[Ed. – What if?]
President Trump has threatened to “totally destroy North Korea,” respond with “fire and fury” to its nuclear weapons, and said “they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.” His remarks have caused commentators, including at The Atlantic, to worry that Trump could essentially taunt Kim Jong Un into a war. And then, suddenly, South Korea said Tuesday that the North was open to talks with the U.S., including on renouncing its nuclear weapons program—something Kim Jong Un had never put on the table before. Could that mean that Trump’s blustery rhetoric … worked?
Not all the words from Washington have been bellicose, of course. Sometimes the administration has managed to seem both threatening and conciliatory on the same day. Trump has warned Kim about the size of his nuclear button. Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, has said the U.S. is ready for talks with no conditions.