This is an interesting method. It’s one that Trump may go far, but I think he’ll totally misjudge how it’s done. Psychological warfare has been very common in Asia for a very long time. Moreover, it’s been using to enforce rules on its citizens, as well. That often throws us Westerners off because we’re used to seeing physical force. However, there are ways that we can use psychological wafare to slow down North Korea.
For example, Trump has always promised to pay and never delivers. Why not do it again? He can promise humanitarian aid in exchange for a reduction in North Korea’s nuclear program. A reduction seems like a lot less than we’re asking for now so perhaps North Korea would think they are winning by taking this deal. However, we could conduct the transaction to set up accounts, transfer the money, and freeze the account all at the same time. We could also send pallets of cash, as was done with the Iran deal, and but we could insert confetti paper or otherwise nonmonetary items that look like money but are actually small, written notifications that they have one more chance to stop screwing up.
This may seem petty, but psychological warfare is very powerful. They want diplomatic talks. So show them that, no matter what they think, we’re one step ahead of them. If we continue to use conventional military tactics while they use unconventional tactics like influence campaigns and hacks that psychologically manipulating an unsuspecting bystander to click a link they shouldn’t click, then we’re gonna get the same result we’ve always gotten.
Instead, let’s do what they do.
We can attack North Korea. Yes, doing nothing is bad and doing something will hurt us. In fact, China uses engagement and containment, or what I prefer to call a one-step process of entanglement, to ensure that, anything we do will hurt both us and them, if not just us. Given that so much of North Korea is about China, that’s very relevant. So, we attack North Korea, for example, China’s troops on the border of China and North Korea pretending to prevent North Korea immigrants from fleeing to China will defend the North Korean government and do their very best to ensure North Korea is never unified with South Korea unless the peninsula would look the way they want it to look. At the moment, all’s good for China. So they won’t let it change. Therefore, North Korea can do whatever they want because China will publically excoriate them and privately thank them for even attacking Seoul. That said, I think, at the moment, China is a little worried that Kim Jong Un is trying to call the shots, but I don’t think China has much to worry about KJU going so rogue that China can’t threaten him in many, many ways.
However, I do think that anything we do or don’t do will cause a problem in the short-term and long-term, respectively. I think it’s better to forge military partnerships with ASEAN countries and conduct a joint military show of force in the South China Sea. China wouldn’t allow North Korea to respond to that because it would show they are working together, North Korea would fear a weaker China, and China would have to focus more on the South China Sea and less on funding North Korea’s nuclear program.