North Korea's Grandstanding And US Inaction Will Likely Continue In 2018

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

2017 has seen President Trump‘s administration make a marked departure in how North Korea is “handled” by the United States. 


Whereas past administrations were more predictable, waiting for North Korea to act bellicose before they acceded to relief from sanctions, the Trump administration has done no such thing, instead choosing to implement more sanctions on the North Korean regime following its weapons tests.

It seems that more than anything, North Korea has been left confused as to why it hasn’t received the “relief” from the US that it has in the past:

While in the past North Korea has traditionally participated in strategy meeting with foreign power on neutral soil such as Geneva, Singapore and Malaysia, since Trump’s election in November, the North Korean representatives have been predominantly interested in figuring out the unconventional president’s strategy, according to almost a dozen people involved in the discussions. 

While early in Trump’s term, the North Koreans had been asking broad questions – Is President Trump serious about closing American military bases in South Korea and Japan,  as he said on the campaign trail? Might he really send American nuclear weapons back to the southern half of the Korean Peninsula – the questions have since become more specific.

And while Trump’s UN speech left the world thinking he was preparing to undertake military action against North Korea…

…others think this is part of a broader strategy of Trump “bluffing” on his intentions:

In fact, I have a different take these days: all the hot rhetoric might just be a giant bluff, using the threat of military action to get North Korea to back off.

Clearly a war of choice against North Korea would be a giant mistake that could cost millions of people their lives. Therefore, when it comes to Kim’s nuclear and missile programs, a policy of containment and deterrence make the most sense. It’s time for the Trump administration to stop bluffing and get serious.

Unlike the majority of the mainstream media who are far too focused criticizing Trump rather than evaluating his strategy, I don’t think this is a “bluff” at all – this appears to be the administration’s way of containing North Korea without “paying” the nation in sanction relief.

The Trump administration’s North Korea strategy appears to be functioning as follows – to give North Korea no rewards for its grandstanding, and continue to make North Korea aware of the consequences of any potential military action they may undertake against US interests.  

For starters, if the US was actually considering air strikes against North Korea, there would have been no better time than mid-November, when three US carriers were conducting exercises near the Korean peninsula:

The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz and their multi-ship strike groups are participating in the four days of exercises, which are expected to end Tuesday.  A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the three US carriers held drills on either side of the waters separating the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Exercises closest to the Korean coast involved US and South Korean ships, while those closest to Japan involved US and Japanese ships, the official said.

While these exercises served as a reminder to Kim Jong-Un that the US can deal with any threat from his regime, they also served as a reminder to the rest of the world that the country is not prepared to use military force, unless the North Koreans use military force first.

In the absence of any North Korean military strikes, and with the US content to remind North Korea of the consequences of action, the status quo will likely remain – North Korean grandstanding and weapons testing, and subsequent US inaction, with “reminder” exercises of US military power from time to time.  

In fact, if something were to change politically on the Korean peninsula, a more likely scenario would be the North Korean regime collapsing from within, possibly with the Chinese and/or Russians replacing the regime with a more pliable and less belligerent ally.  As Charles Smith has covered in the past, the Chinese have far more reason to “handle” North Korea than the US does:

China’s supreme leader Chairman Mao Zedong took the threat of land invasion so seriously that he ordered (at enormous expense) the relocation of critical industrial plants from coastal areas into the hinterlands, the better to distance them from invasion.

China has effectively subsidized and supported the North Korean state for the past 70 years as a buffer against a land invasion from South Korea. China supplies North Korea with fossil fuels and other essentials and protects it diplomatically.

A lack of relief from sanctions could push the North Korean regime into economic collapse.  If this were to happen, the Chinese and Russians would look to fill the void quickly to maintain the “Two Koreas” status quo.  A “unified” Korea could create an economic powerhouse that would rival and possibly surpass Japan, as well as many other large economies.  The US and other global interests would likely be keen to avoid this scenario, and would possibly allow North Korea’s neighbors to facilitate a “replacement” regime if the DPRK became defunct.

Without any impetus from world powers to “change” North Korea, and in the presumed absence of any US or North Korean military action, it can be expected that the current pattern of North Korean grandstanding, followed by US inaction, will continue in 2018.

While Asia and the world would be better served by a less problematic North Korea, the simplest and most likely course of action is to merely stand by and make sure North Korea doesn’t cause any problems for the rest of the world.  


Conscious Reviver Thu, 12/28/2017 - 20:01 Permalink

Of course. Norks are not the target. Iran is. Bibi says so. 

Attacking Iran means attacking friends of Iran,  Russia and China too. Is Bibi suicidal? Tune in to find out. 

ZeroLounger Thu, 12/28/2017 - 20:07 Permalink

Like the guy in one of the vid's said:  Two choices, let Kim get nukes and threaten the U.S. forever and ever, amen or (2)= Go in and take him out.

Better have some food and water stored.

Son of Captain Nemo Thu, 12/28/2017 - 20:15 Permalink

As long as Zerohedge refuses to acknowledge that this was never about "Rocket Man" and ALL ABOUT Russia and China not handing over the "hard assets" both of these Countries have that "Yankee Jewdle" no longer HAS but desperately needs in order to pay for it's increasingly huge deficit(s)...

These reads will become increasingly trivial and meaningless!...

America!... Here is your REAL President ( increasingly more rabid dangerous and desperate as it continues to hemorrhage it's own wealth and it's parasite into the abyss!!!

cpnscarlet Thu, 12/28/2017 - 20:30 Permalink

NK has no gold an little hard assets - that's why there will be no invasion - no profit. Too bad since it means the people will just have to continue to suffer in that hell hole.

If you really CARE about the plight of suffering human beings, you will want to see NK invaded and Kim incinerated with the rest of his command staff.

Don't forget folks, this is a COMMIE regime we're talking about and history is the best teacher.

Shemp 4 Victory cpnscarlet Fri, 12/29/2017 - 00:46 Permalink


If you really CARE about the plight of suffering human beings, you will want to see NK invaded

Americans never die of contradictions. They prefer others to do that for them.

Don't forget folks, this is a COMMIE regime we're talking about and history is the best teacher.

US citizens have built a fable out of their history by excluding any person's history that would not allow the perpetuation of their US fable.…

In reply to by cpnscarlet

Davidduke2000 cpnscarlet Fri, 12/29/2017 - 02:26 Permalink

I did not see you defending the poor yemenis who are under constant attacks by us allies israel and saudis , the same with the palestinians.

But NK who has what it takes to kill the aggressors is bothering you, do you really think China and Russia will let the us hit NK and leave peacefully?? NK has a border with Russia and China and any hostile acts against NK will be considered a declaration of war against 3 countries.

In reply to by cpnscarlet

Secret Weapon Thu, 12/28/2017 - 21:24 Permalink

If attacked the Norks will act assymetrically.  Sniper teams taking out mega transformers.  Lights out USA.  Release of biologicals.  Good luck with your Obamacare coverage.  The fucksticks in the Pentagram are blind to the blowback that awaits. 

cpnscarlet Thu, 12/28/2017 - 21:47 Permalink

I don't buy it.

If there's one thing we learned from the fall of the Soviet Union, it's that communists may be able to build lots of hardware, but it's not that good. I for one do not believe for a second that NK can "attack" the US in any significant way. Their missiles are still very much at the R&D stage and they still don't have a warhead worth lifting...again, just an opinion from an old cold warrior.

PitBullsRule Thu, 12/28/2017 - 21:49 Permalink

Now that Kim Jung Un has a nuclear bomb, Trump is helpless.  Nobody is going to let Trump do anything because we don't want to lose a city.  So its just more of Trump's bullshit, for 3 more years.  

MAB - Mutual Assured Bullshit.

rejected Thu, 12/28/2017 - 22:31 Permalink

Look at the Middle East. The US has invaded, bombed, and/or sent paid mercs (ISIS) to destroy 6-8 nations since 2001. 

The US has antagonized North Korea for 70 years,,, even before it had nukes and has been getting more and more aggressive since the Bush Administration that broke the agreement made with the Clinton Administration. (The US has broke every agreement it's made with North Korea)

Now suppose you are the leader of this nation and it has the capability of producing a nuclear device that will go a long way preventing the US from dropping democracy bombs on you.

What would you do?

I am Groot Fri, 12/29/2017 - 00:22 Permalink

Hypothetically speaking, if I were Trump the best time to preemptively attack North Korea would be during the Olympics.I highly doubt North Korea would want to shell Seoul with 100 different countries citizens there. So instead of 1 enemy, he would make 100.

francis scott … Fri, 12/29/2017 - 03:41 Permalink

SHERLOCK, CAN'T YOU SEE THAT EVERYBODY'S                                             GRANDSTANDING?

It's not time yet to tell everyone that the world is divided into 

Oceania, Eurasia, and East Asia like Orwell said.  We need a

few more years of terrorism and imminent nuclear war.


The people must not be told until they're ready.  Let them think

that the obese couch potatoes of America can overthrow their 

elected government because they are determined to do so.


Forget that TPTB have enough technology to boil water in your

mouth and then chill it into iced tea to make an Arnold Palmer 

for the stormtrooper standing on your neck.  (Assuming lemon

juice is still plentiful.)


Fireman Fri, 12/29/2017 - 05:49 Permalink

North Korea is a side show distraction from China's all mighty gold backed Petroyuan symbolized by those "big beautiful" South China Sea resort islands bristling with their latest military toys and everyone sees it except morons. Lil Kim in Pyongyang is simply China's version of Nudelman's Porky Poroshenko in Nazi Kiev. Anyone can play USSA'S games when they want except of course USSA itself which never ever grasps the big picture.

The thugs in Washing town and their brain dead Pentacon gung hoers have killed all the Koreans they are ever going to kill...with impunity and melting Japan and Seoul is never going to make the worthless IOU petroscrip Saudi Mercan dollah "work" ever again. Give it up already.…