Seen The Economist cover this week? A lone Twitter bird is perched on a burnt out branch while Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un turn into a mushroom cloud from our worst nightmare. Trump is doing a beta test of a perfect tweetstorm that might fast forward the world to that terrifying place.
From his luxe vacation home in New Jersey, US President Trump belted out a warning to North Korea saying Pyongyang will "face fire and fury like the world has never seen," if they continue to threaten the US - this was during a photo op at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
A note to our readers: For parents and guardians of youngsters in the Firstpost community who want to understand how the dominos stack up in the America- North Korea standoff, we have a podcast just for you, embedded below and also linked here - a conversation between BeiBei, 7, and her mom. If you like it, please do share it around and join our WhatsApp group. More on how to do that at the end of this story.
North Korea fired back soon after Trump’s comments saying it is "examining the operational plan" to strike around the US territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean which is just over 2000 miles from the Korean Peninsula.
Just before noon Wednesday, US Secretary of State was at pains to dial back Trump's incendiary remarks: "Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours...Americans should sleep well at night."
"I (also) want to remind 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," Guam's governor Eddie Baza Calvo said in a video address.
The latest themes swirling in the American media are how Trump’s tone seems perilous to Americans but is fairly routine from North Korea which keeps snarling about turning South Korea's capital into a "sea of fire" and warns of "merciless" and unprecedented attacks on its enemies, including nuclear strikes on the United States. Trump is sounding too much like Mr. Kim Jong Un, sparking jittery talk about an "accidental conflict".
Associated Press reports that the “high-level tit-for-tat follows reports that North Korea has mastered a crucial technology needed to strike the United States with a nuclear missile.”
North Korea’s state-run KCNA news network upped the fiery exchange by saying that North Korea would "turn the US mainland into the theater of a nuclear war" if it were to uncover any sign of an impending US attack.
On July 28 this year, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Los Angeles.
Trump’s latest "fire and fury" outburst is the latest in a thread that began as “It won’t happen!” and “era of strategic patience is over”. That came just a few days before North Korea conducted its first ICBM test.
U.S. stocks tanked in early trading Wednesday as the North Korea - US jitters spread thick and fast. Tech stocks were among the top losers.
"Trying to out-threaten North Korea is like trying to out-pray the Pope,” tweeted John Delury, an Asia specialist in Seoul, after Trump’s Twitter rant.
Here's how the four players - America, China, South Korea and North Korea - stack up.
Trump's tweets are helping North Korea paint America as the villain out to pounce and destroy the country, Trump has long been egging on China to rein in North Korea but China cares more about what South Korea is up to than what America wants it to do. Where does China fit in? It supplies the lion's share of oil to Kim's regime. South Korea would like some affirmation that the US would not act without consulting them. China does not care much for Kim Jong Un but worries that a weaker Kim Jong Un means a stronger, unified Korea and therefore, US troops on its (China's) border.
Twitter | @byniknat
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Updated Date: Aug 09, 2017 23:13 PM