One of the most anxiety-producing trends of our bizarre times is the melting of lines between pure theatrics and genuine intention.
This, potentially deadly, ambiguity has been expressed in seemly every remark President Trump has made about North Korea at the State of the Union Address (SOTU).
Supported by the parents of the tortured and deceased American Otto Warmbier and the story of a gravely wounded North Korean refugee Ji Soeng-ho, President Trump performed a complete reversal from his last major speech on this subject to where he has threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.”
Soeng-ho received the longest standing ovation of the night. His story of starvation and torture is tragically common in the reclusive prison-state. While it’s impossible to not be moved by the suffering of those who escape and still remain, it should be alarming that Trump performed this reversal.
It’s safe to assume the President Trump wasn’t heavily involved in the writing of the SOTU. Given the opportunity to give a controlled speech on the topic, the Trump administration attempted to pivot from his infamous “Fire and Fury” remarks and claim that the U.S. interest with one of the poorest, smallest, and most oppressed countries on earth is not solely based on national security but mostly on sympathy of an oppressed people.
As seen with the Iraq War, what can begin as a war to protect “the US and it’s allies” can almost overnight become a mission to spread democracy. These shifts of narrative have already occurred under the Trump administration before any confrontation has yet to occur.
Trump is the only head of state in the world who seems to be open to the idea of all out war in the Korean Peninsula.
South Koreas President, Moon Jae-in, has said he is willing to engage in direct talks and that under no circumstances must war break out in the peninsula. President Trump famously attacked his own Secretary of State on twitter saying he was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man” and has called for an ten-fold increase in the US’s nuclear arsenal.
Thousands of miles away from its enemies, the United States continues to act frivolously with the lives of million of people we claim to be the protectors of.
Using the suffering of others to try to make up to the past disgraces of the President is nothing new. The Presidents staff, looking to make up for the many insults he’s delivered to soldiers, thought that if The President applauds the widow of a solider or the North Korean refugee it would be as if none of what he had already said had been said at all.
The refugees invitation was not just to make it look as if the President cares about the people of North Korea it was much more gravely giving him a justification to invade.
If the obvious similarities between Bush’s State of the Union before the invasion of Iraq and Trumps remarks on North Korea don’t worry you than maybe this will: an idea that has been floating around he forge in policy establishment is the “punch in the nose” option.
This strategy is to perform targeted strikes on specific nuclear assets in the North Korea. The same institutions that called WMDs in Iraq a “slam-dunk” are now confident that they are aware of every nuclear compound in the country.
Tokyo is 10 minutes away from North Korea at missile speed. Seoul is 10 seconds away and yet again here we are gambling with the lives of millions.
- opinion telescope logo: Telescope Staff/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved