President Donald Trump on Monday morning tweeted another hint that he was nearing the end of his patience with North Korea.
“Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s tweet echoes a sentiment he expressed over the weekend that “only one thing will work” to solve the North Korea crisis.
Trump’s statement was ambiguous at the time.
But Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, later confirmed the meaning in an interview on NBC: Trump was “clearly telegraphing” military action against North Korea.
As of the latest media reports, movements, and statements from the US military, a strike on North Korea does not appear imminent.
But on Thursday evening, during an impromptu dinner with senior military officials at the White House, Trump suggested the meeting may represent “the calm before the storm.” He did not elaborate.
Friday in the Oval Office, Trump was again asked about his “calm before the storm” comment, and he replied with a wink.
“You’ll find out,” Trump said after his wink. “We’ll see.”
Factually, Trump’s Monday tweet rings true. The US has attempted to sway North Korea from building nuclear arms since 1992 and has given the country over a billion dollars in aid since then, even during tense periods.
While the US and other parties did at times get North Korea to agree to talks and preliminary frameworks for disarmament, no agreement held.
Sanctions and diplomacy have at best slowed the progress of North Korea’s nuclear program, and today the world faces a rogue regime on the cusp of marrying a thermonuclear bomb to an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The speed of North Korea’s nuclear breakout has surprised experts and academics within and outside the US government.
No previous US president faced such an advanced threat from North Korea, and no previous president took up such fiery rhetoric against Pyongyang as Trump now has.