If you thought you might have less than a week to live, how do you think you’d spend your time? If you’re healthy and have a generous vacation benefit at your work, you might travel to some destination you’ve always wanted to see. Would you suddenly become spiritual and do a lot of good deeds or try to make amends for any grievances to which you’ve been a party? How about spending all of the time with the people you love the most? Or, you could go down to the bank, withdraw all your money, and buy stuff you’ve always wanted or find some fun way to blow the wad… Dieters, would you go ahead and eat that chocolate cake and ice cream you’ve been craving for days or even weeks?
When North Korea’s leader, Kim Jeong Un, threatened this past week to fire missiles carrying miniature nuclear devices at the American Protectorate of Guam, I’m sure many in the world felt like “this is the end”, especially when President Donald Trump retorted with his “fire and fury” announcement. Then, the threats from North Korea morphed a bit into “Well, North Korea will strike Guam in the middle of August”. People have confided that they are having these thoughts on how to spend their last week on Earth plus they are having incredibly intense, graphic nightmares of total world nuclear destruction. To top it off, two daily newspapers in London warned readers to be ready for a nuclear war “between the US, China, and Russia”, in order to prepare the UK’s citizenry for the possibility of worldwide mass destruction in the “tit for tat” game of modern warfare that we’ve dreaded all of our lives.What happened? I mean, things weren’t terrible with China and Russia near the beginning of the Trump presidency. In fact, with Russia, President Trump was rather conciliatory over the phone with President Putin that Russo-American relations were going to change for the better in his regime. Then the President Xi of China came over for a visit and got the 100% gilt-edged red-carpet treatment at the Trumps' lovely “Mar-A-Lago” resort in Florida. Reputedly, the dinner was incredible, and it was topped by a finale of a most-excellent chocolate cake (which President Xi enjoyed).
Both superpowers have recently been put under more sanctions either by the US or the UN, and that would be enough to “tick off” most any country. Did we have to go so far? Listening to experts on foreign policy and relationships with these countries was disheartening when the experts kept repeating the same mantras:
“China doesn’t like the US.”
“Russia doesn’t like the US.”
If North Korea decides to fire away at an American territory, state, or multiple targets, would China and Russia even want to become embroiled in this brouhaha? I know both countries are amassing troops on the North Korean border… What is that all about?
When my brother was serving in the US Air Force and stationed in Osan, South Korea, he and his wife would go sight-seeing when they were able to get away from the base. Going to the countryside was a lot more relaxing for them than shopping in town (although they had some pretty wild and interesting stories about what that experience was like). They took some pictures of the surrounding landscapes but not really enough where their flat-lander Floridian families could get a feel for the topography. But, my brother said in the mountains, the terrain was pretty rough.
News sources state the North Korean terrain is very rugged especially near the northwest border. It has been considered almost impenetrable by military forces. So if it is impenetrable, why are troops from China and Russia deployed there?
Then, there’s the whole scenario of Russia amassing troops against NATO forces in Eastern Europe, and it has been like two gunslingers in an old Western movie staring each other down for several months now. And, of course, there is Syria, and I’m sure the JPost reporters could write a better run-down on this situation than I ever could.
Then, something else incredulous happens. President Trump suggested to use “a military option” in Venezuela. What does this mean? If it means something like the Berlin Air-Lift post World War II to bring in food and medical supplies to the afflicted people, that would be a fantastic humanitarian thing to do. (Taking down some Venezuelan drug lords terrorizing the people would be good also.) But I am concerned about any other “military option” – will our valuable, extremely well-trained troops be spread way too thin on so many fronts of conflict?
As you can see, I have more questions than I have answers. The threat to drop nuclear devices on (or near) Guam may be only a threat, like so many others recently. Same for the other North Korean threats such as targeting New York or Chicago or sending missiles to bomb the whole US west coast.
I never knew this before this week, but now I understand that there has been a hostage-situation-like-game going on with Kim Jeong Un (as well as his father) where North Korea threatens to destroy someplace American, and usually, they’ve been appeased with our government “paying the Korean ransom demands”. President Trump doesn’t want to pay this blackmail (which is definitely his prerogative to decide to do). The situation is similar to the old Western movie gunslinger in the white hat sneering to his foe, “I double-dog dare you to draw first!”
This uncertainty reminds people of faith to trust in the Lord and remember at all times, “G_d is in control”. Our prayers can turn the hearts of world-leaders just like a river can be diverted from its channel into a new riverbed. As far as possibly being our last week on Earth, personally I have a peace that no matter what happens, I will be with the Lord according to His will, whether on Earth or in heaven. If you don’t have a peace like that, please consult your most-trusted clergy member as soon as possible (and you may even have to trust in a different one if you feel your concerns aren’t adequately addressed).
In case these are my last written words on Earth, I did want to say, “I love you, Israel!”, “I love you, JPost readers!”, and “I love you, English-speaking Jewry all over the world!” (as well as everybody else!). Try to get restful sleep. Things aren’t always what they seem.