Amidst the threat of ISIS, scandals about Russia, partisan attacks on the Trump administration, and a day without women, North Korea resumed testing missiles near Japanese waters.
The North Korea nuclear threat could prove to be the first major international crisis President Trump has to face.
Monday night, North Korea launched four banned ballistic missiles, some landing less than 200 nautical miles from Japan. Various news outlets have speculated North Korea is testing to see if the missiles could reach U.S. bases in the future. This is the third such launch since last August.
North Korea has admitted to attempts at a intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). An ICBM is a multiple stage, guided missile that can travel over 3400 miles and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. If North Korea can miniaturize a nuclear bomb, however, an ICBM would give their nukes an intercontinental reach. North Korea does have a supply of nuclear weapons, proven by five past nuclear tests. It is believed North Korea has enough plutonium to create six or more nuclear bombs.
The development of launch capable nuclear ICBMs by North Korea should produce world-wide concern.
A nuclear-capable North Korea, led by a man who disregards United Nations sanctions, could start another world war. A missile strike on U.S. bases in Japan or South Korea would force America into a strong response.
Northeast Asia, encompassing China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan, could be the trigger for the next world war if left unchecked. North Korea has stipulated that U.S. and South Korean combined military exercises justify their nuclear bomb program.
Sanctions are ineffective.
Sanctions by the UN and the U.S. have not ameliorated the North Korea nuclear program. If anything, dictator Kim Jong-un has accelerated the program since assuming power in 2011. In addition, sanctions have only served to increase his resolve.
China, the giant to the north, has it within its power to effect the North Korea nuclear program. However, it continues to provide its ally with supplies and food without sanction. The CATO Institute speculates that China fears an unstable North Korea, more than they fear a nuclearized North Korea. China blames the U.S. for creating a security threat by practicing military exercises in South Korea.
Other major players.
The U.S. response of adding a defensive missile system in South Korea has reportedly angered China and Russia. The Toronto Star reports.
“The plans to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, by the end of this year have angered not only North Korea, but also China and Russia, which see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat. Washington and Seoul say the system is defensive and not meant to be a threat to Beijing or Moscow.”
Until now, ISIS was the biggest threat to the U.S. However, the unpredictable leadership of the North Korean dictatorship with approaching nuclear capabilities will likely overshadow ISIS.
This may be the first significant crisis of the Trump Administration, with far-reaching consequences if he fails.
How will Trump respond to this rising crisis?
The CATO Institute suggests a new approach.
They argue success is possible, because by, “… more effectively engaging the North with a peace offer, offering to ameliorate the costs of a North Korean collapse to Beijing, and providing credible assurances that Washington would not turn a united Korea into another U.S. military outpost directed at the (China’s) containment.”
A united free Korea, however, is more of a threat to China than an unpredictable North Korea.
North Korean acts of aggression towards a U.S. ally in the shadow of China, should grab the attention of every American. THAAD is a temporary Band Aid to a much more complex issue.
Handling Northeast Asia will require diplomacy and outside the box thinking never before seen by a US politician.
Let us hope Trump is the man for the job.
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