The world took notice of President Trump's first speech to the United Nations General Assembly. It came as no surprise that some people loved the president's approach while others thought his rhetoric was unhelpful or counterproductive. President Trump specifically targeted North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran, where he detailed the threat each nation poses to its people and the world. He also called on the United Nations to work to stop current and future crises.
One world leader took exception to some of President Trump's remarks. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned President Trump's statements - specifically, those made about North Korea and the Kim Jong-Un regime.
Chancellor Merkel stated that President Trump should not have said the United States would "totally destroy" the communist nation and said talk of a military solution was "totally inappropriate:"
I am against such threats. We consider any form of military solution as totally inappropriate and we insist on a diplomatic solution. From my point of view sanctions and their implementation are the right answer. But I consider everything else concerning North Korea as wrong.
The president's comment that the U.S. would "totally destroy" North Korea did turn heads. But it seems that those who took issue with the statement are taking the president's words out of context.
Here is President Trump's full quote:
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United Nations is for. Let's see how they do.
The key words are, "... if [the United States] is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." President Trump did not say that the United States would strike first. He did not say that the country would carry out a preemptive military strike on missile launch sites, known nuclear facilities, or military installations. The president merely explained what would happen if North Korea forced the United States to defend itself or an ally, like Japan. If a nation has to protect itself or another ally from an incoming attack, an attack from another sovereign nation, is it not game on? This is what President Trump was alluding to.
So far, North Korea has been all bark and no bite. While North Korea has become bolder in recent months, it conducted its sixth nuclear test and has test-fired more missiles, the missiles have been shot into the Pacific. Japan though, does not take too kindly to having rockets launched over its sovereign state and has been calling for increased pressure on Kim Jong-Un.
Chancellor Merkel, ideally, wants to solve the North Korea problem through diplomacy and sanctions. As of now, sanctions and diplomacy have not helped deter the rogue regime in the slightest. It is hard to tell what else Chancellor Merkel wants to bring to the table or what new ideas she may have.
As President Trump stated, the United States is a patient nation. The country is war-weary, it has been for some time now, and it has no interest in potentially initiating what would undoubtedly be a third world war. However, a military approach must remain on the table in case Kim Jong-Un decides to go on a "suicide mission."
The approach that Chancellor Merkel wants to continue to take has done little to ameliorate the situation. Perhaps straightforward, unapologetic rhetoric is needed to deal with "Rocket Man." Regardless of whether President Trump's United Nations speech was helpful or not, it is certainly not "The End of the World" as we know it.