The Key to Trump's Success in North Korea

Who would have thought a real estate developer from New York City, famous for plastering his name in big letters on his buildings, would be a champion in foreign policy? Big surprise: It turns out that being confident, tough, and aggressive works well for a president dealing with dangerous pipsqueaks like ISIS and North Korea.

Trump isn't intimidated by anybody.  Not by business rivals, not by critics, not by rogue FBI agents, not by foreign leaders.  Certainly not by failed experts who urge meekness, caution, and limited goals. 

Our president is devoted to one thing: winning for America.  He does listen to our military and work with its members to achieve the possible.  He does understand how power works.  Korea could thumb its nose at us because it was protected by China.  So, first, Trump removed that protection by going after China.  The astute Sundance at Conservative Treehouse has been pointing out for months that the trade pressure on China was the prerequisite to movement on Korea.  Our expert diplomats and analysts still don't talk about this big picture.  Trump is obviously a strategic thinker, as you have to be in the business world, as in the military.

It's not all that complicated.  Kim came to the table because Trump forced him to.  North Korea was made to understand quite thoroughly and clearly that its grandstanding with nukes was over.  Being clear was the first step to success.  Trump has no toleration for a nuclear Korea, period.  When communicated forcefully, through actions, not words, that was the game-changer. 

Trump reversed Kim's motivation 100%.  Kim thought the nukes were his one ticket to security.  Trump showed him that the nukes are his ticket to oblivion.  That is why there is reason for optimism that this is not going to be the useless nuclear diplomacy we have had since Clinton.

Kim was shown he had two choices: give up or be destroyed.  His only open question was how North Korea would be destroyed – slowly through devastating economic sanctions, or suddenly, by U.S. military might.  The timetable would be chosen by President Trump.

Trump won because of certain New Yorker traits he has in abundance – not accepting BS, not caring what other people think, not being afraid of a fight.

While critics howled, Trump became more and more menacing.  That ranged from offensive name-calling to military exercises in the Pacific.  This was not a Twitter war; it was real war.  It is almost exactly a year since Trump sent the third carrier battle group into the western Pacific.  It is said that when the U.S. sends one or two carriers, it is a show of strength.  Sending out a third carrier means war.  Kim had never received that message before. 

Past presidents put economic sanctions on North Korea – kinda, sorta.  Only so far as China allowed, which was just far enough to keep Korea misbehaving.  Trump doesn't do kinda, sorta.  For the first time, we enforced sanctions.  All it took was the balls to stand up to China.  That was another Trump first.

When the usual Chinese businesses continued to support the North Korea economy, China found its biggest banks threatened with exclusion from the American market.  Two small Chinese banks were shut out of the U.S. as a sign of seriousness.  That was the end of China thumbing its nose at our sanctions.

The Chinese central bank sent out the message to obey U.S. sanctions on North Korea.  Funds propping up the North Korea economy were shut off.

Showing Trump's mastery of standard diplomacy as well, we knuckled China to get on board with a U.S.-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution that required member-states to inspect and impound any vessel in their port breaking sanctions on North Korea.  The resolution was passed unanimously.

With this infusion of backbone, South Korea was empowered.  When it caught a Hong Kong-flagged tanker violating the oil embargo, the tanker was confiscated.  China was silent.

Kim was facing ruin – sure ruin with nuclear weapons, the possibility of survival if he gives them up.

He asked for a meeting with President Trump to discuss it.  Trump agreed from a position of strength: no goodwill lessening of sanctions, no decreased U.S. military presence, and the goal was total denuclearization with inspections by the U.S.  That was already a huge improvement on past diplomatic "successes."  The only gesture our president offered was to be gracious about a meeting – as long as Kim behaved.

There was one major stumbling block remaining, a holdover from the diplomacy of the past administration: the haunting example of Libya.  The Obama-Clinton geniuses broke the agreement we had made with Gaddafi, to leave him alone if he gave up his weapons.  Obama's decision to depose Gaddafi made it almost impossible for any dictator to trust us and negotiate denuclearization.  Vice President Pence turned the lesson around by telling Kim, if he didn't agree to no nukes, he would have the same fate as Gaddafi.

Kim immediately retaliated, calling Vice President Pence a "political dummy," "unbridled and impudent," and threatening us with a "nuclear showdown." 

Big mistake.  The U.S. does not have to blink at threats from a squirt like North Korea.  Our experts don't know this.  Trump does.  He called off the meeting.  He made it clear that the U.S. would not tolerate threats from Rocket Man.  Trump is not accepting a reciprocal relationship.  Kim cannot be rude or make threats.  We can.  Trump was his usual blunt self: "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."

That is what tough looks like.  That is how a responsible president behaves when he sees a small country threatening international stability and the safety of our own nation. 

That is what happens when a president understands we are a powerful country and how to use that power.

That is how you win.

Illustration by Ronny Gordon.

Who would have thought a real estate developer from New York City, famous for plastering his name in big letters on his buildings, would be a champion in foreign policy? Big surprise: It turns out that being confident, tough, and aggressive works well for a president dealing with dangerous pipsqueaks like ISIS and North Korea.

Trump isn't intimidated by anybody.  Not by business rivals, not by critics, not by rogue FBI agents, not by foreign leaders.  Certainly not by failed experts who urge meekness, caution, and limited goals. 

Our president is devoted to one thing: winning for America.  He does listen to our military and work with its members to achieve the possible.  He does understand how power works.  Korea could thumb its nose at us because it was protected by China.  So, first, Trump removed that protection by going after China.  The astute Sundance at Conservative Treehouse has been pointing out for months that the trade pressure on China was the prerequisite to movement on Korea.  Our expert diplomats and analysts still don't talk about this big picture.  Trump is obviously a strategic thinker, as you have to be in the business world, as in the military.

It's not all that complicated.  Kim came to the table because Trump forced him to.  North Korea was made to understand quite thoroughly and clearly that its grandstanding with nukes was over.  Being clear was the first step to success.  Trump has no toleration for a nuclear Korea, period.  When communicated forcefully, through actions, not words, that was the game-changer. 

Trump reversed Kim's motivation 100%.  Kim thought the nukes were his one ticket to security.  Trump showed him that the nukes are his ticket to oblivion.  That is why there is reason for optimism that this is not going to be the useless nuclear diplomacy we have had since Clinton.

Kim was shown he had two choices: give up or be destroyed.  His only open question was how North Korea would be destroyed – slowly through devastating economic sanctions, or suddenly, by U.S. military might.  The timetable would be chosen by President Trump.

Trump won because of certain New Yorker traits he has in abundance – not accepting BS, not caring what other people think, not being afraid of a fight.

While critics howled, Trump became more and more menacing.  That ranged from offensive name-calling to military exercises in the Pacific.  This was not a Twitter war; it was real war.  It is almost exactly a year since Trump sent the third carrier battle group into the western Pacific.  It is said that when the U.S. sends one or two carriers, it is a show of strength.  Sending out a third carrier means war.  Kim had never received that message before. 

Past presidents put economic sanctions on North Korea – kinda, sorta.  Only so far as China allowed, which was just far enough to keep Korea misbehaving.  Trump doesn't do kinda, sorta.  For the first time, we enforced sanctions.  All it took was the balls to stand up to China.  That was another Trump first.

When the usual Chinese businesses continued to support the North Korea economy, China found its biggest banks threatened with exclusion from the American market.  Two small Chinese banks were shut out of the U.S. as a sign of seriousness.  That was the end of China thumbing its nose at our sanctions.

The Chinese central bank sent out the message to obey U.S. sanctions on North Korea.  Funds propping up the North Korea economy were shut off.

Showing Trump's mastery of standard diplomacy as well, we knuckled China to get on board with a U.S.-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution that required member-states to inspect and impound any vessel in their port breaking sanctions on North Korea.  The resolution was passed unanimously.

With this infusion of backbone, South Korea was empowered.  When it caught a Hong Kong-flagged tanker violating the oil embargo, the tanker was confiscated.  China was silent.

Kim was facing ruin – sure ruin with nuclear weapons, the possibility of survival if he gives them up.

He asked for a meeting with President Trump to discuss it.  Trump agreed from a position of strength: no goodwill lessening of sanctions, no decreased U.S. military presence, and the goal was total denuclearization with inspections by the U.S.  That was already a huge improvement on past diplomatic "successes."  The only gesture our president offered was to be gracious about a meeting – as long as Kim behaved.

There was one major stumbling block remaining, a holdover from the diplomacy of the past administration: the haunting example of Libya.  The Obama-Clinton geniuses broke the agreement we had made with Gaddafi, to leave him alone if he gave up his weapons.  Obama's decision to depose Gaddafi made it almost impossible for any dictator to trust us and negotiate denuclearization.  Vice President Pence turned the lesson around by telling Kim, if he didn't agree to no nukes, he would have the same fate as Gaddafi.

Kim immediately retaliated, calling Vice President Pence a "political dummy," "unbridled and impudent," and threatening us with a "nuclear showdown." 

Big mistake.  The U.S. does not have to blink at threats from a squirt like North Korea.  Our experts don't know this.  Trump does.  He called off the meeting.  He made it clear that the U.S. would not tolerate threats from Rocket Man.  Trump is not accepting a reciprocal relationship.  Kim cannot be rude or make threats.  We can.  Trump was his usual blunt self: "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."

That is what tough looks like.  That is how a responsible president behaves when he sees a small country threatening international stability and the safety of our own nation. 

That is what happens when a president understands we are a powerful country and how to use that power.

That is how you win.

Illustration by Ronny Gordon.