“Can You Hear Me Now?” Trump Team Voices Credible Threat of Force Against North Korea

My op-ed at The Hill discusses the challenges of coercive diplomacy.

The central question of the piece:

Why has the United States has fundamentally changed its strategy toward the North Korea, given the risks of the new strategy?

My answer:

The short answer is that the Trump Administration has concluded that time is on North Korea’s side, not ours. Temporizing, they think, will only magnify the dangers as Pyongyang steadily develops its intercontinental missiles and miniaturizes the nuclear weapons that sit atop them.

Washington’s new strategy is to direct military threats at Pyongyang via Beijing, which dreads a war on the peninsula.

The hard part is to resolve the issue without actually using force, which could lead to vast casualties.

In making these threats, Trump has already achieved a huge advantage over Pres. Obama.

The advantage? Trump’s threats to use force are credible. For the first time in years, the Chinese and North Koreans–and America’s friends in the region–have to take that seriously. So should Americans as this knife-edge drama unfolds.

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