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Jamal Khashoggi’s Death Should Not Be in Vain

in Foreign Policy/Political Issues by

The United States must retaliate against Saudi Arabia for their role in murdering Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi, a longtime journalist for The Washington Post, seems to have been murdered for his criticism of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudis claim that they have no knowledge of Mr. Khashoggi’s fate. However, nearly all of the evidence points to the contrary. Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Islamabad, where he was reportedly dismembered. Turkish officials have concluded that the “highest levels of the Royal Court” in Saudi Arabia ordered his murder. They report that a fifteen-person team (including some government officials) used a bonesaw to dismember Khashoggi. Yet, Saudi Arabia maintains that the fifteen men—who were in Turkey for less than 24 hours and flew in on a charter plane—were in Turkey for tourism. How often do tourists arrive on a charter plane (from a company that Saudis have previously used for government contracting work) and promptly depart at 3:13 AM? And how often do tourists bring a bone saw on their vacation? The evidence plainly and overwhelmingly suggests that this was the preemptive, orchestrated murder of a member of the free press.

Khashoggi (rightfully) was critical of Mohammed bin Salman in his articles, failing to shower him with praise for his “progressivism.” Ironically, Khashoggi’s murder exposes the superficiality of Mohammed bin Salman and his policies. Although he loves to pose as a more level-minded progressive, Mohammed bin Salman resorts to the same murderous tactics as his father and other similar autocrats when confronted with adversity–even from the press. Of course, now the US must determine how to respond to Saudi Arabia. In DC, there have been bipartisan support for swift retaliation if these allegations are true. Marco Rubio, for instance, promised “a very strong Congressional response” if the Trump administration does not do anything. Unfortunately, Marco Rubio has a history of not keeping promises, particularly when they require him to break with the President. Regardless, Rubio is right in thinking that a failure to respond to this murder would cost America immeasurable moral standing. If the US does not stand up for journalists—particularly the ones that work for American organizations—then the US would be realizing Trump’s image of the United States. Trump, while defending Putin (as he often does), was asked about Putin’s history of murdering journalists. Instead of denouncing Putin for his actions (as any sane person—much less President—would), Trump responded by saying, “What? Do you think our country’s so innocent?” If we did not respond to Khashoggi’s murder, we would indeed be complicit in the murder of journalists. We absolutely must respond and punish Saudi Arabia for their crimes. First, we need to cancel the impending arms deal with Saudi Arabia. This is a win-win; not only are we punishing them for murdering Khashoggi, but we’d also be encumbering the Saudi’s ability to wreak havoc on the Yemeni people. Second, we should do anything in our power to disrupt Saudi Arabia’s upcoming business conference—including withdrawing Sec. of Treasury Steve Mnuchin from the conference. The Trump administration needs to distance themselves from the Saudis. Finally, the US needs to put economic sanctions on Saudi oil. Although the Saudis could retaliate and temporarily drive up prices, doing so would be committing economic suicide for the Saudis, as well-analyzed by this New York Times article.

At first glance, it would seem that proponents of not sanctioning Saudi Arabia may be correct in thinking that the Saudi threat of raising oil prices is threatening to our economy. However, when evaluating that threat, we must consider two things: i) would the Saudis actually drive up their prices, as they claim they will? and ii) how would that affect our economy?

All signs seem to suggest that the Saudi’s threats are empty. If they drove up the price, they would shatter the reputation they’ve built over the past 45 years as a stable, reliable provider. American oil production since 2007 has doubled, making us nearly sustainable. Moreover, of the 800,000 daily barrels of oil we import from Saudi Arabia, many of those barrels go to support Saudi Aramco, the Saudi-owned refinery in the Gulf of Mexico. Cutting off oil trade to the US would cause irreparable damage to the Saudi Arabian economy—something that Mohammed bin Salman (who is solely focused on growing the Saudi economy and reputation) would not risk. In short, if the Saudis retaliate to sanctions by increasing oil prices, it would permanently and irreparably damage its economy and global reputation. Furthermore, although driving up oil prices would admittedly have a some temporary effect on the US economy, we could certainly turn to other countries and ourselves to replace Saudi oil. In fact, experts predict it would end up significantly helping our economy in the long run. The thinking that suggests the US is reliant on Saudi Arabia is outdated and inaccurate.

The barbaric murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an attack on America’s free press, demands a swift response. We can NOT turn a blind eye to our country’s principles because of the mere risk of a hiccup in our economy. There is no price worth sacrificing America’s ideals and morality. Khashoggi’s brutal death has prompted legislators from ALL sides of the political spectrum to reexamine US/Saudi relations. A growing number of Congressmen are beginning to acknowledge our part in exacerbating the horrific Yemen Humanitarian Crisis. We now face a choice as a Nation. We can ignore the inhuman murder of an American resident, succumbing to the fear that the Saudis might retaliate against us. Or, we can adhere to the ideals our nation supposedly values most—human rights, freedom of the press, and basic safeties—and retaliate against Saudi Arabia.

The US is supposed to serve as a beacon of moral leadership to other countries. Our unresponsiveness to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, coupled with our role in enabling the deaths of thousands of Yemeni civilians, is a shameful abdication of that responsibility.

Of course, following this presidency has trained me to expect the worst, and then lower those expectations. Donald Trump likely won’t put sanctions on Saudi Arabia, and Republicans in Congress will probably not defy his agenda. As a matter of fact, Trump has said he likes the Saudis because “they buy apartments from [him].” However, if you feel strongly that there must be a check on the President’s worst impulses, then go vote (and make your friends and family vote) for people who are not afraid to check his worst impulses, unlike the current Congress.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/saudi-arabia-economy-united-states.html?\

 

The Opioid Wars

in Contemporary Politics/Foreign Policy/Political Issues by

The Opioid Crisis killed 64,000 Americans in 2016, causing more American casualties than the Vietnam War in its entirety. Although the American deaths during the Vietnam War sparked an unprecedented amount of media coverage and civic engagement, the more deadly Opioid Crisis receives significantly less coverage than the Vietnam War once did. Historians lack a consensus on the cause and severity of the Opioid Crisis. Many experts attribute the epidemic to pharmaceutical corruption, medical malpractice, or a larger problem with America’s drug culture. While all of these factors certainly contribute to America’s Opioid Epidemic, many seem to overlook China’s role in exacerbating, and possibly causing, the Opioid Crisis.  China, learning from their own troubled history with opium, is intentionally exacerbating America’s current opioid crisis to undermine America’s economy and, by extension, its global leadership position.

China aggravates America’s opioid crisis through its prodigious exports of fentanyl. By examining the effects of fentanyl compared to other addictive drugs, the dangers of the relatively new synthetic painkiller become abundantly clear. Fentanyl, for instance, is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. A mere 2 milligrams of fentanyl, furthermore, constitutes a lethal dosage.  The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that one kilogram of fentanyl can be purchased in China for only $3,000-$5,000, which can earn upwards of $1.5 million on the illicit drug market. The DEA, additionally, reports that China is responsible for “the vast majority” of the fentanyl manufacturing. China unquestionably is the root source of fentanyl imports into the United States; the extent of the Chinese government’s knowledge and support of the fentanyl manufacturers, however, is less clear. On the surface, the Chinese government appears to be combating these producers, often outlawing the exports of specific types of fentanyl. These policies, while nominally assuring, actually allow manufacturers to make miniscule changes to the fentanyl’s chemical makeup before continuing to export it. Chinese fentanyl, moreover, is readily accessible on both the dark web and Google. Within a few clicks, nearly anyone can ensure the expedient delivery of illicit opioids. China’s chemical regulations, particularly regarding exports, are notoriously loose; China’s domestic tolerance for drugs, counterintuitively, is unbelievably strict. Chinese drug dealers, for example, are publicly sentenced to death in filled sports arenas before being taken away and executed. The disparity between China’s domestic intolerance for drugs in its own country and its leniency for helping facilitate America’s opioid crisis certainly raises alarming questions. A 2017 report from The US-China Economic Security and Review Commission concludes that Chinese authorities “place little emphasis on controlling [fentanyl’s] production and export.” China’s government, historically, has been closely involved in its industrial pursuits. As of 2007, 45% of China’s non-agricultural GDP were controlled by either state-owned enterprises or state-holding enterprises. The notion, proposed by Chinese leaders, that the Chinese government has no means to prevent the production of Fentanyl is absolutely spurious.  China, at best, is deliberately allowing opioids to freely flow into America. At worst, China is actively exacerbating America’s Opioid epidemic.

China, remembering how its own opium struggles crippled the nation, has launched a similar attack on the US in hopes that the fentanyl will have a comparable effect on the country.  Western traders, primarily British, had profited from smuggling opium into the empire of China’s Qing Dynasty since the 18th century. The smuggling significantly intensified, however, in the early 1800s. While opium had been used in Chinese medical practices for roughly a thousand years, between 6 and 12 million Chinese were opium addicts by 1840.  Britain, essentially, used opium as a means to retard the Chinese economy. China, attempting to address its opium crisis, intensely suppressed the opium trade by destroying thousands of crates of opium and blockading the Pearl River estuary, a prominent Chinese trading port. The superior British forces deftly invaded China, launching several victorious military campaigns in the span of two years. The overpowered Chinese capitulated to the British, signing the Treaty of Nanjing, an unequal treaty that gave the British unchecked control over the Chinese economy. Opium, eventually legalized in China by the British, continued to flow into China, addicting millions more. Left with a crippled economy and an addicted populace, China spiraled into a self-proclaimed “century of humiliation.” China, during the following century, struggled to overcome a seemingly insurmountable addiction crisis. Given China’s long history with drug epidemics, China appears to be mirroring Britain’s smuggling tactics in the US right now. Using drug cartels and the dark web rather than merchants and ships, China is actively infiltrating the US with fentanyl in hopes of recreating the destabilizing effect that opium had on China in the US.

China aspires to destabilize the US because, ultimately, it wants to be the foremost global power. Xi Jinping, China’s president, plans to resist American policies that seek to “contain [China’s] rise.” Chinese analysts claim that Jinping plans to “step into the vacuum [the US] leaves behind.” In fact, The New York Times reports that Jinping will pursue his agenda even if it risks “triggering a new Cold War.” China evidently views the US as a waning superpower, and Jinping appears eager to expedite its decline. By aggravating America’s ongoing opioid epidemic, China seeks to eclipse America’s status as the leading international superpower. The Centre for Research on Globalization reports that China aspires to gain “global leadership” through economic means rather than war and conquest. The only country with a more robust economy than China’s is the United States. The only way to satiate China’s global economic ambitions, therefore, is for the US to lose its international leadership position. If China yearns to be the global economic leader then perhaps its fentanyl exports serve to undermine the American economy exactly how Britain’s opium crippled the Chinese economy. Jinping’s policies, furthermore, have included sizable investments in technological research and development, solar and wind energy, and advanced medical products. As justification for all of these investments, Jinping bluntly states that he wants China to be “a new choice for other countries.” While Jinping’s policies are positioning China to take the reins of global power in the event of an American vacuum on the global stage, China’s fentanyl exports are aiding the US in creating that vacuum.

America’s Opioid Epidemic certainly embodies an underlying competition for global control between the US and China. While America’s Opioid Crisis has already killed hundreds of thousands and addicted millions, those numbers could potentially pale in comparison to the casualties of “a new Cold War” between the US and China. Reliving the tensions of the original Cold War with 21st Century technologies—such as nuclear weapons 3,000 times as powerful as the ones used at Hiroshima—seems particularly dangerous. China, somewhat miraculously, overcame their own opium addictions largely through state-sponsored rehabilitation centers. If China is drawing inspiration from the western history playbook to exacerbate America’s Opioid Epidemic then perhaps the US, ironically, can look at China’s history to solve its Opioid Crisis.  

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Product of Errant Publishing Co.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/us/politics/senate-investigation-china-mail-opioids.html
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/24/chinese-labs-use-mail-to-send-opioid-fentanyl-into-us-senate-report-finds
http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/366684-china-says-its-not-to-blame-for-opioid-crisishttps://www.cnn.com/2017/12/28/asia/china-drugs-us-intl/index.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/world/asia/china-opioid-trump.html
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/21/the-myth-of-the-roots-of-the-opioid-crisis-217034
https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2017/04/addressing-americas-fentanyl-crisis
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/world/asia/xi-jinping-china-new-cold-war.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/opinion/trump-china-xi-jinping.html
https://www.globalresearch.ca/china-seeks-global-leadership-through-economic-means-rather-than-through-war-and-conquest/5630350
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/world/asia/china-opioid-fentanyl-trump.html
https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/19/synthetic-opioids-fentanyl-china/

 

A Fiscal Approach to the Wall

in Contemporary Politics/Foreign Policy/Political Issues by

On March 13th of this year, President Trump travelled to California to view eight potential samples for the ‘border wall’ which he promised his supporters during his 2016 Presidential Campaign. The controversial building of the wall had become a talking point, with claims that Mexico would pay for it, which Mexican President Pena Nieto continues to furiously deny. The wall should “only” cost $18 billion dollars, via Trump’s Twitter, and would be paid for through an extension of a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Removing the flagrant social rights violation that this wall imposes and personal biases against the President, the Wall could make sense, right? The United States spends close close to $750 billion dollars each year on defense, and border protection counts as defense.

According to a New York Times article, the Senate Democrats released a report in April of 2017 claiming that the wall would cost an estimated $70 billion, and would cost close to $150 million dollars to maintain each year. The wall will employ an electronically monitored zone between its two sides with armed guards patrolling. Obviously, roads would be protected heavily with gates used for inspection. Theoretically, though the cost is daunting, illegal immigration from South and Latin America would be stopped. However, the wall can easily be circumvented by criminals and immigrants alike. Major cartels can simply pay a border agent to look the other way while they construct a tunnel under the wall. The integrity of these border agents can be bought, blatantly defeating the purpose of the wall. Seeing as the wall would only be 150 feet wide, these tunnels can be done quite effectively. Thousands of criminals can smuggle their drugs and weapons through to the United States while refugees and immigrants would be trapped in their respective countries.

How can the United States then prevent illegal immigration? Recently, increased economic stability in Mexico has decreased the number of illegal immigrants. By investing in Mexican corporations and micro financing small business, the United States can improve the economy there while also making money abroad. With a stronger national economy, Mexico and other Latin American countries will be able to retain potential immigrants who can seek opportunities at their homes. In terms of that $70 billion dollars, the United States can do some good with that money. According to the Borgen project, this money can absolve all world hunger for the next 2.5 years. By investing in Latin America and curing their hunger crisis, the United States can prevent illegal immigration and create strong fiscal ties with a burgeoning superpower.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Product of Errant Publishing Co.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/see-all-8-prototypes-trump-s-big-beautiful-border-wall-n813346
https://borgenproject.org/the-cost-to-end-world-hunger/
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-visits-california-see-wall-prototypes-near-mexico-border-n854836

Catalonian Crisis: A Look Into Spanish Affairs

in Foreign Policy/Miscellaneous by

Catalonia’s struggle for independence has been heard of all around the world. Catalonia is one of many autonomous communities in Spain, which can be, somewhat, paralleled to the states in the United States. Out of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, Catalonia is the most powerful and self sufficient.

Spain was ruled by a dictatorship until the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. During Franco’s time in power, he created a centralized non-democratic form of government in Spain, and, as such, Catalonia’s autonomous power was taken away and all of their culture was suppressed so that all of Spain could be the same. After Franco’s death, Catalonia was given more powers as an autonomous community than the others because the government in Madrid was aware that Franco stripped the region of almost all of its power as an autonomous community and that the Catalan people were upset by Franco taking their power. Three years after the end of the dictatorship, a constitution was created and with it came the 17 autonomous communities of Spain. This constitution is the foundation of Spanish democracy. When Spain became a democratic country, Catalonia somewhat began to appear independent from Spain; moreover, Catalonia has one of the highest levels of self-governance for a region in all of Europe. The Spanish government realized that it was a possibility for an autonomous community to seek independence and explicitly stated in the constitution that, although autonomous communities are allowed some self-governance, there will be no sovereignty apart from that of the Spanish nation. This and anything in the Spanish constitution can be changed holding a nationwide vote; however, a referendum held by a minority (as was done on the first of October of 2017 in Catalonia) cannot change the law and is considered unconstitutional.

Catalonia has now made themselves appear as if they are victims of the government’s’ suppression; 80 years ago it could have been understood if the people of Catalonia were suppressed, but, as the government has awarded many more rights to the people of Catalonia than other autonomous communities, the Spanish people and government have been upset by the self-victimization of the Catalan people. Schools in Catalonia have punished those who do not partake in independence movements with more homework and are teaching children that the Spanish government and king are monsters, arguing that the Catalan people are simply victims of the Spanish government. Catalonia held a referendum on October 1, 2017, which was done unconstitutionally, in which 40% of all eligible voters in Spain took part in and 92% voted for Catalonia’s independence. However, this was not an official vote, so it is highly plausible that results were tampered with and this was not the true result. Catalonia’s parliament declared independence on October 27 of this past year, even though a proper vote was never held and it is unconstitutional to do so. Spanish flags were taken down from government buildings in Catalonia, and Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, has told the people of Catalonia to keep the movement towards independence going in a peaceful manner.  In light of all this, the Spanish government has intervened, and the Spanish Supreme Court has voted to intervene in Catalonia and take over their parliament.

Now, Mariano Rajoy, the president of Spain, has sacked Puigdemont and Catalonia’s government. Puigdemont is in exile and is residing in Belgium; he has also chosen to not run for a second term as Catalonia’s regional president. Puigdemont faces charges of sedition and rebellion from Spain, and will not attempt to govern remotely or return back to Spain due to fear of his arrest. Some of Catalonia’s fight for independence’ leaders are now in jail, such as Jordi Sanchez, who was imprisoned by charges of sedition. Puigdemont proposes that he should hand on the torch to Sanchez, which is very unlikely. The Spanish government has successfully brought the rebelliousness taking place in Catalonia close to an end. Spain is now in control of Catalonia’s parliament and will remain in control until they deem the Catalan people ready to regain control.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/29/world/europe/spain-autonomy-catalonia.html
https://politica.elpais.com/politica/2017/11/06/actualidad/1509972380_418347.html
https://academic.oup.com/pa/article-abstract/53/1/55/1446601?redirectedFrom=PDF
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-20345071
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41780116http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catalonia-independence-latest-carles-puigdemont-withdraws-bid-president-spain-rajoy-a8235606.html
Product of Errant Publishing

#ReleaseTheMemo

in Contemporary Politics/Foreign Policy/Political Issues by

Republican congressman Devin Nunes recently released a new ‘bombshell’ memo — one written by the Republicans of the House Intelligence Committee. After an announcement that a draft of the memo had been completed, House Republicans embarked on a media circuit, appearing on all sorts of news shows to build anticipation for the ‘shocking’ memo. Within a few days, #ReleaseTheMemo was trending on Twitter (with the help of Russian twitter-bots).  Meanwhile, House Democrats argued that the memo was filled with factual inaccuracies, so they wrote a memo of their own. Unsurprisingly, the Republican-controlled House voted to send their memo to President Trump for declassification, and they blocked the Democratic memo from being sent to President Trump.

Despite being warned not to release their memo by House Democrats, the Trump appointed head of the FBI, Senate Republicans and Democrats, and the Trump Administration’s own Department of Justice, the memo was released a few days ago by President Trump and the House Intelligence Committee. The memo claimed that the Clinton campaign helped provide a FISA court with evidence against Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, allowing the FBI to extend their surveillance on Mr. Page. Notably, Carter Page had been under FBI surveillance for three years prior to joining the Trump campaign due to his (surprise!) Russian connections.  Even if the accusations in the memo are true, none of them are illegal. The memo, essentially, is just a shabby attempt of weaponizing intelligence.

However, the various reactions to the memo itself were very telling. The FBI called the memo “extraordinarily reckless.” Senator John McCain, a patriot and war-hero, claimed that “we are doing Putin’s job for him.” Former FBI Director James Comey called the memo “dishonest and misleading.” Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer called the memo “partisan and misleading.” Honorable people across the political spectrum seemed to agree that the memo was merely a political hit-job on the FBI.

Republican pundits, on the other hand, had a different reaction to the memo. Former Trump White House Staffer and possible Nazi Sebastian Gorka claimed that the memo was “100 times bigger” than what started the Revolutionary War. Sean Hannity described the memo as “Watergate times a thousand” and the “shredding of the Constitution.” Sean Hannity then proceeded to call for Robert Mueller’s unrelated investigation of President Trump to be immediately shut down. Perhaps this reveals the true intentions of this underwhelming issue. It appears that the Republicans are actively trying to discredit the FBI and attempting to delegitimize the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Many Republicans claim that the Russia investigation is nothing but a witch hunt against President Trump’s campaign. It’s hard to blame them — this is reiterated in practically every show on FOX News. Sean Hannity said a few days ago that the investigation has “no evidence.” This is demonstrably false. The investigation has already charged multiple people with crimes. Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, was charged with lying to the FBI and is pleading GUILTY. George Papadopoulos, Trump’s foreign policy advisor, is also pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. This investigation can’t be considered a nothingburger if the accused parties have admitted to being guilty! It’s truly mind-boggling that anyone can continue to cast this investigation as a baseless attack on Trump when a Republican, Robert Mueller, is conducting the investigation and multiple people have pleaded guilty to committing crimes.

This memo does nothing to answer any of the lingering questions between possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. President Trump, in a tweet where he misused the word ‘there,’ argued that the memo completely vindicated him. In reality, all the memo did was give the President Trump and the Republicans a way to discredit the FBI.

Personally, I believe the men and women who sacrifice their lives to protect our country by working for the FBI deserve the utmost respect from our President and elected officials. Any attempt to tarnish the pristine reputation of the FBI is an attempt to obstruct the very idea of American democracy. I fear John McCain is right — we’re doing Putin’s job for him. I’m just worried some of us are doing it purposefully.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Product of Errant Publishing Co.
http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a13122012/robert-mueller-russia-investigation-charges/
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/us/politics/trump-fbi-memo.html
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/03/nunes-fisa-memo-sparks-reactions-from-politicians.html

World War Three or Diplomacy?

in Foreign Policy/Political Issues by

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”     Albert Einstein

Since 2006, North Korea has had nuclear weaponry. One of their more recent tests displayed a bomb seven times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, which triggered an earthquake with a magnitude of  6.1…in Japan. In 2017, an intercontinental missile test revealed that they had the capability to hit the United States if they desired.  Immediately, worries of a nuclear World War III spread across the nation and the globe as tensions between the two countries continued to rise.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently stated that the North Korea threat “is growing.”  So how serious is this threat? Are we staring in the face of World War III?  

Recent writers say that perhaps North Korea’s nuclear efforts don’t have the feared motives behind them, but rather they have created a nuclear stockpile simply to use as leverage for diplomacy.  The best case scenario would be that, after seeing the United States’ treatment of Cuba, Kim Jong Un is simply creating enough force to deter a similar invasion.  To protect his similar dictatorship from a Bay of Pigs-esque invasion, Kim Jong Un created and threatened the use of nuclear weapons. Another slightly comforting thought is that the weapons will just be used to strong-arm South Korea into annexation.  “Other than as a smoking crater, Kim Jong Un simply doesn’t have the resources to take over South Korea,” remarked one writer, “the nukes are just for leverage.” Top CIA officials have stated that Kim Jong Un is not the “madman” that the United States often portrays, but rather a “rational actor” motivated by “clear, long-term goals.”  “Waking up one morning and deciding to nuke LA is not something he’s likely to do,” said Yong Suk Lee, deputy assistant director of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, “he knows he would be utterly eliminated…he wants to rule for a long time and die peacefully in his bed.”  It seems as if worries of an unprompted nuclear strike on the United States are unlikely to come true; of course, all of this relies on the rationality of our leaders…

Donald Trump’s reaction to the “North Korea crisis” and nuclear warfare in general is perhaps the greatest threat facing our world today.  The simple act of getting in petty twitter wars with another nuclear power world leader is arguably the most irresponsible act of his entire administration (which is a pretty high bar).  Those CIA officials that suggest Kim Jong Un is a rational leader are “continuously undermined” by the president’s words and actions.  The Moon administration in South Korea see Kim Jong Un’s actions as “largely defensive and rational,” but the reasonable voices of the world are drowned out by Trump’s petulant outcries. The most concerning of his antics is the increase of nuclear weapons.  In July 2017, Trump said he wanted to return the United States active nuclear stockpile to 1960 levels.  

The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump tweeted. Coming to your senses is decreasing the amount of nuclear weapons in the world, not increasing it. Every presidential Administration since Lyndon Johnson in the 60s has decreased the nuclear stockpile.  Trump is single handedly starting a second Cold War. What kept the Cold War from sparking into a full on nuclear war was the principle of MAD (mutually assured destruction).  We would never start a nuclear war with Russia because we knew they could annihilate our civilization, and vice versa. What is concerning about the North Korea crisis (though seemingly counterintuitive) is that we could survive their attacks, making it possible for the Trump administration to decide to go head to head.  On a morning news show Trump seemed to invite this line of logic: “Let it be an arms race.  We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” Yes, congratulations, your button is bigger and you would win, but with millions and millions of lives lost. Some have even suggested executing a preemptive “bloody nose strike” on North Korea, assuming that eventual war is inevitable.  Pence stated recently that “the era of strategic patience is over.” Though the experts say that peace is still entirely possible and most Americans believe that “North Korea is bluffing,” our leaders seem to be unnecessarily escalating an incredibly dangerous situation.

Nuclear war should simply not be an option and should be avoided at all costs. The power of modern nuclear bombs is incomprehensibly devastating.  Even in 1961, the Tsar bomb detonated with a forces of 3,800 Hiroshima explosions.  The thousands of 21st century nuclear bombs could no doubt wipe civilizations off of the face of the Earth.  Trading nuclear blows with North Korea just to quiet them would be sacrificing millions of lives over a matter of pride.  If the situation is handled by our leaders properly, there should be little worry. Unfortunately that’s a big if.

Graphic Design by Jackson Edwards
Property of Errant Publishing Co.
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/906428/North-Korea-news-Donald-Trump-Kim-Jong-un-World-War-3-US
http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-hydrogen-bomb-test-evidence-2017-9
http://www.businessinsider.com/reason-north-korea-needs-nukes-deterrence-vs-expansion-2018-1
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/05/politics/cia-kim-jong-un-intelligence-profile/index.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/09/peace-north-korea-170905092328093.html
http://www.businessinsider.com/nuclear-posture-review-trump-huffpost-draft-report-2018-1
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/903266/North-Korea-news-Kim-Jong-un-Donald-Trump-Moon-Jae-in-South-Korea-World-War-3-latest?utm_source=traffic.outbrain&utm_medium=traffic.outbrain&utm_term=traffic.outbrain&utm_content=traffic.outbrain&utm_campaign=traffic.outbrain

 

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