Yesterday, at the ASEAN meeting in Manila, the North Koreans made two declarations. First, missiles and nukes are not on the table for negotiations. Second, the sole purpose of their nuclear missile program is to be able to hit the United States.

Today, Trump responded:

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” warned Mr. Trump from his golf club in Bedminster.

“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he told reporters. “He has been very threatening — beyond a normal statement,” Mr. Trump said of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

This is not good. It is one thing to lay down a marker for actions, it is quite another to do so based on the rhetoric of Kim Jong Un. This, in my view, is another self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot by Trump. He has a high tide working in his favor between the major victory at the UN and China getting on board with the sanctions in Manila in the face of the North Korean representative. This is going to require a walk back because we can bet that a week won’t pass without another North Korean threat to nuke us.

I think that the die has basically been cast with North Korea and war has its own logic which I think we are following right now. If we are to commit men and women to combat it should be clearly to protect the United States from threat of a nuclear attack in the near future. It shouldn’t be able to be portrayed as a war to keep Trump from eating his words.