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Missile Diplomacy
After Nork Test, Trump Backs Allies

North Korea’s missile launch on Sunday provided an early test for how President Trump will approach one of Washington’s most unpredictable foes. According to Reuters, Trump’s muted response suggests that he had few good options and little to say in response to the threat from Pyongyang:

Trump’s initial public comments on Saturday on the test launch of what was believed to be an intermediate-range Musudan-class missile were unexpectedly measured – and brief – compared to earlier bluster about another U.S. adversary, Iran, since he took office on January 20.

“I just want everybody to understand, and fully know, that the United States of America is behind Japan, our great ally, 100 percent,” Trump told reporters in Palm Beach, Florida, speaking in a solemn tone alongside visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The U.S. president did not mention North Korea or signal any retaliatory plans for what was widely seen as an early effort to test the new administration. […]

White House adviser Stephen Miller insisted on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump’s one-sentence statement was an “important show of solidarity” with Japan. He told “Fox News Sunday” the administration was going to bolster its allies in the region against the “increasing hostility” of North Korea.

While the Trump Administration is still in the early stages of formulating its strategy, it did send an important signal that should not go overlooked: By standing side-by-side with his Japanese counterpart to denounce North Korean aggression, Trump clearly aligned himself with the foreign policy mainstream that favors the U.S. standing by its allies as a matter of principle. Later, in pledging “solidarity” with Japan and promising to reinforce Pacific security ties, his administration went even further. The campaign rhetoric of openly questioning the value of such alliances has, for now at least, been put on ice.

This does not mean that Trump will abandon negotiations with allies on defense spending or other issues where he feels he can get a better deal for the United States. Maybe, however, such conversations will now happen behind closed doors, not in full view of the public.

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  • I sure hope Trump isn’t smart enough to use this as a pretext to sanction Chinese banks and SOEs supporting the DPRK. He could easily use this as not only further justification for THAAD, but also as an excuse to fire back at us for the 30 year one sided trade war we’ve been waging against America.

    • Psalms564

      Dhako!! Is that you? If it is, what an improvement!!!!

      • ——————————

        I am afraid you are probably wrong…but let’s continue to keep a stiff upper lip until we are sure….

    • Jacksonian_Libertarian

      Don’t let all that Capital Flight get you down China! Just think what would happen to your exports to America. If the $1.3 Trillion in US Treasuries you accumulated manipulating a price advantage for your exporters. Got paid off. Can you say 40 years of cheating reversed in an Instant? And you can’t even bitch about it because….you got paid off! Muwahahaha!

  • Pait

    The pushover-in-chief will approach North Korea as he does with friend and foe alike when presented with some resistance: by folding.

    He’ll shout loud against the press, and forget about that stick. Perhaps collect a little bribe here and there in exchange for letting other countries walk over the US. Are there any foreign leaders and agents who haven’t realized that yet?

  • Disappeared4x

    When will “foreign policy mainstream” be defined, so us peasants understand when POTUS is behaving ‘normally’? Jeffersonian, Wilsonian, Jacksonian, or Hamiltonian? Samantha Powers’ R2P faction? Human Rights Watch war crimes everywhere faction? The Realpolitik faction? Did Obama44 fall outside the “foreign policy mainstream” all these years, especially with his twizzler-fuelled outreach to Iran, punishing Egypt for deposing MB Morsi, waiting five years to support Japan about the Senkakus, shutting down Israel’s airport in a fit of pique so obvious that Mike Bloomberg had to fly on his own plane to Jerusalem to make a point?

  • FriendlyGoat

    Why did we elect a president who has any need to put his former campaign rhetoric “on ice” right after being elected? The rhetoric he used on foreign affairs was what he thought his potential voters wanted to hear—–or he wouldn’t have used it for the campaign. Is reality different? If so, weren’t we worthy to hear about reality instead of shtick?

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