By Scott Taylor
To follow the course of recent Western political and media rhetoric, North Korean President Kim Jong-un is a reckless megalomaniac with a goofy haircut who is bent on a nuclear war with the U.S.
All eyes were on the Kim Jong-un regime as they prepared to celebrate the country’s national holiday on April 15. Tradition has it that every year on this date, North Korea flexes its military might with massive parades and displays of firepower in celebration of the birth of the country’s founder. This year was no different as a defiant President Kim Jong-un was expected to conduct yet another nuclear test as well as launch a medium-range missile.
However, the game changer on this side of the Pacific Ocean is that Donald Trump is now in the White House. Facing the lowest domestic approval rating for a president’s first quarter in office, Trump is eagerly seeking foreign distractions.
To counter North Korea’s bluster, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group — described by White House spokesman Sean Spicer as “an armada” — to patrol off the Korean peninsula.
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was also sent to South Korea to issue a stern warning to the Pyongyang regime that America will no longer tolerate North Korea’s actions. “The era of strategic patience is over,” stated Pence to bring home that point and to illustrate the resolve of Trump to act decisively.
Pence reminded everyone that only hours earlier the U.S. military had launched what is known as the “mother of all bombs” against Daesh fighters in Afghanistan.
The 11-ton MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) is considered to be the largest non-nuclear explosive device on the planet. It was developed in time for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, but Saddam’s army melted away before they could test the MOAB. With a three-kilometre destructive diameter, the MOAB was considered too lethal and too indiscriminate to be used in counterinsurgency operations such as Iraq or Afghanistan. That was until Trump needed to send a tough message to North Korea.
The target of the MOAB, we are told by U.S. military officials, was a Daesh (aka ISIS and ISIL) military base. For some reason, these Daesh fighters were in the remote eastern Afghanistan province of Nangarhar, digging a tunnel complex. Given that these tunnels were nowhere near any Afghan villages, there was no risk of any civilian casualties.
In other words, Daesh had inadvertently handed the U.S. Air Force the perfect target to test the world’s biggest non-nuclear bomb: A large group of evildoers huddled together in the middle of nowhere.
With the bombsite still on U.S. military lockdown, we have no way of verifying their claim that 94 Daesh fighters were killed without a single civilian casualty.
The truth of the matter is that the use of the MOAB had nothing to do with eliminating a small band of Daesh fighters in Afghanistan and everything to do with showing North Korea that Trump will drop massive bombs on real targets.
Trump also violated international law on April 6 when he fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria as a punitive measure against President Bashar al-Assad for his alleged involvement in a chemical weapons attack. No independent agency has yet proven who launched that chemical weapon in Syria, yet Trump has already delivered a lethal punishment.
For Kim Jong-un, April 15 turned out to be a bit of a bust. The KN-17 missile that was test fired embarrassingly blew up shortly after take-off, and the satellite imagery of his nuclear test site revealed the workers to be playing a tournament of volleyball at the suspected ground zero.
There are two reckless megalomaniacs with goofy haircuts playing in a game of brinkmanship on the Korean peninsula. It is not yet clear which of the two is more dangerous.