On Wednesday, following intense rhetoric from United States President Donald Trump, North Korean officials said they are “carefully examining” a strike against the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, Reuters reported.
In a statement a spokesman for the Korean People’s Army said the strike plan will be “put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment” if Kim Jong Un makes a decision.
In a different statement a spokesperson noted that the country could carry out a preemptive strike if the U.S. showed signs of aggression.
The statement from North Korea came just hours after President Donald Trump condemned the country’s nuclear ambitions telling reporters at his Bedminster Golf Club, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.” He added, “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
But still, even amid the escalating tension, Steven Weber, a national security and politics expert and professor at Berkeley, says the average American shouldn’t be too worried.
“I think it’s easy to get freaked out about this,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m not that freaked out for a bunch of different reasons.”
One reason, Webber explained, is because he believes a lot of this chatter is simply both countries blustering and vying for the attention of a greater power: China.
“I think that both of them are actually speaking to the Chinese and trying to convince Beijing that they’re dead serious about their policy,” Weber said.
Without question the heat has been turned up by both nations, Weber said. And although the Trump administration has proclaimed it wants North Korea to end its nuclear ambitions altogether, that is something the “North Koreans are not giving it up,” according to Weber — meaning neither side will likely get what they want any time soon.
But even with renewed pressure he still does not believe we are on the brink of nuclear war, or any kind of war, between North Korea and the United States because, “Everybody knows two things would happen in a war: First, at least parts of South Korea would be devastated and second that North Korea would lose the war.”
The only way we’d head to battle, Weber said, is if the North Koreans come to believe that war is inevitable. However, Weber added, the North Koreans would be more inclined to wait to strike the U.S. until their missile capabilities are complete.
While Weber again noted the chances of war are close to zero he added the caveat, “I can’t say it’s impossible.”