By David Kamioner | December 23, 2019

In the decades-long post-Cold War struggle between internationalists and nationalists inside the Republican Party, another salvo was launched on Sunday in Axios, as John Bolton, the former Trump administration national security adviser, took a shot at the president’s handling of the North Korean situation.

The secluded communist regime is said to be readying a self-described “Christmas gift” missile test sometime this week.

Bolton said he doesn’t think President Donald Trump “really means it” when he speaks of halting the North Korean march toward a nuclear arms buildup.

If that country did that, he theorized, Trump would “pursue a different course.”

Bolton feels the White House should admit it was wrong — that this administration, like other administrations, was taken in by the North Korean regime — and recalibrate policies accordingly.

But the administration does not agree with that, of course.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters over the weekend, “I’ve been watching the Korean Peninsula for a quarter-century now. I’m familiar with their tactics, with their bluster. We need to get serious and sit down and have discussions about a political agreement that denuclearizes the peninsula. That is the best way forward and arguably the only way forward if we’re going to do something constructive.”

The Trump administration has been doing that, to no avail.

There have been gains in other areas and a definite slowdown in missile tests. But there is much ground left to cover, as this possible upcoming test may show.

However, regardless of the outcome of this matter, the fight within the GOP will go on.

A Cold War-tempered D.C.-based wing of the party encourages the U.S. to take on foreign policy and national security challenges.

The ascendant Trump wing eschews such adventures, preferring to focus on the domestic front.

A balance of both is likely in order. But given historical precedent, aggressive North Korean nuclear provocations may make the decision of balance on this particular subject moot sooner than either Trump or Bolton think.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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