Should Trump mock Kim fatty the 3rd?
On September 19th, Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" if they seriously threatened the United States. Kim Jong Un, or "Rocket Man" as Trump likes to call him, replied to this threat by calling Trump a "...mentally deranged US dotard". Although this exchange of words may just be threats and insults, it does escalate the tension between the two countries. With North Korea continuing to develop their nuclear program, does North Korea pose a threat to the United States? And if so, should Trump really provoke Kim Jong Un?
Despite the fact that the country of North Korea is severely impoverished due to a combination of a poorly run command economy, economic sanctions, and a flawed food distribution system that leaves millions starving each night, North Korea still poses a threat to the United States. Why? Nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Un throws a lot of time and money into his nuclear weapons program, the opportunity cost being spending less money helping citizens climb out of poverty. Although it is hard to find written poverty statistics due to censorship within the country, images captured from inside North Korea, like the one on the right, tell the whole story. More images of North Korean poverty can be found here. Despite this high level of poverty in Kim's country, he continues to spend money on nuclear weapons in order to stay in power and pretend that his country is relevant in comparison to other powerful countries like the United States. Kim's nuclear program has also caused countries like the United States to impose economic sanctions, that further hurt the country's impoverished economy. Despite this, Kim continues to pour money into his military program, an astonishing 22% of his country's Gross Domestic Product (~10 billion USD), the most of any nation, into the program. About a month ago, North Korea has claimed that they could produce a hydrogen bomb, a bomb roughly 8 times more powerful than the bomb the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki during World War II. With the increase in missile testing North Korea has done over the past year, they might have the ability to send an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) to a target of their choosing. A continued increase of funding into the nuclear program will allow North Korea to eventually be able to mount the warhead (H-Bomb) onto an ICBM and be able to cause massive amounts of damage with it. These factors alone should be enough proof that we should be wary of North Korea because they do pose a threat to countries around the globe.
Although North Korea will mostly likely not use these weapons to harm the United States due to the fact we could completely eradicate their country, that does not mean we should trade insults and threats with North Korea. Trading insults only escalates tensions which may lead North Korea to pull the trigger if they believe their mission is threatened. If North Korea pulled the trigger, the opportunity cost would almost certainly be the end of Kim's leadership. Donald Trump tweeted the following post (see left), essentially saying that he would get rid of Rocket Man and the Foreign Minister of North Korea. Kim responded in a rare direct statement, and stated that Trump would "pay dearly" for the threats, and that North Korea "will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" (CNN). These are serious threats being thrown around, and should not be taken lightly by either side. Instead of responding to these threats and insults, Trump should ignore them and take serious measures into stopping the North Korean nuclear program.
With North Korea expanding their nuclear program, they pose a legitimate concern to the safety of the United States and other countries around the globe. Trump should not provoke Kim Jong Un because if the guy is crazy enough spend more money on a nuclear program instead of trying to help his country succeed, he might be crazy enough to nuke another country-- especially a country that mocks and insults his every decision.
“10 Facts About Poverty in North Korea.” The Borgen Project, 20 Mar. 2017, borgenproject.org/poverty-in-north-korea/. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
Beauchamp, Zack. “Why North Korea's latest threats are far more serious than its typical bluster.” Vox, Vox, 22 Sept. 2017, www.vox.com/world/2017/9/22/16349966/north-korea-trump-dotard. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
“Dotard.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com/browse/dotard. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
“Economy of North Korea.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_North_Korea. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
Griffiths, James, and Angela Dewan. “What is a hydrogen bomb and can North Korea deliver one?” CNN, Cable News Network, 22 Sept. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/09/03/asia/hydrogen-bomb-north-korea-explainer/index.html. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
Ramzy, Austin. “Kim Jong-Un Called Trump a ‘Dotard.’ What Does That Even Mean?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/world/asia/trump-north-korea-dotard.html. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
Rubin, Michael, et al. “Why Is North Korea So Poor?” Commentary Magazine, 24 June 2015, www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/asia/why-is-north-korea-so-poor-communism/. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.
Styles, Ruth. “The images Kim Jong Un doesn't want you to see.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 9 May 2014, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2624164/North-Korea-Starving-people-child-labourers-dilapidated-homes-appear-harrowing-new-images-taken-inside-rogue-state.html. Accessed 24 Sept. 2017.