President Trump’s taunting tweet this week raising the specter of nuclear war with North Korea sparked fresh concerns in the Pentagon, at the State Department and even in the White House about whether a carefully calibrated strategy to compel the rogue state into negotiations can survive the impulses of both countries’ leaders.
The presidential pronouncement, as most of his tweets do, caught West Wing aides by surprise, as well as allies in Asia, who wondered whether it was merely an unscripted musing or a sign of a growing rift between the United States and South Korea.
U.S. policymakers had assured their counterparts in Seoul that they would tamp down bellicose rhetoric in the run-up to next month’s Winter Olympics, hosted by South Korea in PyeongChang. Was the United States suddenly shifting course?
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