The media’s coverage of North Korea’s warmongering has subsided in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, giving the nation an opportunity to come together under these disasters. However, US officials haven’t forgotten about Kim Jong-uns threats, and have let it known that they aren’t to be tolerated anymore.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has let the world know that North Korea is on the brink of destruction if it keeps up its behavior. “You’d have to ask the President what ‘fire and fury’ meant but we all know that basically, if North Korea keeps on with this reckless behavior, if the United States had to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed,” she said, according to The Daily Caller.
On CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked the ambassador if Trump’s reference to “fire and fury” was promising military action against the rogue nation, in which Haley responded with the above statement.
She added that “none of us want war” but that “we also have to deal with the fact that you are dealing with someone who is being reckless, irresponsible, and is continuing to give threats…so something is going to have to be done.”
She emphasized that these sentiments are not an empty threat and that Defense Secretary James Mattis has a wide array of options in destroying the rogue nation if necessary. “We wanted to be responsible and go through all diplomatic means to get their attention first,” she said. “If that doesn’t work, General Mattis will take care of it.”
The United Nations Security Council recently adopted a new round of sanctions again North Korea last Monday in response to the nation’s newest nuclear weapons test. Trump called the measure “another very small step,” to stop the nation’s nuclear aspirations, although Haley did say that the US has reached the limit of what it can accomplish through the UN.
“We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we could do at the Security Council at this point,” she said. “We’re trying every other possibility that we have, but there’s a whole lot of military options on the table.”
Although gasoline and diesel prices in North Korea have risen by as much as 45.1 percent thanks to these new measures, it’s unlikely that it will be enough to dissuade Jong-un from pursuing his policy of nuclear ascendancy.
This approach from the Trump administration is one that stands in stark contrast with the policies of previous presidents. From former presidents Barack Obama all the way back to Bill Clinton, their North Korea policy was essentially once of feigned ignorance. After choosing to try to appease the rogue nation once, which didn’t work, successive administrations decided to kick this problem down the road until another presidency would be willing to take up the burden.
Of course, some experts feel that there is no genuine threat to be had and that all this saber-rattling is an effort to create political pressure for a deal of some sort.
Carl Schuster, Hawaii Pacific University professor, said that North Korea “is trying to ratchet up the threat to create political pressure in the US and elsewhere to get talks,” according to CNN.
Regardless of the sincerity of Kim Jong-un’s threats, he is facing an adversary in Trump that’s quite different from anyone else he’s had to deal with.