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Barack Obama wasn't kidding when he warned his successor that North Korea is the biggest national security threat the U.S. faces. "No good options" has been the mantra of the deep thinkers, as if we have no choice but to let the Kim dynasty threaten the world with nuclear war from now on. But Donald Trump has never been bound by conventional thinking and brings a healthy skepticism to the pronouncements of the experts who have failed for the past three decades.
Here is a short list of what he is doing differently, and why he might even succeed.
First - Trump - Projects - Strength - Willingness
First of all, Trump projects unashamed strength and a willingness to use the unmatched military power of the United States. In an insightful analysis for McClatchy, Andrew Malcolm puts it succinctly:
It's no coincidence that this sudden offer by Kim comes 14 months into the first term of a president who promised to crush ISIS quickly, then unleashed the U.S. military to do just that within the year.
President - Syria - Poison - Gas - Regime
The same president warned Syria against using poison gas. When the regime ignored that, within 48 hours the new commander-in-chief ordered cruise missiles to demolish much of the launching base.
It was a shocking shift from Barack Obama's apologies and erasable red lines that everyone came to understand were enforced by mere words. As bullies sometimes do, Kim seems to have gotten the tougher message, heightened by strict ongoing global enforcement of even more stringent economic sanctions.
Factor - North - Korea - Weaknesses - Efforts
One factor that must be understood is that North Korea knows its own weaknesses and expends tremendous efforts in covering them up and creating an illusion for foreigners that it is more powerful than it really is. The skyscrapers; broad, traffic-free boulevards; and gigantic monuments of Pyongyang look best from a distance and contrast starkly with the perpetual near starvation of the...
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