The first 100 days of Donald J. Trump’s presidency have seen the administration largely focused on domestic policy. This week, the House GOP’s attempt at Obamacare repeal and the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch have dominated the headlines, for example.
However, looming behind this facade of international peace is a very real threat that the United States could launch a preemptive strike against North Korea. Lovers of liberty everywhere must start making the case for non-intervention before it’s too late.
In his first diplomatic mission to Asia last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had some tough words for the hermit nation about a potential U.S. response to their weapons testing.
Asked about the possibility of using military force, Tillerson told a news conference in the South Korean capital, “all of the options are on the table.”
He said the U.S. does not want a military conflict, “but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean forces or our own forces that would be met with (an) appropriate response. If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action that option is on the table.”
Trump should take a deep breath before delivering on Tillerson’s promise. There’s no doubt that Kim Jong-un’s regime is a horrendous, repressive regime that terrorizes its people. However, it by no means constitutes an existential threat to the United States.
It’s important to remember North Korea has a consistent track record of failure with missile testing. Their latest attempt yesterday exploded within seconds of launching. Sure, the regime has successfully launched missiles before, but clearly they’ve got a long way to go to rival first-world powers militarily.
It’s no surprise that a totalitarian state doesn’t attract the best weapon engineers.
As crazy as he may seem, it would be pure suicide for Kim Jong-il to launch any offense against the United States or South Korea. The country would be annihilated within hours. Even the most evil of dictators still has some common sense when it comes to his own life.
There’s no doubt that North Korea’s antagonizing is annoying, but the costs of intervention significantly outweigh the benefits of any sort of military intervention. North Korea is roughly the size of Iraq in population — 24.9 million versus 33.4 million, respectively. As such, the Trump administration should look to the failure of the War in Iraq to anticipate the kind of costs both in money (more than $2 trillion) and human lives (more than 100,000 at the low estimate) that a possible North Korean war could entail.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that North Korea is further along in their weapons development than Iraq was in the early 2000s. In short, the damage to human life in the Korean Peninsula could be even greater than it has been in the Middle East.
President Trump may not be a neocon, but he is no peacenik either. On the campaign trail, he consistently threatened to bomb ISIS. As such, the case must be made to stay out of North Korea before it’s too late.