- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un sent a taunting, mocking message to America on Wednesday, saying his test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile was a Fourth of July “gift” to “American bastards.”

Not the smartest move for the despotic leader to make. Can you say poking the bear? One can almost hear the teeth-gritting of Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis now. We hear ya — and agree.

On North Korea, the White House so far is walking lightly, but carrying a big stick. This is a tremendous and welcome turn-around from the previous administration which, under Barack Obama, walked lightly and carried a twig.

Yet the liberal press will find cause to criticize Trump anyway, right?

ABC News opined that “body-slamming Kim Jong Un is not a viable option. … We’re talking about the brink of a real war with North Korea, with a regime that’s clearly prodding President Trump and seeming to like the attention so far … [a crisis] that can’t be solved in 140 characters.”

Well, let’s dial back the war talk for a moment, shall we? If anyone brought America to a brink of uncertainty with North Korea, it’s Obama. This, from Politico, in September 2016: “The fifth and largest underground test, which came on the heels of three provocative missile tests, stoked new fears that North Korea’s boasts that it can place a hydrogen bomb atop long-range missiles may soon be reality.”

That’s pretty alarming — yes? And that was the assessment from the liberal press.

The takeaway? Obama’s cupcake approach to all-things-foreign-policy hasn’t exactly left the world a happier, sweeter, safer place.

North Korea is still, well — North Korea. Obama didn’t prove the magic diplomatic touch that rained down rainbows on the despotic regimes of the world.

The New York Times crowed in a July 4 piece that the last six months for Trump have been “a brutal education” about the pitfalls of taking on North Korea — even while acknowledging that he’s “not issued any ‘red lines’ that the North Koreans cannot step over.”

The reference, which wasn’t explained, nonetheless hearkens to Obama days with Syria, when the then-commander-in-chief tried to don big boy pants and command President Bashar Assad to hand over his chemical weapons, else face the red line military wrath of America. Assad didn’t, and that red line was suddenly — and repeatedly — moved, leaving doors open for Russia and Vladimir Putin to come swooping in and seize the leadership stage, forging a transfer of chemical weapons that Obama couldn’t even get the Syrian government to admit existed.

This administration’s bark is likely going to prove a bit different — a bit stronger in word and deed.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, in the wake of North Korea’s ICBM missile test, called for an emergency Security Council meeting.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for “global action” to stop the “global threat” posed by North Korea.

And he warned this: “Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime.”

Trump, meanwhile?

He tweeted a shoulder-shrug of his attempt to work with China to reel in North Korean aggressions.

“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter,” he tweeted Wednesday. “So much for China working with us — but we had to give it a try!”

That was after expressing, in a July 3 tweet, hope that “perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all.”

North Korea, meanwhile, is mocking.

KCNA reported Kim “said American bastards would not be very happy with this [missile] sent on the July 4 anniversary,” and that he broke into “peals of laughter” while adding: “We should send them gifts once in a while to help break their boredom.”

Kim then called his missile “as handsome as a good-looking boy,” and insisted his country would not negotiate on its missile development with a hostile and aggressive America.

So what did America do in response?

The U.S. military joined with South Korea in a test firing of missiles — a show of force to set the North on notice.

“The deep strike precision capability enables the [South Korean]-U.S. alliance to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions,” the U.S. Army said, in a statement.

Within 24 hours of Pyongyang’s test firing, and America’s already headed to the Security Council for diplomatic talks, and to the military fields to fire off some warning shots. Walking lightly but wielding a big stick. It’s probably not going to dissuade the power-hungry Kim from his lunatic intents to take over the world. But at least it shows the rest of the world that America, under Trump, means businesses and isn’t afraid to back the talk with a military walk — and that’s a comfort to allies, an unsettling feeling to enemies, a real leadership position of strength for the United States.

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