When President Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continued issuing its own unprovoked threats to the United States, he was demonstrating his continued reckless behavior. Instead of concentrating on how to halt North Korea's nuclear proram, his aides and colleagues are now busy cleaning up the diplomatic mess Trump's irresponsible and vague remarks have made, argues John Cassidy in The New Yorker. The presiden's off-the-cuff bravado toward North Korea took the White House and national security team by surprise, confiming chaos in the administration and implying that his remarks had not been vetted by experts. By not bothering to consult with foreign policy experts around him, Trump is reckless to "play chicken" with an already unstable North Korea.
President Trump's decision to escalate the rhetoric with North Korea's Kim Jong Un was part of a deliberate, premediated strategy, argues Charles Lipson of RealClear Politics. As President Obama's "wait-it-out" approach with North Korea has clearly failed, Trump and his national security team seem to think that time has run out, especially as North Korea will soon have the capacity to destroy U.S. cities with its nuclear missiles. As this danger is obviously unacceptable, and China doesn't seem to be eager to play a role in deterring North Korea, Trump, together with American intelligence communities, as well as those of its allies, have apparently concluded that the only way forward is to articulate an urgent sense of crisis that has potential to escalate. As such, Trump needs to sharpen his rhetoric and put economic and military pressure on North Korea.