During the Bush-Cheney years, we were constantly reminded that the bad guys were on a mission to destroy us. President Bush would often speak of the threat and remind us that it was long-term and very dangerous.
President Obama changed the tone. He lowered the volume and did not constantly speak of the threats. I’m not saying he does not care, but the intensity is missing.
It’s 9-11 plus 15, and I feel very unsafe. Put a map of the world on the wall, and there are red lights everywhere.
The latest is North Korea. It’s nice for President Obama to call the test dangerous, but that’s not going to do much to stop the next test.
Western analysts used to dismiss North Korea’s tests as political stunts, meant to impress the domestic audience, capture international attention and leverage aid. Though the latest detonation came on a national holiday, that explanation is looking implausible. As it has frequently said publicly, the regime now aims to be recognized as a nuclear power and to acquire the ability to deter not just South Korea and Japan, but also the United States.
President Obama reiterated Friday that “the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state.”
But Mr. Obama has failed to take the North Korean buildup seriously enough. For years, his administration pursued a policy of “strategic patience,” which mostly consisted of ignoring North Korea while mildly cajoling China to put more pressure on the regime.
In February, Mr. Obama signed into law a bill pushed by congressional Republicans that gave him broad new powers to sanction North Korea and cut off its economic lifelines. The next month, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution imposing new sanctions on the regime, including limits on its trade.
However, China has not aggressively implemented the U.N. sanctions — and Mr. Obama has not used the powers Congress gave him. As The Post’s Anna Fifield recently reported, customs data shows that China’s trade with North Korea in June was almost 10 percent higher than the previous year, in spite of the sanctions. Though the White House has issued executive orders sanctioning Mr. Kim and other senior leaders, congressional leaders point out that it has yet to penalize any Chinese companies or banks for continuing to do business with the regime.
Quick translation: Get serious, Mr. President. It may be that young Kim is crazy, but a head case with nuclear weapons is beyond dangerous.
My guess is that President Obama will punt on this one and leave another problem for his successor.
On this one, Mr. Trump has a point about bringing China into the mix. The Chinese can stop Kim in a heartbeat. They could take him out or just squeeze him to death. We need more from China than a statement like this:
China, Pyongyang’s only major ally, has said it will lodge a diplomatic protest with North Korea’s embassy over the nuclear test.
State news agency Xinhua released a commentary on the explosion on Friday, saying North Korea had “dealt yet another heavy blow to the foundation of regional security, its own security included”.
China had earlier said it was “strongly opposed” to the test.
Am I the only one who finds the Chinese statement silly?
Imagine that your neighbor’s dog comes over and bites your kid. Your neighbor calls you on the phone and says he is very disappointed and will take it up at the next neighborhood association meeting.
China can do better than that, and I hope a President Trump makes that very clear!
It is hard to believe that a small nation in the Korean peninsula can be this dangerous or take up so much of our time.
There are two lessons here for future presidents:
1) Take them out when you can, as we had the opportunity in 1994 when the country was desperately looking for food. In other words, don’t throw a lifesaver to anti-American thugs. They will only use it to regain strength and make your life more miserable later.
2) Attach North Korea to our China relationship. Make it clear to China that an attack by North Korea on any of our allies – Japan or South Korea, for example – would be an attack on the U.S., requiring a full military retaliation against China.
Again, it is incredible to me that a country with starving people could pose such a threat to world peace. Let’s learn our lesson and not allow the next Kim to get his hands on a weapon.
Thank you, President Bush, for understanding that much about Saddam Hussein.
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