Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea today and promptly announced that the Trump administration will “abandon the failed policy of strategic patience” towards North Korea. Instead, the United States will pursue a new policy of rattling sabers and making loud noises without any clear strategy for producing results.
Pence made the remark to CNN on the first leg of an 11-day trip with his family that included a photo-op at a watchtower along the Demilitarized Zone. Shortly thereafter, his staff put out a tweet to mark the historic occasion when America’s political leadership stopped trying to make sense.
Of course, even Mike Pence knows better than to think shows of military force can persuade Pyongyang to give up their nuclear ambitions. Instead, “we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea,” Pence told CNN in an exclusive interview. “Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably.”
Which is basically the same exact thing the last three presidents said, but they were at least honest enough to recognize that there was no magic solution to the North Korean problem, and that the United States would simply have to wait and hope — a policy of “strategic patience.”
With this administration, that’s not good enough. Instead, the Trump regime prefers to make grand displays of aggression and dominance, such as steaming an aircraft carrier battle group towards the Korean peninsula whenever Kim Jong Un prepares another missile test.
Fitful shows of force and hollow threats will fail to exceed the results of the previous policy, which may have felt unsatisfying but at least had the virtue of making sense.
Until recently, Trump had proposed to outsource the North Korea problem to China. But this is hardly an original idea. Every president has tried to leverage Chinese influence against North Korea’s nuclear program only to find that Beijing has far less power over Pyongyang than commonly perceived. Even Trump learned this lesson recently when Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Mar a Lago and explained the history of China’s relationship to Korea.
“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal of his fruitless offer to exchange trade concessions for help reining in the North Korean regime. He might as well have added: and there goes my whole master-plan for solving this crisis.
In fact, Pence seems to have completely missed the lesson Trump just learned. “I know the President was heartened by his discussions with President Xi (Jinping),” he told CNN. “We’ve seen China begin to take some actions to bring pressure on North Korea but there needs to be more.”
Pressed for an answer to the threat of a North Korean ICBM capable of reaching the United States, Pence gave an incomplete answer. “Look, we want to be clear: our hope and frankly our prayer is that by marshaling the resources of nations across the Asian Pacific — not just South Korea, Japan, other allies — and China bringing renewed pressure to bear,” he said, never quite finishing the thought.
And that’s not surprising, because the new strategy is all about appearances: Pence visiting an observation post near Panmunjom in a leather bomber jacket, sharing family photos of his father’s Korean War medals, striding the world stage with all the grace of a clumsy giant. Why worry about the nagging details of actual policy when a good photo-op exerts its own magic?
Be patient with their strategy of muddling through with occasional peevish outbursts. Eventually, they plan to overwhelm the enemy with sheer awesomeness. You’ll see!
- How White Nationalist WH Aide Stephen Miller Became The Perfect Trump Voter - August 4, 2017
- Michele Bachmann Wants Church-State Separation To Protect Hate Crimes - August 2, 2017
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions Lied On His Security Clearance Form - July 13, 2017
- Trump Begins The American Kleptocracy With Air Traffic Control - June 5, 2017
- Neo-Nazi National Guardsman Converts To Islam, Kills His Neo-Nazi Roommates - May 23, 2017
- Morning Joe, Republicans Agree: Donald Trump Is Losing It - May 2, 2017
- Trump Waves Off Questions About His Russia Ties, ‘Wiretap’ Claims (VIDEO) - May 1, 2017
- For Michael Flynn, Orange Really Is The New Black - April 27, 2017
- Fox Five’s Greg Gutfield Wants To Inspire The Next Robert Dear - April 26, 2017
- Donald Trump Will Bear All The Blame For A Government Shutdown - April 24, 2017