There’s been a flurry of threatening statements and videos coming out of North Korea the last few days. Headlines were made, sabres were rattled, and a network or two almost stopped complaining about Donald Trump’s controversy du jour long enough to notice.
Try as they might to terrify, these statements are not, in and of themselves, likely not cause for huge concern. They are par for the course, the background din to every US-South Korean military exercise.
The scariest part of the North Korea situation is not the North Korean threats. It’s not the salvo of missiles, nor apparently killing someone in an airport with nerve agent. No, the scariest aspect of the entire situation has become the time line. Our time line.
You see, if it is really and truly our policy that North Korea can/will not be allowed to develop a functional intercontinental nuclear missile, then we have a problem. And the window of time in which we have to solve the problem is closing.
Presumably, only our intelligence agencies know exactly how much time that window will remain open. But we do know that the time line to solve the problem is finite, by definition, and that North Korea is doing everything in its power to accelerate its research.
One way or another, our hand is being forced.
The day will come, where all sanctions and warnings will be moot, the time will be up. On that day, a decision maker and his or her advisors will have to decide, once or for all, A – we allow North Korea to have a nuclear missile; or B – we do not.
And THAT … is where it gets scary.