While there may be initial protests by some over the prospect of war, if a war were to start, it could oddly serve as a morale booster for a country, and, if successful, a popularity boost for the president.
If we’re being totally honest, war, or in the broader sense, conflict, could be a unifying cause.
For example, after the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, President George H. W. Bush saw his approval rating skyrocket to 89%. When the successful NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia ended in June of 1999, Bill Clinton saw his approval rating go up to 60% after it had been in the low 50s for some time. And of course, George W. Bush, after Sept. 11, and after his invasion of Afghanistan in October, saw his approval rating go to record numbers of around 80-90%.
So, as odd and insidious as it might sound, if the current North Korean crisis does escalate to a major, or even minor conflict, Trump could see his approval ratings and popularity rise if he handles the situation decisively and successfully.
And while approval ratings don’t necessarily tell the entire story of a presidency, high approval ratings could do wonders for Trump, who does care about how the entire United States feels about him, even if he acts like he only cares about his base.
Yes, the nuclear threat from North Korea is alarming, but what if the conflict never gets that serious, and Trump is able to get North Korea to back down? Not only could this do wonders for the Trump presidency, but it could work to unify the country. After all, what would unify a country more than defeating a universally acknowledged enemy?
There is a massive social and political divide in this country. It seems there are not even “small” issues that both sides can agree on. If the U.S. were to step up and resolve this conflict with North Korea, that divide could begin to repair, and a more common ground could be reached.
Now, that being said, I am by no means suggesting a major conflict with North Korea would be good, or even necessary. I am against war. What I’m saying is, if this conflict can be handled decisively by the U.S., it could be a major win for the country and for President Trump who really needs a win.