“The possibility of U.S. military action against North Korea in response to such a test emerged as an option following last week’s U.S. strikes against Syria.” –France24 News. (An interesting premise, despite the apples to oranges comparison.)
In real estate the mantra is location, location, location. Trump gets it. In business, marketing is key. Trump gets it. In marketing, pointing folks in the same direction as traffic is success. Trump gets it.
In business the foundation is financial soundness. In foreign affairs, the foundation is strategic savviness. Does Trump get it? Are we the ones falling short?
Unilateral Military Actions: In Syria without warning & in N. Korea with a bluff called.
On Friday, President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles in response to Wednesday’s chemical attack in Idlib, Syria that took at least 89 lives–many children.
The looming question on every political pundits mind: What’s next? Trump acted without authorization from Congress.
In 2013, President Obama found himself in a similar situation when about 1,000 lives surrendered themselves to a chemical death in Damascus, Syria. The President asked for consent from Congress to strike back. The request seemed to go unheard.
Friday also welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s weekend visit with Trump, against the backdrop of another N. Korean nuclear missile test.
“The launch took place possibly in consideration of the U.S. -China summit, while at the same time it was to check its missile capability,” a South Korean official told Reuters about the military’s initial assessment of the launch. —Reuters
The Culmination of the U.S.-China Summit: A unilateral response from the U.S., which rerouted the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group [U.S. Navy, includes warships] from its Australia voyage to the Korean Peninsula. Strategic savvy?
Possible top items on the agenda? N. Korea, trade, climate change, artificial islands and currency manipulation. Sub-agenda items that could be tackled: China stealing intellectual property and U.S. steel. But I digress.
After all, Trump did recently obtain 38 business trademarks from China that were held up for decades.
China, alongside Russia, has blocked sanctions against Syria in the past. The country’s official response to Friday night’s military strike:
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, when addressing questions on the US strikes on Syria, said the country opposes the use of force in international affairs, but also reiterated its stance opposing the use of chemical weapons.
“China always opposes the use of force in international affairs and we advocate resolving disputes peacefully through dialogues. … We always hold that the Syrian issue should be resolved through political means.”
Note: However, posturing with force seems to be ok; China is not shunning U.S. Military presence in the Korean Peninsula.
The Uranium Factor, Trade Partnerships, and China’s Growing Military Might.
Let’s not discount the uranium necessary to make nuclear weapons. It’s rich in North Korea. And traded. That story broke big in 2004, when it was discovered that N. Korea was selling uranium to Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gadafy. Much of the uranium trade would need to happen via Chinese-patroled waterways. And a uranium-rush happening in places like Africa’s Zimbabwe has China, Russia and others bidding.
There is also the very real possibility of China bankrolling N. Korea’s nuclear endeavors, as is chasing the U.S. for the title of “Economic World Leader”.
The graph below shows an increase in N. Korea trade surplus that is commensurate with an increase in N. Korea’s nuclear testing, which started in 2006. Like Russia, which forgave N. Korea’s $10 billion dollar debt with oil-pipe-line interest in mind, according to Forbes, total aid (‘debt forgiveness’) from China exceeds $20 billion.
A recent Congressional research report estimated that China purchases 90% of North Korea’s commercial exports, provides 80% of its consumer goods, 90% of its energy, over $100 million in UN-banned luxury goods, and enough food to feed over 1 million people per year. —Forbes, Feb. 28, 2017
Additionally, China is doubling down on a military budget that already has neighbors upping the anti. “China’s defense spending will balloon to $233 billion in 2020, up from $123 billion in 2010, according to a new report by IHS Jane’s.” –CNN, Dec. 12, 2016
Location Location Location.
Geography: President Xi continues increasing China’s footprint by literally building artificial islands and then claiming rights to the waterways that surround them, and according to Reuters they are installing weapons on said islands. China, N. Korea’s largest trade partner, shares a border with both N. Korea and Russia. The missiles N. Korea is testing are of greatest threat to countries in the region. So, why are U.S. Naval forces leading the charge?
Obama Admin. on N. Korea’s nuclear arms race.
The Obama administration chose not to take unilateral action. Instead, it held talks with both Korea’s, China, and Japan and other nations with regional interests. China is N. Korea’s biggest trade partner.
Young leader Kim Jong Un has also alienated the North’s traditional benefactor and main trading partner, China. The U.S. has long urged Beijing to take a more forceful role in pressing North Korea, and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said after the Obama-Xi meeting that the two sides agreed the new U.N. resolution “should be implemented in full and in its entirety.” –AP, March 31, 2016
@POTUS Tweets on Syrian Airstrike.