When two politicians are outdoing each other in invoking the war demons, one can do nothing but worry about the world's future and peace. The American-Korean hostility is nothing new, for its roots go back to the Cold War era and to the Capitalist-Communist rivalry, but the recent exchange of provocations has revived the old tensions between the West and the Far East. U.S. President Donald Trump considers North Korea's recent military missile launches as a direct threat to US security; in response, he warns that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen before." In his turn, Kim Jung Un, the North Korean leader, threatens to use high-precision missiles in order to bombard Guam, an American island which hosts an important naval basis and a military contingent of about 6000 soldiers and which is only 2500 km from North Korea. The two leaders seem to have gone beyond diplomatic lines, as their statements would certainly culminate in dire consequences not only to the two belligerent countries, but also to world peace.
Evidently, this clash would result in a nuclear conflict between the two sides. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), North Korea does not possess the nuclear bomb, yet, but it already masters a very advanced nuclear technology. Therefore, it can create its own atomic weapons and would probably reach this goal in the near future despite UN sanctions. This is what alarms the United States most and constitutes the heart of the matter. “The escalation in the war rhetoric follows a UN Security Council resolution that decided to strengthen economic sanctions against North Korea — a measure that could block a third of the country's exports. US intelligence analysts believe that North Korea has succeeded in producing miniaturized nuclear warheads that can fit on its missiles.” (NPR)
In the meantime, speculations about the war are gaining ground. In case the war breaks out, it is unlikely that the US might use its atomic weapons against North Korea, simply because America will probably not be attacked by a nuclear bomb. Analysts preview only military strikes to discourage North Korea from taking further action. Besides, a nuclear attack by the US would damage South Korean territories, since Seoul is only 195 Km from Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital. A similar action would also remind the world and public opinion in America of the latter’s nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with which the conflict with Japan was resolved by the end of the Second World War. It is to be noted that the war decision also rests with the Congress and the Pentagon; the latter is believed to have already established specific war plans in case an attack is launched by either side. Hence, the risk of a nuclear war remains rather tenuous.
The second essential factor in this issue is the important role of China. Aside from its reluctance to see Northern and Southern Korea reconciled, China would not like to have a war in its neighborhood. China is unwilling to see an American military presence at its borders. The United States has tried diplomatic ways to settle the conflict, but to no avail. According to the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, President Trump "is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language." Infuriated after the long strategic self-control of former US President, Barack Obama, Trump’s administration has put diplomatic pressure on China, the only ally of North Korea, in the hope of seeing China play a role in containing the growing crisis. Yet, the Chinese government prefers to appear as the next most powerful economy and, thus, opts for a peaceful solution through negotiations. In fact, China asked both sides to avoid statements or actions that would stir tensions. China agreed with the Americans, however, on the need to de-nuclearize North Korea."The leaders affirmed that the recent adoption of a new United Nations Security Council resolution regarding North Korea was an important and necessary step toward achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the White House said in a statement.
Although diplomatic solutions are on hand, Donald Trump addresses his followers on Twitter in these words: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely." Such a crucial decision cannot be taken individually in a democracy. Trump is not able to act by himself; he would certainly need to consult his cabinet, especially the U.S. National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster. Eventually, such an analysis takes account of some known facts in order to see where things are heading, and yet, the unpredictable is lurking around and beyond rational control, ready to pull mankind, once more, towards a universal, cataclysmic upheaval, God forbid!