Trump overshoots on North Korea again

Edwin Wang, Staff Writer

The following is an opinion piece and does not reflect the views of the Tulane Hullabaloo.

For the better half of the last century, the U.S. and North Korea have been locked in what is effectively a diplomatic stalemate. Hostility has highlighted relations between the two nations since the end of the Korean War, but North Korea’s ambitions for developing a nuclear weapon in the 21st century continue to keep the two countries at each other’s throats.

After President Donald Trump took office in 2017, global concerns about a nuclear conflict between the U.S. and North Korea skyrocketed due to Trump’s aggressive rhetoric and approach towards the rogue state.

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Tensions eased in March 2018 after Trump agreed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s invitation to a sit-down meeting. Though North Korea initially delayed the summit due to the U.S.’s joint military exercises with South Korea, Trump and Kim eventually met in June, with both leaders agreeing to promote security, stability and long lasting peace.

Following the summit between the two leaders, Trump went so far as to insinuate a permanent resolution to the conflict, urging the American people to “sleep well” since Trump perceived the threat to be resolved.

In the time since Trump’s extraordinary declaration, it appears this seemingly never-ending stalemate continues to endure. Though North Korea agreed to begin dismantling its nuclear facilities following the June meeting, in August, Trump announced the cancellation of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea due to North Korea’s “insufficient progress” in winding down its nuclear weapons program.

Fast forward to the present and it seems circumstances have not changed in the slightest. Despite the president’s boasting, and an additional summit held between Trump and Kim just last month, tensions are on the rise yet again. The 2019 summit between Trump and Kim abruptly ended with no resolution, and North Korea began a “rapid rebuilding” of its long range missile system following the meeting.

As Americans and the global community anxiously continue keeping tabs on this conflict, Trump ought to be more cautious and thoughtful when dealing with such a belligerent leader. Though Trump’s characterization of the meeting as “we fell in love” indicates a healthy relationship with Kim, effective diplomacy calls for more than just shared values over intimidation and fear.

Trump may be quick to criticize his predecessors, namely former President Barack Obama, regarding their handling of North Korea, but he ought to at least recognize the challenges and severity of this situation. Blatantly insulting such a dangerous individual on Twitter is a thoroughly reckless attempt at pursuing peace, as is shunning American allies in favor of a unilateral approach in this grave circumstance.

Instead of regularly exaggerating progress made on this front, Trump ought to reaffirm American alliances in support of this battle for global peace and stability. Trump insists he opposed the Iraq War from the start, but if there is anything history has taught us, it is that large scale, military conflicts create far more problems than they resolve.

An entire society of 330 million citizens relies on our nation’s leaders to safeguard their lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It is time our president stopped treating our unalienable rights as a bargaining chip in a silly ego trip, and started diverting his energy towards crafting a peaceful, diplomatic solution.

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