At 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945, the U.S. military conducted the world’s first-ever nuclear bomb test, detonating a plutonium device in the remote deserts of New Mexico. That moment changed the course of human history, bringing the awesome power of global annihilation to the fingertips of man. Since then, the specter of a nuclear apocalypse has loomed over the world, striking fear in the hearts of every living soul, from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Moscow and Washington, D.C.
With tensions high in the Western Pacific, many fear that America’s increasingly hard-line stance with Kim Jong-Un’s tyrannical regime may trigger a nuclear showdown, pitting the world’s sole superpower against the hermit kingdom run by a deranged despot.
For the most part, the Obama administration attempted to quell Pyongyang’s hostile rhetoric and routine nuclear bomb testing with diplomacy. That approach did little, if anything, to slow down North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Abandoning the Obama doctrine of passivity, President Trump has signaled that he may resort to military solutions if North Korea continues to provoke the United States.
This policy shift has caught the attention of Asia-Pacific leaders in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo as the region gears up for potential military conflict.
Here are nine things you need to know about the coming North Korean nuclear crisis:
1. Former President Bill Clinton promised that North Korea would never develop nuclear weapons. The North Koreans have conducted five nuclear tests since the U.S. struck an unenforceable, naïve deal with Pyongyang. The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro reported:
For two decades, the United States attempted to pay off North Korea to prevent them from going nuclear. The Clinton administration signed off on a framework in 1994 that ended up replacing North Korea’s nuclear power plant with light water reactor power plants – supposedly in an attempt to help North Korea develop nuclear energy without the capacity for nuclear weapons.
Here’s what Bill Clinton had to say at the time: “This agreement will help to achieve a longstanding and vital American objective: an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula. This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world. It reduces the danger of the threat of nuclear spreading in the region. It’s a crucial step toward drawing North Korea into the global community… This agreement represents the first step on the road to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. It does not rely on trust. Compliance will be certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States and North Korea have also agreed to ease trade restrictions and to move toward establishing liaison offices in each other’s capitals. These offices will ease North Korea‘s isolation.”
By 2002, it was clear to the world that North Korea was in fact a nuclear developer, and the Bush Administration so announced in 2003. By 2006, North Korea had tested a bomb. In other words, the United States handed the North Koreans cash and technology – and a signed basketball from Michael Jordan – in order to convince them not to go nuclear. Within a decade, North Korea had gone nuclear.