to this important ally.  Moreover, President Trump has indicated that he wishes to end the trade agreement with South Korea despite the US reliance on South Korea in its confrontation with the North.  Indeed, President Trump has indicated that he may stop trading altogether with states that continue to trade with North Korea, and presumably that includes China from which the US imports $40 billion of goods and services every month.  The Chinese have labeled this policy as “unacceptable”, and the threat is not at all credible.

The confusion over the situation has led some to question the effectiveness of the policy of confrontation with North Korea.

Posted September 4, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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