Speaking at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., President Trump warned today, “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.”
The statement comes in a series of escalating threats and provocative moves by North Korea’s regime. The Washington Post is reporting that U.S. intelligence officials assess that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles. Japan’s defense minister said “security threats have entered a new stage.” Yesterday, North Korea said it would use its nuclear weapons only against the United States, and said it would “under no circumstances” negotiate on its nuclear and missile weapons programs. Also yesterday, Fox News reported that U.S. spy agencies detected the North Korean military “loading two anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country’s east coast just days ago,” suggesting another missile test may be on the way. Late last month, North Korea test-fired a missile that could hit much of the continental United States.
On Twitter, the developments have generated a slew of Dennis Rodman jokes, coupled with gloomy predictions that President Trump will launch a nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula along with his next series of angry tweets.
The problem is that even if Donald Trump was the most level-headed, even-tempered guy on the planet . . . North Korea is still making miniaturized nuclear warheads, is testing ballistic missiles that can hit the United States, is threatening to use them against the U.S., and another test is coming soon. In other words, for all of his flaws – and he has many – Trump isn’t really the problem here.
Unless China suddenly applies a great deal more pressure to Pyongyang, either this president or the next will face a devastating choice among bad options: accept a nuclear-armed North Korea that can strike American cities, fight a conventional war before those ballistic missiles are operational, or fight a nuclear war somewhere down the road.