Button size doesn’t matter; it’s all about how you use it.
Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s speech in which Kim mentioned a “nuclear button” was on his desk prompted the following tweet from President Trump:
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
Despite the uproar over it, the tweet means little and is nothing more than a distraction from the stuff we should be focusing on. The tweet itself is not going to edge us closer to nuclear war, that’s occurring due to the actions of the players involved, the tweet is simply an addition to a long list of insults in a playground-like quarrel between two heads of state.
Is the U.S. edging closer to war with North Korea? Honestly, yes. We’re preparing like never before. We’re increasing military activity near the Korean peninsula and planning for a major uplift in the number of personnel in the military. Is this due to the President? Not necessarily. Sure, he’s the Commander-in-Chief, but the Pentagon’s making the moves, and our Department of Defense is not doing it because the White House is inhabited by Trump, it’s doing it because North Korea is closer than ever to having a nuclear weapon that can effectively target the U.S. mainland and has continued to be extremely hostile.
Many want to blame President Trump and his turbulent tweets like above for the North’s hostility. The reality is North Korea’s been hostile since the armistice, and has ramped up its actions and rhetoric during the last decade, despite who occupied the White House. After Kim Jong-il suffered a stroke in 2008, the North started acting erratically, cutting off all military and political deals with the South and restarting its nuclear weapons program. In 2010, the North sunk a South Korean warship, and trust us, there was no tweet to react to at this time. In 2011, Kim Jong-un takes over upon the death of Kim Jong-il. From here on, sporadic missile tests, nuclear tests, political purges, cutting off of diplomatic relations, etc. all take place. During these tumultuous times, North Korea’s sole ally, China, begins to distance themselves, cutting off certain resources and support. All of this continues up until current day. Now, North Korea has declared themselves capable of having a “nuclear button”.
Despite many wanting to blame President Trump’s tweets and rhetoric for the uptick in hostilities, they simply can’t; this scenario was a long-time in the making. And for those on the other side of the table wanting to applaud President Trump’s tougher stance on North Korea and their allies, it’s not necessarily working yet. The North is continuing to get oil and other resources through secret ship-to-ship transfers (allegedly from China and Russia) allowing them to skirt UN resolutions, and the North continues to threaten with both words and actions, such as launching missiles over Japan. Sure, the North has said they’ll begin diplomatic talks with the South again, but many think this is a ploy to drive a wedge between the U.S. and the South, and to “act the part” in order to loosen sanctions.
Bottom line, President Trump’s not the cause for the heightened North Korean situation. On the flip-side, it’s also too early to see if his tough stance has had a positive effect. Are we coming closer to war? Yes. We must stop focusing on tweets, and start focusing on the actions of the U.S., South Korea, North Korea, China, Russia, and Japan.