Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Korea: A Dangerous Moment

A politically weak president with no foreign policy or military experience confronts a 33-year-old, insecure, ruthless dictator. Both men control nuclear weapons. America’s generals have been cautious and restrained. North Korea’s generals follow the young man around with notebooks. A dangerous moment where language and misread intentions could lead to a violent escalation difficult to pull back.

The West, of course, can’t know North Korea’s public opinion, but American polls describe a wary public preferring negotiations and sanctions, but skeptical of their effectiveness. Still wanting to avoid war, but more willing to use military force than in the past. Importantly, they trust the military more than President Trump.
  • North Korea is an immediate threat – 50% (CNN, Sept. 20, 2017)
  • Can it be resolve only with economic and diplomatic efforts – Yes 43%, No 45% (CNN, Sept. 20, 2017)
  • Would you favor military action if diplomatic and economic efforts fail – Yes 58% (CNN, Sept. 20, 2017)
  • Other countries must participate – Yes 63% (CNN, Sept. 20, 2017)
  • Americans are against a preemptive attack (66%) and nearly all favor tougher sanctions (74%) (ABC/Washington Post, 2017)
  • Do you think the way Donald Trump talks about North Korea is helpful 23%, not helpful 70% (Fox News, Sept. 26, 2017)
  • Approval of Trump’s handling of North Korea – 36% (NBC/Wall Street Journal, Sept. 19, 2017)
  • The public trusts the military more than Trump

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