Usually, the hope is that a tour by a top US diplomat, particularly the top diplomat, the Secretary of State, will be a calming influence on the region they were sent to. This couldn’t be farther from the truth for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s tour of East Asia.
Instead of easing concerns, Tillerson’s visit, and his bellicose speeches regarding North Korea greatly increased concerns across the region. In particular, Tillerson’s repeated denunciation of diplomacy, and talk of preemptive military strike has fueled concern that the US is about to attack North Korea, a move that would have huge consequences across the region.
US officials have repeatedly insisted that “all options are on the table,” though ironically they have also disavowed any options that give any appearance of diplomacy, or of making joint concessions to try to de-escalate the rising tensions with North Korea.
“All options,” at this point, appears to be just imposing sanctions on a nation that the US doesn’t really trade with in the first place, and threatening to attack them. With Tillerson insisting that the “policy of patience” is over, it appears that whatever the US decides to do, they’re going to decide soon.