Donald Trump’s brief intervention into Syria’s civil war has officially been overshadowed by the threats emanating from North Korea.
When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared to use banned chemical weapons against his own citizens, Donald Trump was urged to respond by daughter Ivanka. Respond he did, with a 59 missile smattering of Shiryat airfield – a location thought to be the impetus of the dastardly attack. Given the implications that this action had on Russia’s involvement in Syria, and the Kremlin’s relationship with the United States, many analysts believed that the U.S. would be headed toward a major confrontation with Russia, Syria, possibly Iran, or a combination of all or some of those nations.
There was a some saber-rattling, but nothing has come to fruition in the Middle East yet.
Immediately following Trump’s strike on the Syrian airfield, one would expect that the rest of the world would take a quick step back and reprioritize their attitudes and expectations of the United States’ foreign policy. After all, U.S. President Donald Trump had just risked a major escalation with Syria, let alone Russia, in order to retaliate for an act of civil war.
Not all of those world leaders got the memo however, as the unhinged and despotic dictator in North Korea, Kim Jong Un, has taken his own ridiculous rhetoric on a meteoric rise in the wake of Trump’s aggressive Syria maneuver. Now, the Trump administration has held a nearly unprecedented meeting between themselves and the entire U.S. Senate to discuss the next steps in the North Korean situation. One takeaway from that meeting: Things are getting serious.
“’Sobering briefing,’ tweeted Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) after the briefing, hosted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. The President also briefly attended the event.“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called it an ‘important’ meeting. ‘We will never accept North Korea as a legitimate nuclear weapons power,’ he tweeted.
“Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told NBC News that North Korea’s ‘capacity is increasing and has increased significantly.’
“After the meeting, Tillerson, Mattis, and Coats released a statement, calling North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons an ‘urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority’:
“‘Today, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, we briefed members of Congress on the review. The president’s approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.’
“The statement said the administration is ‘engaging responsible members of the international community’ – a veiled reference to China – to increase pressure on North Korea to de-escalate and return to the ‘path of dialogue.’”
While specific details of the meeting have, understandably, been hard to come by for those of us without security clearances, one thing is for certain: North Korea has finally been afforded the attention that they have been vying for all of these years from the United States…I don’t think they will be expecting what comes next.