In the last year, the tensions between North Korea and the USA (and, to a wider extent, the rest of the western world) have reached an all-time high. The country has fired 23 missiles during 16 tests since February, with some of the most recent ones being nuclear ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) capable of reaching Washington DC.
President Donald Trump’s response to this heightened military activity has not always been entirely reassuring, with the former reality star resorting to hurling childish insults at the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, rather than tackle the matter diplomatically.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
The situation is becoming so severe now that even HR McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, has said that North Korea is “the greatest immediate threat to the United States”.
“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem,” he said.
Now, that threat may have increased further still, as a report in a Japanese newspaper stated that South Korean intelligence sources were concerned that North Korea has been loading anthrax into its ICBMs.
When inhaled, anthrax can cause extreme skin lesions, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems, and, in the worst cases, death. The chemical has been used as a weapon before, most notably in the 2001 anthrax attacks shortly after 9/11. Five people died as a result of coming into contact with the substance, and a further 17 were injured.
While nuclear weapons are obviously a major concern for the USA at the moment, biological warfare should also be considered as a serious threat. Rebecca Hersman, a former deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Defense, said in an interview with the Washington Post that “North Korea is bad enough when you’re talking about their nuclear and missiles program. But I think we ignore their chemical and biological programs truly at our own peril.”
Furthermore, an official National Security Strategy report confirmed this week that Pyongyang is “pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile.”
It went on to say: “North Korea — a country that starves its own people — has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland.”
However, President Trump seems to believe he has the situation under control.
“This situation should have been taken care of long before I got into office when it was much easier to handle. But it will be taken care of. We have no choice,” he said shortly after Pyongyang conducted their previous missile test last month.
“Our campaign of maximum pressure on the North Korean regime has resulted in the toughest ever sanctions,” he continued. “We have united our allies in an unprecedented effort to isolate North Korea, however, there is much more work to do.”
However, “taking care of” the situation could just be a euphemism for nuclear war. According to political expert Joel Skousen, “China and Russia know that Donald Trump is serious and the US is making military preparations for a preemptive strike on North Korea.”
If his word is to be believed, then the President is waiting until after the Winter Olympics of February 2018 in order to conduct the strikes.
Hopefully, the ongoing struggles between North Korea and the USA can be resolved before they descend into needless violence. But, with America’s fate resting in the hands of two trigger-happy leaders, it seems like there is a lot of work still to be done in order to ensure both nations’ safety.