Until Donald Trump’s administration decided not to send Victor Cha as US envoy to South Korea, no one would’ve said Mr Cha was a dove.
Mr Cha, a Korean-American academic who served in the George W Bush administration, is hardly a namby-pamby peacemaker, if those who want peace not war are to be considered sissies and insufficiently tough. In fact, Mr Cha, the former director for Asian affairs for the National Security Council and an authority on matters regarding the Korean Peninsula, is considered to be rather hawkish on North Korea.
But not hawkish enough, it seems, for President Trump, the strongman.
Mr Cha is no longer being sent to Seoul because he had the temerity to argue against the Trump White House’s blithe and breezy view of a launching a “bloody nose” strike on North Korea. That’s supposed to be a limited assault intended to send a message rather than trigger a war.
Mr Cha criticised the “bloody strike” proposal privately. And now, he’s done so publicly as well, writing a column in The Washington Post that rejected the whole idea.
To believe that a “bloody nose” strike would work perfectly and be worth it is a fallacy, Mr Cha argued, though he used different words.
His meaning was clear. The massive loss of life from a “bloody nose” strike would not be a trifle. And there are all the risks of escalation. It’s not worth doing just to show Kim Jong Un whose nuclear button is, in Mr Trump’s words, “bigger…and works”.