In a televised address, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un alluded to the fact that North Korea is close to testing an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, also known as its acronym, an ICBM. Although concerning in it’s own right, as an ICBM is a guided missile with a minimum range of 3,400 miles and are built for nuclear weapons delivery, the larger, more haunting concern lies in the reaction of our President Elect, Donald Trump.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests in the last decade and more than 20 ballistic missile tests in 2016 alone, ending in reported failures. Although it habitually threatens to attack the United States with nuclear weapons, the country has never flight-tested an ICBM. In Kim Jong-Un’s New Year’s Day speech, broadcasted on the state-run KCTV on Sunday, he spoke in detail about the progress North Korea had made in its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. He said North Korea would continue to ‘bolster its weapons programs as long as the United States remained hostile and continued its joint military exercises with South Korea.’ He ended this portion of his address, stating, “We have reached the final stage in preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic rocket,”
Mr. Trump’s response was delivered to the public via a tweet, “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!” This was followed by yet another inflammatory tweet, claiming China was doing nothing to help the United States with North Korea’s threats. Kim declared Sunday that his goal was “to cope against the vicious threats for nuclear war by the Imperialists,” a clear nod to both America and its Asian allies. Although Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program (EANP) said Trump’s tweets were “foolish, but probably harmless” in an email to CNN, we still have to ask, by not taking threats to America from foreign powers seriously, could President- Elect Trump bring America into a second Cold War?
Naturally, we know the repercussions of nuclear war. With this threat we also have to understand the Nuclear Domino Theory, or the idea that one nuclear attack will set off multiple, as coined by South Korean President Park Guen-hye. Although President-Elect Trump claims this attack won’t happen, Twitter isn’t such a reassurance. As he continues to tighten the U.S.-Russian relationship and the nuclear threat looms, we have to wonder, how does a nuclear holocaust tie in with Making America Great Again?