How many missiles does North Korea need to launch to get Trump’s attention?

On Sunday, North Korea launch missiles in the direction of Japan, coming within 300 miles of its shores. This provocation was immediately condemned by American allies in the region. “The launches are clearly in violation of Security Council resolution,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared. “It is an extremely dangerous action.” Hwang Kyo-ahn, acting president of South Korea agreed, saying, “It’s an extremely dangerous action.”

But after 18 hours, the response from the White House has been silence. While there has been a pro forma State Department rebuke of North Korea, neither President Donald Trump nor any senior administration official has spoken out against the missile launch or indicated that America would stand by its longtime allies Japan and South Korea. Instead, the White House has been trapped in a drama of its own making, trying to clean up the mess created by Trump’s unsupported accusation that former President Obama had wire-tapped Trump during the election. 

This silence is all the more disturbing given Trump’s remarks as a candidate that the United States might let South Korea and Japan acquire nuclear weapons, even if it means increasing the chances of nuclear war.  “If they do, they do,” candidate Trump said. “Good luck, enjoy yourself, folks.”