Make Them Hear You! Trump and North Korea

Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.

Today we are circling back to North Korea. The Pentagon sent a letter to Congress warning that the only way America could find North Korea’s nuclear stockpile was with an invasion of ground troops. North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is currently hidden in underground sites. Then North Korea “may consider the use of biological weapons”  as well as its “longstanding chemical weapons program.” And if they go nuclear, Seoul’s population of 25 million is also at risk.  The military backs the strategy led by Rex Tillerson of ratcheting up economic and diplomatic pressure. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, North Korea can field 21,000 artillery pieces. Donald Trump has just arrived in South Korea and has assured his audience there that everything will be fine. He offered no reason for his confidence.



In the meantime, several Senate Democrats introduced a bill aiming to prevent Trump from launching a preemptive strike without congressional approval absent an imminent threat to the US. They do not accept Trump’s reassurances.

Referring to “the escalation of irresponsible rhetoric” and “contradictory behavior from Trump and officials in his administration,” the bill bans “funds from being used for kinetic military operations without congressional approval unless the United States faces an imminent threat or such action is necessary to defend citizens or our allies.”

Democratic Senators Chris Murphy, Tammy Duckworth, Brian Schatz, Cory Booker, Jeff  Merkley, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Udall, and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced S.2047, the Preventing Preemptive War in North Korea Act of 2017, which has been sent to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Chris Murphy explained, “We need to take the President seriously when he threatens war, because the dam could break at any moment. Republican and Democratic senators are alarmed over the path we’re on, and it’s important we join forces to reclaim Congress’ constitutional role in matters of war and peace before there’s no turning back. “This bill essentially restates current law, but Congress needs to make it crystal clear that the President does not have the authority to take preemptive military action in North Korea without congressional consent,” he added.

Trump has routinely warned that military solutions are on the table and has repeatedly called Kim Jung Un “Rocket Man.” It’s possible that it would give the generals cover to refuse orders for a first strike against North Korea without Congressional approval. If you’re concerned about Donald Trump and have an opinion about Senate Bill 2047, you can share your thoughts with Senator Cory Gardner.