This is potentially a time of great danger.
Kim Jong-un Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea, unconfirmed age of about 35 is the dictator of North Korea.The Kim family men are the only rulers this isolated communist country has known for its seventy years. Kim has surpassed his father and grandfather as a threat to the world.
His recent missile tests surprised experts and, loaded with nuclear weapons, Kim’s missiles can probably reach the west coast cities of the United States.
Since the fall of the USSR, we have not lived in the shadow of nuclear apocalypticism. That era – from roughly the years after World War II through the mid-1980s – spawned end-times books, the nuclear freeze movement, quixotic home bomb shelters, movies like “Dr. Strangelove,” and at times a deep sense of fatalism.
At the very beginning of that period, President Truman wrote in his diary that the atom bomb might be “the most terrible bomb in the history of the world” and wondered if it could be “the fire of destruction” cited in the Bible. A few years later, President Dwight Eisenhower said, “This is no way of life at all…Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
We were about eleven when the world came closest to a nuclear confrontation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a time of great fear and confusion. If the American people internalize that places like Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland are under a nuclear threat from Kim who sounds either crazy or Machiavellian, we will suddenly be back in that time and we will regard the last 25 years as a vacation from reality.
President Trump has pressured China to help us negotiate with North Korea. This past weekend UN Security Council unanimously adopted new sanctions against the hermit kingdom.
North Korea has responded to the new sanctions by stating that: “We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table” and adding that it would “teach the US a severe lesson” if it we use military force against them.
We have stated before that the meddling of Jimmy Carter in the 1990s was a major factor in North Korea’s eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons. Whether Mr. Carter or his fans will admit it, his unlovely role in this piece of history may turn out to be his main legacy when future historians look back on our era.
Amazingly, the American constitutional order has put in place a real estate developer, inexperienced in electoral politics or the military, to lead America’s preparation and defense at a divisive time in the country.
We should all wish him well in this endeavor.