The world waits with bated breath to see whether North Korea will behave aggressively, the US will be forced to deploy a pre-emptive military effort because of North Korea’s actions, or whether diplomacy will work.
According to Politico, the US isn’t afraid of utilizing the military option if necessary. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told military leaders, “Now what does the future hold? Neither you nor I can say, so there’s one thing the US Army can do, and that is we have got to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed.”
Concerns have increased in the silence following the recent spat between President Trump and dictator Kim Jong-un. According to NBC News, Trump announced: “The United States has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
CNBC reported that North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Ri Yon Ho, responded to Trump’s bold words by saying: “Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”
Trump responded to the Foreign Minister’s statement on Twitter, reiterating the doom awaiting North Korea if they didn’t cease their actions: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man [Kim], they won’t be around much longer!”
On Thursday, Trump informed Mattis and other military officials that he wanted military options at a “much faster pace.” When speaking to reporters, Trump suggested that this relative quiet might be “the calm before the storm.”
Yesterday, Trump tweeted out that diplomacy hasn’t worked in the past with North Korea: “Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!”
Mattis assured that the US is still pursuing the diplomatic option, they just aren’t taking military action off the table: “Right now it is a diplomatically led, economic sanctions-buttressed effort to try to turn North Korea off this path.”
One of these diplomatic efforts was an executive order Trump signed allowing him the expanded authority to go after any persons or institutions that engage in business with North Korea.
Between Trump’s efforts and the UN’s imposed sanctions on North Korea, China–North Korea’s ally–directed its central bank to have all China-based banks effectively cut North Korea off.
Tensions with North Korea are on the rise. Are you prepared for what could happen?
Mattis also reminded everyone of the UN’s pursuit for a diplomatic resolution and that they acknowledge the serious threat North Korea poses. “How many times have you seen the UN Security Council vote unanimously, now twice if a row, to impose sanctions on North Korea?” Mattis asked. “The international community has spoken, but that means the US Army must stand ready.”
Though no one wishes to see North Korea and the US go to war–or the US to pursue a military option–we may not be left with a choice. If North Korea continues to pose a threat to the US and its allies, the only feasible option may be going after Kim before he can do any damage.
Let’s hope the diplomacy and economic pressures on North Korea will see the country abandon their aggressive path.