- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley put out a blunt assessment of U.S.-North Korea relations that went like this: The regime is “begging for war,” she said.

Yes, it is — but that’s no different from the last few years. The bigger question is what America’s going to do and whether this White House is going to dance the same diplomatic dance as previous administrations.

So far, the rhetoric doesn’t seem to suggest it will.

“Enough is enough,” Haley said, during an emergency meeting with the U.N. Security Council — a meeting that was held after Kim Jong-un successfully tested a mini hydrogen bomb with capability to fit the tip of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“The time for half measures in the security council is over,” she said, The Hill reported. “The time has come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means before it is too late. We must now adopt the strongest possible measures. Kim Jong-un’s action cannot be seen as defensive.”

Haley’s in a tight spot. She delivers tough rhetoric, and North Korea responds with aggression via unauthorized missile launches. So she delivers more tough rhetoric — but now what?

“We have kicked the can down the road long enough,” she told the Security Council. “There is no more road left.”

China’s pressing for continued talk and diplomacy.

But at the same time, China’s made it clear: It won’t tolerate war on its borders. So China’s win-win solution?

For North Korea to stop its missile development and the United States to quit holding joint military exercises with South Korea. Even foreign policy newbies laugh at that.

“[It’s] insulting,” as Haley put it.

Quite right. Nobody really believes North Korea is going to end its missile development activity, right? Meanwhile, Russia’s Vladimir Putin called sanctions against the regime “useless.” Quite right again.

“They’d rather eat grass than give up their nuclear program,” Putin said, BBC reported.

But Putin, joining China on this point, also said diplomacy was the only way to go.

And that leaves this, from U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis — a saber rattling, from America, to North Korea.

In a statement made after the recent bomb test, Mattis told Pyongyang it would face “massive military response” should its regime threaten America or U.S. allies.

It’s not clear how this U.S.-North Korea standoff will wrap. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that if aggressions do escalate to the point of military engagement, America’s so-called partners in the Security Council aren’t likely to do much more than offer strongly worded statements.

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