For last week’s biggest story I am simply choosing the timeframe of Tuesday through Friday mornings inclusive. As of this writing (early Friday afternoon) some among us a wondering whether we will make it to this article’s intended publishing of Sunday morning; I’m betting we will. Let’s explore.
Tuesday morning America awoke to the news that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) had concluded that North Korea had succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear weapon to the point that it could fit on the head of a missile. Among America’s 17 intelligence agencies DIA enjoys the reputation of being the “cowboy” because it was a bit less conservative in jumping to conclusions. Within hours the Japanese Defense Ministry and several other American Intelligence agencies confirmed the DIAs findings. This set off global concern.
One of the few universal political opinions in America is that North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jung-un is crazy. The majority, but far from a universal consensus, opinion is that American President Donald Trump is in a similar class. They both acted the parts post-Tuesday morning!
While the North Korean nuclear problem has been dumped in Trump’s lap it is not of his creation. Its genesis appears to be Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Grenada, (one of Reagan’s many “misdirection” acts to take America’s eyes away from another of his blunders). Some may say I’m just a progressive pilling on Reagan. He may well have created that problem (and a plethora of others) but I’ll blame George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama for kicking the can down the road. Unfortunately it appears the chickens came home to roost on the watch of the least qualified, stable and intelligent President of my lifetime and probably American history. If we learn nothing else from this it is that we need to address not defer problems!
Instead of cool, calculated, diplomatic language Trump has chosen to engage in a verbal game of chicken with Kim. His statement was “They [North Korea] will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” He followed that up with, “Things will happen to them like they never thought possible.” Friday morning’s tweet was, “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”
In that interim North Korea has, far from acting scared, intimidated or backing down; announced it is prepared for and contemplating an attack off the shores of Guam. Guam is an American territory and home to 160,000 Americans. To put that number in perspective, it is about the same population as Springfield, Missouri.
After listening to several experts it is unreasonable to assume that North Korea currently has the capability of delivering a nuclear missile to Guam, Alaska, Hawaii or the American mainland. However they aren’t too far away from achieving that goal, (and have no doubt, it is one of their goals!). The reality is that they don’t have to hit any of those targets with a nuclear weapon. It is equally reasonable and prudent to assume that they currently can hit Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan with a nuclear weapon. That would be devastating! It would cause fatalities measured in eight figures as well as compel the United States to launch retaliatory attacks. That exchange could well lead to World War III and possibly the end of life on this planet as we currently know it.
That all begs the question: Why would Trump act in the irresponsible way he is acting? The answer is that his sole political motivation is to keep his base together and Bubba loves the tough guy rhetoric. His base thinks they are watching Clint Eastwood play Dirty Harry in a movie. This is not cinema with fake blood and car chases; this is real life and the lives irresponsible rhetoric puts in jeopardy are real. These schoolyard bully statements sound like Saddam Hussein’s promise of the, “Mother of all wars.” It appears if Trump ever studied anything political it was the history of dictators and despots.
To the North Koreans I offer this advice: Don’t believe what Trump says; most Americans certainly don’t. I’d like to give President Trump two gifts that could help us get through this crisis: a muzzle and a straightjacket, both for his personal use. I just hope the generals on both sides can keep their respective commander-in-chief under control!
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