My family escaped North Korea – Trump’s response was spot on
After President Trump’s strong response to the increased threat from North Korea, many have been quick to call the response dangerous and inflammatory. The only dangerous and inflammatory activity has come from North Korea’s increasingly volatile and violent leader.
As an immigrant from South Korea whose family escaped the communist north, I refuse to support any policy or action that could lead to the appeasement of the unhinged Kim Jong-Un and his murderous government.
It is unclear why many who would acknowledge that Kim Jong-Un and his despotic leadership are dangerous and out of control would at the same time ask for the United States to concede and pursue the same policy of pay-offs and appeasement that has consistently failed for the past two decades. Not only has that policy failed – it created the crisis, which we currently face.
For the past twenty years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the position of the United States has been consistent with that put forward by Trump: If North Korea puts the United States at risk, the United States will react in kind. Yet, as Kim Jong-Il and his arguably less-sane son and successor, Kim Jong-Un, continued their march toward full nuclearization, previous American administrations tamped down their rhetoric as Trump is being urged to do now.
The U.S. adopted a policy of pay-offs and appeasement that cooled off rhetoric on our side, but only fanned the flames of North Korean propaganda. And worse, those policies have brought us to a point where Kim Jong-Un appears to possess deployable nuclear-tipped intercontinental-ballistic missiles.
The United States cannot and should not have a passive relationship with anyone who so boldly threatens the lives of American citizens and our allies.
Those who truly recognize the danger the North Korean regime presents cannot in good conscience suggest that our president take a passive and weak attitude towards such a real threat to not only the United States but, to our allies in the Pacific.
It is this laissez-faire attitude, which the previous administration called “strategic patience,” in response to North Korea’s belligerence that is to blame for the current escalation and danger to our national defense. “Strategic patience”, as many have pointed out is just another way of saying, “kick the can down the road.” Well, Trump isn’t kicking any cans down the road.
Trump is neither the instigator nor the cause of this escalation. That blame lies with the unstable communist dictator Kim Jong-Un. I stand by and support Trump’s strong resolve to protect our great nation and our allies from all threats.
Requests and outcries for a peaceful response from our president amid the growing threat are entirely misdirected. Efforts should be aimed toward the North Korean leader, whose actions threaten peace and exacerbate the possibility of nuclear warfare. His actions alone threaten the millions of innocent people living in both North and South Korea, not the United States and our president.
We must never forget the brutality of North Korea’s government and lack of concern for human life. Only a few months ago, American citizen Otto Warmbier, was laid to rest after a brutal and ultimately fatal 17-month detention in North Korea. Still to this day there are three fellow Americans who are still living this nightmare.
Tony Kim, Kim Hak Song and Kim Dong Chul are all fellow Americans who are currently still detained in North Korea. Tony Kim, a teacher and humanitarian worker along with fellow teacher Kim Hak Song were arrested and the charges are still unclear. Kim Dong-chul was a business man and is currently serving a 10 year of hard labor in North Korea.
Defense Secretary James Mattis stated that the State Department will make every effort to resolve the global threat through diplomatic means. But, he has also said that North Korea “would lose any arms race of conflict it initiates,” and that North Korea “should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
I don’t wish for either side to escalate this increasing tension to bring global warfare that could risk the lives of innocent people. As they say, it takes two to tango and I do not believe blaming our president for the escalation in hostility between our two nations is a fair evaluation.
I stand by Trump and those who, like him in this circumstance, stand up for truth against evil.
BY MICHELLE PARK STEEL, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
08/17/17 06:20 PM EDT
Michelle Park Steel is the chairwoman of California’s Orange County Board of Supervisors. Steel represents the residents of the Second District, which includes, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Steel, a successful businesswoman and renowned taxpayer advocate, previously served as Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization. At the time, Steel was the highest-ranking Korean-American elected official in the United States.