For American Foreign Policy, No Good Options
Adding to the dilemma are the really hard problems – the ones that even the most creative diplomacy cannot solve. Every president of either party going back decades has failed on the issue of North Korea. Meanwhile, each administration gets blamed anew for the failure.
It may be -- barring some military attack on the United States or on a treaty ally that plainly justifies a commensurate military response -- that successful administrations will go unloved during their tenures, even while they are granted grudging respect in the years and decades that follow. This has often been the case in American history. But owing to the nature of the media and the nature of the world overseas, it might become increasingly the norm. Remember that President George W. Bush enjoyed high public approval ratings from the very beginning of his presidency, through 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. But it was the very military actions that he took, popular in the media at the time, that led in his second term to becoming a tragically failed president.