Now that North Korea has an ICBM and a miniaturized atomic weapon to go with it, Kim Jong Un suddenly went from a fat kid who dresses like a “Sailor Moon” villain into a legitimate nuclear threat. And he certainly wasted no time playing his new hand.
Now, President Donald Trump has threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea escalates. Kim Jong Un has promised to conduct missile tests around Guam as a rejoinder.
You may have noticed that one of these outcomes seems a little bit more dire than the other. As Breitbart’s Joel B. Pollak points out, in spite of the fact that “(t)he political elite, and the foreign policy establishment, oscillate between bitter scorn and sheer panic at (Trump’s) tactics,” the president is having the last laugh at North Korea’s expense by “(reframing) the conflict in a way that is advantageous to the U.S.”
Pollak noted that in the rubric of mutually assured destruction, the doctrine that states that if one nuclear power attacks another nuclear power with atomic weapons, both powers will annihilate each other.
“Most of the discussion about North Korea has followed the same pattern, because of the threat of ICBMs to the U.S. mainland,” Pollak notes. “After Trump threatened to annihilate North Korea, however, Kim Jong-un threatened to attack … Guam. Trump doubled down, indicating that a North Korean attack on Guam would trigger an attack against the regime.
“That shifted the costs of a war radically in our favor and against theirs,” he added.
Pollak also noted two more things that didn’t look good for North Korea. First, the North Koreans’ threats seemed to indicate that if they targeted Guam, it would only be with conventional weapons, possibly meaning they don’t have the capacity to attack with nuclear weapons. That would mean they had clearly overplayed their hand. Also, since the North Koreans had focused their threats on Guam, it meant the Trump administration had successfully diverted the rogue country’s attention away from Japan and South Korea — densely populated potential targets that are more vulnerable to an attack that could cost millions of casualties.
The Washington Post also noted that China has said that if the North Koreans strike first, Beijing wouldn’t back them up militarily. That’s yet another blow to the Kim regime if it wants to rattle sabers with the United States.
So, it appears that in the fight Kim Jong Un has picked with the United States, Donald Trump is having the last laugh in round one. Yes, North Korea may have a miniaturized nuke. However, the United States has thousands of them, in addition to missile defense systems and superior conventional weapons. Kim made a series of bizarre threats hoping that America would back down — as the previous administration no doubt would have.
Instead, he wrote a check that his military infrastructure can’t cash, and it’s going to make him look like a fool — or worse.
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