You have heard by now that President Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it doesn’t back down. Read Noah Rothman’s analysis of the terrible choices facing the US. Excerpts:
We have reached the tipping point.
Last month, according to the Washington Post, the Defense Intelligence Agency completed an analysis that concluded North Korea has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead. The news comes on the heels of tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that demonstrated it could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile that can, theoretically, reach the continental United States. The DPRK has also successfully tested a vehicle that can survive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Combine all three, and North Korea could have the capacity to deliver a nuclear warhead to a target hundreds if not thousands of miles away.
Rothman explains the threat, and the possible courses of action open to the US. None of them are good. The only one that doesn’t involve mass deaths in war is deterrence. But as Rothman says, North Korea is not the Soviet Union. The USSR may have been evil, but it was ruled by rational men. Kim Jong Un is not rational. Besides, says Rothman:
Deterrence has its own risks. With miniaturization and delivery capability, DPRK could target the tens of thousands of U.S. armed forces stationed in Japan and Korea with almost no warning. In a blinding flash, American deterrence in Northeast Asia could disappear. That’s a prospect that no American president would want to leave as his legacy.
The time for good options is passed. If the DIA analysis is correct, the United States now must choose between two terrifying prospects. For decades, U.S. officials have kicked the North Korean can down the road. This is the end of the road.
Read the whole thing. It’s unnerving, but you need to read it.
I am not comforted by having a man of Donald Trump’s temperament in the White House at a moment like this. I worry about his judgment, of course, but also about his ability to rally the nation if, God forbid, we have to go to what will be the worst war since 1945. It doesn’t help him that the last time a US president took the nation into a preventive war over alleged WMDs, there were none there.
Unlike with Saddam, nobody believes North Korea is bluffing — or if they are bluffing, it’s only to buy themselves time until they develop nuclear-tipped ICBMs. Still, you have to wonder what kind of credibility the US government has with its own people in matters of war.
That said, whatever our own politics, we who pray ought to be praying hard for our president now. The pressure he’s facing regarding decisions he must soon make must be crushing. We could very quickly — very quickly — find ourselves in a situation as dangerous for the world as the Cuban Missile Crisis.