American moral leadership has historically played a powerful role in facing down totalitarian threats in the past, from fascism to communism. In order to do so again, Washington needs to display a greater moral self-confidence than has been the case under the current White House administration.

Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident who was so inspired by Ronald Reagan’s unabashed moral defense of human freedom in the face of Soviet totalitarianism, has lamented what he sees as America’s “tragic loss of moral self-confidence,” asking “When did America forget that it is America?” We need to regain such a sense of national purpose, a sense, in Reagan’s words, of “spiritual commitment, … belief and resolve [grounded in] humility before God,” which he saw as “ultimately the source of America’s strength as a nation.” Without it, we cripple our ability to meet the very great challenges that face us in the international arena, of which North Korea is but one.

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