Fourteen minutes: how long it will take for a North Korean nuke to reach Guam, a US territory. One more inflammatory Tweet or “fire and fury” comment: how short it could take for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to push the nuclear button.

“Fire and fury” were the threatening words of the so-called leader of the free world, President Trump. 

“The rhetoric in Washington and Pyongyang is now starting to go over the top” were the rational words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. 

China’s Foreign Ministry is calling for caution from both sides in an effort to ease tensions. 

North Korea is calling the American threats “a load of nonsense” and using rhetoric in their state-run news, such as the US is the “mastermind of nuclear threat, the heinous nuclear war fanatic.” 

How does this series of statements progress from nations in order of highest to lowest level of “freedom” (according to the annual Freedom House reports from recent years) yet the rhetoric used seems more sane?

Why is the leader of the free world leading us towards a nuclear war that would be more likely prevented through diplomacy?

Tensions are strained. They have been since the Korean War. At the DMZ (demilitarized zone), between North and South Korea, for example, soldiers wear dark sunglasses because eye contact with the North could be perceived as a threat. This is only one small instance of how “normal actions” can set off the North. America, as the world’s beacon of freedom, should be able to remain above the DPRK, but we are stooping down to their inflammatory, easily-angered nature.

What is often forgotten is that the DPRK believes America is still perpetuating the war, so to make serious threats could actually provoke a nuclear war that could have been avoided. The remarks made by Trump are unnecessary. Other nations who have histories of dictatorship and current human rights abuses, like Russia and China, are ironically making more diplomatic and democratic statements regarding the issue.

As President Trump’s fingers dance over the keyboard of his smartphone, they dodge the minefield that is his unprofessionalism and lack of diplomacy. One more “post” button to Twitter could simultaneously push the nuclear button across the Pacific Ocean.

We need to understand that North Korea is a large threat, but Trump may be the bigger hazard right now. His rhetoric could be pushing us towards imminent danger because his words are threatening. 

North Korea has nuclear weapons, but we have more; we also have one insane democratic leader who makes a dictator seem sane. This should not be the case.