Be cynical of North Korean strategy
There are very few sure bets in international relations. But one is that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has no intention of slowing his headlong drive to become a threat to world peace. In fact, it is highly unlikely Kim will make meaningful changes in any of his domestic or international policies.
Why should he? Repression at home and aggression outside North Korea’s borders have served the Kim dynasty well for two-thirds of a century. Why change now?
Just hours after threatening to attack the United States with nuclear missiles, Kim this week attempted to drive a wedge between officials in Washington and leaders of South Korea. He reopened a communications channel closed two years ago, and suggested he might send North Korean athletes to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Clearly, Kim wants both South Koreans and the international community to view him as a peacemaker. Meanwhile, his weapons buildup will continue.
It is a strategy North Korean leaders have used time and time again — successfully. While Trump and other U.S. officials should not fall for it, they also ought to prevent Kim from portraying this country as a villain.
That means a public offer of negotiations regarding our countries’ differences, while intensifying economic sanctions against North Korea and continuing to prepare for conflict, should it occur.
Make no mistake about it: Kim ranks among the most evil, dangerous leaders in the world. Allowing him to seed doubt about that in anyone’s mind would be an error.