That so many of the nation’s leading Democrats believe President Trump poses a greater threat to world peace than the mad dog leader of a nuclearized North Korea says more about them than either the president or Kim Jong-un.
Take Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison who, in a speech last week urging his leftist followers to “re-ignite” a grass-roots anti-war movement, contended that the North Korean dictator has acted more “responsibly” in recent days than Mr. Trump. Even though Mr. Ellison later told a reporter that he “wished” he hadn’t said what he did — not because it wasn’t true but because his words could be used against him — one suspects he actually believes the president he despises is worse than a tyrant who says he’s like to incinerate us.
As Mr. Ellison spoke, tens of thousands of North Korean soldiers were marching in the streets of Pyongyang in a show of support for their crazed leader who was once again warning that he can “reduce the U.S. mainland to ashes at any moment.” Perhaps, though, he might only launch against the U.S. airbase in Guam or some other target that will allow him to kill Americans, or decide to finally go after his enemies in Seoul or Tokyo for wherever else he fears they might be hiding.
If it were just Mr. Ellison siding with the North Korean dictator, it might be possible to dismiss the man as a fool. If that were the case, one would expect other leading Democrats to demand that he resign his party post and apologize not just to the president of the United States, but to the American people as a whole — or at least to the people of Guam — who have a far less sanguine view of those threats from Pyongyang. Don’t hold your breath.
Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser and U.N. ambassador, even after admitting that her boss’ attempts to keep North Korea from going nuclear could be fairly characterized as a “failure,” now says we “can live with a nuclear North Korea.”
“The fact is,” she told CNN, “that despite all of those efforts, the North Korean regime has been able to succeed in progressing with its program, both nuclear and missile. That’s a very unfortunate outcome, but we are where we are.”
Ms. Rice also wrote a commentary published on Thursday in The New York Times that said Mr. Trump should soften his rhetoric and accept a nuclear North Korea.
“History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War,” Ms. Rice wrote. “It will require being pragmatic.”
She went on not only to criticize Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, but the United Nations for exacerbating the situation by increasing the sanctions on North Korea. Her advice, like that coming from most Democrats today, is to blame the current incumbent in the White House for the problem. From now on, she urges, everyone must simply accept the fact that we will have to live with a rogue regime headed by an irrational madman capable of inflicting catastrophic destruction on this country if he gets up on the wrong side of his bed one morning. Mr. Trump, most Americans and even nations like China and Russia view that as unacceptable.
The president’s rhetoric, echoing President Harry Truman’s to the Japanese before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, seems calculated to re-establish the credibility of a U.S. willingness to use military force when our vital national interests are at stake. His words aren’t likely meant for the lunatic governing North Korea, but his Chinese neighbors who, if they actually believe Mr. Trump is serious, have the ability to restrain Pyongyang — something President Obama was never able to get them to do.
It’s a dangerous, high-stakes game, but Mr. Trump and his advisers know they have to play as best they can the bad hand dealt them as a result of failed policies while ignoring advice from the architects of failure urging them to simply throw in their hand.
Earlier this month, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to put in place new sanctions on North Korea. In her CNN interview, Ms. Rice actually blamed the U.N. move, coupled with military exercises, for the confrontation. While some play the blame game, the president is left with responsibility of dealing with the fallout — hopefully, just the political kind.
• David A. Keene is editor at large at The Washington Times. This article first published online in The Washington Times Commentary section on Aug. 14, 2017.
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