Escalating tensions between America and North Korea are ramping up interactions between the two countries and a variety of allies on the world stage. A recent 10-hour cooperative drill early in the week involving U.S., Japanese, and South Korean militaries saw jets from all three countries practicing formation and intercepts just off the coast of Guam.
One of the U.S.’s 37th EBS B-1 pilots spoke highly of the interaction upon interview. “How we train is how we fight and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight.”
The cooperative practice missions occurred just before North Korean officials revealed a plan to bomb U.S. territory Guam, surrounding it with fire.
President Trump verbally set his foot down in a press interview just afterward, indicating that any further threats would be met with harsh and swift justice.
“North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States…They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The comment is causing a commotion not just in the United States, but all across the world. Nearly everyone agrees that something must be done about North Korea; the question remains of exactly what should be done and how the U.S. should do it.
Those in support of Trump’s firm hand say it’s about time someone put their foot down, while others worry such a comment takes a callous attitude towards such a serious potential loss of life. Still others believe Trump’s comments amount to threatening nuclear war against North Korea, and that such a threat may be unwise given the intense political unrest throughout the world.
The Secretary of State agrees.
“What the President is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language. I think the President just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the US’ unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies.”
But is Kim Jong-Un’s threat to America really so great that the U.S. has to react so strongly? Though it’s difficult to believe given what we know about the country’s current state, it seems there really is at least some reason to suspect a nuclear attack.
We know that several U.S. military experts believe Jong-Un has at least one miniaturized nuclear warhead. We also know that the leader may have the technology to implant it into a long-range weapon. We also know that the country has launched several at least semi-successful missiles in the past.
What we don’t have is conclusive proof that such an attack would succeed at reaching its final target.
Whether or not the missile would ever get off the ground, and to a lesser degree, if it would survive re-entry into the atmosphere, is questionable at best. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that North Korea may wind up bombing itself (or the ocean) in the process of trying to bomb the United States, even upon attacking a close target like Guam.
Nevertheless, any suggestion of nuclear war is extremely serious, and thus, must be dealt with swiftly and immediately due to the potential for serious harm. This is especially true when the threat comes from a country like North Korea, who have shown immense disregard for American and Chinese requests to cease aggressive actions.
The threat to North Korea’s safety from America doesn’t seem to be ruffling Jong-Un’s feathers. The tiny country has yet to agree to stop testing missiles and all communications seem to indicate they’re stepping up aggression rather than dialing it back.
Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, was incensed about the announcement, calling both leaders “impulsive.”
“Complicating this delicate game is that we have two inexperienced, impulsive presidents in control of these massive military machines. It’s one thing to make a mistake intentionally, it’s another thing to stumble into a conflict. “
“Either one — Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump — could miscalculate and let loose a war unlike anything we have seen since World War II.”
But is the current cold war between North Korea and the U.S. really similar to historical events like World War II? Yes and no.
Some military experts are pointing out how similar Trump’s threat is to Harry Truman’s announcement shortly before the bombing of Hiroshima. The late leader’s announcement also mentioned “a rain of ruin” if Japan didn’t fall in line.
“If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware. “
Even if the U.S. attacks North Korea with nuclear weapons, the move wouldn’t necessarily be wise. Such an attack would create heavy civilian casualties, and would likely come under intense criticism from other countries. That said, Trump doesn’t seem particularly concerned about America’s reputation on the world stage, and may decide that eliminating the problem once and for all is best.
Until America decides just how and when they’ll respond to North Korea, we’re likely to see continued military presence and allied drills in Guam. If nothing else, such drills are a show of force that all three involved countries aren’t ready to take the threats lying down. Guam’s own governor Eddie Baza Cavo confirmed the U.S.’ affirmation of protection for the island if such a threat ever does materialize.
“An attack or threat to Guam is a threat or attack on the United States. They have said that America will be defended. I also want to remind national media that Guam is American soil and we have 200,000 Americans in Guam and the Marianas. We are not just a military installation.”