Tensions between North Korea and the United States escalated on Tuesday after it was reported that the country, led by Kim Jong-Un, has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit inside a missile. After Trump responded to the allegations, Jong-Un struck back by reportedly threatening to attack the U.S. territory of Guam. So exactly what would happen if North Korea attacks the U.S.? Given Tuesday's events, it's only natural that a lot of concerned Americans are asking this question.
The Trump administration has been pretty tough on North Korea so far, and already responded to the country's persistent testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles by imposing heavy sanctions on the country last week. While Trump's Defense Secretary James Mattis has said repeatedly that he prefers to use these types of sanctions and diplomatic discussions to peacefully pressure North Korea to demilitarize, North Korea's latest threat puts pressure on the administration to take more drastic measures.
Mattis has said in the past that a military solution would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale," but Trump's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster told MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt this weekend that the list of possible U.S. responses to North Korea's aggression “includes a military option.”
McMaster went on to say that the administration will examine every possible diplomatic option to avoid using force.
But as North Korea continues to ignore sanctions and defy U.N. rules, military action is seeming to become increasingly inevitable — especially after examining president Trump's rhetoric about the situation. On Tuesday, Trump vowed to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if North Korea continued to threaten the U.S., a statement that is just about as explosive as you can get.
Immediately following these remarks, North Korea's state-run media announced that the country is "carefully examining" a missile strike on Guam. Obviously, all of these remarks are becoming increasingly terrifying as threats of attacks from both sides increasing each day. Should either side actually use force, the results would be devastating not just for both parties, but for surrounding areas like South Korea.
So far, the U.S. has relied on a diplomatic approach to solving the crisis, but the Trump administration's warnings to North Korea have certainly escalated in recent weeks.