The North Korea crisis
In brief, the North Korean regime, showing its usual bluster, is apparently about to conduct another nuclear or missile test. Trump has diverted the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group toward the region and warned that the US will not tolerate such a provocation. The North Korean regime has a history of ignoring foreign pressure to dial back its saber-rattling, and Trump has a history of taking aggressive actions without thought to, or even understanding of, possible consequences. But if the test goes ahead and Trump carries out some kind of military action against North Korea, the consequences could be enormous indeed.
The regime has repeatedly threatened that, if attacked, it would retaliate against our allies Japan and South Korea:
Second, Japan, or a large part of it, is within range of even the primitive missiles the North possesses (it's estimated to have about 350 missiles which could theoretically reach Japanese territory). North Korea, of course, has atomic bombs -- only a few, low-yield and unreliable by modern standards, and we don't even know for sure whether the North can deliver them by missile -- but even one or two successfully delivered and detonated could inflict devastation comparable to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
In short, an impulsive action by Trump in this case would be risking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in countries which are allies of ours. Needless to say, attacking Seoul or Japan would mean massive US retaliation -- but we can't count on that to deter the North Korean regime from carrying out such actions. Nobody knows whether the regime is really as crazy and delusional as it appears to be, or even who is actually in charge (some believe the military holds the real power, with Kim Jong-un being merely a figurehead). The risk of the nightmare scenario happening is unquantifiable, but real.
And if it did happen, the consequences would be enormous. South Koreans and Japanese would rightly blame the US for provoking the disaster. It could even lead to a permanent breach. Remember how the murder of 3,000 Americans on September 11 affected the US -- then consider the impact on South Korea and Japan of ten to a hundred times as many deaths.
South Korea and Japan are among the most technologically advanced countries on Earth -- more advanced than the US in some areas. Japan has a population almost equal to Russia (127 million vs. 143 million) and the world's third-largest economy. It's a potential superpower -- more so, really, than China or India. If Japan turned against the US and decided that its future security required complete political and military independence, the disruptive effect on the world order as we've known it since 1945 would be greater than that of almost any other imaginable event.
Maybe Trump will restrain himself. China has been trying to talk sense to him, and one can hope that Defense Secretary James Mattis (one of Trump's few really qualified appointments), while talking tough to North Korea, is also bringing his boss up to speed on the realities of the situation. It would have helped if the MSM had been less gaga in their coverage of Trump's missile attack in Syria and MOAB bombing in Afghanistan -- the man seems obsessed with his image in the media. But make no mistake -- this is by far the most dangerous situation to arise since Trump took office.