The Master Plan

America cannot stop North Korea from building ICBMs

Well ...

That's true enough, unless Ol' Heel Spurs and his entourage of flag-wavin' saber-rattlers want to launch a preemptive strike ... but what exactly would they strike? The NORKs have expertly dispersed (Obama's fault), so a 'surgical' strike is a GOP wet dream. And the consequences are fairly predictable (see the Wayback Machine c. June and July 1950).

Meanwhile ...

It was not supposed to be this way. When Mr Kim boasted of being close to launching an ICBM, on New Year’s Day, Donald Trump retorted: “It won’t happen.” "

But it did.

America tried to enlist China, North Korea’s main trading partner, to persuade Mr Kim to desist. For a few months China made encouraging noises about curbing the flow of goods across its border with the North. But Mr Trump’s growing friendship with Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart, seems to have cooled (see article). Mr Trump recently admitted that pressing China into service “has not worked out”.

No, it didn't. The bottom line is that "Mr. Trump" may be hell on wheels when it comes to stiffing contractors on his bankrupted projects, but he's way out of his league in dealing with international politics. (Internal politics too, so far; Mitch McConnell and some of the GOP leadership have him tied in knots at the moment.)

We have this:

[Trump]once said that he and Mr Kim could settle all their differences over a burger at the White House.

A Burger Summit!

But "Mr Kim," though he has turned into quite the rotund little porker, doesn't seem to be into burgers. He's more into the finest Mar-A-Lago can pump out onto the banquet table.

It helps if people believe what you say

For all of Mr Trump’s bluster, he has no good way of stopping North Korea from developing an effective nuclear weapon. Deterrence and containment remain the best (and possibly only) options to ensure that Mr Kim is never tempted to use his horrifying arsenal. But if deterrence is to be effective, America’s threats must be credible. So Mr Trump must stop making promises he is not ready or able to honour—promises like stopping North Korea from developing an ICBM.

I'm not worried. Ol' Heel Spurs has a Detailed Master Plan:

We’ll see what happens. I don’t like to talk about what we have planned, but I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about.They are behaving in a very, very serious manner, and something will have to be done about it.

There ya go.

Sleep tight, America.