President Donald Trump once again spoke off-the-cuff in response to a major global event, potentially enflaming a long-running standoff between the United States and North Korea and prompting harsh responses from other world leaders.
Trump threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury” the likes of which had never been seen – heavy and evocative words considering they were aimed at an adversary with potentially nuclear capabilities.
The latest intelligence reports suggest that North Korea is now capable of attaching smaller nuclear warheads to ICBMs, or intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Trump said Tuesday that the isolated communist regime “best not make any more threats to the U.S.” Otherwise, he said, “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Needless to say, Trump’s reckless speech taken straight from the theaters didn’t resonate well with our allies.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned that any conflict with North Korea would be “shattering.”
“It would have catastrophic consequences,” he said. “We all understand that.”
Even more harrowing was the response from the major of Nagasaki Tomihisa Taue, who spoke during a ceremony for the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bomb that was dropped on his city.
Taue told those gathered that he feared “in the not too distant future these weapons could be used again.”
New Zealand Premier Bill English also stepped up to suggest patience in the long drawn-out standoff.
“Everyone wants to avoid military confrontation,” he said, adding that the only path ahead is to push for “North Korea to comply with UN sanctions and for international pressure to push them in that direction.”
English added that he found Trump’s remarks unhelpful to the dangerous situation that risks global ramifications.
“I’m worried those comments are not helpful when the situation’s so tense,” English said. “I think you’re seeing reaction from North Korea that indicates that kind of comment is more likely to escalate than to settle things.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to walk back Trump’s dramatic commentary, but it didn’t stop the press, social media and the world from running away with the president’s word.