Donald Trump’s first speech to the United Nations General Assembly today – and in particular, his remarks about North Korea – was nothing short of a complete failure of American leadership. Instead of focusing on efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis surrounding its nuclear program, Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.”
It’s time for this charade to end: We need to stop this slow roll toward a catastrophic war, and work towards defusing the North Korean crisis diplomatically. Trump’s U.N. speech represents yet another reckless escalation in the ongoing tit-for-tat between North Korea and the United States that does nothing but edge us closer to nuclear war.
Collectively, our organizations represent millions of Americans who share in the majority’s view that diplomacy is the only viable answer to reining in North Korea’s nuclear program. Indeed, according to recent polling, anywhere from 65 to 80 percent of Americans support a diplomatic resolution.
There is no military solution to this problem. War on the Korean peninsula would likely kill millions of Koreans, Japanese, and American troops stationed in the region, wreak havoc on the world economy, inflict a humanitarian crisis not seen since World War II, and potentially compel the North Koreans to use their nuclear arsenal.
Unfortunately, we continue to see more of the same bluster and counterproductive threats coming from Donald Trump. Less than a year into office, Trump has managed to take what was a difficult, challenging situation, and turn it it into an even bigger full blown crisis and place our nation on the verge of a devastating and unnecessary war. Threats and bombastic tweets are not leadership, they won’t keep America safe, and they need to stop.
The choice is clear: either we let Trump’s incompetence and bellicosity drive us into a destructive conflict potentially more devastating than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, or we can focus our efforts on negotiation.
Diplomacy has worked with the North Koreans before, and it can work again. The United States and its allies and partners must immediately move toward easing tensions on the Korean peninsula diplomatically, and work toward ending this conflict peacefully. We will not be deterred in our efforts to prevent another disastrous U.S.-led war. The fate of the region and the world depends on it.