The Democratic Party has no clue how to protect our country. Its feckless approach to foreign policy is something akin to taking candy from a stranger and then begging to go for a ride in the stranger’s van. It’s peace through appeasement — walk softly and carry an idealistic delusion. Its strategies are fueled by fear and undercut our international goals across the board.
That’s why Democrats were quick to attack President Donald Trump for saying that North Korean aggression would be met with “fire and fury.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “reckless rhetoric.” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer called it “reckless,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called it “recklessly belligerent.”
Deputy DNC chairman and House Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) — not to be out-ignoranced by the non-fringe leftists — said Kim Jong-Un is “acting more responsible” than President Trump. It was a statement that couldn’t have been taken less seriously if he’d used the Rosie O’Donnell squeaky-voice, pig ear filter.
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Obviously, these attacks were born of a Democratic Party talking point designed to politicize our national security and undermine our president on the world stage, but that Democratic talking point sprang from the leftist foreign-policy paradigm of lead-from-behindism. They believe, as did generations of leftists before them, that weakening the American military, weakening our rhetoric, and surrendering whatever leverage our power affords us makes the world a safer place.
It’s a “magic beans” philosophy of international relations, wherein America pays a heavy price for something worthless. The Bowe Bergdahl trade, we got magic beans. Clinton’s North Korean nuclear deal, we got magic beans. Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, we got magic beans.
President Trump’s “fire and fury” statement was powerful, unequivocal, and chock-full of resolve. It applies political pressure, and that pressure allows the United States to negotiate from a position of strength.
Consider how President Obama drew his red line with Syria: He spoke in a calm tone and sprinkled in about half a dozen of the trademark-Obama “uhhhs.”
“A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”
Pretty weak imagery. There’s a reason haunted houses aren’t filled with equations. There’s a reason mythological beasts don’t breathe calculus. And there’s a reason rhetoric like Obama’s doesn’t apply any political pressure. After Obama drew his red line, Putin didn’t scramble to reel in his ally Bashar al-Assad. Assad himself certainly didn’t cower to Obama’s threats of erasing and then rewriting international math problems. Instead, he crossed the line and Obama backed down.
Basically, Obama stood on the world stage and pinned a “kick me” sign to America’s back. He sent the message that American threats are not to be taken seriously. That’s why he spent the remainder of his presidency being stood up by foreign leaders at the airport like some diplomatic version of a Match.com reject.
President Trump is sending a different message: Don’t feel comfortable threatening our national security. In April, President Trump enforced Obama’s red line. You remember. The bombs hit Syria while the president was eating a big, beautiful piece of chocolate cake with Chinese president Xi Jinping.
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After dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” on a series of ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan, a reporter asked President Trump, “Does this send a message to North Korea?”
Trump responded, “I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of. I will say this: I think China has really been working very hard. I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi. He’s a terrific person, we spent a lot of time together in Florida, and he’s a very special man. So we’ll see how it goes. I think he’s going to try very hard.”
It’s clear that President Trump is not interested in sending a message to North Korea. He doesn’t seek to directly control the actions of Kim Jong-Un, he intends to control them through proxy, and the proxy is China.
Trump’s actions and his rhetoric are not designed to scare Kim Jong-Un into waving a white flag. This isn’t a California buyback program where North Korea gets a $100 gift card for turning in its nuclear weapons. The forceful rhetoric and the earlier actions that make the rhetoric credible — the Syria bombing and the MOAB — are designed to place political pressure on China. China believes, and rightly so, that President Trump will not bend. They believe that he will not tolerate appeasement of North Korea.
China offered a “freeze for freeze deal,” wherein North Korea freezes their nuclear program in exchange for the U.S. weakening our position in South Korea. Presidents like Obama and Clinton, who pay billions of dollars to rogue nations for empty promises that they’ll disarm, would have jumped on a deal like this. But this administration intends to secure a real deal for the U.S. President Trump is using economic and geopolitical consequences to such a degree that Kim Jong-Un’s “friendship” becomes a liability to Beijing. Without that pressure, China has no incentive to grab Kim by the shoulders and shake some sense into him.
Trump’s political pressure on China is our best chance for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear crisis, and Democrats are playing a partisan game with our national security when they undercut that pressure for minor political gain.
It’s been a generation since a U.S. president adopted a sound peace-through-strength foreign policy, and Democrats better learn fast that tough talk is part of the scenery on the road to peace.
Eddie Zipperer is an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College and a regular LifeZette contributor.
(photo credit, homepage images: nasa_goddard/davidleesf, Flickr; photo credit, article images: oscepa/Senate Democrats, Flickr)