First of all, let us be very clear. I do not read, write, or speak Korean. Although one of my books has been translated into Korean, I know absolutely nothing about the country save what little I have read in English. Even though I have spent eighty-three years in the United States, I often find it difficult to figure out what the American government is going to do. So take what follows for what it is worth.
Newspaper reports paint Kim Jong-un as unstable and irrational and brutal, but not at all as self-destructive or self-defeating. I am guessing he knows that if he launched a missile attack that hit any part of American soil [Alaska, if that is all he can reach -- who knows?] the result would be a nuclear response that would obliterate his country and result in his death. Mind you, I do not know this, not at all. I am guessing. If what I have read is true [remember, everything I think I know, whether I learned it from CNN or Noam Chomsky, is second-hand and could quite possibly be wrong], a non-nuclear "limited" war between North Korea and South Korean and American forces would result in huge numbers of Korean deaths on both sides and a great many American deaths.
I seriously doubt that Donald J. Trump could find North Korea on a map with country labels attached, I am reasonably certain that he would not care in the slightest who got killed in a war, so long as his real estate holdings and brands were untouched. I am extremely fearful that his tiny ego would become deeply engaged by any perceived slight from North Korea to his manhood or his magnificence.
There are extremely deeply rooted institutional obstacles to independent actions by the American military countermanding what they perceive as irrational orders from the Commander-in-Chief, but in the present circumstances I could imagine that saner heads in the Joint Chiefs would find ways to slow-walk such orders and even subvert them. There is precedent for that during the Nixon presidency, I believe.
All of which, put together, is unsettling, to put it as calmly as I can.
Meanwhile, I am quite certain that the Trump Administration is right now doing great harm to the most vulnerable among us here in America, and will continue to do that at least until 2018 and probably until 2020.
From all of the above, I draw the simplest and most banal conclusion imaginable, namely that we must struggle to win back the House and even, God willing, the Senate, and that we must try to wrest from the Republicans the 1000 seats in State legislatures that slipped away while Obama floated above the fray with inimitable grace. In short, I conclude that our only hope of a better future lies in banal, unexciting ordinary politics.