By Jordan Jardine
Throughout his tenure so far, President Trump has been increasingly hostile toward North Korea. The Hill reported on October 10th that Trump was going to explore a “range of options” with members of his security staff about how to deal with this situation. I can say with almost 100% certainty that staying out of the DPRK’s business was not included in his so-called “range of options.” I understand that Kim Jong-Un is an abhorrent, awful, authoritarian leader. His people are starving, forced to genuflect at the altar of the state every minute of every day, and Kim can’t even provide most of his people with electricity, even in the capital of Pyongyang. I get it. However, this is not an issue the United States can easily solve. We should not involve ourselves in any country’s affairs that are not a direct threat to our national security.
One argument warhawks will invariably make is that North Korea does pose a threat to our national security, with a nuclear weapons program that could potentially have the capacity to attack the United States. First of all, Kim will NOT attack the US if we do not attack him first. Yes, he is an insane manchild, but he isn’t stupid. He knows the grave consequences he will face if he launches an offensive nuclear attack on the US. The fear mongering perpetuated by the American media is entertaining, but wildly misleading. It’s true that North Korea has a fairly extensive nuclear program, but the notion that their nuclear weapons are even close to ours in terms of technology and quantity is utterly ridiculous. The United States military is the single greatest fighting force ever assembled in the entire history of humanity. Despite Kim’s fiery, threatening rhetoric, he and his advisors are most likely well aware of this fact. Trying to defeat our superior nukes with sub-par, primitive nukes is like trying to ward off a swordsman with a toothpick. North Korea uses nuclear weapons as a deterrent against other nations that may want to invade their nation.
If a nation, such as the US, were to invade North Korea, the political and economic ramifications would be enormous. I firmly believe that North Korea does not have the capacity to launch an effective attack against the US, but they most certainly do have the capability of attacking South Korea and possibly Japan, two of our closest and most important allies. If we launch an attack against the DPRK, millions of North Korean, South Korean and Japanese lives would be at stake. Is it really worth it to lose these innocent lives over empty threats? It never ceases to amaze me how easily Americans get scared. We switch into panic mode over the most mundane, most insignificant ways. Donald Trump always talks about “getting tough.” He actually needs to follow through on that promise. His campaign slogan shouldn’t have been “Make America Great Again.” His slogan ought to have been “Make America Grow a Pair Again.” Honestly, this country needs to have a spine like it used to.
While I’m on the subject of the past, allow me to point out some of our myriad foreign policy blunders over the last several decades. The Iraq War is a prime example of this. When we invaded Iraq in 2003, we were told by our government that this would be a quick war that would only last a few months. We were also told that we’d be welcomed with open arms as altruistic liberators by the Iraqi people. Both of those things turned out to be nothing more than demonstrably false rhetorical passages from the Bible of American Exceptionalism, preached by the likes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We’ve been in Iraq for 14 years (counting when we left for 10 minutes in 2011 under president Obama). Saddam Hussein, as brutal of a dictator as he might have been, was a stable force in the region. He was vehemently opposed to Al Qaeda and did as much as he could to eliminate the influence of radical Islam over the Middle East. When we removed him from power, we created a dangerous power vacuum which was eventually filled by Iraqi intelligence officials and rogue Al Qaeda members to create the group we know today as ISIS. Afghanistan is another great example of our incompetent, imperialistic foreign policy. We were told that this war would also be relatively quick. Unlike Iraq, I actually support what the Afghanistan campaign was originally about: trying to take out Osama bin Laden and dismantling Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We managed to take out bin Laden, but the Taliban now control almost half of Afghanistan. We need to get out, and get out soon, but we’re still there. Why? Opiates and minerals. American pharmaceutical companies rely on Afghanistan’s opium supply for drugs like morphine and methadone, among many others. Afghanistan also has an abundant supply of minerals, including lithium, which we use for lithium batteries in laptops, cell phones, etc.
The point is, we need to worry about our own affairs and leave the rest of the world alone. I’m not suggesting we isolate ourselves completely, but rather suggesting that we need to involve ourselves less in conflicts that don’t directly impact the lives of American citizens. Diplomacy and empathy should always be foreign policy options, especially when dealing with a country that desperately needs it, as does North Korea.