Thing is, what North Korea is doing looks perfectly rational to me. If you know hostile nations are committed to your destruction – and have the recently proven capacity and willingness to do so – see Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya – why wouldn’t you get the most powerful weapon possible and try to credibly threaten to use it? This situation represents a policy failure since the Bush administration (at least). Trump just happens to be uniquely unsuitable to fix it.
To be clear, I think someone in the US government has to be saying the crazy stuff that Trump is. North Korea needs to understand that we’re a credible threat, too. But it can’t be the president. That person should appear to be the “good cop”, the sane one. But like all things during the Trump era, we’re living in a bizarro, upside down world.
I’m not saying I know how to fix this, but I’m certain the path out requires the president to be committed to de-escalating the situation, rather than escalating it.