The big question for the Trump presidency so far has been how the administration will react to its first major international crisis. Well it looks like we are getting ready to find out and the initial reviews are not good.
That first crisis has definitely surfaced in the form of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles with the potential for striking Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. For two decades, American presidents named Bush, Clinton and Obama were unable to stop North Korea’s growing nuclear capability.
The totalitarian regime with its unhinged supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un, which operates as a criminal enterprise aided by Chinese and Russian bankers, has literally starved its citizens to enable development of its nuclear program.
During 2017, North Korea conducted at least 17 missile launches. On Feb. 11, North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range missile while President Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Abe. On March 6, North Korea launched a ballistic missile that traveled 620 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan. During May, several intermediate-range ballistic missiles were tested, including one with a range capable of reaching Guam.
On the Fourth of July, the regime tested its first ICBM, which traveled 2,500 kilometers into space, landed more than 930 kilometers from its original launch site and could have reached Seattle. On July 28, North Korea test-fired another ICBM with the potential to strike America’s Eastern Seaboard.
On Aug. 8, U.S. intelligence reports again indicated that North Korea has developed an untested miniature nuclear warhead. It is not clear whether North Korea can arm an ICBM with a nuclear warhead and it is certainly not clear that they can actually hit a target with one yet.
It is, however, clear that North Korea is joining the world’s nuclear family significantly ahead of schedule. Even its strongest allies are finally alarmed by the regime’s bellicose activities. Last week, the U.N. Security Council, including Russia and China, voted 15-0 for “the strongest sanctions ever imposed in response to a ballistic missile test.”
The sanctions did not cut off oil shipments to North Korea and experts differed on their potential effectiveness, but it was the Trump administration’s greatest diplomatic achievement. For the first time, the United States, China and Russia took joint action to stop North Korea’s nuclear program.
The stage was set for the American president, the leader of the free world, to demonstrate the leadership we expect from our great statesmen such as FDR, Kennedy and Reagan. The opportunity to finally force Russia and China to shut down North Korea’s nuclear program was there for the taking.
Instead, channeling his inner Kim Jong-Un, President Trump blustered he would meet North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The Trump administration is now scrambling again to cover for a president who talks first and thinks later, while much of the rest of the world is left to wonder if America’s president is more dangerous than North Korea’s supreme leader.