Kim Jong Un Sees Trump's Threat; Raises the Stakes

After Donald Trump issued a terrifying statement threatening to rain down "fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before" on North Korea, North Korea responded by announcing they are "carefully examining" a plan to launch a missle strike on the U.S. territory of Guam.
A spokesman for the Korean People's Army, in a statement carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, said the strike plan will be "put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment" once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision.

In another statement citing a different military spokesman, North Korea also said it could carry out a pre-emptive operation if the United States showed signs of provocation.

Earlier Pyongyang said it was ready to give Washington a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force in response to any U.S. military action.
The Congressional delegate from Guam, Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, issued a statement urging Trump to "work in partnership with the international community to de-escalate the growing tensions in the region" and "show steady leadership," while the Governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, made a public statement to reassure his people they were safe — and also to remind Kim Jong Un that if he attacks Guam, he will pay a steep price (and to remind the White House of its promises).

I want to reassure the people of Guam that currently there is no threat to our island or the Marianas. My Homeland Security Advisor, who is in communications with Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, notes that there is no change in the threat level resulting from North Korea events.

[edit] And additionally, I've reached out to the White House this morning: An attack or threat on Guam is a threat or attack on the United States. They have said that America will be defended.

And I also want to remind the national media that Guam is American soil. And we have 200,000 Americans in Guam and the Marianas. We are not just a military installation.
Meanwhile, Joby Warrick, Ellen Nakashima and Anna Fifield at the Washington Post report: "North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment."

While their colleague Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports: "Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, one of [Donald] Trump's evangelical advisers who preached the morning of his inauguration, has released a statement saying the president has the moral authority to take out North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 'When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil,' Jeffress said. 'In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.'"

Fucking hell.

Trump raised this stakes once more this morning with a pair of tweets boasting about the United States' tremendous nuclear arsenal:

A claim, by the way, which is not even true: "Trump's suggestion that the nuclear arsenal already has been modernized under his presidency is misleading at best, considering the process could take years."

All of this is very bad. We are stuck in between two brittle, erratic, compulsive, insecure despots who simply don't have their own people's best interests in mind, no less the safety and security of the global community. It's brinksmanship with the highest possible stakes being played by the worst possible men.

This is what we feared. This is what Hillary Clinton tried desperately to warn us about. Too many of us didn't listen. And now here we are.

It is a scary place to be.

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