Yesterday President Trump announced “the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country” were being imposed on North Korea. This comes just two months after the United Nations voted to impose aggressive sanctions on the same country. These are the latest round of actions taken against North Korea in an effort to pressure the communist state into giving up its nuclear program.
However despite decades of mounting sanctions, North Korea continues its quest to be a nuclear power, re-routing food and supplies from its already impoverished citizens to sustain their military and government, a clear indication that sanctions alone will not work.
Foreign policy experts have suggested that applying diplomatic efforts as a supplement to previously imposed sanctions may affect a better outcome on relations with North Korea as opposed to what they believe the dictatorship sees as bullying tactics by the U.N. and ultimately the United States. However, since President Trump took office many high level jobs within the state department have been left vacant including key positions in East Asia, an unmistakable signal that diplomacy is not a priority for this administration.
Instead both leaders publically trade personal insults and nuclear threats undercutting any diplomatic talks that may have existed. It is this type of reckless rhetoric that twice since 2017 moved the Doomsday clock, maintained by the Science and Security board, 30 seconds closer to “midnight”, a symbol for global catastrophe.
If we are to believe the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, then we know the road being paved by the current administration will almost certainly lead to worldwide disaster. We also know it’s not too late to course correct but doing so would require President Trump toning down the bravado and instead relying on advice from seasoned foreign policy experts and diplomats. It is 2 minutes to midnight.
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