Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
If North Korea makes any more threats to the U.S., “they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before.” — President Donald Trump
In the wake of what many perceived as an explicit threat to ignite a nuclear war on Tuesday, critics of President Donald Trump reacted with horror.
The statement came hours after several news outlets, citing internal U.S. intelligence assessments, reported that Kim Jong-un’s regime has successfully made a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles, an advancement that was reached sooner than military experts had predicted—and one that added to concerns that North Korea could be capable of building a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could potentially reach the United States.
Trump’s threat added to the concerns of many who have strongly urged diplomacy to de-escalate tensions between the U.S., North and South Korea, and others in the region.
Siegfried Hecker, the last known American official to inspect North Korea’s nuclear facilities, said prior to Trump’s statement that treating Kim Jong-un as though he is on the verge of attacking the U.S. is both inaccurate and dangerous.
“Some like to depict Kim as being crazy—a madman—and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable,” said Hecker. “He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable. The real threat is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”
Journalists and advocates for responsible national security policy quickly took to social media to condemn Trump’s threat and demand caution and diplomacy. Initiating the #PleaseDontKillUs hashtag and calling for dialogue, the peace advocacy group Win Without War declared, “We can’t let reckless behavior lead to war.”
Former White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer also wondered if Trump was speaking spontaneously about the threat of nuclear war, rather than relaying a new policy that had been reached after deliberations with his military advisors—an action that wouldn’t be unprecedented by the president.
First published by Common Dreams. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.