People who voted for Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign heard Candidate Trump advocate an America that was detached from the rest of the world. During campaign appearances he explained his view of an insular America by saying:
“We are going to get along great with the world,” but his motto was America First!
The was his campaign appearance in April of 2016:
In his inaugural address Trump proclaimed to the world that America would take care of its own, and remain detached from the rest of the world.
Trump declared that from this day forward its going to be “America First…America First”…every city, every foreign capital…from this day forward a new vision will govern our land, only America First, every decision on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families…
Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will never let you down.
An editorial today from the New York Times highlights Trump apparent insular view of America. During the campaign Trump seemed unconcerned, ignorant, and even oblivious to North Korea’s accelerating nuclear weapons program. Now it seems Trump has forgotten the “America First” motto, and has gone out of his way to threaten North Korea. North Korea’s longstanding fear that it could one day be attacked by America…the very reason North Korea invested in a nuclear arsenal in the first place….has been proven to be very real.
In one Tweet of Trump, on April 11, he accused North Korea of “looking for trouble” and warned that “if China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!” That was followed by an NBC News story — hotly denied by the Pentagon — that the administration might strike pre-emptively with conventional weapons. Previous presidents have not taken pre-emptive military action when the North prepared to test because they knew it would not solve the nuclear threat and would invite retaliation against millions of civilians and 28,000 American troops in South Korea.
North Korea followed with its own threats to “go to war — if they choose” and to “hit the U.S. first” with a nuclear weapon if Washington launched a pre-emptive strike. All this inspired a warning from China about “storm clouds gathering” and a plea that all sides should resist pushing things “to the point where it can’t be turned around.”
What seems to be missing from in the White House is a coherent strategy,…or even a coherent message. Even Americans can’t predict what Trump’s positions are, or what he will do even without provocation. Uncharacteristically, Mike Pence weighed in on the North Korean threat. He warned North Korea not to test the strength of America’s military might. It was as if the White House thought a warning from Pence would be taken more seriously than a warning from Trump.
“All options are on the table,” Pence said while standing next to South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, putting North Korea on notice that neither the U.S. nor South Korea would tolerate further missile or nuclear tests.
“Just in the past two weeks we witnessed the strength of resolve of our new leader. North Korea would do well not to test his resolve,” Pence added, apparently referring to the U.S. missile strikes on Syria, and the decision to drop a huge bomb on an ISIS cave.
Pence added that the U.S. and its allies will achieve their objectives through “peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary to protect South Korea and stabilize the region.”
He reiterated the U.S. commitment to South Korea, whose population sits in the shadow of its bellicose neighbor and could face catastrophe if the North were to lash out.
“On behalf of President Trump, my message to South Korea is this — we are with you 100 percent,” he said, adding the “era of strategic patience is over.”
North Korea has warned its army is on “maximum alert” after the US vice president visited the heavily militarized border between the two Koreas and reiterated Washington’s position that “all options are on the table” in dealing with Pyongyang.
Sin Hong-chol, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview on Monday that Donald Trump’s administration “should look at the world with open eyes”.
“The time of dictating orders by brandishing the US military might has gone. If those businessmen in power in the US thought of intimidating us by any military or sanction threats – as the [Barack] Obama administration used to do and failed – they will soon find out such threats are useless,” Sin said.
“If we notice any sign of assault on our sovereignty, our army will launch merciless military strikes against the US aggressors, wherever they may exist, from the remote US lands to the American military bases on the Korean peninsula, such as those of Japan and elsewhere.”
The whole world is watching as America appears to be provoking North Korea. It’s especially frightening that Trump who promoted himself as an “American first” candidate, has already bombed Syria, and it perilously close to bombing North Korea. There seems to be little thought of diplomacy. While there may be things about the Presidency of Obama that were disappointing, his skills at diplomacy are sorely missed!
depends on all elements of our power –
including strong and principled diplomacy.