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Trying to find Trump a win in North Korea crisis

By in Press Enterprise on November 14, 2017

By The Editorial Board

On his way out of the White House, then-President Barack Obama warned his successor that his greatest foreign policy challenge would be posed by North Korea.

President Obama knew what millions of Americans have learned since — it’s hard to see a way, short of a brutal war, to forcibly take away North Korea’s nuclear capability. Diplomacy still has a chance, but if it fails, there are no good options left, and President Trump will have to select one.

So far, on his pivotal trip to Asia, Trump has mostly done as well as anyone in his position could do with regard to the North Korea crisis. Trump’s critics think he has gone overboard in taunting the regime in Pyongyang. In fact, despite indulging in heated rhetoric from time to time, he has bent over backwards to open a path toward a peaceful solution.

On the campaign trail, Trump made China a central feature of his promise to fix the imbalance of power that America’s political establishment, by his account, had let get out of hand. Comparing Beijing to a rapist, and the United States to a victim, Trump promised to punish China and reassert American dominance.

Now, on the ground in China, Trump has been conciliatory. No diplomatic push against North Korea will work without Chinese support. But Pyongyang’s intransigence means the most the U.S. can hope for might be reluctant Chinese acquiescence to the inevitability of war.

None of Japan, South Korea, nor China want to see a war break out between the U.S. and North Korea. Americans are understandably eager to ensure that the homeland is safe from attack by the world’s most powerful totalitarian regime, but few are champing at the bit for a destructive war that would cost the lives of at least tens of thousands of American troops and […]    

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