Home/Daniel Larison/Trump’s Reckless Rhetoric on North Korea and Libya

Trump’s Reckless Rhetoric on North Korea and Libya

It appears that Trump just threatened Kim Jong-un with being overthrown by force if he doesn’t make a deal:

It seems clear that Trump doesn’t know what Bolton means by a “Libya model,” so it is fair to assume that he also doesn’t know that North Korea views the agreement Gaddafi made as a perfect example of what they should never do. Assuring Kim that he will be allowed to remain in power is not very reassuring at all when Gaddafi was given the same assurances. Bolton used the Libyan example because he doesn’t want diplomacy to succeed and he knew North Korea would never agree to it. Trump is referring to the Libyan intervention as a model for what will “most likely” happen if they refuse. The president is ignorantly making Bolton’s case for military action for him.

Talking about “total decimation” and implicitly threatening North Korea with regime change if they don’t yield to U.S. demands while referring to Gaddafi’s end will confirm the North Korean regime’s worst fears about U.S. intentions. It will make them cling to their nuclear weapons that much more tightly. If North Korea’s government was unhappy with Bolton’s Libya rhetoric and the other “maximum pressure” boasting from administration officials, we should expect them to react even more strongly to this statement.

Meanwhile, U.S. demands are reportedly as far-fetched and unrealistic as ever:

As the date for the planned U.S.-North Korea summit quickly approaches, the United States is demanding that North Korea start to dismantle its nuclear warheads, nuclear materials and intercontinental ballistic missiles overseas and move them out of North Korea within the next six months, according to The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper.

There is no reason to think that North Korea would agree to any of this under the best of circumstances, and it makes no sense for them to agree to any of it when the president is not-so-subtly threatening them with attack.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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