The president is currently touring Asia, with the focus of his trip addressing the ever-growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
This past September, the dictatorship tested what it claimed was a nuclear weapon capable of sitting atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, but that’s far from the only reason for concern. Since Trump’s inauguration, the nation has stepped up its provocation across the board, test firing two missiles that went over the northern part of Japan, among other concerning actions.
Trump himself has contributed to the problem here through a campaign of angry rhetoric against the North Koreans. When faced with the fact that the dictatorship was reacting how it could be expected to react to his rhetoric, using it as an excuse to grow their nuclear arsenal, Trump has asserted that the only viable option for dealing with North Korea is military force.
In this light, Tennessee GOP Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will hold a hearing meant to examine the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons. Not only has Trump come across as keen on using military force against North Korea, but he’s also spoken of growing and maybe even using the United States’ nuclear arsenal on a number of occasions, and it goes without saying that such should be avoided at all costs, although such seems lost on Trump.
Corker, in his statement announcing the Nov. 14 hearing, said that members of Congress “both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall.”
In this light, he says it’s appropriate to hold a hearing to examine the issue, which he says “continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons.” As he added in his statement, “This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue.”
This hearing won’t be the first time that Congress has attempted to keep Trump from dragging us into war; multiple bills have been introduced, for example, demanding that Trump get congressional authorization for any pre-emptive strikes, but those bills haven’t taken off.
Corker and Trump have butted heads time and time again at this point, with the president going after the senator for supposedly being weak on foreign policy.
Corker, for his part, has bemoaned the fact that Trump seems to be dragging the U.S. down the path to World War III.
Indeed, Corker’s implicit criticism of the president’s belligerence in holding this hearing is not misplaced. Trump, whose team remains under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, threatened back in August to make “fire and fury” rain down upon North Korea, and he hasn’t let up in his rhetoric since. He insisted at one point on Twitter that “only one thing will work” in dealing with North Korea and judging off his other rhetoric, there’s no doubt he’s referring to military and possibly nuclear action against the North Koreans.
A war with the North Koreans, which would no doubt turn nuclear, would threaten the lives of millions of people, from Japan and South Korea to the United States itself. Trump’s belligerence, in other words, could literally get us killed.
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