Nuclear War with North Korea: CRLS Weighs in


Lara Garay

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are on the rise.

Isabelle Agee-Jacobson, Contributing Writer

“I don’t know that I am that scared of [North Korea]. In this case, what is scary is the rhetoric and the bellicose language coming from Kim Jong-un, [but it] is not new. It’s just that it is being matched right now by language that is not entirely helpful,” says world history teacher Rachel Otty.

In the 64 years since the Korean War, North Korea and the United States have not been friends. They also have not been at war with each other. However, as President Trump’s Twitter feed spews provocative statements about military action and as reports announce more successful missile launches in North Korea, many in the U.S. feel like nuclear war is increasingly likely.

But at CRLS, some believe that there is nothing to be overly concerned about. Senior Jai Rajput agreed with Ms. Otty, saying, “I’m not scared of it at all. I don’t think anything big is going to happen from this. [Building nuclear weapons] is essentially for North Korea to gain control. … The country has a lot of domestic problems, so that will continue to hamper its ability to do anything with nuclear power.”

According to Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization, severe mismanagement of the economy, natural disasters, and political isolation have contributed to extreme famine and economic shrinkage in North Korea.

The tension between the two countries are increasing due to Trump’s seemingly impulsive tweets attacking North Korea. On September 25th, President Trump tweeted, “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” The use of the nickname “Little Rocket Man” is in reference to Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Worker’s Party of Korea and supreme leader of North Korea.

I just feel like Trump doesn’t really understand the situation that well and understand how many lives are at risk and how dangerous North Korea is to world peace.

— David Lee '19

Continuing in this vein, on October 1st, Trump tweeted a piece of advice he gave Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…” and  “…Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”

While these remarks might seem shocking to many Americans, South Koreans have gotten used to similar statements from Kim Jong-un. Sophomore Anna Kim, who is Korean and has family in South Korea, says, “The general sense I get from most South Koreans is that they don’t really care [about the conflict in North Korea]. It’s always on the news—Kim Jong-un is always threatening America or South Korea- so it gets repetitive. Obviously there should be some kind of fear, and there might be a little, but overall, it’s kind of chill.”

Others at CRLS are not as unperturbed. Junior Anna Bolon hopes that because the U.S. used atomic weapons in Hiroshima during World War II, people realize how destructive nuclear weapons can be, and therefore will not dare to use them. However, she thinks that because nuclear weapons exist and because people often do things they “arguably shouldn’t do,” war is still a very real possibility that the U.S. needs to accept.

Junior David Lee, who is also Korean, thinks that war is not likely. But he still thinks that the situation is serious and that President Trump is not handling it well. “I just feel like Trump doesn’t really understand the situation that well and understand how many lives are at risk and how dangerous North Korea is to world peace,” Lee concluded.

This piece also appears in our October print edition.