America could be on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea. Mounting tensions, Korean missile tests, and American military build-up in the region have all fueled speculation of a possible catastrophe that could lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of lives in Seoul, South Korea, including over 20,000 American soldiers.
Let’s put it all in perspective. We will consider five factors: the latest developments, the basic issues, what the U.S. is doing, Trump’s options, and most importantly, God’s promise in such times.
1. The latest developments
Washington is committed to reigning in North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions. Vice President Mike Pence is making a 10-day trip to the region, warning North Korea that recent American strikes in Syria should serve notice of our resolve. In response, North Korea officials have reiterated their warnings that if America intervenes in any way, nuclear war may result.
2. The basic issues
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have escalated in the past few months after North Korea launched missile tests that purposely showed increasing sophistication in the nuclear state’s weapons program. Korean capabilities suggest they may be able to reach the Unites States with nuclear missiles within ten years.
3. What the United States is doing
So far, U.S. President Donald Trump has played his hand – militarily, at least – as cautiously as his predecessors. A series of Situation Room meetings has come to the predictable conclusion that while the United States can be more aggressive, it should stop just short of confronting the North so frontally that it risks rekindling the Korean War, nearly 64 years after it came to an uneasy armistice. Mr. Trump has also escalated tough language on North Korea on social media.
4. Trump’s options
The new president has several ways he can respond to the mounting challenge. First, he can expand economic sanctions on North Korea. He will need to include China in any such actions. Second, Trump can take covert action. Washington might use electronic warfare or cyber attacks to disable North Korean missiles at launch time. Third, diplomacy is an option. To date, this has not appeared to interest the Trump Administration. There have been no official negotiations with North Korea for seven years. Fourth, Mr. Trump might use direct military force. This could include a sea blockade, military strikes on nuclear and missile facilities, or even an attempt to overthrow President Kim.
5. God’s promise
During troubled times for his country, King David wrote these words: “The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” That is God’s enduring promise. We have no way of knowing what Mr. Kim will do next – or Mr. Trump, for that matter. What we do know is what God will do next. He will stay close to those who diligently seek him. He will provide refuge in the midst of the storm and hope in the midst of utter despair.
In times like these, it is always good to look out for what may come next. But it is better to look up.