North Korea and the United States have reached a moment of truth. David Ignatius writes:
If Washington and Beijing manage to stay together in dealing with Pyongyang, the door opens on a new era in which China will play a larger and more responsible role in global affairs, commensurate with its economic power. If the great powers can’t cooperate, the door will slam shut — possibly triggering a catastrophic military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
Donald Trump's threat to unleash "fire and fury" has not helped:
The U.S. threat may be a bluff, but with Trump, you never know. Top U.S. officials understand that a preemptive war against North Korea could result in horrendous loss of life and a post-conflict outcome that would be worse for all parties. But when national security adviser H.R. McMaster says that a nuclear-armed North Korea is “intolerable” to Trump, one should assume he means it — and that he is preparing a menu of military options.
We are edging to the brink -- and the future is uncertain:
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Monday, in reaction to the U.N. vote and Chinese-American calls for talks: “We will under no circumstances put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table.” Is he bluffing? Again, we don’t know.
The Defense Intelligence Agency concluded late last month that North Korea has mastered the technology for a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could sit atop a missile that could hit the United States, according to The Post. A white paper by Japan’s defense ministry reached a similar conclusion and warned that the nuclear threat was now an imminent problem.
Some commentators call this a "catalytic moment." Things are speeding up. But what the world is speeding to is anyone's guess. Pessimist that I am, I'm not hopeful. I am certain of one thing: the big bang is not a theory.
Image: The Royal Secret