News Analysis: Trump Threats Are Wild Card in Showdown With North Korea

“On the U.S. side, the tradition has been steely resolve and preparation,” said Dennis C. Blair, a retired admiral and head of the United States Pacific Command who went on to serve as director of national intelligence. “But now we have a president who reacts to braggadocio with an attempt to top it on his own side. He’s out there in territory he thinks is familiar, which is meeting exaggerated statement with exaggerated statement, convincing the other side that we’re tough, you’re going to fold.”

In other words, the magnitude of the challenges that Mr. Trump faces has grown dramatically, but his tone has not. And it remains to be seen if the don’t-mess-with-me attitude that cowed Republican primary rivals like Jeb Bush…

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