Clinton, Trump, and a Nuclear North Korea: The Two-Minute Versionby
On Oct. 9, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will square off in the second presidential debate. Halfway around the world, Kim Jong Un will savor the 10th anniversary of North Korea’s first nuclear test. At some point in the next four to eight years, two of these three people are likely to clash.
This month’s nuclear test by the Kim dynasty, its biggest yet, and its test of a new kind of high-powered engine for long-range rockets have brought fresh urgency to the problem of North Korea, but the standoff with the rogue regime is depressingly old: Kim tests Washington, which leans on China, which sometimes leans on Kim, who appears to be playing a different game altogether. The Kim in question (Il Sung, Jong Il, or Jong Un) has changed over the decades, but the cycle is largely the same.
North Korea on Friday said it would “sweep Guam, the base of provocations, from the surface of the earth” should U.S. B-1B bombers fly over the Korean peninsula, the Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's state media, reported. The apocalyptic rhetoric is familiar, but with Kim approaching the capacity to mount a hydrogen bomb on a missile that could reach Washington, the cycle is now shorter and more unstable.
The long-held hope that China would keep North Korea in check by threatening to cut off its support has yielded to Beijing’s fear of refugees streaming across its border and American forces taking their place. And the Kim regime’s growing confidence in its nuclear program comes as Americans are sharply divided over the future of the nation's foreign and domestic policy.
The grim history and stark choices are here, in short form, in the video and in the link above. The outcome could be written on the next president's watch.