North Korea has the upper hand

I won’t have time this morning to write about President Trump’s foolish “fire and fury” threat against North Korea, which provoked a specific Pyongyang threat against the US territory of Guam. In any event, I wouldn’t do better than Robert Litwak, who had intelligent things to say about the issue this morning on NPR: 

Secretary of State Tillerson is wandering around the world saying the US wants to talk with North Korea, while the President blusters. That isn’t a good way to get the diplomacy going, because the North Koreans have a better alternative to a negotiated solution (BATNA) than we do: they need only continue their nuclear and missile programs and be prepared to launch a conventional artillery attach on Seoul if we start to act. In the game Trump is playing–military threat–North Korea has the upper hand.

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One thought on “North Korea has the upper hand”

  1. First of all, why should North Korea feel threatened by the United States?
    I would imagine that it would feel threatened by China, next door, but it would not issue a threat to China.
    Letting China know it has a long reach is accomplished by threatening us. Secondly, any action taken by the United States benefits China, so China is in a win win situation.
    Lastly if a good part of N. Korea’s trade comes from China and Japan and a large percentage of trade for China is with N. Korea we can assume that China will not wish to see that two way market for its booming economy dissapear. Therefore can I believe this escalation of verbal threat is for the North Korean public and the Trump base? Nevertheless
    It is very dangerous talk.

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