Garfield Senior High School

Op-Ed: Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea: Bombardment on the Rise

Unnerving to many Americans, the political hostility between the United States and North Korea is at the tipping point. We’ve arrived at a particular moment in history where the animosity between these two countries will no longer give rise to hypotheticals, but rather irreversible actions.

The escalating tensions between North Korea, a nation that seems intent to continue launching missiles, and the United States, a country that wishes to assert world superiority at every available opportunity, are cause for global disaster. Many of us find ourselves asking, how did we get here? In order to understand our current, precarious situation, we have to take a quick look at the past, namely the last two presidential terms.  

At the inception of Obama’s first presidential term, North Korea launched a Unha-2 rocket unsuccessfully. In turn, the United Nations began to enforce sanctions, penalties for breaking global law, but North Korea declared it would no longer adhere to the universal code of law.

Soon after, North Korea conducted another nuclear test and sanctions followed. By the end of 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, had died and his son, Kim Jong-Un, had taken reign of the country. Under Kim Jong-Un, missile launches increased significantly.

North Korea continued in its attempts to launch a rocket into space, and following the Unha-3 rocket launch, the U.N. expanded travel bans and condemned the tests but with little effect. North Korea conducted three more tests in the span of the following three years.

In 2017, the political climate between the rival nations took a turn for the worse. North Korea successfully launched its first intercontinental missile. In turn, Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” when addressing the U.N. assembly.

Additionally, Trump and Kim Jong-Un have engaged in a bitter twitter feud with both leaders belligerently and foolishly threatening the other. We’ve now arrived at our present situation with amplified political strain all around.

Needless to say, it’s evident that there’s a been fundamental and ruinous change in the dynamics between the two countries but it’s incredibly important that the United States keep a level head, despite the tension, and not engage in war with North Korea.

It goes without saying, a nuclear attack on either of the involved parties would undoubtedly be catastrophic.

The U.S. Congressional Research service estimated that 300,000 people would die in the first days of the war alone. Additionally, if we were to attack North Korea, in an effort to prevent an attack, the country could easily retaliate and target civilians in the U.S., South Korea, Japan, and other metropolitan areas.

Not to mention, North Korea and its ally China have signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty which entails that each country provide military assistance to the other in a time of war.

North Korea’s missiles in addition to China’s abundant nuclear weapons will only result in mass destruction. America’s very own arsenal of nuclear weapons is deadly enough and if push comes to shove, the current administration wouldn’t hesitate to instigate World War III. For these reasons, the United States should pursue non-military options to combat North Korea’s threatening nuclear weapon proliferation.

Perhaps a total peace negotiation between North Korea and America isn’t feasible but we can slowly force North Korea’s hand to stop their experimental missile strikes by attacking economically. We have to limit the economic income of Korea and strictly enforce any blockades possible. By taking action now, we can avoid disaster for years to come.

The question here, however, may not be about what nonmilitary strategies the U.S. should adopt against North Korea but rather how we can convince our current administration to withhold from bombing North Korea.

With an unstable leader in the White House, it’s our responsibility to urge Trump not to take drastic action. With strict scrutiny on Congress, we can pressure our government to pass a bill that would altogether prevent Trump from launching an attack on North Korea without congressional approval. Only then can we ensure safety for America and prevent the death of millions.