How serious is all the bluster?
On Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho issued a dire warning to the United States: “Should the US pounce upon the DPRK with military force at last, the DPRK is ready to teach the US a severe lesson with its strategic nuclear force.” This came on the heels of the country’s successful long-range missile tests that could theoretically strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead.
Instead of sending a message of assurance that de-escalated tensions between the two nations, President Donald Trump fired back with an aggressive threat. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” All of this macho posturing has put the world on edge, including “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, who issued a frightening pronouncement Tuesday night.
“I don’t want to be alarmist,” Colbert said. “But we’re all gonna die.”
After removing his tongue from his cheek, Colbert offered a ray of hope for the tense situation. “I’m not sure whether to believe Trump’s nuclear sabre-rattling and neither are you because a poll came out today that found three-quarters of Americans say they can’t trust most of what comes out of the White House.” Then Colbert took the story on a brilliant twist adding that 38% of Americans still support the White House — which means 14% of Americans “enjoy being lied to.” Then he addressed the 14% saying, “Everything’s going to be fine.”
Colbert brought up an important point, Trump has zero credibility on any issue whether it’s to the American public or foreign leaders. So the globe should take his posturing with a proverbial grain of salt. Also, the U.S. has an arsenal of over 7,000 nuclear weapons, and estimates put North Korea’s at about two dozen. Any form of nuclear attack from North Korea would surely be a suicide mission for the rogue nation.
Siegfried Hecker, the last American to tour North Korea’s nuclear facilities in 2010, believes threats from North Korea may sound menacing but shouldn’t cause us too much worry. “Overselling is particularly dangerous,” Hecker told The Washington Post. “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy — a madman — and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable.” North Korea has a long history of sabre-rattling, but this is the first time the country has challenged a U.S. president as unpredictable and impulsive as Trump.
“The real threat,” Hecker said, “is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”