Will President Trump Bomb North Korea?

August 01, 2017Aug 01, 2017

According to Vox.com, Senator Lindsey Graham claims President Donald Trump is willing to bomb North Korea to stop it from having the capability to hit the American mainland with a nuclear weapon.


“There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea itself,” remarked Graham to the Today show’s Matt Lauer. “He’s not going to allow – President Trump – the ability of this madman [Ki Jong Un] to have a missile that could hit America.

“If there’s going to be a war to stop him, it will be over there,” remarked Graham. “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re going to die over there – and he told me that to my face.”

In the same interview with the Today show’s Matt Lauer, Senator Graham went even further, claiming that war between the United States and North Korea was “inevitable”  unless North Korea stops testing intercontinental ballistic missiles. North Korea represents an unacceptable threat to the American homeland, claimed Graham in the interview.

It is unclear whether Donald Trump actually does have intentions of going to war with North Korea, or whether Senator Graham is simply – and he so often does – beating the drums for war. Donald Trump, in the opinion of this author, has displayed a remarkable degree of prudence on foreign policy, and wouldn’t brazenly escalate tensions with North Korea at the advice of Senator Graham.

In the 2016 election, Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump were often at odds with each other on the subject of foreign affairs. Donald Trump consistently teased Graham throughout the campaign and, more notably, released Graham’s personal cell phone number during a press conference. Thinking that Trump was too cautious on foreign policy, Senator Graham called Trump the "Michael Moore” candidate.

Indeed, Donald Trump displayed a sharp disagreement with Lindsey Graham on foreign policy throughout the presidential campaign, remarking that “Lindsey Graham is a disgrace, and I think you have one of the worst representatives for the state.”

During the election season, Donald Trump distinguished himself from other Republicans – and earned enthusiastic support from his base – over his opposition to the Iraq War. But Trump was able to distinguished himself from the rest of the Republican field in a variety of other ways too: in expressing desire to mend relations with Russia, opposing Hillary’s war in Libya, opposing the transfer of arms to the Syrian rebels, and claiming that America should be “friendlier” with the rest of the world. 

Given Donald Trump’s foreign policy instincts, praised by former Reagan Administration officials, it is probably safe to assume that Donald Trump will not bomb North Korea, but will instead continue applying diplomatic and economic pressures to the regime, in hopes of encouraging it to change direction.

“Now, we don’t know if Graham is accurately conveying what the president said or is merely putting words in his mouth,” writes Vox.com. “A senior White House official, when asked about Graham’s comments, told me that ‘all options remain on the table’ - but also noted that the administration’s policy right now was to apply ‘maximum diplomatic and economic pressure to convince North Korea to change course.’” 

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