This week, tensions between North Korea and America reached a dramatic high as President Donald Trump ordered a massive armada of U.S. aircraft carriers, warships and submarines to be sent to the Korean peninsula. Japan, an American ally, sent its Maritime Self-Defence Force to join the U.S. armada in carrying out a series of military exercises.
Trump’s war threats came in response to North Korea’s continued provocation in the form of military action.
On Friday, Kim Jong-un ordered the evacuation of 600,000 Pyongyang residents – mostly those with criminal records – due to the city’s shortage of bomb shelters. South Korean news outlets reported that citizens were bidding one another farewell as rumors of the nation preparing for a large-scale war were widely circulated.
Earlier this year, Kim Jong-un displayed blatant defiance of calls from China and America to denuclearize by conducting missile tests. Pyongyang was very pleased with the results and touted the achievement as being a significant step closer to producing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching U.S. soil.
On Saturday, two-hundred journalists from various parts of the world were invited to attend one of North Korea’s most important national celebrations, The Day of the Sun, to celebrate the 105th anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birthday. In 2012, this event was used as an opportunity to show North Korea’s military advancement with the successful launch of a long-range missile that was carrying a satellite.
Many analysts were anticipating Saturday’s occasion to be marked by a similar missile launch. However, it turned out to be a pompous display of unverified military might. A procession of a myriad of long-range missiles moved through Kim Il-sung Square as North Korea’s supreme commander, Kim Jong-un inspected the devices.
The display may have been impressive for some, but that impression was abruptly shattered when a missile launch in the early hours of Sunday morning failed miserably.
Kim Jong-un would not have been pleased to hear that the ballistic missile, fired from the coastal area of Sinpo, exploded seconds after launch. Another devastating blow for a dictator desperate to establish North Korea as a legitimate threat to the United States.
A White House foreign policy advisor told reporters traveling with Vice President Mike Pence that the failed test significantly deescalated the situation.
“We weren’t surprised by it, we were anticipating it. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out.”
He also stated that the for the time being, the U.S. would no longer need to expend military resources on tensions with North Korea. Furthermore, Secretary of Defense, General Jim Mattis, confirmed that President Donald Trump was aware of the failed test and did not comment on the matter.
Experts warned that North Korea’s latest missile test setback should not be taken lightly, as Kim Jong-um continues to display unrelenting dedication to his objective of producing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that would reach U.S. soil.
A top aid in Jong-un’s inner circle proclaimed that North Korea “[would] respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war of our own.”
Senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Michael Elleman, expressed alarm at North Korea’s enormous financial commitment to a program targeted at the United States and believes that “eventually, they are going to be successful.”
Will Trump’s war focus pivot primarily back to the Middle East?
After a suspected ninety-four ISIS operatives were wiped out this week when Trump ordered the first ever deployment of the most destructive non-nuclear bomb in existence, ISIS is bound to retaliate.
The majority of ISIS fighters killed in the detonation of the “mother of all bombs” – technically known as a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) – are believed to have been commanders.
Former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, hit out at Trump’s war strategy by denouncing the attack as a test of U.S. capabilities. Karzai was not the only critic of the use of the bomb, as many analysts around the world questioned the necessity of such force.
Having occurred only a week after U.S. forces released a barrage of missiles on a Syrian air base, Donald Trump, described the Afghan operation as “another very, very successful mission.”
ISIS, known for its impenitent use of violent terrorism measures worldwide, will no doubt be seeking revenge in the form of a retaliatory attack. Even though the U.S. has stringent border controls and highly sophisticated counter-terrorism surveillance capabilities, ISIS has reportedly recruited American operatives that are active in all 50 states.
ISIS has persistently tried to antagonize the U.S. in an attempt to illicit military conflict. The terrorist organization relies on Western attacks on Muslims in order to fuel its anti-Western propaganda. With that in mind, it is possible that a retaliatory attack will be executed by ISIS recruits within United States borders.
Meanwhile, in Syria, tensions between Bashar al-Assad, backed by his Russian ally Vladimir Putin, and the United States are increasing considerably. Following last week’s attack on a Syrian air-force base, President Vladimir Putin denounced Trump’s war action and promptly terminated an agreement between Russia and the U.S. to share flight information to avoid mid-air collisions in Syrian airspace.
A spokesperson for Putin described the Tomahawk missile strike as violation of international law and deemed it to be another severe blow to U.S. – Russia relations. Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev went a step further to declare the relationship as “completely ruined.”
Donald Trump has previously said that relations with Russia were “at an all-time low,” and the tension has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in last year’s U.S. elections.
After what has been reviewed as a successful meeting with Vladimir Putin last Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attended a summit with Russia’ foreign affairs minister, Sergey Lavrov.
During deliberations, Secretary Tillerson confirmed that there was a “low level of trust” between the two countries and that they disagreed on numerous issues. He went on to cite the Russian hacking scandal as one of the most significant contributors to their disagreements.
Every single American intelligence agency has confirmed the existence of proof that Russia initiated hacking activities during the 2016 presidential elections.
Considering the strained relationship with Russia, Trump’s apparent taste for war may yet result in an all-out conflict with Putin and Assad on Syrian soil.
Even though major European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany have sanctioned recent U.S. military action against Assad’s regime, with Trump’s unpredictable and erratic finger on the trigger, only time will tell if fears of a World War 3 were justified after all.
[Featured Image by Ahn Young-joon/AP Images]