As difficult as it may be, we need to turn off some of the White House noise machine. The theater, the Twitter tantrums and all the deflections presented by Donald Trump really add up to nothing compared to the one important story we should all focus on today. A missile was launched from North Korea. Not just any missile but an intercontinental ballistic missile that flew for nearly 50 minutes and reached an altitude of 2800 miles before crashing into the ocean off Japan. This was the third ICBM launch by the North. The president’s response of “we’ll take care of it” is not exactly reassuring, perhaps because it’s the same thing he said, nearly verbatim, the last time North Korea launched an ICBM.
On July 31st, Trump said, “We’ll handle North Korea. It will be handled. We will handle everything,” Or not. Everything else he’s tried, from re-upping their “state sponsor of terrorism” status, to sanctions, to Twitter threats, to enlisting the Chinese has done nothing but make a bad situation worse. North Koreans are testing Trump, yanking his chain to see how far they can go. So far the response has been nothing but talk and tweets, which is good for the world, especially the millions of South Koreans who live just a few miles from the DMZ. But what does Kim want? Surely not annihilation. Recognition, perhaps? Here are a couple of really smart pieces that help explain the backstory beyond the bluster. One is from The Washington Post and the other is from The BBC.