North Korea

Trump Wins: North Korea Backs Down as Chinese Sanctions Hit Home

Editorial credit: Willrow Hood /

Earlier today we learned that Iran could “restart” their nuclear program and be back on the road toward nuclear armaments within “hours” if they chose to do so (does anyone really believe they’ve stopped their nuclear weapons program completely?).

Iran could abandon its nuclear agreement with world powers “within hours” if the United States imposes any more new sanctions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.

“If America wants to go back to the experience (of imposing sanctions), Iran would certainly return in a short time — not a week or a month but within hours — to conditions more advanced than before the start of negotiations,” Rouhani told a session of parliament broadcast live on state television.

If the information is accurate, and there’s no reason to doubt it just yet, then President Obama’s most important foreign policy “legacy” is as tenuous as his domestic achievements.

Couple this with another breaking story which reveals that the Obama administration knew about Russia’s election meddling as early as 2014, yet did nothing about it, and we begin to learn just how terrible the Obama administration’s foreign policy plans really were.

POLITICO spoke with more than a dozen current and former officials from across the national security spectrum, including intelligence agencies, the State Department and the Pentagon. Almost all said they were aware of Russia’s aggressive cyberespionage and disinformation campaigns — especially after the dramatic Russian attempt to hack Ukrainian elections in 2014 — but felt that either the White House or key agencies were unwilling to act forcefully to counter the Russian actions.

Intelligence officials “had a list of things they could never get the signoffs on,” one intelligence official said. “The truth is, nobody wanted to piss off the Russians.”

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And why didn’t anyone want to “piss off the Russians”? Ed Morrissey at HotAir has more on Obama’s rationale:

Russia could have made all sorts of trouble internationally for a lame-duck president who was focused on brokering a nuclear deal with Iran.

Moscow could have escalated in Syria (which it eventually did); it could have made a rash move on eastern Europe, calling Obama’s bluff on NATO; and most importantly, it could have tried to wreck the fledgling Iran deal.

Obama would have had a freer hand to deal harshly with Putin if he had abandoned his dream of some major diplomatic step with Iran that might eventually lead to detente with the United States. He had his heart set on that as his major foreign policy “achievement,” though, and he was unwilling to do anything that might jeopardize Russian cooperation in it.

Result: Putin and Iran have an increasingly strong hold on Syria; the U.S. now has a president whose commitment to NATO is shakier than any of his predecessors’; and Trump looks set to tear up the Iran deal sooner rather than later, undoing Obama’s work and setting the two countries on a path to confrontation.

That’s an awfully steep price to pay for a nuclear agreement that was temporary by design and is apt to end up being much shorter-term than Obama anticipated.

You want to know “how you got Trump,” as conservatives like to say to liberals? Obama’s passivity on Russia is part of it.

Another revelation that unmasks just how craven and selfish President Obama really was. ‘Who cares about national security? I just want my foreign policy legacy.’

Revelations like these are why we should all be thankful that President Obama is no longer making the foreign policy decision for our nation, and that President Trump has instituted a new, more rigorous foreign policy path.

In the past few months, President Trump has gotten concessions from the Chinese, assent to renegotiate NAFTA, he’s empowered our friends in the Middle East, while making life there more difficult for our enemies, and now he may be on the verge of finding a way to deescalate the tension between the USA and North Korea.

North Korea is backing off a threat to fire missiles at the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, according to a new report.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he had decided not to launch an attack, but warned he could change his mind.

“If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the restraint of the DPRK [North Korea], the [North] will make an important decision as it already declared,” Kim said according to the country’s state media, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The statement could help reduce tensions in the region.

The Trump administration has been far more direct with the North Koreans than the Obama administration ever was, and the Trump team has also applied much stronger and more visible pressure to the Chinese government than Obama ever did.

This is all part of the “new” way of doing business in the Trump era, and it continues to pay dividends even as the media wrings their hands over the President’s tone and methods.

In fact, on the heels of learning about North Korea’s decision to back down, we also learned that China will be ramping up their efforts to bring North Korea to heel. 

In a huge slap in the face to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime, China has very publicly announced that it will ban imports of several key resources from North Korea, bowing to U.N. sanctions that were pushed for by the Trump administration and the United States.

According to The Washington Post, the Chinese Commerce Ministry announced a ban on iron, coal and lead from North Korea on Monday, in accordance with the latest round of sanctions against Pyongyang. The announcement came a day before North Korea announced that it had put off a plan to launch missiles at the U.S. Pacific possession of Guam, an attack that would virtually guarantee a U.S. military response.

It all connects folks. As we’ve learned from the Obama era if you act from a position of weakness to lead from behind, your results will be poor and your outlook bleak. However, if as President Trump you negotiate from a position of strength and deal clearly and honestly with your opponent, the results will speak for themselves and success will be far more likely.

You may not like President Trump’s demeanor, his rhetorical style, or his bombast… but the simple truth remains, in just over 200 days he has accomplished greater foreign policy deeds that Obama did in eight years. Further, he has undone many of Obama’s worst foreign policy mistakes and has helped to right the American ship of state. And he’s done all of this while dealing with a belligerent and confrontational media, and a foot-dragging do-nothing Congress.

That’s pretty impressive.

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