After each North Korean provocation, a soothing mantra echoes through the halls of government and think tanks in the United States.
But this oft-repeated line contains three assumptions, none of which has held up well in recent years.
It assumes that outside pressure could persuade North Korea to curtail or abandon its weapons programs. That China has the means to bring about such pressure. And that Beijing will do so once it is properly cajoled or coerced.
Each assumption has been tested repeatedly in recent years and, time and again, has collapsed. Yet three consecutive presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Donald J. Trump — have invested their hopes and their strategies in China coming to the rescue.