Recently, the Trump administration has been sounding off on the potential dangers Kim Jong Un's North Korea towards the United States and its allies, particularly after a recent report by Reuters claiming that North Korea's nuclear-capable missile, the Hwasong 15 is now more than capable of reaching the US soil.
Meanwhile, the response towards this report from Trump administration has become increasingly suggestive towards military intervention, US chief national advisor, General HR McMaster recently mentioned that North Korea is "the greatest immediate threat towards the United States" and the possibility of war with the nation increasing every day.
He also seemed to be reluctant of potential negotiations with the communist state, saying in a recent Washington Post report “The President has made very clear that on North Korea for example, now is not the time to talk.” Closing negotiations towards North Korea could simply mean that potential of conflict could be happening in the near future, also Trump’s recent rant on North Korea is not helping either. This stance could be a troubling sign of what’s to come. This rhetoric has its similarities towards Bush administration’s before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The similarities could be seen in the lack of negotiations towards the country in conflict with. During the Bush era, without any negotiations at hand and real proof of potential Iraqi attacks towards the US and its allies, it concluded that the continuation of "weapons of mass destruction" program is endangering lives of thousands of its citizen, thus could not open negotiations and will attack based on a "pre-emptive" war argument regardless of UNMOVIC's report suggesting that there have been no WMD produced.
This intolerant and non-diplomatic stance is copied in the Trump administration, with HR McMaster argues that the continuation and advancement of North Korea nuclear program made it not possible for negotiations, even though North Korea recently has opened its diplomatic channels with South Korea for the first time in over two years.
Also, the seemingly rushed fashion towards the situation would be one of the similarities, the Trump administration, much like the last Republican president, seemed to be acting carelessly towards a crisis, seemed to try to angle war as a necessity to end the impending problem (Trump by his tweet, and Bush by his doctrine).
The only differences in arguments with Bush’s rhetoric is the Trump administration’s uncertainty; it is not clearly mentioned how the administration is going to handle the problem and lack of transparency towards the US citizen creates assumptions and distress in the community, it is clear that the Trump administration has not spent enough political capital towards marketing the idea of military intervention to Americans, unlike what the Bush administration did with its doctrine back in 2002-2003.
Debates and arguments suggesting that the weapon in question was used solely based on the intention to attack the US and its allies rather than an act of regime survival tactic is also similar and very misleading, so far there has been no evidence of Kim Jong Un's willingness to strike first towards the US, on the contrary, North Korea has recently softened its stance and is willing to negotiate.
This sudden rush towards conflict and war rhetoric could well be caused by an opportunist administration desperate for a policy victory, The Trump administration who could not seem to deliver most of his biggest political promises (The Border Wall and abolishing Obamacare) must be determined to find a quick solution for this problem, and to do it unlike its predecessor (Obama) by ways of diplomacy.
Although currently Trump implemented its economic embargo towards the communist state, this plan could derail at any moment, as according to a recent UN data in a Vox report, China, Russia, and other countries including US' ally Germany, seemed to ignore existing sanctions by continuing to make transactions, creating a gap for the country to survive under US sanctions, if this goes on an impatient President Trump might push towards military intervention.
The implications of a full-scale war are monumental, a recent Stanford University assessment estimated that one million people could be killed in the first day of the war, moreover, the potential damage towards neighboring South Korea and Japan is incredibly high, millions of lives will be affected.
There is also the question of US allies' willingness towards launching a preventive war, South Korea's president has recently reassured its citizen that the US would not push on for military intervention without its say (although McMaster recently watered it down to consultations), Japan and Australia have also said that they will not be participating in any kind of preventive military occupation or intervention.
Thus, the task of military intervention without its three main allies in the region is highly demanding for America. Also, the ramifications, if the military intervention succeeded, after the war is a very big question, preventing another Iraq-like failed state in North Korea would be a resource and time-consuming task to take on for the United States.
Instead of military intervention, US should look into diplomatic options, first of they should create military and diplomatic assurance for regional allies, like Japan and South Korea, to reduce their restlessness by the threat of aggression by North Korea. Also, US should ease its relationship with North Korea by accompanying South Korea to potential talks that have recently surfaced, and work slowly towards a short-term solution that can create a long-term one, also bringing to an end to this wartime rhetoric and tweets would also be helpful.
The ramifications of war are incredibly costly, not only towards both nations but also to neighboring countries, General HR McMaster, Secretary of Defense James Mattis should act as the "adult in the room" and show their gentle hands-on dealing with this brittle and fragile situation, a frighteningly similar and dangerous rhetoric has no room in this problem.