In the world of politics, few are willing to hold fire against their own, but Nikki Haley isn’t one of them. The Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. ambassador didn’t mince words when she slammed both President Joe Biden and the 2024 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump for their approaches to North Korea.
Let’s unpack this: at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to meet Kim Jong Un, potentially to arrange arms shipments to fuel Russia’s seemingly endless war in Ukraine, Haley declared that the world’s tyrants are uniting. She candidly stated, “Neither Joe Biden’s weakness nor Donald Trump’s friendliness to Kim have changed North Korea’s direction for the better. These dictators only understand strength.”
And Haley has a point. North Korea remains a rogue nation, irrespective of whether it’s being approached with Biden’s apparent lack of resolution or Trump’s chumminess. Remember, Trump, despite his strongman image, was criticized for his overly friendly demeanor toward Kim Jong Un, calling him a “very talented man” who “loves his country very much” after their historic summit. So, yes, Trump broke new ground by sitting down with Kim, but did it translate into any meaningful change? Not really.
And let’s not forget Biden. Since he took office, North Korea has escalated its missile tests, showing a clear sign of defiance. If being nice doesn’t work and being “weak” doesn’t either, what does that say about America’s stance on the international stage?
Now, Trump’s camp has fired back, with spokesman Steven Cheung noting, “Under President Trump’s successful presidency, no new wars were started because everyone respected the power and leadership of America.” While it’s true that Trump did not initiate new conflicts, it’s also true that existing ones like North Korea didn’t find a resolution. And Biden’s tenure? Well, it seems to be more of the same, albeit with a different flavor of ineffectiveness.
We’re not talking about a trifling issue; we’re talking about a regime that wants access to advanced nuclear submarine and satellite technology. The implications of such a transfer of knowledge could be catastrophic, not just for America but for global stability. And this isn’t even mentioning that Putin is also in the shopping aisle, eyeing artillery shells and anti-tank missiles from the Hermit Kingdom.
Haley’s critique underscores a fundamental conservative value—the need for strength in foreign policy. In this context, “strength” isn’t just military might; it’s also the strategic intelligence to understand that you can’t cuddle a snake and expect not to get bitten.
In a world where despots like Putin and Kim are increasingly brazen, the U.S. can’t afford to get it wrong on North Korea. Neither appeasement nor mere posturing will suffice. What’s needed is a carefully crafted policy, backed by unyielding strength and resolve.
So, is Haley right? When it comes to North Korea, it appears that neither Biden nor Trump have found the golden ticket. The question is, could she—or anyone else—do any better? As America prepares for another election cycle, it’s a question voters will have to seriously ponder. Because when it comes to dealing with dictators, the stakes couldn’t be higher.