Dear Commons Community,
The major news yesterday was President Donald Trump issuing a stark warning to North Korea promising to unleash “fire, fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before” if the country continues to escalate its threats against the U.S.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said in a short statement to reporters before a meeting on the national opioid crisis.
Trump’s remarks add tension to an already dangerous standoff with North Korea. Over the years, the U.S. has attempted to prevent the growth of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and development of missile technology at various times using sanctions, diplomacy and the threat of military action. But nothing has fully obstructed the nation’s advancements. Trump’s statements were met with serious concerns. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“That is about the stupidest and most dangerous statement I have ever heard an American president make,” John Mecklin, editor-in-chief of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said to HuffPost. The Bulletin created the “Doomsday Clock,” a symbolic representation of humanity’s proximity to apocalyptic destruction.
Trump’s remarks closely followed fierce rhetoric from Pyongyang in response to new international sanctions against the isolated communist nation. “Should the U.S. pounce upon the DPRK with military force at last, the DPRK is ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its strategic nuclear force,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said in a statement, using the acronym for the official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
While North Korea’s strong language came as no surprise ― Kim has put out countless declarations of war against the U.S. throughout the years ― Mecklin argues that Trump’s response of heightened rhetoric is “exactly backwards.”
“It’s exactly wrong. It increases the likelihood of nuclear war. And those kind of threats are just not something an American president should make,” Mecklin said.
The author, Sarah Vowell, in an op-ed piece for the New York Times, suggested that President Trump, read some history books especially those related to Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy both of whom faced the question of using nuclear weapons during their presidencies. She referred to Truman as a “sober steward of these destroyers of worlds.” He insisted on keeping the decision to use nuclear arms in the hands of the president and proclaimed in his farewell address:
“ …let me remind you of this: We are living in the 8th year of the atomic age. We are not the only nation that is learning to unleash the power of the atom. A third world war might dig the grave not only of our Communist opponents but also of our own society, our world as well as theirs. Starting an atomic war is totally unthinkable for rational men.”