What happens when rhetoric fires up? More specifically -- when the American president and King Jong Un engage in heated verbal retorts? The bombing of Guam? Missiles on North Korea?
The current geopolitical tensions could threaten Asian growth, according to Richard Haas from the Council on Foreign Relations. Asia has been gaining economic success while no major wars impede its progress. Now, China’s territorial aggression, North Korea's nuclear hostility, and the White House’s stand under President Trump, all cause conflicts that could derail Asia's economic growth. Mr. Hass indicates that the factors that contributed to peace and stability in Asia "are now coming under increasing pressure.”
Recent developments lead to conflict and disrupt Asian economic prosperity. Chinese demonstrations of sovereignty, about the Belt and Road Initiative -- President Xi Jinping's strategy is to make his country a global superpower. "As China adopts an increasingly assertive foreign policy -- exemplified by its border dispute with India and territorial claims in the South China Sea -- other countries are increasingly motivated to boost their own military spending. As that happens, it becomes more likely that a disagreement or incident will escalate into a conflict," Hass writes. "The growing unpredictability of U.S. foreign policy could weaken deterrence and prompt allies to take their security into their own hands."
The Trump administration, facing the North Korean nuclear issue, has worsened the situation. While executing long-planned military exercises, America mobilized tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops. President Moon Jae-in of South Korea insisted that he holds a veto to any military action. “No matter what options the United States and President Trump want to use, they have promised to have full consultation with South Korea and get our consent in advance,” he said. “The people can be assured that there will be no war.” The North declared that as the military exercises begin, “the Korean People’s Army is keeping a high alert” and “will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted.”
A pre-emptive strike or preventive war involves attacking first when an imminent attack is detected from a weaker rival. It is considered illegal under international legal conventions. Trump’s national security officials are walking a tight rope, between curbing the bold threats that the president has tweeted and emphasizing that he is ready to act.
What is the consequence of Trump’s threats, you ask? A freeze of nuclear and missile tests in North Korea to delay the crisis, but not resolving it? Suspending progress on weapons, and all else! War or no war, Asia as a whole will suffer amidst the comebacks. Such military threats, executed or not, already have steep costs.