This week, the United States and its ally South Korea began large-scale military exercises, and North Korea responded by threatening “merciless retaliation”. This follows Pyongyang’s recent back-and-forth over whether to strike Guam and President Trump’s warning that North Korea was facing a future of “fire and fury”.
Not surprisingly, people are a little worried. I received an email from an old high school friend. We had not corresponded in a while. The email comprised two words: “Save us”.
My friend knows that I have worked on North Korea and nuclear weapons for more than 15 years and that I have, in fact, been to the DPRK (Democratic Republic of Korea) to discuss nuclear policy.
“I’m on vacation in Maine. You’re going to have to handle this one,” I replied with a smile.
He wasn’t the only one asking. Facebook friends, journalists, relatives. There was even a guy at the Home Kitchen Cafe in Rockland, Maine who recognized me and asked a waitress to approach me on his behalf. I walked over, and we chatted for a minute. He explained that he thought it was a bad time for the US and South Korean military exercises before returning to his Reuben sandwich.