Today is Good Friday, a day of fasting and penance, when Christians commemorate the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In two days, Easter Sunday commemorates His resurrection. It’s odd that in these several days of reflection and penance – and the days leading up to it – we have had decisive, lethal action taken against our enemies.
There was the air strike in Syria.
Then yesterday, the U.S. dropped the “Mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan, apparently killing 36 Islamic State militants and destroying several Islamic State caves and ammunition caches.
But there’s another big showdown in the works, which could erupt this weekend.
“Two things are coming together this weekend,” said retired Adm. James Stavridis, former commander of NATO and an NBC analyst. “One is the distinct possibility of a sixth North Korean nuclear weapons detonation and the other is an American carrier strike group, a great deal of firepower headed right at the Korean Peninsula.”
NBC reports, The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
North Korea has warned that a “big event” is near, and U.S. officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend.
The intelligence officials told NBC News that the U.S. has positioned two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the region, one just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.
American heavy bombers are also positioned in Guam to attack North Korea should it be necessary, and earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group was being diverted to the area.
NBC reports President Trump has been in conversations with Chinese president Xi twice since their meeting in Florida, and China as sent its top nuclear negotiators to North Korea to discuss the gravity of the situation.
Any preemptive strike by the U.S. would need to be made with the consent of South Korea, as it would be highly likely North Korea would respond with an attack on its southern neighbor.
One reason officials believe this weekend is particularly volatile is because it marks the anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder – Kim il-Sung, grandfather of the current despot, Kim Jong Un. NBC reports there are concerns he might mark “The Day of the Sun” with an underground nuclear test.
North Korea apparently does not currently have the capability to launch a nuclear weapon – and certainly not one that could hit the U.S.
But President Trump is tired of the threats and the saber rattling – and doesn’t seem to have the appetite to sit on his hands until they do.
Yesterday he tweeted his intent.
I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017
This may not be a peaceful holiday weekend.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]