IF YOU'RE READING this, the U.S. and North Korea have not embarked on an apocalyptic nuclear war.
There's actually very little chance humanity won't make it to this magazine's publication date, but news consumers could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. An October poll found 65 percent of Americans thought President Donald Trump was making the situation between the U.S. and North Korea worse. More than two-thirds of respondents said they were either very or extremely concerned about this issue; 40 percent were worried about their personal safety.
They're wrong about the threat North Korea poses to the mainland United States, where more than 99 percent of Americans live. And the bluster from North Korea is nothing new, even if the bluster from America is. Ultimately, Trump's provocative comments aimed at the tiny Communist country are an in artful articulation of the idea that the Cold War-era policy of mutually assured destruction, which kept the world nuclear war-free in the 20th century, still applies, at least in one direction.
The president is not the first to point to America's atomic capabilities. "We can destroy you," Barack Obama warned North Korea in April 2016. Trump's bombast about unleashing "fire and fury" signals that the can would become a will if it went ahead with a nuclear strike.
This might actually be a good thing. North Korea reportedly responded by reaching out to some Republican analysts to help make sense of Trump's moves. In other words, Pyongyang is behaving rationally.
Trump has also made an effort to engage...