Trump Meets His Macho Match In North Korea's Leader

When the U.S. dropped MOAB onto Islamic State tunnels in Afghanistan, it signaled to North Korea that it had a bomb that could get all the way into its main nuclear site believed to be in the mountains near Yongbyon. The attack on Syria’s airfield provided proof that Trump would act against another country if he felt sufficiently aggrieved.

Yet Kim Jong Un remains defiant. In order to move this stubborn man, we must pay attention to what he fears: threats to his regime. When the U.S. and South Korea conduct their annual air, sea and land training exercises, called Foal Eagle, North Korea bitterly objects and ratchets up the war talk.

It’s easy to see why. Imagine if Russia had 28,000 troops in Canada, within an hour’s drive of the Maine border, as the U.S. has in South Korea. Imagine if those troops conducted long defensive drills every year with all the Canadian troops. The U.S. president might worry the Russians were preparing to invade, similar to Kim's fears about Americans.

To calm Kim, the U.S. might offer to reduce the number of U.S. troops used during these training missions in agreement, of course, with South Korea. The annual drills are part of a 1953 defense treaty.

It would be a first step in showing that South Korea and the U.S. are willing to give up something they see as key to their security. It may encourage North Korea to do the same.

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