Stories by Kurt Campbell, diplomat

Expert Voices

A Trump Nixon-to-China moment in North Korea

Korea is the land of lousy options and the Trump team has lurched from one preferred course of action to another. First there were threats of military action, followed by hints of financial sanctions against Chinese and North Korean entities, and then more recently, (misplaced) hope by the President himself that China would step in and solve the North Korea problem for Washington.

Why it matters: The early confidence of the Trump team has gradually receded as it becomes clear the complex and unyielding dynamic of the Korean peninsula is impervious to quick and easy fixes. Nothing could have made this point more poignantly than the tragic return and subsequent death of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student wrongly imprisoned and mistreated by North Korean authorities.