Now that North Korea is believed to have in their possession strategic nuclear ordnance, Trump and North Korea have been engaging in a war of words. North Korea having nuclear weapons is a scary concept, but to me Donald Trump as president is a hell of a lot scarier.
Of course, we don’t want North Korea to have nuclear capability, but even if they do they are still not on equal footing with the United States and they know that. Kim Jong Un might be a fat, megalomaniacal sadist, but he isn’t stupid. He knows what will happen if they launch a nuclear attack: North Korea will be no more. That will be the end of them. North Korea doesn’t want this to happen. A nuclear North Korea is a danger but the power in that mostly lies in the leverage it gives them. North Korea must realize that they have nothing to gain in actually launching a nuclear attack, but somewhat more to gain in threatening to do so. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about it, but I don’t think a nuclear attack by North Korea will happen unprovoked. This current rhetoric by Pyongyang is straight from their playbook. They’ve been doing it for years.
But the problem is Donald Trump doesn’t realize this. Donald Trump has already proven himself embarrassingly ignorant of the North Korea problem. Furthermore, he doesn’t listen to staffers and advisors who are familiar with the issues. It is rather incredible that Trump improvised his “fire and fury” response:
North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States…They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen … he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.
Here is Trump trying to sound like a tough guy, when this is the exact opposite of what he should be doing. For one, he’s playing Kim Jong Un’s game; by responding to a threat with a threat he legitimizes North Korea. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, what Trump basically said was, if you threaten us we will respond with “fire and fury,” which I have to take to mean as some sort of attack. So, if they merely threaten us again (which they have time and time again before), Trump is going to launch an attack? If this happens it’s a guarantee that North Korea will respond in kind and maybe worse.
What I fear is that Trump is escalating this issue unnecessarily. Trump doesn’t know shit about shit, yet he has all the power of our nuclear arsenal in his tiny little hands. If there is a war between the US and North Korea, nuclear or not, I have no doubt that we will win, but it would be a Pyrrhic victory at best. The Korean peninsula would be devastated. South Korea would bear the brunt of the damage, unlike the distant mainland US, and North Korea would be an unrecoverable mess. The human cost would enormous. This isn’t like launching a Tomahawk attack on Syria. This is world-changing.
Kim Jong Un is a dick, for sure, but he’s a dick who would like to have a nice, long life of being a dick and I don’t see him doing anything to jeopardize that. North Korea is doing what they do: talking big, making threats and stubbornly trying to keep their dying nation rolling. Nothing new. Trump, with his own stupid rhetoric, is liable to make this war of words something much, much worse.