What Will YOU Do When Real Missiles Start Flying?
On Wednesday, North Korea conducted its latest missile test.
But whereas previous tests were met with skepticism and derision, this one was taken very seriously by the U.S. government and the international community at large.
That’s because it was the country’s biggest yet... and 100% successful.
“With this system, we can load the heaviest warhead and strike anywhere in the mainland United States,” the country said in a special live broadcast on state television. “This missile is far more technologically advanced than July’s Hwasong-14. This signifies that our rocket development process has been completed.”
Western experts agreed.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House the missile went “higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken,” adding that North Korea now has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world basically” with an ICBM.
“This is a really big missile, much larger than I expected,” Scott LaFoy, an imagery analyst for the specialist website NK News, told the Washington Post. “I believe one of my professors would have referred to it as a big honking missile.”
Other experts likened the projectile to the United States’ own Titan II, which was initially an ICBM and later used by NASA as a space launch vehicle.
Even the truck carrying the missile represented a dramatic step forward.
Said LaFoy: “We've seen heavy vehicle extensions before but this would be a very large step forward for their heavy vehicles industry. We know that this is pretty difficult. It took China a while to figure this out.”
Still, no matter how big, frequent, or threatening these tests get, there’s still a large swath of the media and the American public that doesn’t take them seriously.
I can’t say I blame them. This whole process has gotten a bit routine, a bit repetitive. North Korea fires a missile into the ocean, blusters about incinerating the United States, and then quietly negotiates.
But am I really the only one who feels like things have changed? That things are different now?
Maybe it’s cynicism. Maybe it’s paranoia. Or maybe it’s that I simply don’t trust the people making the decisions.
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In one corner, we have Kim Jong-Un — a man-child in his 30s (no one knows his exact age) who’s obsessed with the Chicago Bulls and allegedly spends 65% of his time playing video games. He inherited a dictatorship, killed his uncle, and is said to be exactly like his father. According to his former personal chef, he drinks a lot and “never admits defeat.”
And in the other corner, we have Donald Trump.
Set politics aside for a second and tell me Tweets-A-Million is a stable, rational, thoughtful decision-maker.
No, even when supporters talk about Donald Trump they use words like “Brash,” “Bold,” “Impulsive,” “Aggressive,” “Pugnacious,” and “Egotistical.”
And that’s being generous. Donald Trump's critics call him “Thin-Skinned,” “Ignorant,” and “Racist.”
Some speculate he's suffering the early stages of dementia. And even his own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, won’t deny calling Trump a “f#@%ing moron.”
Speaking of which, is that who’s going to step in and solve this problem? The nation’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson? The Texas oilman with no semblance of national security experience?
That seems unlikely. Especially since he’s gutted the State Department.
So if not Tillerson, and not Trump, who exactly is the responsible party supposed to be here?
Sure, maybe they’ll take a break from their busy agenda of groping women, diddling kids, and passing corporate tax cuts, but I wouldn’t count on it.
There's no "adult in the room." There’s no single responsible party on either side of this crisis. And that’s a problem.
We’ve got a hermit nation with nuclear weapons and a massive inferiority complex squaring off against an impulsive egomaniac whose first line of defense is doling out insults on Twitter.
I keep hearing that “cooler heads will prevail,” but I’d love for someone to tell me who those cooler heads are.
Tell me how this gets resolved in any way other than a missile exchange. Convince me Donald Trump won’t get fed up and launch a pre-emptive strike. Make me believe his chubby counterpart in North Korea won’t get trigger happy and do something stupid. Tell me with a straight face that they'll both cast aside their bombastic rhetoric and amicably work out a mutually-beneficial peace plan.
No one wants to really believe it — it’s too horrible to fathom — but all of these missile tests and vitriolic exchanges are going somewhere.
Jason Simpkins is a ten-year veteran of the financial publishing industry, where he's served as a reporter, analyst, investment strategist and prognosticator. He's written more than 1,000 articles pertaining to personal finance and macroeconomics. Simpkins also served as the chief investment analyst for a trading service that focused exclusively on high-flying energy stocks. For more on Jason, check out his editor's page.
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