Foreign Policy

'Fire and Fury' Over North Korean Threats

The destructive approach of the Clinton and Obama administrations is still yielding consequences.

Nate Jackson · Aug. 9, 2017

North Korea ramped up its saber-rattling in the wake of the UN’s significant sanctions move over the weekend. Kim Jong Un’s regime threatened “thousands-fold” vengeance and a “severe lesson” for the U.S., in addition to vowing that “under no circumstances” will the North negotiate its nuclear weapons program. North Korea insists its nuclear program is for self-defense “in the face of a clear and real nuclear threat posed by the U.S.” Only the U.S., at this point, faces a nuclear strike, the hermit kingdom warned. And, apparently, self-defense includes threatening the U.S. territory of Guam.

The U.S. is indeed at risk — not only Guam or West Coast cities like Los Angeles, but interior cities such as Denver and Chicago are in range of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) tested by the North in recent weeks. And now U.S. intelligence concludes that North Korea has already produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead to fit inside those ICBMs. And if North Korea can do it, so can Iran, another member of what George W. Bush accurately called the Axis of Evil. Some estimate that Kim has up to 60 nuclear weapons at his disposal, though others say it’s closer to 20 or 30.

As for North Korean threats, President Donald Trump had one of his own: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” It’s important to remember that everything Trump says and everything we’re doing strategically is aimed at China. North Korea is China’s pawn and Beijing’s play to divert attention from trade battles with the Trump administration. It’s also worth reiterating that Trump is faced with cleaning up Barack Obama’s mess worldwide, and Bill Clinton’s in North Korea. The destructive approach both administrations took to foreign policy is still yielding consequences.

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