Cool heads needed in dispute with N. Korea

Someone needs to turn the heat down on the rhetoric flying between Washington, D.C. and President Donald Trump and Pyongyang and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Threatening each other on nearly a daily basis with destruction, nuclear and otherwise, is doing little to promote peace and well-being in the world. And since Kim answers to no one but himself, we must hope Trump, who isn’t generally known for his ability to rein in his emotions, will demonstrate the cooler head.

Kim’s bluster isn’t anything new; the West in general, and the United States in particular, have been listening to it for years. What’s changed, of course in more recent times, is the rapid progress North Korea has made in its nuclear weapons program.

It wasn’t all that long ago that U.S. intelligence sources were predicting it would be several more years before they had mastered the technology to miniaturize warheads which could be placed on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

In the past weeks, however, we’ve been told the North Koreans already have done that. It’s believed North Korean missiles could reach deep into the U.S., perhaps as far east as Chicago. That capability, on its face, changes things.

And as far as conventional forces, North Korea has a lot, including tactical air power, artillery pieces, armored units, a vast army of several million, a navy that includes a variety of surface ships plus submarines and the list goes on.

Is our equipment better? Without a doubt it is, but that won’t matter once the shooting starts. The North Korean forces are in place and ready to roll. It would take months for the U.S. to ramp up its forces to a point where we could withstand an assault in the north. And we’re still fighting a war in Afghanistan.

Most of the experts we’ve heard from agree there is no good outcome for the U.S. if war should ever break out with North Korea. We’d win, yes, but the casualties would be catastrophic and the damage done to South Korea incalculable.

The way forward here must be diplomatic. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson needs to become more involved. And President Trump needs to lay off Twitter and otherwise stop making bellicose statements.

Acting out the way he does is making things more difficult.

— The Mining Journal