In the wee hours last night, news reports started coming from China that they had registered a significant seismic event in North Korea, measuring a possible 6.3 on the Richter scale. The discussion quickly shifted to the acknowledgement that the activity was the result of an underground explosion, which North Korea confirmed this morning.
North Korea carried out its most powerful nuclear test to date on Sunday, claiming to have developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that could sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The bomb used in the country's sixth-ever nuclear test sent tremors across the region that were 10 times more powerful than Pyongyang's previous test a year ago, Japanese officials said.
While the type of bomb used and its size have not been independently verified, if true, the pariah state is a significant step closer to being able to fire a nuclear warhead to the US mainland, as it has repeatedly threatened it could if provoked.
And it is that provocation that AM Joy's guest, former intelligence agent Malcom Nance warned about. Donald Trump, for reasons known only to him and his nationalist advisers, have specifically called out North Korea, declaring that the time of "strategic patience" for them is over.
Not surprisingly to anyone who has kept an eye on North Korea, the 31 year-old leader unafraid to kill his own family members to consolidate and make a statement of his own power responded by upping the ante on his nuclear ambitions.
Nance argues that Trump's bellicosity is exactly the worst thing for trying to protect the country, telling host Joy Ann Reid, "I challenge everyone to actually play that clip back and imagine Kim Jong-Un making every one of those statements. They play in both directions."
That's appears to be something that Trump's advisers cannot get through to him. That inability to put oneself in the other's shoes is a hallmark of the tone deafness Trump's exhibited since taking office. As Nance continues, "Donald Trump is the perfect foil for North Korea. North Korea accelerates its atomic weapons program every time there's a provocation from the United—as they view it—coming from the United States. This has allowed them to use Donald Trump’s statements as stepping stones for their strategic arsenals advance. Now they have detonated a thermonuclear bomb, a hydrogen bomb, which is ten times more powerful than anything they had done before and they actually publicly displayed weaponized models of war head nose cones of these devices. North Korea is now on the international stage as a nuclear power and they know anything shy of negotiation or China pressuring them, they can ignore Donald Trump at this point."
So Trump's lack of patience has just made the US that much more imperiled for no reason than he wanted to appear tough in public and make a few meaningless threats? Great.
Unfortunately, no one in his foreign policy team was able to wrestle his phone away from him this morning to keep from issuing a few more insults to Kim Jong Un.
Thanks, Trump. I'm sure your tweets are making us all so much safer.