Mega-kudos to President Donald Trump for standing up to Kim Jong Un, who was defiantly testing nuclear weapons, but now, miraculously, is following a more peaceful path with his southern neighbors on the Korean Peninsula.
The Bob Dylan lyric, “They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn,” sprang to mind upon hearing the Korea news. After 25 years of fearing the growing North Korean nuclear threat, we seemed at a tipping point just mere months ago. The winds of war were blowing hard. But now we’re watching leaders of South Korea and North Korea holding hands. Can this be true? Is peace at hand? Or is that cute smile from the plump Kim hiding a more sinister plan? Time will tell.
But seeing the “Little Rocket Man,” as Trump so aptly described the brutal North Korean dictator, change his tune is so uplifting and remarkable that it makes one proud to be an American again, knowing our president, and his tough talk and willingness to back it up with military spending and action – otherwise known as peace through strength – is the reason for the seeming breakout of peace.
Standing up to a bully requires steadfast focus. Ronald Reagan did it with the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s. He built up America’s military might while pursuing diplomacy, and the communist country imploded. Trump has never wavered on North Korea, and his derision of Kim on a personal level, coupled with his pronouncements that America was ready to blast North Korea into smithereens if Kim continued to follow a nuclear path – all the while pursuing diplomatic efforts and increasing our military spending – seem to have convinced the regime to change its ways.
Of course, North Korea has made overtures to peace in the past, and Trump wisely acknowledges this by saying he’s not going to accept anything less than full denuclearization by North Korea.
This is a textbook example that the peace-through-strength concept is a winning strategy. And as Trump supporters have been saying since he entered the 2016 race, Trump’s willingness to show strength is just what the country needed after so many years of presidents who haven’t been willing or daring enough to put America’s full power into a world affair. Trump doesn’t mess around, and he’s actually making America great again.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of my country. I wish I could say our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan were proud moments, but they’re not, since our intervention there is merely serving to delay the inevitable fanatical, anti-American takeover of those places. But officially ending the Korean War would be America’s best accomplishment since our Greatest Generation won World War II.
And Trump deserves the credit.
The Korean example demonstrates how, even though anti-military non-interventionists don’t want to admit it, the world needs America to stand strong. For eight dark years, Barack Obama was a de-facto enabler of North Korea, Syria, Iran and Russia, as he foolishly led from behind. He failed to use, or convincingly threaten to use, America’s full moral and military might, and thousands have died and suffered. In Trump, there’s hope and light on the foreign front. While the Middle East still rages, the darkness in one formerly tumultuous area of the world is lifting precisely because we have a realistic adult in charge.
And Trump is doing all this while taking heavy bombardment from domestic political foes. Stories of Russian collusion, porn stars and scandals involving cabinet secretaries are dredged up almost daily by a mainstream press that rarely questioned anything Obama did or pursued anything that may have dimmed his aura. Trump’s resiliency is amazing. Put yourself in his shoes. Could you handle the barbs? Despite it all, Trump perseveres.
Yes, Trump has his negatives. He seems to tweet crazy stuff daily; so much so that even die-hard supporters wish he’d delete his Twitter account. But this guy is different. He’s a New York bare-knuckle brawler accustomed to duking it out with unions, political bigwigs and everyone else he had to deal with in the property development world. He fearlessly defies fate and creates his own better reality, and that’s what Trump supporters love.
He’s a stark contrast to Obama, that’s for sure. Just as the optimistic Reagan reversed the general-malaise presidency of Jimmy Carter, strongman Trump is exposing Obama’s hallow-man presidency for what it was: all talk and no action. Despite Trump’s personal downsides, I’d rather have a president who may be a little rough around the edges, but understands how to use America’s well-earned moral authority and military might to create a more peaceful world.
John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.