North Korea’s missile defense system is much more potent than what US estimated. The two long range missiles test fired by North Korea, named Hwasong-14, have shown the world that it is one of very few countries that can hit Hawaii and Alaska with nuclear warhead. President Trump’s threat to North Korea has fallen in the deaf ears.
The fact that North Korea can hit American mainland with nuclear warheads and adamancy shown by Kim Jong Un is a clear sign that he is not afraid of Trump. It is in fact a diplomatic defeat of Trump and United States! The biggest worry of President Trump is Kim Jong Un is not bothered about economic sanctions. The sanctions have been the most potent weapon USA has used over its adversaries including Iran, Libya and Syria. This makes options in the hands of Trump very limited.
If punishing is not an option, can rewarding be one? However, here too, it seems to be a dead end street as political and economic concession against denuclearization is not likely to attract Kim Jong.
Therefore, the way United States treated Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya will not be possible in case of North Korea. North Korea is a country with strict laws and strict discipline. Moreover, it is administered with iron hands. Therefore, creating rebel groups and funding them that can topple the government is almost impossibility. North Korea’s land connection is with China and South Korea. China will never allow United States to use her land to create and send rebels to North Korea. China’s rivalry with United States is well known and she is in fact enjoying the rhetoric North Korea is dishing out to America. In fact the war confidence of North Korea and its insulation from the effects of sanctions is largely due to the largesse it gets from China. Therefore, it can be construed that the threatening rhetoric of North Korea can have covert and overt support of China.
South Korea, on the other hand, is nation whose focus is primarily to its economy and business. It is equally unlikely that it will use its land to create armed rebel forces which can have long term negative impact on her economy. So, the strategy US used against Libya and still using against Syria is not an option in case of North Korea.
The second option is an all out war as in case of Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the hard reality is North Korea is a nuclear power that can hit almost any place in United States.
Thus, President Trump and United States’ pride and arrogance is useless with North Korea. Either United States has to tolerate the threats and tantrums of North Korea, or it has to subdue its ego and bring North Korea to the discussion table with no condition attached. This is a strategic and diplomatic defeat of USA and Trump’s arrogance has crestfallen. The best option Trump has is to use all its diplomatic channels and shake hands with Kim Jong regarding what can be done in the future without condition and ill feelings. It is often said that if the enemy cannot be defeated it should be befriended.