The decision to bomb North Korea is one many Americans, in the back of their minds, look at as inevitable. Prior to the 2016 election, this country kept a suspicious eye on the leaders of that dictatorship with the feeling that one day, Kim Jong-un, and his father before him, Kim Jong-il, could end up forcing the nation’s collective hand.
Since taking over in December 2011, the outspoken Kim Jong-un has done little to qualm those fears.
His propaganda machine has made threats against the U.S., promising a decisive attack if the country tried inserting itself into North Korean affairs.
Trump’s predecessor, President Obama, hit the country with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, which passed the U.S. House and Senate with almost unanimous support.
I am sending a Carrier Strike Force Fleet to the Korean Peninsula to put an end to Kim Jong Un. His days are numbered!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTunmp) April 9, 2017
Those sanctions, according to the Washington Post, require the president to sanction entities contributing to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program, arms trade, human rights abuses or other illegal activities and impose mandatory sanctions for any entity involved in the nation’s mineral or metal trades.
Additionally, they require the U.S. Treasury Department to determine whether North Korea should be listed as a “primary money laundering concern” and impose “new sanctions authorities related to North Korean human rights abuses and violations of cybersecurity.”
So far, though, it has just been sanctions and no actions of a military nature. But if President Trump has proven anything this week, it’s that Americans can no longer be sure of what to expect when dealing with dictatorial regimes and force is not off the table.
Trump was thought to be friendly to Russia, but on Thursday night (April 6), he flew in the face of that perception when he hit Russian ally and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s airbase with 59 Tomahawk missiles after a deadly chemical attack from Assad earlier in the week.
Russia decried the move as did Assad, and North Korea — another ally to Syria — called it “an act of aggression.”
That said, an expert on North Korea believes the Syrian strike has grabbed Kim Jong-un’s attention and that he may, in fact, be in hiding.
Gordon Chang, a columnist for The Daily Beast, told Fox News Friday the airstrike on Syria “tells North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that he must now heed American military power, something that he probably dismissed before.”
“Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, disappeared from public view for about six weeks in 2003 at the time of the Iraq war. Kim Jong-un loves the public spotlight, and it will be telling if he similarly goes into hiding.”
Whether the North Korean leader does or not, Trump’s move is “a warning to China’s People’s Liberation Army, which had grown dismissive of the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader visiting Mar-a-Lago, almost certainly interpreted the strike as a sign of disrespect to him,” Chang said.
While Trump has won praise from some of his adversaries and criticism from some of his supporters for the move, it is clear he will be given to a forceful response when it comes to unchecked brutality.
If Syria had Russia’s backing but could not avoid an airstrike after killing several children in a chemical weapons attack, how much more likely is a President Trump going to be willing to attack a leader like Kim Jong-un, who has been connected to a number of “purges and executions” during his short reign, including deaths by flamethrower and an anti-aircraft gun?
But what do you think, readers: is the Syrian attack a sign the U.S. is ready to bomb North Korea as well? Sound off in the comments section below.