The world, the media, and even the Trump administration itself has been distracted by this prolonged, unnecessary, chaotic Russian collusion story for the past several weeks, but there are deeper concerns that require our national focus right now. Yes, we must have some sort of progress on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare; the secure, stable future of our economy depends on it. But even that may have to soon take a backseat to the pressing and concerning problem of North Korea – a threat that is growing more clear and present by the day.
In a statement, Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, warned the North Koreans that the U.S. and its allies were ready to use “rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force” against Pyongyang if the need were to arise. The statement came as the U.S., South Korea, and Japan conducted military bombing exercises over the Korean Peninsula this weekend in response to the most recent round of the North’s missile tests.
“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Diplomacy remains the lead. However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”
International experts reacted to North Korea’s July 28 test with alarm; while their previous ICBM demonstration proved they may be able to hit targets as far away as Hawaii and Alaska, the latest test shows that they may have weapons capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. These tests do not necessarily prove that they can do so with a nuclear payload attached, but there’s no question that the stakes have been raised once again in the globe’s most dangerous game of chicken.
O’Shaughnessy wasn’t the only international official taking an ever-increasing hard line on North Korea. In comments Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he and President Trump had decided it was time to take additional action against the rogue Kim Jong Un regime.
“We have made consistent efforts to resolve the North Korean problem in a peaceful manner, but North Korea has ignored that entirely and escalated the situation in a one-sided way,” Abe said. “The international community, starting with China and Russia, must take this obvious fact seriously and increase pressure.”
And in a statement this weekend, Ambassador Nikki Haley said there was no further point to holding Security Council sessions at the United Nations.
“The time for talk is over,” Haley said. “The danger the North Korean regime poses to international peace is now clear to all.”