During the early Reagan years, liberals across the planet were convinced that he would lead the world into a nuclear holocaust. In large part it was because he rejected the idea of detente with the Soviet Union. Strategic thinkers in the West had decided that containment was the best strategy, but all containment did was slow down the expansionist tendencies of the communists.
I do not think Trump is the second coming of Reagan, nor do I think he possesses the strategic insight that Reagan did. But I do think he is surrounded with people who have better strategic insight and they know our existing policy with North Korea is a failure. So it was refreshing to hear Mike Pence go to South Korea and declare the era of strategic patience over.
We have seen the North Koreans slow walk to a nuclear missile. Despite repeated deals, they continue down that path. Once they are fully armed, there will be no stopping them and increasingly we are seeing the regime is not wholly rational.
It is time for an aggressive change of policy. Trump’s instability that leaves everyone guessing which direction he will go is actually a prime asset here. The Chinese know now they have to act and the Chinese do not really want to send all their time defending a North Korean regime they would otherwise have to increasingly subsidize.
We are way past the time to settle this festering issue once and for all.