Saturday January 7, 2017
North Korea has "entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM)." So crowed North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, in his New Year’s Day message aimed at tough-talking US president-elect, Donald Trump.
In case there was any doubt about Pyongyang’s meaning, Kim warned his nation would continue to build its ‘capability for preemptive strike’ as long as the US and its allies continued their nuclear threats and "war games they stage on our doorstep."
Trump fired back, tweeting that North Korea’s nuclear threats against the US ‘won’t happen.’ Well, not if tweets can shoot down incoming ICBM’s.
A lot of Americans dismissed Kim’s braggadocio as more hot air from a world-class producer. But one should not quickly dismiss North Korea’s claims. The US has always underestimated North Korea.
But there is no need to squander trillions on new anti-missile defenses based in Alaska and California that may not work as advertised. North Korea’s missiles are designed to deter a US attack.
The alleged dire threat from North Korea can be better and more swiftly resolved by intelligent diplomacy and some calm thinking.