Sunday, August 13, 2017

As U.S. and North Korea Tensions Continue

  • Last week, comments and tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump included, "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States …
  • "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening ... and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.
  • "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
  • “There were no mixed messages,The people of our country are safe. Our allies are safe. And I will tell you this, North Korea better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.”

  • A statement from the Government of North Korea said, “The KPA Strategic Force is now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in order to contain the U.S. major military bases on Guam including the Anderson Air Force Base”  
  • Geng Shuang, Foreign Ministry spokesman for the People’s Republic of China said “The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is complicated and sensitive … 
  • China hopes that all relevant parties will be cautious in their words and actions, and do things that help to alleviate tensions and enhance mutual trust, rather than walk on the old pathway of taking turns in shows of strength, and upgrading the tensions.”
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "I believe that, am firmly convinced that an escalation of rhetoric will not contribute to a solution of this conflict,
  • "I do not see a military solution to this conflict, rather I see continuous work, like we have seen in the U.N. Security Council with members with resolutions in view of North Korea, and above all very close cooperation with affected countries, especially the United States and China, but also South Korea, of course Japan ...
  • "Germany will be intensively involved with potential solutions that we see, not of a military manner. But the escalation of rhetoric I hold as the wrong answer,"
  • Guam's Homeland Security Department released the two page handout “In Case of Emergency — Preparing for Imminent Missile Threat” with recommendations including 
  • Do not look at the flash or fireball — It can blind you …  
  • "Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit … 
  • "If practical, place your contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag as far away as possible from humans and animals so that the radiation it gives off does not affect others.”
  • Notes: Guam is a U.S. territory with a population of about 162,000 people and is theoretically within range of a North Korean Hwasong-12 rocket.

MY TAKE
  • It seems in everyone's interest to reduce the heated rhetoric and pursue diplomatic channels.  
  • Over the years, Trump has made several comments about nuclear weapons, but his comments this week seem like a rookie presidential mistake which may diminish his effectiveness in engaging with North Korea in the future. Note: U,S. President Obama made a similar (drawing a red-line) mistake while addressing conflicts in Syria.
  • It is likely that Trump's "saber rattling" with North Korea, and comments such as "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary," are provided as a distraction from U.S. domestic issues and investigations.

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