Concern about North Korea’s threat to attack the United States is warranted by an updated U.S. intelligence assessment that the communist nation has the capacity to miniaturize a nuclear weapon to place atop a ballistic missile.
While the latest technological milestone does not mean North Korea can hit the U.S., it has empowered dictator Kim Jong Un to ramp up his rhetoric, threatening to put missiles in the waters near Guam, a U.S. territory.
President Trump responded with a blunt warning that continued threats against the U.S. would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
North Korea immediately responded with an escalation, threatening “an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the U.S.”
So who is the target of criticism from Democrats, the establishment media and others on the left?
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., characterized Trump’s comments as “reckless.”
“We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe,” Schumer tweeted.
We need to be firm and deliberate with NK, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 8, 2017
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the former ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declared, “President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments.”
Isolating North Korea “has not halted their pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Feinstein tweeted. “Diplomacy is the only path forward.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, she said, should discuss the reopening of North Korea talks with U.S. regional partners.
The situation on the Korean peninsula is already volatile enough. President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) August 8, 2017
New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump’s responses undermine U.S. credibility.
“Make no mistake: North Korea is a real threat, but the president’s unhinged reaction suggests he might consider using American nuclear weapons in response to a nasty comment from a North Korean despot,” Engel said.
On Thursday, Trump responded to critics who insisted his talk was too tough, telling reporters, “Maybe it wasn’t tough enough.”
“They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years,” Trump said of North Korea. “It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, that statement wasn’t tough enough.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., claimed the president’s “reckless” response backs the U.S. “into a corner.”
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 8, 2017
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, compared Trump to Kim Jong Un.
“President Trump’s comments were not helpful and once again show that he lacks the temperament and judgment to deal with the serious crisis the United States confronts,” Cardin said. “We should not be engaging in the same kind of bluster and provocative statements as North Korea about nuclear war.”
Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., also claimed the president’s remarks sounded like statements from the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea.
This sounds more like a statement from the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea than from the President of the United States. https://t.co/ZHOPtXt6qb
— Kathleen Rice (@RepKathleenRice) August 8, 2017
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., tweeted claims the president is catapulting “the world to the brink of war.”
We cannot permit the North Korean regime to have the ability to threaten our country with a nuclear weapon. My full statement below. pic.twitter.com/yXXquay0p6
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) August 8, 2017
Susan Rice, former national security adviser and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, claimed in a New York Times op-ed that Trump is waging a war that could leave millions dead by aggressively asserting that North Korea must not be allowed to obtain nuclear missiles.
“Either Mr. Trump is issuing an empty threat of nuclear war, which will further erode American credibility and deterrence, or he actually intends war next time Mr. Kim behaves provocatively,” Rice wrote in the Times. “The first scenario is folly, but a United States decision to start a pre-emptive war on the Korean Peninsula, in the absence of an imminent threat, would be lunacy.
“History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War,” she wrote.
In lockstep with Democrat leadership, Hollywood is also blasting President Trump for being too tough.
“This is why you don’t elect a f****** psychopath TV show host as president of the United States of America,” tweeted Josh Gad.
“Approval rating at record low – this is predictable authoritarian behavior – apocalyptic tone shows just how desperate & unhinged he is,” actor John Cusack tweeted.
Approval rating at record low – this is predictable authoritarian behavior – apocalyptic tone shows just how desperate & unhinged he is
— John Cusack (@johncusack) August 8, 2017
“Of all the people you’d want in a nuclear standoff, Trump and Kim – Fat Man and Little Boy, how ironic – wld have to be last. Here’s hoping,” Bill Maher quipped.
Of all the people you’d want in a nuclear standoff, Trump and Kim – Fat Man and Little Boy, how ironic – wld have to be last. Here’s hoping.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) August 8, 2017
Cher tweeted, “trump Causes FEAR AROUND the world.”
trump Causes FEAR AROUND trump On N.Korea“THEY WILL B MET WITH FIREFURY,& POWER THE LIKES OF WHICH THIS WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN”#REDLINE
— Cher (@cher) August 8, 2017
But North Korea is making a mistake if it regards Trump as it has his predecessors, warned Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president.
“I’m sure North Korea is watching Western media – they need to know something: This is not the Obama White House and there is a very different man today as commander-in-chief. And they should not test President Donald J. Trump,” he said.
“They can rattle their rusty sabers, but the fact is, this is a sadistic, dictatorial regime. And what they have been trying to do ever since the facilitation of their weapons programs by the Clinton White House and then the Obama White House, is to blackmail us, to blackmail the West. But that all ended this weekend.”
Despite the criticism Trump has received for his tough talk on North Korea, his administration’s ability to persuade the U.N. Security Council to unanimously sanction the communist regime demonstrates the president’s effective leadership, Gorka argued.
“Think about all the people who not just underestimated, but criticized this president. What did we just achieve through the good offices of Ambassador Haley, Secretary Tillerson? We have a 15-0 vote from the U.N. Security Council, including permanent members like China and Russia, that have brought the most stringent package of sanctions against North Korea we have ever seen,” he said. “They have backed themselves into a corner and they need to back down.”
Gorka explained the roots of the conflict date back a long time.
“We inherited a world on fire – eight years of leading from behind in strategic patience – saw a more militaristic China, saw the rise of North Korea, the establishment of Islamic State, the invasion of the Ukraine. This is what President Trump has inherited, but now there is leadership. It’s not the creation of vacuums. And we will stand up.”