What to Do About North Korea? Less Is More


The diametrically opposed styles of President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson never have been more on display than they recently have been on North Korea, which has been testing its nuclear weapons and missiles a lot lately. The bombastic Trump has spewed forth his usual bravado, bluntly asserting, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all that I am telling you.”

In contrast, the taciturn Tillerson’s comment on North Korea’s latest missile test was equally succinct and blunt, but much less macho, “North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.” Although neither man has much experience in international diplomacy, especially in tricky situations such as that posed by North Korea, Tillerson’s quiet approach is likely to bear the most fruit.

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Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office.

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