In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that President Trump was building an international coalition of support in an effort to prevent North Korea from obtaining an intercontinental nuclear missile. McMaster said Trump’s efforts to block Kim Jong Un in this way were in perfect harmony with his promise to pull the U.S. back from overseas, unilateral interventionism.
“It’s an open defiance of the international community,” McMaster said of Kim’s nuclear tests. “It’s important for all of us to confront this regime. None of us can accept a North Korea with a nuclear weapon.
“The president, I think, has been masterful in terms his development of a relationship with President Xi and in the discussions that led them to the place where the United States and the Chinese understand their interests overlap,” McMaster continued.
In a separate interview with the Washington Examiner, President Trump said that his administration had “to be prepared for the worst” as Congress works toward a bill that would increase economic sanctions against the rogue nation.
“We have to be prepared to do what we have to do,” said Trump. “We cannot allow this to go on.”
If this were any other administration, the writing on the wall would be as clear as a bell. Presidents simply don’t talk like this unless they are preparing the American public for the imminent prospect of war.
But of course, this is no other administration and Trump has already shown that he’s willing to engage in the kind of tough talk that statesmen typically avoid until the war drums are no longer silent. It is possible that he is still playing a “game” of sorts, testing the waters to see how much pressure he can bring on China and North Korea without resorting to military force.
Alas, it’s also possible that we are, indeed, on an unavoidable path to confrontation with Pyongyang’s mad leader.
So, what would that look like?
It’s all too easy to wave it away. “Oh, the United States would crush Kim Jong Un’s North Korea without breaking a sweat.” Well, perhaps. Certainly, we have the military technology to annihilate the nation. But then, we had the technology to do the same in Afghanistan and Iraq, and those didn’t turn out quite as expected. Those are highly relevant examples, too, because it is because of those wars – and Obama’s stubborn refusal to properly fund the military – that we could be caught somewhat flatfooted by an all-out, full-scale, country-to-country war, the likes of which we haven’t really had since World War II.
Then there is the prospect of a nuclear strike, which is, after all, what all of this is about. There’s no reason to think that Kim would hesitate for a second before launching such a strike against Seoul, Japan, or any other U.S.-allied nation within range.
Anything short of a diplomatic solution to this crisis will not be pretty. Thousands could die, including the trapped citizens of Kim’s backwards dictatorship. And the aftermath of the world’s third nuclear weapons launch…well, one can’t even predict how that would change the geopolitical situation in every conceivable direction of the globe.
May God grant President Trump the wisdom to see us through this crisis, because with every passing day the possibility of war looks more and more like an impending reality.