A new study by the Pew Research Center has indicated a hiking up of public concern over the North Korean nuclear threat. North Korea has continued to ignore international sanctions aimed at reducing its nuclear capabilities and has pushed on with intercontinental missile testing. Such missiles have the potential to threaten the security of the US mainland if they are armed with a nuclear warhead.
Pew took a national sample of 1,504 adults and conducted telephone interviews to determine their views on the threat level. The study found that about seven-in-ten Americans (71%) said the U.S. should take North Korea’s nuclear threats “very seriously,” up from 56% in 2013.
Much of this change in opinion could be down to the increasingly hyperbolic statements coming out of President Trump’s Twitter account; he recently called North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “rocket man” and “short and fat.” Incredibly, 84% of those surveyed said Donald Trump is “really willing to use military force against North Korea.”
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
However, confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the volatile situation with competence is waning. Just 39% said they are very or somewhat confident in Trump’s handling of this situation; 13% are not too confident and 46% are not at all confident. Oh, and the Democrats? Just 9% of Democrats and Democratic leaners are confident in his abilities to solve the crisis.
There is no doubt that the situation is concerning. Whilst many leading scholars in the discipline of International Relations believe that the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) will see us out the other side, at what point does this war of words become more than just rhetorical jousting?
As Christians, we should be praying for our leaders, and be asking for an easing of political tensions. Prayers for wisdom and tact should be on our lips. As this new research shows, uncertainty and fear are rife. As followers of Jesus, we must remember that we possess the antidote to that mindset:
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)