I thought Secretary Clinton did an excellent job beating Trump last night. Like many progressives, I'm pretty happy. But one thing bothers me, and we need to address it.
Last night, somewhere amid all the sniffling, the yelling, and the interrupting, Donald Trump called for a war between two nuclear powers.
Here's the quote from the transcript:
I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it's over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can't take anything off the table. Because you look at some of these countries, you look at North Korea, we're doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.
Read that again a few times. Trump just tossed off an idea there - without precise language, without a hint of seriousness - and his idea involves attacking a country with 25 million people, an advanced nuclear program, and a famously paranoid leadership.
Here are some facts, for people who want to think about this with more depth than the current Republican candidate for the US presidency:
1. "North Korea has an active nuclear weapons program and tested nuclear explosive devices in 2006, 2009, 2013, and twice in 2016." This is according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative
2. "In recent years, the North has warned of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the US in response to the prospect of joint military exercises between South Korea and the US." (From the BBC.) It's not clear how the North Korean government would respond to a Chinese invasion requested by a President Trump, but it should cause some concern.
3. The North Korean military has 1 million people, South Korea has 650,000 active duty military personnel, and the US has approximately 25,000 troops on the peninsula. In addition, 54,000 US troops are stationed in Japan. According to The Japan Times, North Korean President Kim Jong Un is increasingly focusing "on 'asymmetric' capabilities such as nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and cyberwarfare to deter North Korea’s main enemies, the United States and South Korea."
4. China's nuclear stockpile is approximately 200 to 300 warheads. It's military has 2.3 million personnel.
Obviously it's more complicated than that. A lot more complicated. An invasion of North Korea by China would be unpredictable, chaotic, and very deadly.
Last night Donald Trump obviously didn't think any of that through.
Can we pay attention to this?
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