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US-North Korea conflict reflects attitudes of leaders, not states

Alisha Griffin, Contributing Writer

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If I was of a more superstitious character, I might think that this is the end of times. A total solar eclipse, dangerous storms in the south, political and ideological turmoil rocking the country, and threats of nuclear war? Perhaps those apocalypse preppers were right all along.

If you share the perspective of a recently-turned-20-year old like me, it may seem like we are living in increasingly tumultuous and dangerous times. The past two decades have been, for lack of a better word, disastrous. 9/11 changed everything; the War in Afghanistan is nearly as old as I am; an increasing number of black Americans are being killed by our own police officers; more terrorist attacks are occurring all over the world, demonstrating the rise of ISIS; the Syrian Refugee crisis remains a crisis; and there has been an alarming increase of intense and devastating natural disasters, like the nascent Hurricane Harvey. 2016 was practically the Rapture: the presidential campaign and election of President Trump threw the country into political chaos, a state of entrenched polarization which has only heightened with the escalating threat of a nuclear war initiated by two powerful leaders desperate to bolster their egos and prove the strength of their nations.

Damn.

But if we consider the North Korea situation without the doom-and-gloom rhetoric, it doesn’t appear as bad as so many make it out to be.

It’s important to note that popular media outlets are designed to grab their audience’s attention by triggering their emotions— their rage, their fear, and their disgust. Thus, it is completely natural for an event as potentially frightening as a war with north Korea to be blown out of proportion by the media.

On that note, while North Korea is portrayed as an enormously daunting foe in the news, the threat they pose does not equate to one that could be posed by a country such Russia or Saudi Arabia. North Korea’s strongest “ally” is China, a nation which has expressed disapproval for North Korea’s actions many times, and would likely be hesitant to cross the United States should any outbreak of war occur. Indeed, if conflict continues to escalate between the two nations, the combat is not likely to mirror either World War in terms of scale or magnitude. North Korea is one relatively small country that most Americans have trouble pointing out on a map. And let’s not forget: the nuclear threat that North Korea poses is pathetic compared to that posed by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, an event which reached a resolution in thirteen days’ time.

So, should we consider ourselves totally clear of dangerous waters? No. Unfortunately for us, Donald Trump is our president.

Before anyone calls me out for being a mindless liberal, this position doesn’t stem from my personal distaste for his political ideology; it stems from personal distaste for his personality. Trump is used to getting what he wants, and if someone doesn’t comply with him, he threatens them. Kim Jong-Un is the same way. They were both raised in privileged, hardship-free environments that they had inherited from their fathers. They want to prove that they are strong leaders, and this bandying of words from across the Pacific has allowed them to believe that they are accomplishing just that.

Well, the country wanted a ‘loose cannon’ president, and nothing reflects the epithet of ‘loose cannon’ better than flippant actions that ultimately result in war.

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The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University
US-North Korea conflict reflects attitudes of leaders, not states