North Korea continues to launch missiles: What should America do?


Taken with permission from Wikimedia Commons

North Korea touts its nuclear weapons program by showcasing bombs to their citizens. North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan Sept. 15, prompting new questions of whether the United States should intervene.

Ever since the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, people have lived in awe and fear of the immense strength of nuclear weapons. Several countries have already attained the status of nuclear power such as the United States, Russia and China.

Now, a new country is searching for nuclear dominance, and they’re looking to use it. Earlier this morning– Friday, Sept. 15– North Korea fired another ballistic missile over U.S. ally Japan.

“This isn’t good; it could mean another war,” sophomore Lucas Carminelli said.

North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, are fully capable of targeting U.S territory Guam with nuclear weapons and have  threatened to do so, but its close neighbors such as South Korea has been living under the threat of an attack for many years now.

Many people are in favor of immediately dealing with Kim Jong Un and putting an end to his regime.

“Diplomacy is all great and fine, but what do you do with someone who won’t listen?” English teacher Sarah Hutchinson said. “Should we have had a little convo with Hitler? With Stalin? That wouldn’t have worked.”

However, is an attack on North Korea an analytically or historically correct course of action?

President Donald Trump, at least once, believed this was the right move before, saying in an interview with the press that if North Korea attacked U.S. territory, they would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen before.”

“The war of words got pretty heated,” social studies teacher Elizabeth Russell said.¬† “Lately, we’ve been trying to see if cooler heads will prevail.”

Two stages of thought dominate discussions around North Korea.

“One is that [Kim Jong Un] is totally crazy and will stop at nothing to hurt us, and the other is that he simply wants to protect his country from invasion from the U.S. I think a lot of members from the current [presidential] administration believe in the first theory,” Russell said.

Part of Northwest’s student body seems to also agree with this theory.

“I think we should take them seriously,” sophomore Eli Peppinger said. “I think we have to deal with it when they have someone crazy in charge.”

The theory of Kim Jong Un does have some historical value to it, however. Back in the Iraq war, Iraq was beaten down because they couldn’t stand up to the United States’ military power.

“It’s possible that Kim Jong Un might be looking to that as an example, and realizing that he needs nuclear power to stop the U.S from invading.” Russell said.

Under the second theory, North Korea’s threats are all hollow, and they have no intention of using nuclear force anywhere.

“Can they afford to feed any army?” Hutchinson said. “North Korea has been doing this for forever, and they are incredibly poor. A lot of their threats have been unfounded.”

This is a dangerous assumption to make, though, as they could strike at any time, and being unprepared could be catastrophic.

There are countermeasures to a unclear strike being made, such as a placing anti-missile systems in both Guam and South Korea to potentially shoot down or deter a strike. At this point, the best offense is a good defense; as former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said to a reporter, “There’s no military solution [to act now].”

For as much of a threat as North Korea is to the safety of millions, it’s also worth noting that history says that maybe Kim Jong Un’s motives aren’t as destructive as he makes them out to be, so perhaps military action isn’t necessary. In any case, it is important to be prepared for any outcome in this time of uncertainty.

“There’s more at stake than just North Korea,” Hutchinson said. “You have to consider the bigger picture.”