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Steps must be taken to prevent a second Korean war

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Steps must be taken to prevent a second Korean war

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Never since the Cold War have the American people been so on edge about the prospect of nuclear conflict. The rhetoric currently being exchanged between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, the despotic leader of North Korea, does nothing to assuage these fears. In fact, they are the primary source of such tensions. As our two nations inch ever closer to armed conflict, driven by the provocations of men with fragile egos, steps must be taken to rein in the apocalyptic language and personal invectives that threaten our security.

The North Korean threat is nothing new. The previous three American presidents have had to exercise extreme diplomatic caution when dealing with the Kim regime. This is not to say that strong language hasn’t been used in the past – former President George W. Bush famously referred to North Korea as part of an “axis of evil” in a 2002 speech. The missile tests currently dominating the foreign relations news landscape are also not new: similar tests were conducted at the outset of former President Barack Obama’s first term and Bush’s. However, the already fragile relationship between both countries was never meant to withstand the bombast and strong-arm style of our new commander-in-chief.

Never before have American presidents used such personal attacks against the leader of North Korea as Trump is now doing. Last week, Trump referred to Kim Jong-Un as a “little rocket man,” and during his United Nations speech threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.” These have drawn sharp rebukes from the insecure Kim, who called Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard,” a word that means a weak, senile old person.

Regardless of the accuracy of that last insult, the augmentation of harsh and warlike language has not been lost on the international community. The United States is increasingly allowing the president to back us into a corner from which there are severely limited options for escape. The world has always viewed the threats from North Korea as hollow, considering its vastly inferior military and dependence on China for economic and diplomatic support. However, China is quickly losing its grip on the rogue regime as, according to the New York Times, the Chinese envoy to North Korea is not allowed to enter the country at all. In addition, China has agreed to cooperate with new U.N. sanctions against the North, despite its long-held policy of support.

War is something that no one wants. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that even a “surgical strike” in Northern territory could lead to “the worst kind of fighting” in living memory. South Korean president Moon Jae-In campaigned, in part, on promising to resurrect diplomatic relations with their volatile neighbor. Experts agree that South Korea would experience the brunt of any damage from armed conflict, considering that Seoul is merely 35 miles from the heavily armed border.

Trump cannot be allowed to bumble an entire nation into nuclear war. Senior diplomatic officials, Secretary Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Wayne Tillerson, must counsel the president to halt all references to war and the “destruction” of North Korea, rhetoric that is especially problematic as he didn’t even differentiate between the tyrannical regime and the millions of innocent men, women and children that live there in fear. War is not inevitable as we currently stand, however, our national security demands that we take immediate and drastic steps to prevent it from becoming so.

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Steps must be taken to prevent a second Korean war