WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 8: President Donald Trump waves as he returns to the White House on July 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is returning to the U.S. after a trip to Europe including the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images)

North Korea: President Trump’s judgement and leadership.

Source:  The New York Times, Article 1     The New York Times, Article 2     The Washington Post     Associate Press

To add gasoline to an already raging fire, President Trump’s “fire and fury” statement only serves to play into Kim Jong-Un hands and plans.  From a certain point of view, some would say spewing similar rhetoric toward North Korea is giving it right back to them.  However, North Korea has defied the world and laughed in the face of sanctions with continued missile launches and surprising the world on the advancement of their missile development.  At this point, the lion has barred it’s claws and poking it with a stick is a very questionable strategy.

Over the past year, North Korea has demonstrated its progress in achieving nuclear weapons capability by launching several missiles, with success and failure.  Unfortunately, the United States and much of the world dismissed and or underestimated North Korea’s nuclear missile program by focusing on or too busy denouncing Kim Jong-Un’s rhetoric and imposing ineffective sanctions.  As a result, North Korea used this smoke and mirror tactic perfectly to surprise the world with its advancement in missile technology with the successful launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

For North Korea, the shock and awe of the ICBM tests worked.  With the world, and the United States caught off guard, North Korea takes advantage of the confusion and ratchets up the rhetoric.  The knee jerk reaction from the world is more sanctions and diplomatic pressure while continually urging China and Russia to get on board.  However, for an inexperienced, off-the-cuff, unpredictable president of the United States, Donald Trump, this is a formula for his arrogance, ignorance, and ego to get the best of him.  The president demonstrated this when making statements North Korea would find inflammatory and plays right into Kim Jong-Un’s hands.  So, in turn, North Korea steps up its rhetoric and uses President Trump’s “fire and fury” statement as proof of its long-standing belief of the threat the United States poses to North Korea.

More importantly, all the news surrounding North Korea and the United States continues to demonstrate the dysfunctional atmosphere of the White House, especially with President Trump making surprising off-the-cuff comments.  These off-the-cuff comments coupled with President Trump’s unpredictability continually catches his administration off guard and scrambling to explain. Because of the president’s style, it causes his administration to send out mixed messages which further demonstrates the lack of coordination, planning, and cooperation on the president’s part when compared to professional politics.

In the face of a mixed message, often chaotic, very public image of the White House, Kim Jong-Un has masterfully taken advantage.  Rather than taking a moment to re-evaluate and plan accordingly to deliver the appropriate message to North Korea, President Trump decides to poke the growling lion.  This is like two school yard bullies taunting each other, with one playing into the hands of the other, possibly to the point of provocation or humiliation.  Not the most prudent tactic to take, and one that previous presidents adeptly chose to avoid, rightfully so.

The White House, so consumed and distracted by its own chaotic dysfunction, failed to noticed Kim Jong-Un’s masterful puppetry and played right into Kim Jong-Un’s warped mindset.  Unfortunately, this also fuels North Korea’s resolve and its desire to prove to the world it will not be bulled.  North Korea attempted to show itself as a victim by using President’s Trump “fire and fury” comment.

President Trump’s comment, delivered in his off-the-cuff style, and his refusal to be advised when making comments brings into question if John Kelly can be effective in reigning in the White House.  President Trump’s ego prevents him from realizing he is not an expert on everything and conferring with those who are.  In the way President Trump has demonstrated his ability to be president, or lack thereof, America should be having sleepless nights regarding North Korea.

Already, the United States and the world woke up to a nuclear capable North Korea; make no mistake the reality is here.  The world needs to stop making excuses regarding North Korea’s nuclear program and realize we may have been asleep at the wheel, especially the United States.  It is time for calmer more professional planning and leadership to deal with North Korea on very real terms based on a very real situation.  The North Korea problem is no longer hypothetical, its staring us in the face.

Though there is no real evidence yet that North Korea can deliver a nuclear warhead to a target successfully, they have already come close enough and it is only a matter of time.  To provoke North Korea in a like-wise fashion of tough talk is foolish and unwise.  Two things President Trump just doesn’t seem to understand as demonstrated by his foolish comments and unwise actions.

If President Trump is not careful he could find himself as the laughingstock among world leaders, which could only benefit North Korea.  Should President Trump continue to guide the United States with the same erratic ego driven persona, the country could find itself in a very unpopular and negative position that diminishes credibility and influence across the globe.