Are we creeping ever closer to World War III?
While I hope not, (and I’ll admit perhaps I’m engaging in hyperbole) a troubling recent report from NATO suggests:
“…The world is at its most dangerous point in a generation.”
Secretary general of NATO’s military alliance Jens Stoltenberg said the number of threats descending upon the world is making it more perilous.
In an interview with The Guardian, in which Stoltenberg reflected on his 30-year career, the secretary general said:
“It is more unpredictable, and it’s more difficult because we have so many challenges at the same time. It is a more dangerous world.”
This week, approximately 100,000 Russian and Belarusian troops, security personnel, and civilian officials, took part in what some have regarded Moscow’s largest military exercise around the Baltic Sea, western Russia, Belarus, and Kaliningrad, sans the supervision stipulated under international agreement since the cold war.
“Russia has said it is below 13,000. They briefed that on the NATO-Russia council a few weeks ago. That was useful but at the same time we have seen when Russia says that an exercise has less than 13,000 troops that’s not always the case. We have seen that in Zapad 2009 and 2013 – the two previous Zapad exercises. There were many more troops participating.”
And in South Korea, the government has deployed the controversial US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in the face of North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over Japan.
“President” Donald Trump has threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” should Pyongyang continuing goading the United States into war. He doubled down on Thursday, claiming to be building up US military power:
“It’s been tens of billions of dollars more in investment. And each day new equipment is delivered – new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world, the best anywhere in the world, by far. Hopefully we’re not going to have to use it on North Korea. If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea.”
(Is it just me, or is Trump using the adjective “beautiful” a little too much? There are synonyms. He should download a thesaurus app.)
But I digress.
Trump has refused talks with the North Korean government; instead, he is laser-focused on economic measures, including an oil embargo and possible naval blockade (which, by the way, was one of the measures against Japan in 1941 that led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor).
Jens Stoltenberg said about Trump’s stance:
“If I started to speculate about potential military options I would only add to the uncertainty and difficulty of the situation so I think my task is not to contribute to that. I will support efforts to find a political, negotiated solution. I think the important thing now is to look into how we can create a situation where we can find a political solution to the crisis. At the same time I fully understand and support the military message that has been implemented in the region by South Korea and to some extent Japan, as they have the right to defend themselves. They have a right to respond when they see these very aggressive actions. I also support the presence of US troops and capabilities in Korea.”
Trump seems lately to be more amenable to Democrats’ proposals than to Republicans’.
Two weeks ago, he screwed over House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as well as his own treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin when he backed a deal Democrats pushed to attach hurricane relief money to a shorter-term debt ceiling extension that will keep the government open.
This weekend there is word that Trump may be reconsidering his announced withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.
Perhaps it’s a fluke.
Regardless, Democrats–and NATO–should capitalize on Trump’s sudden epiphany and get him to the table to deal with North Korea like an adult before the spell wears off.
Before we’re at war.
Image credit: ForeignPolicyBlogs.com